Suzuki DL650 V-Strom ABS (2012-current): A good bike gets better, more refined

      Engine: The twin cylinder 645 c.c. engine delivers 69 bhp/8800 rpm and 6.11 kgm/6400 ( 44.2 lbs ft) torque, claimed figures.

     A minimum of 2000 rpm is required, to get surge-free acceleration. From 3000 rpm upwards torque provided is very satisfying for everyday use. The lower spectrum of the powerband is adequate for commuting, indicatively 5000 rpm correspond to 112 km/h (69.6 mph). Engine response is linear up to 10500 rpm where the rev limiter intervenes.
     Compared with the ex V-strom, the engine has got numerous tiny modifications, which improved mainly the fuel consumption and the throttle response at the lower-middle area of the powerband. An indicative average fuel consumption figure is 6 l/100 km (47.1 mpg Imperial).
     Riding position: The seat is comparatively high 835 mm (32.9 in), which makes it adequate to average stature riders or higher.
     Rider is placed mostly in the bike than over it, riding position is relatively high and neutral, providing some doses of alertness. RiderĘs hands are stretched slightly to the front, the handlebar is wide. The bike underneath the rider seems to be less bulky than the ex V-Strom. There isnĘt any issue for the pillion on the saddle.
     The nominal weight depicted is 214 Kgs (472 lbs) curb, which will be adequate in some cases even to females or short riders. Hence, it feels lighter and more user-friendly than the previous model.
     The dimensions of the bike are average given the standards of the category, rider will not face any problems.
     On the road: Suspensions are relatively soft. The spring preload is adjusted at the front and remotely at the rear. The rebound damping may also be adjusted at the shock. The shock is equipped with a linkage. The differences concerning the steering geometry between the new and the former V-Strom are negligible.
     The OE tires are Bridgestone Trail Wing with dimensions 110/80-19 at the front, 150/70-17 at the rear. These tyres are considered to be old and average nowadays, aiming to on-road riding.
     On town rides
the new V-Strom is more neutral and user friendly than the former bike. The smoother bike character makes town rides more relaxing, especially in case of short-shifting at 4000 rpm.
     On downtown rides, the riding position is comparatively high, enhancing the rider to monitor traffic without obstacles.
     Steering radius is really satisfying, it will help rider to exploit traffic gaps.

     Filtering is good, since the handlebar is higher than car mirrors, its about the same with SUV mirrors. Eventually there will be no problems for the rider, except if there are many SUVs on the roads. However due to the economic recession, which tends to be global again, it seems that dinosaurs have started to become extinct on the roads!
     Urban street imperfections are absorbed well, as it is expected from such a bike. Riding comfort is preserved then, although its not top class.
     On B-roads the bike is stable, providing good feedback about whatever the rider needs to know. Confidence to the rider is great, agility is slightly decreased though, given the standards of the category. The orientation of the V-Strom is generally speaking shifted towards to on-road than off-road. Comfort to the rider is really good.
     Therefore  riding at the fast pace is  very satisfying for the standards of the category. The OE tires do set the riding limits then. The V-Strom is robust, more joyful than ever before, feeling integrated, not absolute though.
     Feedback to the rider is not top class, as it is defined by the bigger, more expensive bikes of the category.
     Yes, the new V-Strom may be compared with them in various fields, especially if a rider has clarified which are the real life requirements.
     The improved top engine performance compared to the ex V-Strom, is not really obvious on the road.
     On the highway the bike will meet the expectations of any rider familiar with the 650 c.c. category. Stability is very good, engine performance surpasses the needs of the virtual average rider, air protection is really good.
     Specifically, rider feels the air flow around the body, not directly on any part of the body though. Thus there isnĘt any issue, even up to the speed of 190 km/h (118 mph).
     On the contrary at such a speed, engine feels stressed, revving hard, up to the top speed which is close to 210 km/h (130.5 mph) indicated figure. Therefore, it will be only the engine operation at the highest area of the spectrum which will puzzle the rider, not the air protection when travelling.
     Indicatively 165 km/h (102.5 mph) correspond to 7500 rpm, 180 km/h (112 mph) to 8000 rpm, 190 km/h (118 mph) to nearly 9000 rpm. Acceleration obtained for an overtake is quite more powerful with 5th speed selected at the gearbox, the 6th speed is considered to be an overdrive. Usually rider will prefer to travel very comfortably at 165 km/h (102.5 mph), thatĘs the optimal speed. Combined with the tank range provided by the 20 litres fuel tank, this bike may cover large ranges on a trip.
     On windy conditions, the bike is affected when travelling or on everyday use. The screen is adjusted in three increments, requiring tools though.
     On dirt roads comfort provided to the rider is very satisfying. The bike is more user friendly at this field also, asking less compromises than before, just more than the leading bike of the category on dirt roads, which is called the Honda Transalp.
     Brakes are the same used on the ex V-Strom, that means twin 310 mm disc brakes, two piston callipers at the front, a 260 mm disc brake, single piston calliper at the rear. There are steel braided lines now though.
     The front brake is relatively powerful, user-friendly, while the activation of the new ABS produces moderate pulsing to the levers. The power of the rear brake is average, itĘs linear, while the ABS tends to intervene relatively early.
     Additionally the ABS cannot be deactivated. The feedback provided when braking in everyday use is still average.
     Model history/optional/reliability/build quality: The V-Strom was introduced in 2004. In 2006 it was equipped with an ABS. The new V-strom 650 was introduced in 2012.
     The storage space under the saddle is adequate for a pair of thick winter gloves. The ABS is standard, although the centre stand isnĘt. The optional equipment list is satisfying, including a higher and a lower saddle.
     Build quality seems improved. Meticulous cleaning is still required, as well as protection from the elements when parked, to preserve the bike finish quality. There is no issue concerning engine reliability.
     Comments: In terms of design the radiator vents at the sides of the bike are interesting. The same applies to the red stitching and the V-Strom engraved at the middle of the saddle.
     Under the yoke a large empty space is seen which doesnĘt look nice. Additionally, the spacers of the screen do not look good. The blue light indicative for the headlamp operation could get disturbing at night rides. The front fender and some other parts look like cheap carbon imitations, something which was not really necessary to occur at first place.
     The lonely button on the dash, trims the transition between km/h to mph and vice-versa, something that also was not necessary. The indications on the display are changed by a switch at the left hand side on the handlebar.
     Compared with the older V-StromĘs in terms of design, there are many curves now, although the outline of the bike is not much differentiated. The matt black protective parts amplify the crossover look of the V-Strom.
     Compared with the old model the new V-Strom is improved a lot, since its better on everyday use, while the advantages of the former model are still valid.
     There are numerous changes between the two, most of which are tiny and seem negligible, however the new bike feels different in terms of riding. The previous model seems bigger, heavier and …absolute now.
     Hence, the character of the new bike has been smoothened, the new V-Strom is more agile while the potential of the previous model has been preserved. This results in even more satisfied owners. It is a bike to be considered by anyone seeking an all-around bike by todayĘs standards.
Price : 8995 §

+ Neutral bike character – various fields of use

+ Travelling

+ Handling

- Average braking feedback

-Price is getting closer to bigger rivals

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