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