‘IT’S A BEAUTY AND A BEAST’

The 650 V-strom is ca­pa­ble but its unique looks split opin­ion

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage - oli.rushby@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

I’m five months and al­most 6000 miles into my year with the Suzuki V-strom 650XT and ever since I took de­liv­ery of it, per­haps even be­fore, I’ve had this one lit­tle nig­gle that won’t go away.

In many ways, the V-strom has ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions. I knew it would be a su­per-prac­ti­cal tourer/ com­muter, but feared it might be a lit­tle on the dull side. How­ever, it’s punchy enough to be en­joy­able, while also nail­ing those less ad­ven­tur­ous essentials.

My com­mute is 68 miles of pre­dom­i­nantly mo­tor­way rid­ing, but more and more with this bike I find my­self look­ing for twistier ways home, even if it means adding 20 miles to the trip. I ex­pected to get bored, but I haven’t yet.

It’s not a bike that at­tracts flocks of peo­ple when you rock up at a bike meet, in fact, it largely goes un­no­ticed. This is a bit strange as last year I was rid­ing the ex­tremely prac­ti­cal but slightly bor­ing Honda NC750X and that got loads of at­ten­tion, but in my eyes the V-strom XT is a bet­ter-look­ing bike.

Some­times I’ll look at the bike and think it looks great, the gold spoked wheels are stun­ning (but a pain to keep clean), the banana yel­low tank stands out as it glis­tens in the sun and the plas­tic fin­ish­ing on the bike’s nose looks smart when it’s pol­ished and sparkling.

Then there are other times when I’ll look at the yel­low and think it’s ghastly, or that there’s too much cheap-look­ing plas­tic hid­ing the highly ca­pa­ble 650cc V-twin en­gine. The oddly-placed de­cals can look tacky too.

I like the ag­gres­sive ad­ven­ture styling and the Suzuki lug­gage kit helps make it look com­plete. It also doesn’t look like a mid-ca­pac­ity bike either and at first glance it’s hard to tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween the 650 and 1000cc V-stroms, which is quite cool. So, I can’t quite make my mind up on the bike’s looks. Let me know what you think....

‘I find my­self look­ing for twistier ways home, even if it means adding 20 miles’

Can a bike be just a bit too yel­low? Those wheels are ace but a bitch to keep clean

Oli goes off hunt­ing for the twisti­est route home

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