MSRP: $15,712 (as tested)
Odometer: 4,253 mi.
Last August we took delivery of a 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT ($13,299), with the XT identifying it as slightly tarted up with tubeless spoked wheels and a Renthal Fat Bar handlebar, for just $300 over the base model. We put it into a comparison test with its ’lil brother, the V-Strom 650XT, and the decision was very close, but the 1000’s extra power and superior suspension and brakes (including cornering ABS) beat out the 650’s lower weight and seat height and more agile handling.
Our 1000XT was outfitted with some useful Suzuki accessories, including side cases (29-liter left, 26-liter right), a 55-liter top case, a 15-liter ring lock tank bag, an accessory bar and a centerstand, for an as-tested price of $15,712. For 2019, the XT has been replaced by the XT Adventure ($15,299), which includes the accessory bar, centerstand, heated grips and 37-liter aluminum panniers, and it comes in a sweet Pearl Vigor Blue/Pearl Glacier White paint scheme with matching blue rims.
After our comparison test, contributor Ken Lee loaded up the Strom and did a 1,400-mile, two-up tour with his wife around California’s Sierra Nevada. Then he did a solo 800-mile freeway blast up to Oregon and back. Since then we’ve used the Strom primarily for commuting and day rides. We’ve logged 4,253 miles and averaged 38.4 mpg (low 32.3, high 47.6), for an estimated range of 204 miles.
The V-Strom has been a solid workhorse and our complaints are few. The accessory tank bag doesn’t snap into its ring lock like it should, so we have to open the bag, put our hand on top of the ring and push hard to make it lock — a hassle when the bag is full of gear. And on long trips we’ve wished for cruise control, which ought to be standard on touring motorcycles in this price range. Otherwise, though, the V-Strom gets high marks for competence, dependability, value and versatility, whether it’s used as a commuter, sport-touring bike or 80/20 adventure tourer.