Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Review
- Published On: 23 October 2018
- 7 min read
The Suzuki V-Strom 650XT is an adventure-sports-tourer that is very much inspired from its elder sibling the V-Strom 1000.
Suzuki first launched the V-Strom 650 back in 2004 and the second generation was presented in 2011. However, the current model made its debut in 2017 but the manufacturer has launched the bike in the second half of 2018 in India. The bike is made in Suzuki’s Toyokawa facility and is available to us via the CKD route. Suzuki terms the V-Strom 650XT as an adventure sports tourer, from this term it sounds like it is a perfect all-rounder. So, let us find out.
Styling – The bike with long travel suspension, semi-fairing, a tall wind visor and a beak on the front speaks about the terrain for which it’s made. The seat is wide and cleanly merges with the huge tank. The vertically stacked twin headlights look unconventional but do a decent job. The exhaust is a bit large and gets chrome treatment at the end. This is the only chrome part on the complete bike.
There is a host of accessories on the V-Strom which makes the bike even more appealing. The accessories kit includes crash guard, main stand, aluminium chain cover and a 55-litre top-box. The wind visor is adjustable but you need to have hex keys for adjusting it. The V-Strom 650XT comes with two colour schemes - Champion Yellow and Pearl Glacier White.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – The instrument cluster is an analogue-digital unit, in which the analogue part is for a tachometer. The digital screen shows speed, gear position, clock, ambient and engine temperature, traction level, fuel gauge, live fuel consumption, total fuel consumption, distance to empty, twin trip meters and an odometer.
The quality of switchgear is fabulous. The kill switch, starter button and hazard light switch are on the right side of the handlebar whereas the left side houses switches for the horn, indicator, high-low beam and a set of toggle switches. These toggle switches are to be used for navigating the various details on the screen and to change the level of traction control. The brake lever on the bike is adjustable but the clutch lever isn’t.
Ergonomics – The seat height at 835 mm isn’t very easy to access. The centre-set foot pegs and high handlebars are ergonomically perfect for an adventure bike. The seat is long and wide thus it helps the rider to ride comfortably. The mirrors on this bike are square in shape and allow to see almost everything even with the jacket on and top-box mounted. Suzuki should have provided a scooped seat as an accessory for shorter riders.
Performance – Powering the motorcycle is a 645cc, liquid-cooled, V-Twin engine which produces 70 BHP and 62 Nm of torque. Power delivery is smooth and linear. There are 3 levels of traction control. We rode the bike with no traction control and it felt so intimidating. The level 1 traction control intervenes slightly but the level 2 is very intrusive and is best for wet riding conditions.
The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox. The gear shifts are super smooth but there were a couple of times where it encountered false neutral. The clutch is very light and the bike reaches the 100 km/hr mark in just second gear. The first and second gears can take you up to the speed of 80 km/hr and 110 km/hr respectively. We were able to push the bike to 175 km/hr. The NVH levels were well contained in the bike.
Riding Dynamics – The seat height at 835 mm would worry a lot of short riders. However, this is a problem only when the bike is at a standstill position, but as soon as the bike starts rolling the seat height doesn’t bother you. The bike is easy to flick and inspires to push around the curves. The front forks have a travel of 150 mm and rear monoshock is rebound adjustable.
The ground clearance of 170 mm isn’t the best in terms of an adventure class motorcycle and with that said the bike managed to do some off-roading without scratching the belly. The bike has a kerb weight of 216 kgs. The bike comes with Bridgestone Battlax adventure tyres, with 110 and 150 section at front and rear respectively. The tyres provided an adequate amount of grip. The twin 310 mm discs at the front and a 260 mm disc at rear provide excellent stopping power. However, the ABS unit of the bike can be switched off and hence it robbed off some fun while off-roading.
Verdict – The Suzuki V-Strom 650XT is a well-engineered bike and has proven its mettle globally. The V-Twin engine is very refined and powerful hence it can be taken for long tours. The Suzuki V-Strom 650XT is a very well packaged motorcycle and is a worthy alternative to the Kawasaki Versys 650. With all the above things said the Suzuki V-Strom 650XT will stay in the market for a long time.