Au Revoir, Strom
Time to say goodbye means a chance to reflect and show gratitude.
Time for Mossy to wave a tearful goodbye to his Suzuki. He has loved this bike. Oh deer.
Iknew full well it was coming, and it’s not like it hasn’t happened several times before. Even so, when it’s time to end your relationship with a bike, then there’s always some sadness involved. Bikes are of course much more than forms of transport and as such we bond with them. And even though the chief role of my V-Strom 650XT has been to transport my good self here, there and everywhere, and even though it’s not a bike that’s ever really excited me, it’s constantly made me happy and I’ve bonded with it strongly.
But that’s what happens when you ‘own’ a bike. It gets under your skin, and becomes part of your life. The Suzuki has definitely become a feature of mine. It’s been a year since
I was first acquainted with it, and the following 12 months and 5700 miles have generated plenty of memories. Some are better than others.
Standing out above all others is my accident with an errant deer back in June last year. Giving me zero warning before it leapt out in front of me sadly meant the end of the animal’s life, and unfortunately the end of my relationship with the V-Strom. Luckily for me, Suzuki agreed to replace the written off machine – even if the damage didn’t look bad enough to warrant its demise – and another 650XT took its place.
Another distinct recollection I have of the adventure bike is ending up at Britain’s highest pub, the Tan Hill Inn in the Pennines. A mate in Manchester had asked me if I wanted to go for a ride with him and another rider. Best thing about the journey was its ad hoc nature. Over a breakfast in the north west’s biggest city we mused over a map, headed where the weather looked best and effectively got taken to that particular drinking stop. I never once hankered to spend any time on either the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S or R1200GS Beemer I journeyed alongside – even if they are two of my favourite bikes – simply because I was more than happy with the V-Strom.
Nothing about it stands out, but being much more than the sum of its parts meant (as usual) the 650 remained totally comfortable throughout the 780-mile, four day trip. It was easy to ride on the multitude of scenic routes we used, and never prompted its rider to complain during the iffy weather we met along the way. Quite simply, it’s such an agreeable, super friendly machine, you simply can’t ignore its all round ability. It might be a modest machine, but it’s also a highly effective one. It’s very cheap to run too. Returning 55-70mpg is the norm, and with tyres and other consumables lasting well; around an anticipated 7000-9000 miles for the tyres, and perhaps half as much again for stuff brakes and transmission parts, it’s not a bank breaker.
It’s not too bad out on track either. Lapping the Castle Combe circuit in October highlighted its usable nature, and though no lap records were broken, I never got embarrassed.
I ended ownership with a trip to see family up in the North East, covering another 700-odd miles in the process. It’s something I’ll be talking about in a future issue, but needless to say it coped, just as it seems to with everything, more than admirably. In the meantime, it’s sadly time to say farewell my friend. Thanks for some excellent times together, I’ve enjoyed them all. It’s been emotional.