Go­ing down a Strom

UP­DATE 6 4679 MILES The V-strom is an in­cred­i­bly ca­pa­ble and com­fort­able bike, de­spite lack­ing a lit­tle glitz

Motorcycle News (UK) - - NEWS -

Liv­ing with the 650

Four months with the V-strom 650XT and I’m creep­ing up on the #ride5000miles target. It’s been an in­ter­est­ing four months; we’re be­com­ing a bit like an old mar­ried cou­ple. There are days when we get on and days when we don’t.

I cover a lot of miles up and down the coun­try as part of my job as BSB re­porter for MCN, but hav­ing the target has been great mo­ti­va­tion. On days when I need to chew up a long-dis­tance trip, in­clud­ing plenty of mo­not­o­nous mo­tor­way miles, the V-strom is per­fect. The up­right rid­ing po­si­tion and wide bars lend them­selves well to a com­fort­able ride.

Yet on sunny days when I’m crav­ing a bit of a blast, the 216kg V-strom is a lit­tle on the heavy side for its 70bhp, and can feel a bit dull. Af­ter a while, I find my­self wish­ing I had some­thing a bit lighter and more pokey to en­joy some of the awe­some roads near my home in Lin­colnshire.

I took the V-strom into Suzuki for some work the other day, and I went for a blast on an SV650 while I waited. Un­for­tu­nately the rain ab­so­lutely buck­eted down – but I’ve al­ways had a thing for mid­dleweight nakeds, and the SV re­minded me why.

The SV has the same mo­tor as the V-strom, in slightly higher, 75bhp tune. But it’s the blast of wind in your face that makes it, as well as the sportier ex­haust note. As the weather cleared, I thought I’d be gut­ted to jump back on the slightly less ex­cit­ing V-strom for the long ride home, but as I pulled out of Suzuki’s HQ, I found my­self smil­ing.

I’d never re­alised quite how com­fort­able the V-strom is, how the plush sus­pen­sion ab­sorbs bumps so you can barely feel them, how well the stan­dard screen on its high­est set­ting pro­tects you from the el­e­ments, and even how smooth the V-twin’s power de­liv­ery is. I’m prob­a­bly a bit harsh on the bike, too, as it can be fun – es­pe­cially right up near the red­line as you power out of cor­ners.

The V-strom came into its own when I took it on a week­end away ear­lier this month. Our bikes were an eclec­tic mix: there was me on the Strom, my dad on his 2012-plate Du­cati Di­avel, and my un­cle on his 2006 BMW K1200GT. We rode about 500 miles across the week­end, and the V-strom played its role well. It cov­ered the miles with ease, I was never tired of rid­ing and I was def­i­nitely not bored. It was cer­tainly bet­ter than dad’s Di­avel on the mo­tor­way – even if only for the fact that I could ac­tu­ally see us­ing my mir­rors, whereas he couldn’t…

Sure, when we were out on some of Northamp­ton­shire’s finest B-roads I had to stretch the V-strom’s legs to keep up at times, but it was noth­ing too stren­u­ous and for­tu­nately they weren’t rid­ing at a silly pace. On the other hand, the Suzuki was much more ag­ile and nim­ble than the big BMW. I’m look­ing for­ward to cov­er­ing more dis­tance tour­ing later in the year. It won’t be long be­fore that 5000-mile target is cracked.

‘I’m prob­a­bly a bit harsh on the V-strom, as it can be fun’

Right pan­nier gives 18 litres of ca­pac­ity, the left one 21 litres Wa­ter­proof In­ter­phone case al­lows a phone to be used as sat-nav

Oli and V-strom; just like an old mar­ried cou­ple

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