2004 Model Color Option
We have said goodbye to our long-term 2003 Suzuki V-Strom, but not before riding it the distance from California to New York, and back, or so. Since our last report, we have had no maintenance issues. Indeed, we had zero mechanical problems with the V-Strom throughout our long-term evaluation.
We have praised the bike’s handling, comfort and economy (typically, averaging in the range of 42 mpg).
We still feel the V-Strom is a great value, a practical commuter/tourer, and an all-around fun bike. Our only criticisms relate to the stock windshield (the optional, taller windshield was an improvement, but still not perfect), a complete lack of wind protection for your legs (this is only an issue because the V-Strom is such a good, long-distance tourer, particularly, with the optional luggage) and some minor legibility issues with the analog speedometer and tachometer.
MD’s 2003 Test Unit
The luggage available from Suzuki discussed in our prior update, continued to function well, but we found ourselves leaving the side bags off most of the time. The top box was plenty large for most of our trips, and the side bags add considerable width to the machine (we like to split traffic here in California).
The only other comments we would make concern the front brake, and the front suspension. The front brake is adequate for everything short of two-up touring with a load of luggage, when it can feel a bit taxed. We never had a problem with fading, but a change in pad material might be the ticket to improve stopping power in these circumstances (something we did not experiment with). The front fork feels a bit harsh when the bike is new, and improves some over time. We also improved the feel of the front fork by playing with the preload adjusters on each leg. By increasing preload, you can speed up rebound of the fork (and vice versa). Nevertheless, the fork has room for improvement, and might be an area of focus for Suzuki in the future.
2004 Model Color Option
Since the 2004 V-Strom has already been announced, we should note the changes Suzuki made to this machine. The biggest news is the adjustable windscreen for 2004 (three positions are available). Photos indicate the new windshield also has air passing underneath it, which should reduce buffeting for the rider. New instruments (more legible according to Suzuki) and new hand guards (with better wind protection) are the other significant changes for 2004. All-in-all, Suzuki is taking steps to make a great bike even better. The 2004 U.S. MSRP is $8,999. For further details and specifications visit Suzuki’s web site here.