ABS has become well and truly affordable
Anti-lock braking is the way of the future. Not only is it an all-round good thing and becoming better, it’s also going to be required on almost all bikers eventually by European standards. Get used to it, and learn to love it, it’s a good thing.
You don’t, on the other hand, need a litre or 1200cc displacement and suspension length that would make a stork go green with envy to leave the tar behind. Even in Australia, one of the world’s toughest environments for motorcycles, a smaller and lighter bike can actually make life easier for you while you’re sampling the pleasures of the bush.
Okay, you are not going to get the awesome capabilities of a BMW R1200GS or a KTM Adventure. But it may well be that you don’t want them, either.
The major weakness of the Suzuki V-Strom 650, however, is that it’s not really set up to go off road at all. The lack of a bash plate leaves the exhaust and the oil filter worryingly unprotected. The oil cooler does get a lightweight little screen, but the main radiator once again has nothing to protect it. Front fork stanchion protection is also inadequate. Where there is a shield, over the one-sided exhaust, it gets too hot to use throwover panniers.
This is simply impractical and if you want to do any halfway serious travelling you’ll need to invest in an aftermarket bash plate, a guard for each of the coolers and some kind of rack to keep your fabric panniers cool. Shame – this could have been addressed so easily.
But then again, it’s very hard to think of anything else to criticise on this V-Strom. As one of my mates said after he climbed off the Suzuki: “It’s just so easy to ride!” He’s quite right. And complete with ABS, the price is better than just right at $10,490!
Model: Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS
Price: $10,490 (plus on-road charges)
Warranty: Two years, unlimited distance
Power: 49kW @ 8800rpm
Torque: 60Nm @ 6400rpm
Engine: Liquid cooled 90 degree V-twin, 8 valve DOHC, fuel injection and digital ignition
Bore x stroke: 81 x 62.6mm
Transmission: Six-speed, wet multi-plate clutch, final drive by O-ring chain
Suspension: Front, 41mm telescopic fork, preload adjustable, travel 150mm. Rear, lever-type monoshock, preload and rebound damping adjustable, 150mm travel.
Dimensions: Seat height 820mm, weight 197kg (dry), fuel capacity 22 litres, wheelbase 1555mm
Tyres: Front, 110/80 19. Rear, 150/70 17
Frame: Twin spar aluminium alloy
Brakes: Front, twin 310mm discs with two piston floating calipers. Rear, 260mm disc.
Top speed: 180km/h
0-100km/h: 4.5 sec
60-100km/h: 5.8 sec
Fuel consumption: 4 litres per 100km, unleaded
Theoretical range: 550km
Colour: Metallic grey