The Suzuki V-Strom 650, also known as the DL 650, is a popular adventure touring motorcycle that has been in production since 2004. This versatile and reliable bike is a favourite among riders who want to cruise in comfort while conquering different road conditions.
The V-Strom boasts a powerful engine, smooth handling, and a comfortable riding position, making it perfect for long-distance rides, daily commutes, or spontaneous weekend getaways. Suzuki has continued to make improvements to this adventure machine over the years, including updates to the engine and suspension, as well as the addition of advanced features like traction control and ABS brakes.
Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just starting out, the V-Strom is an excellent choice for anyone seeking a dependable and adaptable motorcycle that can handle any adventure on the road. Join us as we explore what makes Suzuki’s midweight adventure bike so popular among motorcycle enthusiasts.
2023 Suzuki V-Strom 650 Review
Engine and Transmission
When it comes to the V-Strom’s liquid cooled engine, you might think it’s old news having shared the same power plant as the naked Suzuki SV650 since its inception, but subtle upgrades over the years have kept it strong and compliant with ever-changing emissions regulations.
At 645 cc with a DOHC V-twin design, it puts out a modest 69 bhp and equally amount in Nm torque giving the V-Strom a flexible engine character, great for low-speed riding and plenty for whatever you need it for.
The engine features Suzuki’s dual spark technology heads which means 2 slim electrode spark plugs per cylinder for better combustion efficiency.
As well as the dual spark plugs the V-Strom fuel-injection system also employs the Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve on 39 mm throttle bodies with the secondary throttle valves controlled by a servo motor to produce optimum combustion efficiency even further, creating a smooth power delivery and better fuel economy.
The V-Strom also features Suzuki’s throttle-body Integrated Idle Speed Control (TI-ISC) which stabilizes the engine idle speed and helps lower emissions. The TI-ISC on the V-Strom has Suzuki’s low RPM assist feature that seamlessly adjusts engine speed during launch and smooth the power delivery for low-speed riding. It also helps reduce the possibility of the rider stalling the motorcycle.
Power gets delivered through a six-speed transmission and chain final drive, with the traction control preventing wheel spin and keeping everything in check. It’s worth pointing out here that the shared gearbox between the V-Strom and SV Series still has the smoothest and most effortless gear shifting I’ve experienced on any bike and the engine delivers stellar performance.
Suspension and brakes
The 2023 Suzuki V-Strom 650 features a 43 mm telescopic front fork that gives 5.9-inch travel. The fork is adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping, giving you the flexibility to adjust the settings to your liking. This allows you to fine-tune the suspension to your weight, riding style, and the type of road you’re riding on.
At the rear, the V-Strom has a link-type rear suspension system with a single 46 mm wide shock absorber. The shock absorber has a 6.3-inch travel and is features spring preload and rebound damping adjustment. This setup provides excellent shock absorption and stability, even when you’re carrying a passenger or hauling heavy cargo.
The V-Strom’s suspension system is not the most hi-tech and adjustable system around however works to handle a wide range of riding conditions, from smooth highways to light off-road terrain. The bike’s sturdy aluminum twin-spar frame provides a stable and reliable platform for the suspension to work that produces stress free riding and a smooth handling performance.
The V-Strom features a dual hydraulic disc brake setup on the front wheel, with dual-piston calipers and 310 mm discs. The rear wheel has a single hydraulic disc brake with a single-piston caliper and a 260 mm disc. These disc brakes provide excellent stopping power and offer great control, whether you’re riding on a smooth highway or tackling more challenging terrain.
The front brake lever is adjustable for reach, so you can set it up to your liking. Additionally, the V-Strom is equipped with ABS (anti-lock braking system) that helps prevent the wheels from locking up during hard braking, reducing the risk of skidding or losing control. It’s worth noting that the ABS is not-switchable and remains on at all times.
When it comes to braking performance, the 2023 Suzuki V-Strom 650 has an impressive stopping distance. In fact, in a brake test conducted by MCN, the V-Strom was able to come to a complete stop from 60 mph in just 37 m. That’s pretty impressive for a mid-size adventure touring motorcycle using old technology!
Overall, the brake system on the V-Strom might be a bit dated in comparison to what other manufacturers are supplying however Suzuki have fine-tuned the system making it reliable, and effective.
Starting with the bodywork, the 2023 Suzuki V-Strom 650 has a distinctive look that sets it apart from other adventure touring bikes. It features a high-mounted windscreen that provides excellent wind protection, and a beak-like front fender that gives it an aggressive, off-road-ready appearance. The bike also has a sleek, streamlined profile, with a slim seat and narrow fuel tank that make it easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces.
The tank leads down into a contoured and spacious two up seat heading back onto a lightweight resin luggage rack that incorporates easy-to-grasp grab bars and aligns with the passenger section of the seat, offering a larger surface for carrying cargo or luggage. The frame also has integrated mount points for Suzuki’s unified luggage that’s easy to clip on and off trim when touring.
The multifunction instrument panel on the V-Strom is well-designed and easy to read, providing riders with all the necessary information they need (plus a bit more) while out on a ride. The LED backlighting can be adjusted to the rider’s preference, and the panel features a large diameter analog tachometer, a digital speedometer, and an LCD data display.
On the right-hand side of the dash, you’ll find a large LCD display that provides a wealth of information. This display shows the bike’s speed, odometer, dual trip meter, fuel gauge, gear position indicator, air temperature display and more. The LCD display is bright and easy to read, even in bright sunlight. Switching between all these readings can be done with the left handlebar switch.
One unique feature of the V-Strom’s dashboard is the inclusion of a range indicator. This indicator shows riders how far they can go on the current fuel level, which can be helpful for planning long rides and avoiding running out of gas.
The bike also features a set of warning lights that alert riders to potential issues with the bike. These lights include a low fuel warning, an engine malfunction warning, an ABS warning light and traction control warning light.
Based on owners’ reports, the V-Strom 650 typically gets between 50 and 60 miles per gallon, depending on how it’s being used. With its 20 L tank, that means you can go about 260 miles before needing to refuel. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you could potentially stretch that to around 300 miles before needing to fill up again.
2023 Suzuki V-Strom Specification
Engine: Water-cooled DOHC v-twin four-stroke
Capacity: 645 cc
Max Power: 69 bhp / 50.4 kW @ 8,000rpm
Max Torque: 69 Nm / 50.9 lb-ft @ 6,400 rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Top Speed: 125 mph / 201 km/h
Fuel capacity: 20 L / 5.2 US Gal
Seat Height: 830 mm / 32.7 inches
Wet Weight: 216 kg / 476 lbs
History and Evolution
First introduced in 2004, the Suzuki V-Strom 650 was designed to offer a comfortable and capable ride for riders who wanted to tackle a variety of terrain and road conditions. The original model featured a liquid-cooled, 645cc V-twin engine that produced 67 horsepower and 44 lb-ft of torque.
In 2007, Suzuki introduced an updated version of the V-Strom with a number of improvements. The new model featured a redesigned fairing, improved fuel injection system, and a more powerful engine that produced 68 horsepower and 44 lb-ft of torque for better combustion efficiency creating better fuel economy.
Other updates included a new instrument cluster with fuel gauge and an adjustable windscreen.
In 2012, Suzuki made further changes to the V-Strom, including a new ABS system, a redesigned chassis, and an updated suspension system. The new model also featured an improved fuel tank design that increased its capacity to 20 L, providing a longer range for riders.
In 2017, Suzuki introduced the third generation of the V-Strom with a number of significant changes. The new model featured a redesigned fairing, new instrument cluster with an improved large diameter analog tachometer and updated engine that produced 69 horsepower and 46 lb-ft of torque.
Other updates included a new traction control system and updated link-type rear suspension with rebound damping adjustment that improved the bike’s handling and ride quality.
In 2020, Suzuki made further improvements to the V-Strom, introducing a number of new features including a redesigned fuel tank, improved LED lighting, a new exhaust system, and updated electronics including a low rpm assist feature and an advanced traction control system with three traction control modes that adjust engine output for the XT models.
The new model also featured an updated multifunction instrument panel with a larger, easier-to-read display to include a dual trip meter and air temperature display that can be switched between with the left handlebar switch.
2023 Suzuki V-Strom 650 Prices
The V-Strom 650 is currently available in three variations: standard (£7,999 / $9,104), XT (£8,799 / $9,599), and XT Adventure (£10,389 / $10,799). Here are the key differences between these models:
V-Strom Variant Differences
The standard V-Strom features a simple, no-frills design with a basic windscreen and spoked wheels. The XT model adds some off-road capabilities with wire-spoke wheels, hand guards, and a beak-style front fender. The Adventure model takes things a step further with a larger windscreen, a more protective skid plate, and hard luggage.
All three models come equipped with ABS and a traction control system, but the XT and Adventure models are also equipped with Suzuki’s advanced traction control system.
These new traction control features lets the rider control the throttle with more confidence as it continuously monitors rear wheel speeds, throttle opening, engine speed, and the selected transmission gear to adjust engine output if wheel spin is detected.
There are three traction control modes with the differences between the modes being their sensitivity to road conditions.
The XT and Adventure models also feature the Suzuki Easy Start System and low rpm assist feature, which helps the rider by regulating the engine idle speed preventing the bike from stalling.
The standard V-Strom comes with adjustable front and rear suspension, while the XT and Adventure models have a more advanced suspension system that is designed to handle off-road terrain. The Adventure model features an adjustable rear shock and inverted front forks.
The standard V-Strom is a great all-around motorcycle that is comfortable and capable on both the highway and the back roads with its smooth power delivery and spacious two up seat. The XT model is geared more towards off-road enthusiasts, with its wire-spoked wheels and hand guards. The Adventure model is designed for serious adventure touring, with its larger windscreen, more protective skid plate, and hard luggage.
2023 Suzuki V-Strom 650 Vs Yamaha Ténéré 700 Vs Kawasaki Versys 650
The Suzuki V-Strom, Ténéré 700, and Kawasaki Versys 650 are all popular adventure touring motorcycles that are often compared to one another. Here is a comparison of these three bikes:
The V-Strom 650 is powered by a liquid-cooled, 645 cc V-twin engine that produces 70 horsepower and 46 lb-ft of torque.
The Ténéré 700 is powered by the same liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, 689 cc DOHC inline-twin cylinder engine used in the MT-07. It produces 73 horsepower and 49.4 lb-ft of torque.
The Kawasaki Versys 650 is powered by a liquid-cooled, 649 cc parallel-twin engine that produces 69 horsepower and 47 lb-ft of torque.
All three bikes come with advanced electronics, such as ABS and a traction control system. The Ténéré 700 has the most advanced electronics package, including multiple riding modes, an advanced traction control system and automatic stability control for better rider control. The V-Strom 650 and Versys 650 both have similar electronics packages, but the V-Strom 650 has the Suzuki Easy Start System that makes starting the bike easier.
The Ténéré 700 again has the most advanced suspension system, with a fully adjustable front fork and rear shock. The V-Strom 650 and Versys 650 both have adjustable front and rear suspension, but they are not as advanced as the BMW’s system.
The V-Strom is known for its smooth handling and comfortable ride, making it a popular choice for long-distance touring. The Ténéré 700 is designed with a lean towards dirt riding performance, while the Kawasaki Versys 650 is known for its sporty handling and nimble performance.
The Suzuki V-Strom 650 is the most affordable of the three bikes, with a starting price of around £7,999 / $9,104. The Kawasaki Versys 650 is slightly more expensive, with a starting price of around £8,349 / $8,999. The Ténéré 700 is the most expensive of the three, with a starting price of around £10,110 / $10,499.
Overall, the Suzuki V-Strom, Yamaha Ténéré 700, and Kawasaki Versys 650 are all well-regarded adventure touring bikes that offer a good balance of performance, comfort, and versatility.
Riders should consider their own priorities and preferences when choosing between these bikes, as each one offers its own unique strengths and weaknesses.
It’s been nearly two decades since Suzuki gave us the original V-Strom, however it’s a bike that feels like it’s been with us forever like a faithful companion that is always by our side.
It’s certainly not a bike that has or will light the world on fire with innovative looks or technology, but what it will do is work, always and will still be holding its own in decades to come as others fall by the wayside.
As part of the SV650 family which also gave us the Gladius 650, it could be rightly labelled as dependable, reliable and essentially boring.
But the V-Strom has been consistently fine tuned over the years rather than reinvented, meaning the technology might seem to be a bit dated but in reality, it’s been honed to be as efficient and effective as possible.
The Suzuki V-Strom 650 is a bike that has gone around the world, several times in its own discrete way and addressing the elephant in the room, no it’s not as capable off road in an adventure sense as most bikes in the mid-capacity adventure category but it’s a fun and logical motorcycle that wins on the road and comfort war and this for many riders is the kind of adventure they want.