2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS Rider Magazine Road Test

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Suzuki AN 650

2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS Test

Photo Credit: Howell and Enrico Pavia


January 13, 2012

the SV650 . When it debuted in Suzuki’s small-fry … wowed the press and public despite having modest budget components and no wind Why? The SV650 had that something not all bikes have.

It be bolted on and it doesn’t show up in charts. Character, soul, whatever you call it, the SV650 had it. Fun and easy to ride but never affordable and stone reliable, it was that good friend who has your favorite beer in his a comfy couch you can crash on and you can borrow.

The SV650’s good-times was buried deep within its 90-degree V-twin, and it survived a transplant into the V-Strom chassis, giving life to the 650 in 2004. Like the SV, the V-Strom 650 a cult following and outsold its big by a healthy margin. It was the ideal middleweight—peppy motor, rugged effortless handling, comfortable 250-mile range, reasonable

What’s not to love? To wit, a team rode a pair of Wee around the world on the eight-month, Edelweiss Discover Our Earth Rider contributor Jerry has one, and so does one of our ad guys.

And though the Triumph Tiger 800 out the V-Strom 650 in our head-to-head comparison ( . June 2011), the Suzuki’s proved hard to resist; Managing Editor Donya refused to give back our bike and ended up buying it.

Although more suited to the the V-Strom handles mild excursions with confidence.

All aside, after an eight-year run few changes, the V-Strom 650 was looking a bit Suzuki has given it a refresh for with tougher styling, torque, less weight, suspension and better instrumentation raising its price by just two Ben to $8,299. And exclusive to the U.S. is a new Adventure model ($9,799) adds aluminum panniers, guards and a touring windscreen.

romping through the hills of North Carolina for two days at the U.S. press launch, we a test bike to rack up miles, hit the dyno and verify wet Carlson recused herself this evaluation, but we wrestled the away from her long to ride the 2011 and 2012 back to back.

The 645cc V-twin has the same dimensions and but updates based on the 2009 make it smoother, quieter and powerful.

According to Product Manager, Derek Schoeberle  at Suzuki, the 2012 V-Strom 650 was for both aesthetic and practical “The time had come for the 650 to stand on its own, to have its own New black resin body not only look cool, more durable than the plastic they replace. The fender was redesigned to direct airflow to the radiator, which has plates for more efficient and heat management.

The engine was tidied up by replacing the oil cooler with a smaller, efficient liquid-cooled heat behind the oil filter. And pushing in the clipping the tail and reducing overhang made the V-Strom more compact while mass. Sensible changes and with just a few splashes of Fox Orange amid a sea of black, the new not only looks mean and it weighs 18 pounds less last year’s model.

The stoppers offer decent and modulation. Standard ABS is non-linked and be switched off.

Unfortunately, of that weight loss from a 0.5-gallon reduction in capacity, from 5.8 to 5.3 gallons. says the tank and front of the were made slimmer so riders could plant feet on terra firma seat height was raised by 0.6 from 32.3 to 32.9 From the saddle the new V-Strom more svelte, but it didn’t too big before, and reducing the fuel on a V-Strom is as sacrilegious as reducing the capacity on a Gold Wing.

claims the new bike is 10 percent fuel efficient, but our real-world economy figures didn’t that out. In our June test, we recorded 45.9 mpg on the model (range: 266 miles); on our test bike, we recorded mpg (range: 239 miles).

The V-Strom’s engine has the same and configuration as before—liquid-cooled 645cc V-twin, 81.0 x 62.6mm eight-valve DOHC head—and it the same slick-shifting six-speed and chain final drive. It has enhancements found on the now-defunct-SV650-successor such as low-friction, SCEM-plated lightweight single valve dual iridium spark and a Throttle-body Integrated Idle Control (TI-ISC) system.

internal changes were at enhancing the V-twin pulse, mechanical noise and boosting torque, changes that are apparent. Riding the new model with its predecessor, the 2012 runs smoother and quieter, it up more easily and it pulls off the line and out of corners.

On Jett dyno, the new V-Strom cranked out horsepower and 43.0 lb-ft of compared to 63.5 horsepower and lb-ft of torque on the previous Horsepower and torque are 3-10 higher throughout the rev range. The new feels more refined and buzzy than before, and output feels just

With agility, torque, weight and ample cornering few bikes are as fun in the corners as the V-Strom Apparel: Helmet: Arai XD3 / Suit: Tourmaster / Boots: Aerostich Combat

Most of the chassis, including swingarm, brakes and wheels are over from the previous Steering geometry is the same, but has increased a skosh (0.2 Front spring preload has increased and there’s a heavier spring with 0.4-inch travel (to 6.3 inches), which increased ground and cornering

Compared to the 2011 model, the new feels more firm, up bumps more readily and around less when aggressively. The V-Strom 650 has always particularly blessed with and agility, and these qualities It still has light, intuitive it still feels stable at speeds, and the street-biased Bridgestone Wing tires provide grip on- and offroad.

ABS is standard—the new system is 1.5 pounds lighter and faster, but it can’t be switched There’s plenty of braking that’s easy to modulate, and ABS was noticeable only at the rear

The V-Strom’s seating position is the same, which is a good Wide handlebars are at a sensible there’s plenty of legroom and the is broad and flat with of space to move around. The now has 25 percent more padding, along with the rear changes, increased seat from 32.3 to 32.9

As many other OEMs are these days, Suzuki either a low (32.1 inches) or (33.7 inches) accessory though it will set you back an $215.95. The standard and high were comfortable even hours in the saddle, and both generous passenger accommodations.

As on the model, there’s a standard rack with integrated handles, but it is now made of resin of aluminum to save weight and its cover can be removed to install an top box. Available accessories hard luggage (resin made by Hepco Becker or cases made by SW-Motech), guards, heated grips, power outlet, lower and chain guard.

Instrumentation is much improved. The is at a more visible height, the and LCD are easier to read, new functions been added.

As before, the is three-position adjustable (Allen required), but its new shape noticeably wind noise and buffeting. A modern instrument panel has positioned higher for better An analog tach remains, but the speedo was replaced with a readout on the easy-to-read, brightness-adjustable LCD display.

New functions include position, ambient temperature, A/B consumption and a freeze-warning indicator, and a on the left handlebar makes it to toggle through functions.

The Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS has been in many ways. With its adapted from the 2009 the new V-Strom makes more less noise and less providing a more exciting, ride. It looks and feels svelte, and it weighs 18 pounds but some of the weight savings at the expense of less fuel —a questionable tradeoff since claimed fuel efficiency didn’t materialize during our test.

The revised suspension, seat, reshaped windscreen and instrumentation are welcome changes. As an tourer with off-pavement we have concerns about clearance on the new tire-hugging fender as on the previous model, the exposed header and oil filter are vulnerable to

Suzuki says the vast of V-Strom owners don’t offroad, and it probably prefers it way, which may explain why the ABS be switched off and there isn’t a plate in the accessory catalog. We it had higher charging output, windscreen adjustment and a 12V outlet and as standard equipment, but we understand must be made to keep the low. Mile-burning farkle will need to accessorize.

All in what was al­ready a great is now better. How it will stack up the rising tide of adventure remains to be seen.

2012 V-Strom 650 ABS Specs

Base $8,299

Warranty: 1 yr. unltd.

Bore x Stroke: 81.0 x

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