2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS Review by Motorcycle Mojo Magazine

11 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS Review by Motorcycle Mojo Magazine
Suzuki AN 650 ABS

2012 V-Strom Review

Croatia is a beautiful country and an up-and-coming vacation spot for many Europeans. And it’s no wonder. The eastern edge of the Adriatic Sea is strewn with hundreds of islands, the coastline slopes gradually into the sea, and a little farther inland from our host city of Split are mountains offering breathtaking vistas of the coastline.

Hairpin turns, rough roads at times, and high-speed highways combine to make a perfect location to put the redesigned 2012 Suzuki V-Strom DL650 ABS through its paces at the international press launch.

As with many press launches on foreign ground, the speeds far exceeded the pace of everyday riding which I am accustomed to. Most of the hairpin turns on the mountain roads were devoid of guardrails; only steep drop-offs separated the road from the ground below. Complete attention was mandatory.

The day was hot, and with the exception of my rear tire sliding a bit on one highly polished corner, the new V-Strom held on like glue – a testament to the sporting abilities of the bike.

Introduced in 2003, the 650 has garnered a bit of a cult status in the mid-size adventure touring market. Its following is well deserved. It was the darling of the world’s press when it hit the streets, with little or no negative comment other than about its looks.

A bit of an ugly duckling, the bike’s aesthetics were really its only downfall if form over function was that important to you.

The wee-Strom, as it is affectionately known in comparison to the bigger 1000 V-Strom, quickly made a name for itself as being a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none. It handled well but couldn’t compete on a race track; it is an excellent light-weight tourer but lacked the size, weight and weather protection of a full-blown touring motorcycle; it could handle mediocre bush trails, but not like a dedicated trail or off-road bike could; in short, it was, and still is, a great, all-around, multi-purpose motorcycle that does everything really well.

The 650 V-Strom has consistently been the bestseller in its class, and what better time to update it and keep it at the top of the charts? Rumours had the new Strom being released with an 800 cc engine to compete head-to-head with the BMW F800GS and the newly released Triumph Tiger 800XC. But really, why change a good thing?

Suzuki’s 650 V-Twin has stood the test of time; released in the 1999 SV650, it has proven itself a long-lasting, bullet-proof design.

Suzuki AN 650 ABS

Suzuki didn’t unleash any details other than that a new motorcycle was on its way, and only offered a stylized outline of it on their website, leaving the rest to everyone’s imagination. Even before seeing the outline, I suspected it was a V-Strom based on the fact that the bike has a huge following; after a production run of nine years, it was time for an upgrade.

Most noticeable at first glance is the redesigned body style. The fairing doesn’t stick out over the front wheel quite as much, and what were once large plastic panels jutting forward on each side are now truncated and include vents to help displace hot air from the radiator. The gas tank is shapelier and taller, and the foot peg-to- seat distance has been increased 10 mm. While the seat height has increased, so has the ground clearance by 10 mm and the wheelbase by 5 mm.

The new V-Strom looks to be in better proportion overall.


I had an opportunity to speak with 36-year-old Satoshi Isokari, the new 650’s designer and also lead designer for the GSF1250 and the futuristic – but now discontinued – B-King. He stated that the initial design was done in Germany at Suzuki International Europe before being refined and produced in Japan, and that, in a rare case, the final production model is sportier and lighter than what the initial design called for.

The 13-year Suzuki veteran said Suzuki’s goal with the new V-Strom was to be ‘tough and smart,” like a Swiss Army knife. Part of his mandate was to give the bike a more comfortable seating position and better wind protection. He also mentioned that there are more OEM accessories. (READ MORE)

(Specifications Chart)

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