VStrom 1000 longtermer goes back to Suzuki
I RETURNED my trusty Suzuki V-Strom 1000 long-termer last Friday.
Calling it a long-termer is perhaps pushing it slightly, I only had it for four months but did all the usual bits and bobs with it, from commuting, to long schleps up the motorway, to spirited rides. I even popped a few crap wheelies on it too.
Us bike journalists are spoilt rotten – we ride all the latest bikes abroad and get fancy new gear to wear too, but the prospect of getting a bike to ride around on for the year always remains exciting. So with the arrival of several new superbikes for 2015 and a handful of other hooligan machines I was slightly disappointed when I found out my bike for the year would be the Suzuki. I did say we were spoilt, didn’t I?
When I collected it I’d just ridden the new KTM Adventure 1050, heard other journos rave about the new Tiger 800 and had spent enough miles on BMW’s F800 GS to know what the competition was all about. In comparison, the Suzuki felt a generation behind. Heavier and lazy with a dated electronics package. But the more I rode the DL1000 and stopped comparing it to other machines, the more I started to enjoy it.
It has loads to offer for the money, which is £8,999, or £9,999 with panniers, engine crash bars, and a few other niceties. Not bad for a full-sized adventure-styled bike.
The engine is definitely more functional than exciting, with bags of torque and a decent midrange. The breathless top-end and long gearing make the V-Strom feel much slower than it really is. With 100hp and over 1,000 cubes beneath you, the Suzuki really doesn’t hang about in a straight line.
It’s got fully-adjustable suspension with good stock damping, although in reality that 19-inch front wheel holds it back from being truly handy in the corners, as does the top-heavy weight.
The comfortable seat and riding position is where the Suzuki really excels. I’ve ridden through a full tank of fuel, roughly 250 miles from the 20-litre capacity, without needing to stop and stretch my legs.
There’s handy stuff like a 12V power socket beneath the clocks, a VERY easy-to-use traction control system, and an adjustable screen that can be tweaked with one hand on the go. It also has ABS.
It’s a bike that’s difficult to dislike because it doesn’t do anything wrong, yet I’d still like it to be cheaper. If the traction control and ABS were sophisticated I’d think £8,999 was a steal, but they’re not. Both systems occasionally cut in when they shouldn’t meaning you’re likely to end up turning them off anyway. I almost went into the back of a car last week when the ABS system got confused over some cut up tarmac.
If the Suzuki were £7,500 I’d think ‘that’s a lot of bike for the money’ and it would be cheap enough to tempt me out of newer offerings. As it is, I’d find it extremely difficult to walk away from the £8,149 MT-09 Tracer.