Here at MD, we only allow ourselves one long-term test bike each year. Not surprisingly, we like to pick a bike we enjoy riding. This year, we will bring you several reports on our experience with the 2003 Suzuki V-Strom pictured above.
Take a look at our review of the 2002 model, which was the introductory year of the bike. For 2003, Suzuki makes just a few changes, including the addition of fork preload adjusters, a change in the seat cover (which provides a useful texture to last year’s slippery seat), and new speedometer and tachometer faces (for better legibility).
After just a few weeks with the 2003 V-Strom, we already have 1300 miles on the bike. Averaging 41 miles per gallon, we have put in some fairly long rides, both with and without a passenger. The motor has loosened up, and the Strom is just as fun and comfortable as we recall the 2002 model being.
We intend to add some accessories to the bike, and we will bring you periodic updates on our experience, including maintenance costs and the effects of our modifications. The photos will reveal we are already experimenting with a Laminar Lip to reduce wind buffeting from the stock shield. We will comment on this product in our next report. For now, we should note that our initial oil change was a simple affair. Four screws removed the chin fairing from the bottom of the bike, which revealed an easily accessible oil drain plug and oil filter. Draining the oil and adding 3.1 quarts of 10W-40 took all of 15 minutes. The oil set us back $9.15, while the Suzuki OEM filter was $14.99, for a total of $24.14. Not bad.