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Suzuki V-Strom forms an instant bond with rider

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 04, 2014

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I READ a tip from a bike enthusiast this week which suggested that you should ride a new bike every day for a week for as many hours as possible. Why? So that you and the bike become one.

Part of me agrees with this as it took me around a week to get used to the enormity of the Suzuki M1800 Intruder and it took me about the same amount of time to get used to the automatic gearbox on the Suzuki Burgman 650.

My experience with the V-Strom 650 however was different.

Man and bike became one within about 10 minutes and this bike goes down as one of the easiest I’ve ridden in handling terms. Easier than similar sized 650 BMWs and more agile than the likes of the Honda NC700X.

The seat height was perfect (835mm), the instrument cluster easy to read – even in the rain – and the V-twin liquid-cooled engine had far more poke than I anticipated.

This year, Suzuki launched the beefier V-Strom 1000ABS and I was left wondering if my smaller brother in the V-Strom range would be the runt of the family?

The truth is that the 650 ABS compliments the new model. The 650 version offers more than 71 mpg compared to its big brother’s 59 mpg – so if you’re more of a city commuter than an adventure explorer, which model would you choose?

The 650 comes equipped with an ABS braking system with twin front discs and a single rear disc, and benefits from a super-slick six-speed gear box and telescopic coil sprung suspension.

Sometimes, it helps to understand how and where a bike was tested.

Did I take it off-road to put the V-Strom’s ‘adventure’ branding to the test? – No.

Instead I whacked it down a dual carriageway before making the return journey home at slower than average commuter speeds.

Because in reality, most people buying the V-Strom won’t be taking it on a shingle-bed mountainous track either.

They will be taking it through slow congested built-up areas and then opening up the throttle when they reach the open road.

My review bike experienced more slow speed riding than normal as it was used as part of an organised ride-out through a congested city.

A fine mix of rear brake and clutch control made dragging this 214kg bike through obstacles a breeze.

I didn’t want this review to form a comparison between the new V-Strom 1000 and the 650 version as both have their merits depending on your chosen requirements and budget.

I much prefer the luggage rails and aluminium luggage rack on the 1000 model while I also envy the introduction of total traction control.

Not forgetting the new information cluster on the 1000 model which features everything from air temperature to a voltage meter.

In comparison, to the functional but basic instrument cluster on the 650 bike.

Yet in these frugal times, a slightly cheaper bike (£6,899 for the 650 ABS compared to £9,999 for the 1000 ABS) and outstanding fuel consumption, puts the V-Strom 650 ABS as an equally impressive twin rather than the smaller brother to the 1000 ABS.

If it wasn’t for me being a fan of cruisers rather than adventure bikes, the 650 ABS would be on my wish list.

Engine: 4-stroke, 2-cylinder, liquid cooled V-twin

Length: 2290mm

Width: 835mm

Height: 1405mm

Ground clearance: 175mm

Seat height: 835mm

Weight: 214kg

Who can ride it?: Category A licence required but can be restricted to suit

category A2 riders

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