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.
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.
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.
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 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).
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.