Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 14th July 2017

Suzuki’s big V-Strom has always been one of the most straightforward, honest and affordable offerings in the hugely popular big adventure bike class – even when it was revived and revamped in 2014. Now, however, thanks to a few subtle modifications and improvements, partly required by the Euro4 regulations that came into force for 2017, plus the addition of this extra, higher spec ‘XT’ model, it’s even better yet – and all without compromising its value.

suzuki v strom 1000 xt

As the outgoing 2014 model was only three years old, wholesale engine changes to meet the new regulations weren’t required. Instead, these are limited to fuel injection changes and few tweaks to the ECU to improve combustion and reduce emissions. An additional effect of this is, while peak power is unchanged, peak torque is down very slightly. Even so, the big Suzuki still produces a reasonably healthy 101bhp, now with a pleasingly matching 101Nm of torque.

suzuki v strom xt

Most of the chassis and cycle parts are unchanged, too – which is also fine as there was nothing much wrong with the old here, either. The inverted forks are fully adjustable while the front brakes are decent, radially-mounted, four-piston Tokicos. See, we told you it didn’t sound too much like a budget bike.

suzuki vstrom 1000 xt

But what is new is the addition of some fairly rudimentary electronic rider aids, for the first time, to bring the big V-Strom somewhere near what’s now expected of a big adventure bike. So, firstly it’s gained the cornering ABS system Suzuki introduced on its all-new GSX-R1000 superbike earlier in 2017. While in addition the big ‘Strom now also both Suzuki’s ‘Low RPM Assist’ and ‘Easy Start’ systems, the first being effectively a fast idle which comes into play on inclines, the latter meaning just one stab of the starter is required to persuade the starter to continue turning until the bike fires. No, neither are revolutionary or exactly ‘cutting edge’. Nor are there still any rider modes or other fancy gizmos. But it is just about enough to retain class credibility.

suzuki vstrom xt review

Nor is that the end of the updates. Although it looks similar to the old model, the front part of the fairing is all-new and includes a redesigned, ‘stacked’ headlight while the adjustable screen is now taller (by 49mm) than before as well. The saddle has been revised, too, to give added rider comfort while the cast wheels (on the standard version, our pictures show the higher spec ‘XT’ version, which well come on to in a moment) are now more stylish, 10-spoke, cast alloy items.

suzuki v strom review

All well and good and, at a price when introduced of just £9499, impressively good value, especially when compared to not just Japanese rivals such as Kawasaki’s Versys and Yamaha’s Super Tenere, but especially so next to more exotic Europeans such as Ducati’s Multistrada, BMW’s R1200GS and KTM’s Super Adventures – bikes which can cost upwards of twice the price.

suzuki v strom xt review

But the biggest news about the updated V-Strom 1000 is the addition, for the first time, of a new, higher specced variant – the V-Strom 1000 XT, as tested here.

Costing £500 more than the base model it’s intended as a more eye-catching and off road-orientated version (a V-Strom ‘Adventure’, if you like) that’s closer in appeal to some more glamorous rivals. As such it gets tasty alloy wire wheels and motocross-style tapered alloy handlebars. (The hand guards and belly pan, on the 1000, are standard on both versions).

suzuki bike review

It works, too. OK, the changes aren’t particularly substantial or always noticeable on the move. The new screen is a bonus and the electronic gizmos are welcome. Otherwise, most of the added appeal of the XT is appreciated best at standstill. But maybe that’s missing the point. There was nothing wrong with the old V-Strom in the first place. That big V-twin motor has always been pleasingly effective without standing out in any way. Its chassis and handling is both better equipped than its budget price suggest and behaves without any real criticism. And now, with the benefit of these new and extra additions, the big V-Strom is a more pleasing, credible lump of a motorcycle than ever but at the same bargain price.

suzuki xstrom 1000 review

Or, to put it another way: the big V-Strom always pretty much ticked all the adventure bike boxes yet also always seemed a little basic and budget. With these two new versions – and especially the new XT – that’s certainly less of the case. Now, more than ever, you have to wonder if you’re in the market for a 1000cc adventure bike ‘Why pay more?’

Specifications

ENGINE TYPE

90-degree V-twin, four valves per cylinder, liquid cooled

DISPLACEMENT

1037cc

BORE X STROKE

100 x 66mm

MAXIMUM POWER

101 hp (74 kW) @ 8000 rpm

MAXIMUM TORQUE

101Nm @ 4000rpm

FRONT SUSPENSION

43mm upside down fork

SEAT HEIGHT

850mm

KERB WEIGHT

233kg

FUEL TANK

20 litres