Snag reckons bikes should be able to tour, commute, and up the pulse rate just a tad. He asks, ‘could Suzuki have finally perfected the ultimate road Strom?’

2024 Suzuki V-Strom 800 review

What we like:

  • Good value
  • Jack of all trades
  • Smooth as silk for a parallel twin

2024 Suzuki V-Strom 800 review

Room for improvement:

  • Cruise control should be there
  • A little ‘down-home’ to look at

2024 Suzuki V-Strom 800 review

I don’t know about you, but the head-down-bum-up nature of sports bikes leaves me a little cold these days. That could well have as much to do with the terrifying fact that I’ve been alive for more years than I have left, but that’s my crisis and you shouldn’t get too het up about it. Unless you are in the same boat. Then you can freak out, just like me.

Seems to me that the market is pretty much in full agreement with sports tackle as on the nose as a gym in Mount Isa.

Dealers can’t shift them for love nor discount, while adventure riders globally are falling over themselves to kit out in full Gore-Tex suits, atop prestigiously appointed big-bore behemoths and hit the, errr, trail. Or at least look like they do. Yep, ‘adventure’ is right where it’s at Toby.

2024 Suzuki V-Strom 800 review

Here’s the rub. This ‘real deal adventure’ lark all comes with a bit of a personal cost, and I’m not just talking about some of the eye-watering ticket prices for an electronic-loaded, full-on, 21-inch front wheeled, knobby tyred monster. No, more that they are tall, often heavy and to be honest, a little beyond the average riders’ needs. Did I say that out loud? Woops. Bad Snag.

You see we all like to be comfortable. Well, that’s where the V-Strom 800 hits the mark. Bang twixt the peepers. At a very competitive $17,490 ($1100 less than the DE’s $18,590) you get all the great comfort ergos, the clever electronics of the hardcore 800DE dirt version. But at that lower price and presenting a more useable daily. It’s a master of all trades, this one. I love convenience and that’s the V-Strom 800s middle name.

Now, Spencer went to NZ to play with the 800DE version at the bike’s launch last year and he came away damned impressed. You can watch that launch test right here.

So, with him handy in the mud and slush and me being the long kay bitumen fan that I am, I was dead keen too get aboard the road version and give it the berries.

Let’s take a quick look at some specifications to set the scene.

The V-Strom 800 uses the engine and chassis of that V-Strom 800DE – the new-generation 776cc parallel-Twin with 270-degree crankshaft. The biaxial primary balancer suppresses vibration and contributes to smooth operation by positioning its two balancers equidistant at 90-degrees to the crankshaft. OK, that’s all a bit techo, but take it from me, it bloody works. Parallel twins are notorious for being vibey. Not this one. Top marks there. The brand’s GSX-8S and GSX-8R make use of the same donk, giving Suzuki a nice pragmatic modular middleweight range, and savings at manufacturing level for it. Good business that.

2024 Suzuki V-Strom 800 review

Of course, that chassis gives this bike a modicum of light off-road ability, but the cast seven-spoke 19-inch front wheel, lower bars, rubber-sheathed footpegs and the user-friendly seat height of 805-855mm give away the bitumen focus.

Dunlop D614 tyres are claimed to be exclusively manufactured with this bike in mind and are reasonable in light dirt and great on the road. Nice compromise there.

Up front the bike boasts a 43mm Showa SFF-BP (Separate Function Fork – Big Piston) inverted front fork while the rear gets a Showa shock with a remote, hand-operated preload adjuster.

2024 Suzuki V-Strom 800 review

In city going I greatly appreciated the narrow, light nature of the bike. It’s 223kg wet, so it’s no shrinking violet, but lane splitting was easy, the quick steering front end minimising the commuting grind quite considerably. I enjoy a bit of ‘Frogger’ on a bike and the 800 has the agility to get you to the front of the queue with style. Hit first gear, feed in the 62kW of power and then rely on the 78Nm of torque and you are quickly crowned king of the driveway drags and out of the reach of annoying drone-mobiles in quick fashion. It’s a very capable urban slingshot, and I liked that.

The gearbox has smart ratios and the quickshifter does its job. It is a little crunchy going up in the lower gears, but the bike I tested was brand new and tight as a fish’s arse, so that could well loosen up over time. Not as slick as some I’ve experienced, however.

2024 Suzuki V-Strom 800 review

The bike utilises a 5.0-inch colour TFT instrument panel. The tacho does double duty as a programmable RPM indicator that blinks when the engine reaches a preset speed, and the LCD includes a function that lets you display large pop-up alerts and warnings. Manual or automatic settings for switching between the day (white) and night (black) display modes maximise visibility.

It’s clear and all makes sense. Some TFT screens look like they should be in the Space Shuttle. I liked this one for its depth of information, displayed easily.

Weather protection is only fair with the three-position adjustable windscreen offering reasonable height choices, but it requires a fiddly operation to alter and could have been much more user-friendly with a bit more engineering nous.

2024 Suzuki V-Strom 800 review

There are three different power output modes to best match varying riding conditions and preferences. While all three ultimately produce maximum engine output at the high end, control over each mode’s level of throttle response and torque characteristics feature here.

Traction control sees three active modes to control how quickly the system takes effect and how proactive it is in limiting wheel spin, and it can be turned off for dirt surfaced ops.

All I can say here is that I never broke traction at all on the test on sealed surfaces, so I guess it works well.

The V-Strom 800 is available in Metallic Mat Steel Green (as per our test unit pictured here) and Vigor Blue. There’s a three-year unlimited kilometre warranty.

2024 Suzuki V-Strom 800 review

So…

I liked it. It’s a little Plain Jane to look at but there’s good electronics, smart ergonomics and a parallel twin that really is a cut above most. The price is right and I’m willing to bet the V-Strom 800 is going to enhance the reputation that loved model designation has built over decades. Smart choice here.

INFO MOTO’s QUICK SCORECARD
ENGINE: 8/10
– Nice power delivery, does what is says on the tin without setting the world on fire for pace. Fabulous in regard to eliminating vibration.
GEARBOX: 7/10 – Nice ratios, but quickshifter is a bit abrupt in lower gearchanges
CHASSIS: 8/10 – Smart ergos and well-thought out geometry. Bitumen focus is just about spot-on in regard to dynamics.

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