Long-Term Ride Report: 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT

2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT. Photo by Kevin Wing.
2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT. Photo by Kevin Wing.

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 For 2019, the XT has been replaced by the XT Adventure ($15,299), which includes the accessory bar, centerstand, heated grips and 37-liter aluminum panniers, and it comes in a sweet Pearl Vigor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.

6 COMMENTS

    • I have the same V-Strom 1000XT and concur with the review. Went from a BMW K 1200 GT to the V-Strom. BMW is more powerful and high speed capable, but that is a small % of my riding. Strom is more versatile with it’s adjustable suspension that allows me to travel more types of roads. After adding an aftermarket windscreen have found the bike to be quiet and comfortable. Very enjoyable bike.
      As for the CC. I believe a “ride by wire” throttle system is needed. The Strom has throttle cables. Maybe the electronics are more expensive and extensive than we realize.

  1. Do I read faint praise or mild admiration? It almost seems Suzuki’s strategy is to be a tech-gadget short of a winner. Attract the DCT inclined with decent cruise control, up/down quick shifter and we have a BINGO in the room!

  2. I have the same V-Strom 1000XT and concur with the review. Went from a BMW K 1200 GT to the V-Strom. BMW is more powerful and high speed capable, but that is a small % of my riding. Strom is more versatile with it’s adjustable suspension that allows me to travel more types of roads. After adding an aftermarket windscreen have found the bike to be quiet and comfortable. Very enjoyable bike.

  3. I own a 2014 DL 1000 Adventure. I absolutely love my bike except for the PITA OEM panniers – nearly useless. I never really thought cruise control was an issue until my most recent trip up to central Oregon. For the first time my 69 year-old wrist was just not liking the hours of tension. I-5 anywhere south of Yreka just BEGS for CC!! I too have thought that Suzuki seems to be bent on remaining intentionally second-tier by refusing to include a relatively inexpensive item for an OEM – an item that is apparently virtually impossible to replicate in the aftermarket. I’ve tried all of the “fixes” but found none that are worth the cost of shipping. I would wager I’ve read every review of the 1000 that’s been written and watched every video review for the past five years and EVERY SINGLE ONE has mentioned the lack of cruise control! C’mon Suzuki, TAKE THE HINT!!!

  4. Agree 100% with John’s last comment! With cruise control the V-Storm would likely be at/near the top of my list for next bike – so much else to like. But I do a couple of long tours a year and consider cruise a must-have.

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