★★★★★ | Suzuki V-Strom100XT, Jack of all trades
What Have We Got?
I would have loved to see the look on the old guy’s face, comfortably oblivious of his surroundings, safe in his generic eurobox, as we exited the roundabout side by side, me on the V-Strom, cranked over will a full set of luggage. ‘Round the outside, hard on the gas, then off into the distance.
I’d like to think he would have turned to Dorris in the passenger seat and muttered, “I didn’t expect that.”
Suzuki have been in the adventure bike game for a long time. The V-strom first landed on our shores in 2002 and this is the latest incarnation. It’s got a 1037cc 90 degree V twin kicks out 100 bhp and 101 Nm torque and is huge fun.
Well, I’m actually quite new to adventure bikes. These days, the roads are in a pretty shit state and I’m older, so I thought I’d give it a go. I wasn’t disappointed. The V-Strom100XT is a big beast but so are all adventure bikes in this class. Mine had optional (and expensive) luggage too so I was a bit tentative filtering through traffic.
It’s big, very comfortable, punchy and great fun, way more fun that I expected. It turns well, handles nicely and I’d go as far as to say pretty sporty on the road. Something I particularly liked was the ability to be fast over any road surface. A few times I was riding with other guys on sports bikes on the back roads and they just couldn’t live with the Strom. It’s plush, forgiving suspension just dances over the rough, potholed roads, still giving good feedback and confidence, no doubt helped by the electronics. The guys on their sports bikes were shaken to pieces.
Stopping the V-Strom is easy thanks to radial mounted four-piston monobloc Tokico brake callipers biting on to twin 310mm diameter discs on the front, and a 260mm diameter single disc with a single piston calliper on the rear.
The Bosch ABS system has what Suzuki call “Motion Track Brake System¹” which uses a 5-Axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which measures lean angle and front and rear wheel speeds and provides optimal ABS braking for the situation. Very clever.
There’s also 2 mode traction control.
1 is the lowest level of intervention, allowing sporty riding. It allows an amount of wheel spin so you can have fun.
2 is normal which eliminates wheel spin to ensure a safe ride. Great for riding in the wet.
You can, of course, turn it off if you want, if you were heading off road for example.
Living with it
Suzuki’s V-Strom1000XT is an awesome bike. It did everything we asked it to without breaking into a sweat. We even took a V-Strom on track, hooning it around Bruntingthorpe. Admittedly it’s not the obvious choice as a track slag but it was surprisingly good. It moves around a little when you really push on and the pegs tend to go down, but it’s very good and very funny to see other people’s reactions. It doesn’t do anything stupid, it’ll hold a decent line and doesn’t sit up on the brakes in the corners. It’s a very civilised way to do a track day.
Why a V-Strom? The adventure bike sector is crammed with bikes. Everyone seems to do one or even several. BMW is the obvious choice and arguably, you can say they started it all.
Yamaha, Triumph, Honda, KTM, Ducati and more all play in this playground.
The V-Strom sits in between most of these interestingly. Generally, adventure bikes are around 1200cc or 800cc (ish). Suzuki’s V-Strom1000 sits in the middle. At 232kg It’s lighter than pretty much all of the competition, even the smallest capacity bikes like the Triumph Tiger 800.
It’s obviously down on power on the big capacity competition but at £9,999 it’s very well priced.
A BMW R1200GS, for example, starts at £12,400 and a Honda Africa twin starts at £11,575.
1 Comfort, you can ride for hours
2 Great handling
3 Torquey V-twin engine
1 Optional luggage was odd shaped & pretty small
2 Vibey at low revs
3 Dashboard is pretty busy
Motorcycle – Suzuki V-Strom1000XT
Price – £9.999
MPG – 58.85mpg (manufacturer claimed. We only got around 40 mpg)
0-62 – 3.1s
Power – 100 bhp / 101 Nm torque
Top Speed – 126 mph
Co2 – 112 (g/km)