V-strom 1000 3k miles in 12 weeks

Com­press­ing a year of rid­ing into three months was a rev­e­la­tion

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Contents -

‘An hon­est and pleas­ing bike that punches well above its price tag’

The av­er­age UK leisure rider racks up around 3500 miles each year, usu­ally man­ag­ing to dodge the worst of our British weather – and win­ter months – in the process. There’s noth­ing wrong with that – not ev­ery­one en­joys rid­ing in the rain, get­ting frozen like a pop­si­cle, or spend­ing two hours each week wash­ing the re­sul­tant filth from their bike and kit. But I’m not nor­mal.

Pack­ing them in

With 3248 miles added to the XT’S odome­ter over the last 16 weeks, it’s been an ac­cel­er­ated fac­sim­ile of a year’s own­er­ship – mostly car­ried out in some pretty ap­palling weather. The re­sult is a res­o­lute af­fec­tion for this slightly ugly duck­ling, but while it was im­pres­sive, fun, com­fort­able and fault­less in al­most ev­ery re­gard there was one facet that caused con­cern.

Saggy rim

A re­cent wheel check re­vealed that one of the rear rim’s spokes was wag­gling its head like a Churchill dog – but that’s noth­ing com­pared to the nine se­ri­ously loose spokes I dis­cov­ered when do­ing my big pre-re­turn clean up. All were on the rear rim, the front was per­fect.

The Strom had 5600 miles on the clock and it was al­most 1000 miles since I’d found that er­rant loner. That’s a wor­ry­ing rate of at­tri­tion.

Pre­sum­ing the av­er­age owner is un­likely to be check­ing for loose spokes reg­u­larly, that could mean XT riders’ only chance of this be­ing caught is if a dili­gent dealer checks the spokes at the an­nual ser­vice (it is part of the ser­vice check sheet). But they’re spaced at a pleas­ing 7500 miles, or 12 months. As­sum­ing all is well at the ser­vice, and I found nine com­pletely loose ones af­ter 1000 miles, that could mean another 6500 of loos­en­ing be­fore they’re spot­ted. That could cause a lot of dam­age, or pos­si­bly even a fail­ure.

The owner’s man­ual does in­sist that a spoke check should be part of your pre-ride rou­tine (hi­lar­i­ously sug­gest­ing you hit each one with a “small metal bar” to lis­ten for loose ones, no re­ally), but clearly that’s not prac­ti­ca­ble. Suzuki say they’re not aware of any propen­sity for the spokes to work free, but I’d cer­tainly sug­gest you make a thor­ough check on a weekly ba­sis if you’re a daily rider, and es­pe­cially if you use it off-road or on bumpy back lanes.

If you’re at all un­sure about your spokes, call in at your lo­cal dealer and ask them to check for you. It’s the only sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive re­sult of all those miles – but it is cause for con­cern.

The test of time

So, if you’re in the mar­ket for a litre­class road-ori­en­tated ad­ven­ture bike at the more af­ford­able end of the spec­trum, would I still rec­om­mend try­ing the big Strom? Yes, with­out hes­i­ta­tion. But there are sev­eral key ob­ser­va­tions.

Firstly, a quick test ride will not re­veal how good the Strom re­ally is – it’s a grower, and only then does it feel like a keeper. Se­condly, if you’re go­ing to spend the ma­jor­ity of your time on the road, get it with the cast rims. They’re eas­ier to keep clean, more durable, need no real main­te­nance, and won’t suf­fer from loose spokes.

Fi­nally, this is one of the best value gen­uine ‘do-it-alls’ on the mar­ket. Much like its equally head­line-lack­ing 650 sib­ling, or ubiq­ui­tous SV650 cousin – it’s an hon­est and pleas­ing bike that punches well above its price tag.

Strom ar­rived with 2360 miles show­ing Rear axle took a ham­mer to come out Big V-strom is one of the best value ‘do-italls’ on the mar­ket

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