Suzuki’s V-Strom looks to elevate into the top-level Adventure category. Does it deserve a game in the senior team? Snaggy finds out…
What we like:
- Tried and true engine
- Real off-road competence
- Electronically sophisticated
Room for improvement:
- Still a heavyweight
- Tippy-toe tall
- Playing in the big league comes at a price
So, what’s all this football team talk? Let me explain. We all know that player that is great around the club, but just can’t quite make it into the senior team. They are always there, will never let you down, but they will never dominate.
Well, that’s been the V-Strom up to now. Bargain priced, guaranteed to get you there, but well, simply lacking that star quality.
Enter the 2023 V-Strom 1050DE.
Yep, Suzuki has become a little sick of the ‘cheap and cheerful’ status that the V-Strom has been shackled with for quite some time. Of course, the model designation has offered magnificent value for money and the new bike sacrifices that edge at $24,690 rideaway now, but the gloves are off and this time the ‘Strom is aimed squarely at the big names strutting about the adventure category.
This one comes equipped to deal with off-road running, with a bunch of specifications finely focussed on getting out there on a dirty tour. Settle…
The V-Strom has been the star at Suzuki for 20 years now. In fact, the model represents 20 per cent of all Suzuki motorcycle sales in Australia. A full 6800 members of the V-Strom family (including the 250 and 650 versions) have graced Australian roads in the heady 20 years since the bike blew its cover way back in 2002.
You reckon there isn’t a touch of pressure on this new bike as a consequence? You betcha.
Let’s get one thing straight from the outset – big bore adventure bikes like this are not dirt bikes as such. Yes, we’ve all seen the superhumans that can just about climb trees on this type of steed. Some bad news here. You are not one of them and neither am I. But here’s the good oil. Grab a DE and you’ll go places your sports touring mates will get all nervous about, you’ll see more of this wide brown land and the map will expand in a big way. Think the road less travelled. Yep, you’re a traveller now, and that’s cool in our book.
There can be no doubt that the DE is all about taking on rougher going. The bike boasts a suite of electronics that take the bike into the more elite realm, along with longer suspension travel, a 21-inch front spoked wheel, shod with Trailmax Mixtour semi-block rubber, a strong bash plate, wider handlebars, a longer swingarm, a special ‘Gravel Mode’ incorporated in the traction control system, which allows a bit of slidey shenanigans when in the dirt, wider pegs, fully adjustable suspension, a choice of seat options, smaller screen, lean sensitive ABS (the rear can be disabled to allow tighter turns, quickshifter, three rider modes and a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU). There’s also hill hold and cruise control.
Of course the more road-focussed 1050 with cast wheels and most of those niceties is available, so there should be a version to suit most applications. But, for most of us, this is all about the DE.
Yep, the V-Strom has become all sorts of serious.
Now, the Big Question… Can the bike kick the goals needed to propel it into the big league? Well, we are about to find out. Let’s take in the video below where Snaggy belts the DE through the Victorian high country, both on road and off…
Snag’s career in motoring journalism spans 29 years with stints at major bike mags Australian Road Rider, Motorcycle Trader and AMCN along with contributions to just about every other outlet worth a hill of beans. He was editor of Unique Cars magazine and hosts his legendary podcast ‘Snag Says’ when he gets off his date.