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2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 and 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 | First Look Review

Rider Magazine StaffOctober 04, 2016
Suzuki's popular middleweight adventure tourer, the V-Strom 650, has been thoroughly redesigned for 2017, with new styling, an updated engine, new traction control and much more.

Suzuki’s popular middleweight adventure tourer, the V-Strom 650, has been thoroughly redesigned for 2017, with new styling, an updated engine, new traction control and much more.

No conversation about adventure touring motorcycles is complete unless the word V-Strom finds its way into the dialogue. Suzuki’s venerable V-twin-powered models in both 650cc and 1000cc capacities have been mainstays in the ADV genre since the liter model debuted in 2002 and its smaller stable mate stormed onto the scene two years later. Thanks to their affordability, reliability and versatility, both bikes have developed a loyal following around the world ever since.

After receiving minor updates every year or two, the V-Stroms got their first major overhauls just a few years ago—the DL650 “Wee” Strom was redesigned for 2012 and the DL1000 was reworked from the ground up for 2014. Fresh styling, engine updates and new features made the Strom brothers more modern and well-rounded.

Read our 2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS review

Read our 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS review

Given that the V-Stroms are strong sellers for Suzuki, new Euro4 emissions and sound regulations provided a good opportunity to update the pair and keep them relevant in the highly competitive adventure touring segment.

The new V-Strom 650 now looks more like its DL1000 big brother, with a prominent beak, vertically stacked headlight and manually adjustable windscreen.

The new V-Strom 650 now looks more like its DL1000 big brother, with a prominent beak, vertically stacked headlight and manually adjustable windscreen.

For 2017, the V-Strom 650 has been restyled to look more like the 1000, with a DR-Big Dakar-inspired fairing featuring a prominent beak, a vertically-stacked headlight and a three-way adjustable windscreen that’s 9mm taller. Just as the original DL650 made use of the popular SV650’s feisty V-twin, the updated version is powered by the 2017 SV650’s Euro4-compliant engine, with more than 60 changes as well as more low to midrange horsepower and torque. And like the SV, the new DL650 features Low RPM Assist, which automatically raises engine speed when engaging the clutch or when riding at low revs for smoother launches and low-speed riding, and the Suzuki Easy Start System, which fires up the engine with just a quick press of the starter button.

Read our 2017 Suzuki SV650 review

The 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 features a slimmer gas tank, a new instrument panel and a manually adjustable windscreen.

The 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 features a slimmer gas tank, a new instrument panel and a manually adjustable windscreen.

The updated DL650 gets the same traction control system that’s found on the DL1000, with two modes plus Off, and, as before, ABS is standard equipment. It also gets a slimmer fuel tank (capacity is unchanged at 5.3 gallons), a narrower seat with thicker foam and a new cover (height is slightly lower at 32.7 inches), a DL1000-style tail section (which accommodates accessory luggage) and luggage rack, a DL1000-style multifunction instrument panel, a standard 12V socket inside the front fairing, an LED taillight and new 10-spoke cast aluminum wheels shod with Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A40 tires.

The 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT features spoked wheels with tubeless tires, hand guards and an engine cowl. Bikes in the Champion Yellow No. 2 paint scheme get special gold wheels.

The 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT features spoked wheels with tubeless tires, hand guards and an engine cowl. Bikes in the Champion Yellow No. 2 paint scheme get special gold wheels.

The 2017 V-Strom 650 will be available in two versions, the standard model with cast wheels and the XT model, which features spoked wheels with tubeless tires, hand guards and an engine cowl. Both models are compatible with the accessory integrated “three-luggage” system—hard plastic saddlebags and top box—previously available only on the DL1000. And they’re available in three color schemes: Champion Yellow No. 2 (with special gold wheels on the XT version), Pearl Glacier White and Glass Sparkle Black. The 2017 V-Strom 650s should be available in February and pricing is TBD.

Even though the latest-and-greatest V-Strom 1000 will be available soon after the 650, Suzuki opted to make it an early-release 2018 model. The 1000 gets refreshed styling, including a more prominent ADV beak, more rugged bodywork, standard hand guards and an engine cowl, a 49mm-taller manually adjustable windscreen and new 10-spoke cast aluminum wheels. By revamping the fuel injection and exhaust systems, the DL1000’s 1,037cc V-twin has been made Euro4 compliant. Claimed horsepower—99.2 at 8,000 rpm—is unchanged, but claimed torque has dipped slightly, from 75.9 lb-ft to 74.5 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm (based on European specifications; claimed figures for the U.S. model are not yet available).

The 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and V-Strom 1000XT is available in the same color schemes as the 650, including Pearl Glacier White (above), Glass Sparkle Black and Champion Yellow No. 2.

The 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and V-Strom 1000XT are available in the same color schemes as the 650, including Pearl Glacier White (above), Glass Sparkle Black and Champion Yellow No. 2.

Like its smaller brother, the new V-Strom 1000 gets Low RPM Assist and the Suzuki Easy Start System, and they share the same traction control system. New for the DL1000 is the “Motion Track Brake System,” a Bosch anti-lock braking system that uses a five-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). Known more commonly as “lean angle-sensitive” or “cornering” ABS, the system links the front and rear brakes and works in a straight line as well as when leaned over in a corner.

Like the 650, the 2018 V-Strom 1000 will be offered as a standard model with cast wheels as well as a new XT model, the latter featuring a large-diameter, tapered aluminum handlebar and spoked wheels with tubeless tires. Both are compatible with the accessory integrated “three-luggage” system, as well as a wide range of accessories that fit both the 650s and the 1000s. To further underscore the new V-Strom family unity, both DL1000 models come in the same color schemes as the DL650: Champion Yellow No. 2 (with special gold wheels on the XT), Pearl Glacier White and Glass Sparkle Black. The 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 should be available in March and the 2018 V-Strom 1000XT should be available in April, with pricing TBD.

9 comments

  1. Having bought three new and now very well used (abused?) DL650 ‘Stroms I can attest that they are very good motorcycles. My latest ‘Strom, the 2015 “Beaker Bike” is a fine machine, but putting the new SV engine into the 2017 model is a no-brainer. The “old” engine is a jewel – it’s really the best thing about the bike – but the new engine makes more significant and positive changes than this article suggests.

    Just a few examples, the SV package should mean that the new DL650 will have a better air box, Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) fuel injection, a 10-hole, long-nosed fuel injector throttle body, reworked combustion chamber, NGK MR8E-9 projection plugs, much improved exhaust system with a mid-pipe catalytic converter, the very cool “automated” starting system. And, as far as the ECM goes the new DL will not only be able to order the secondary throttle valve to open and raise the engine speed to prevent stalling, it also has Suzuki’s SV650’s Diagnostic System (SDSII) that accesses data on the ECM to track errors found in 40 previous riding cycles. And, if that doesn’t yell improvement, the one thing that’s been ten years overdue is that the new engine will also use the SH847 series R/R instead of the old shunt type that’s been causing concern to ‘Strom owners since the first one rolled off the assembly line.

    Whew, now that’s positive change. But, speaking of change – aside from the mill, the second best thing about the Wee Strom has been the price. Much pivots on that one feature, I hope Suzuki doesn’t ruin it for us who love a deal!

  2. I ride an 08 yellow V-Strom 650 and have been wondering what my next bike should be. I think this article answered that question.

    • You’ll find more than a few things different from the ’08 and a ’12 and this new ’17 should offer a significantly new riding experience. I figured my ’15 model would be my last ‘Strom but I’m with you – depending on price, this new model may find its way into the garage. All that said, like most ‘Strom fans, I’ve dumped almost as many dollars on farkles as I have on the bike itself and its hard to give up a bike that you’ve made your own. I have a hard core ringing buddy with more than a few classic and manic bikes in his stable and he, like myself, rides the ‘Strom more than his other bikes. His is a first run ’06 model that he’s evolved into a machine few could match. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder; Suzuki nailed the engine from day one and its all up from there.

  3. I wish Suzuki didn’t follow the beaker bike look. Being that they did they could have designed it for removal for those who don’t want it. I couldn’t see riding a bike that looked like that. My previous bike was a KLR650. I ended up purchasing a 2016 Honda CBR.

    • Not that I disagree, but, unlike other bikes, I don’t think the ‘Strom will ever be a fashion accessory. For me, even though the ‘Strom has a face only a mother could love, I still maintain it can grow into a trusted friend. I was riding my latest ‘Strom today – off and on pavement – and after putting over 160 000 kms on three ‘Stroms, the bike still impresses. Ugly, yeah. But so what?

      • Yeah I had an 09 and never should have sold it. That said when you get right down to it I can’t think of one single Adventure/dual sport bike that one could call “pretty.” When it comes to that segment pretty is as pretty does. Best selling one and the start of the trend, the BMW R 1200 GS adventure has got to be the ugliest bike ever conceived by man. But then so was the Humvee. They both sort of fit the same demographic. Tiring of the whole mud and guts s**t at 72 years of age, I bought the RS this time around and am happy camper knowing the worst road I’ll be going over is the occasional gravel hard pack service road and that only long enough to get to my camp sight. LOL ahahahahahah

        • Hey now, I love my ‘Stroms, but I put 160 000 kms on BMW GS. I always called my GS half NASA and a half John Deere, but it was a great bike too. Really, I think the best riders can hope for is that we are grateful for the bike that happens to be under our ass. I’m only 65 years old, and after 40 years of riding, the six hour ride I had today was simply magic!

  4. My 2011 Wee Strom ABS is for paved, Butler G1, G2 & G3 touring, with an occasional, unavoidable, gravel or hard packed dirt section. I have no interest in riding a 600 pound (with luggage) motorcycle in the dirt, I have a 300 pound dualsport single for offroad. I have one complaint; Suspension! The Strom 650 doesn’t need traction control… it needs better stock suspension! I know it is possible, my 2006 Suzuki DR400S had far better stock suspension. For what it’s worth; I have been riding motorcycles for 54 years, & competed in amateur Hare Scrambles (Cross Country), Motocross & Enduro for 25 years.

    • I think your comments are right on specially re: suspension and traction control and the value of a real dual-sport. However, I have shod my ‘Stroms with knobby tires and minor suspension improvements with some success. Having ridden an older ‘Strom on the yet to be completed Newfoundland and Labrador highway in northern Canada, I was extremely surprised to meet a number of ‘Strom along the way – greasy, slimy, “road” that it was. We survived both the tundra and the monster black flies. I also rode a later model Strom, mostly off-road, circumnavigating Baja Mexico. Both rides were reasonably comfortable. A few years ago I was foolish enough to ride my 2012 Strom from Canada to El Salvador (+ two brilliant months in isolated areas of Mexico) and back. For a few reasons, the Strom worked out better than a similar length ride I did many years before on a Beamer RT. All that said, I’m still hoping to ride the Transamerica Trail (TAT) and if I do that, even though I know a ‘Strom could survive it, it won’t be on a ‘Strom!

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