Suzuki sportbike fans got their new Gixxer thou’ on last week, so Suzuki Motors threw a bone to the adventure-touring crowd with the announcement of three new V-Strom models as well as the return of the much-lauded V-Strom 1000 for 2012.
In addition to the new-for- 2012 V-Strom ABS (which we briefed you about in June), there’s also the new V-Strom 650 ABS Adventure. This new model includes tough-looking aluminum side cases, an adjustable windscreen extension and crash bars for an MSRP of $9799, $1500 more than the base V-Strom 650 ABS. Suzuki would like to point out that buying the Adventure model saves consumers $800 compared to the cost of buying the accessories separately.
The liter-sized ‘Strom is unchanged, and at $10,399 offers a good value in this segment—Yamaha’s Super Tenere is $13,900 and the BMW R1200GS is even more (although both bikes are better suited off-road). To sweeten the deal, ther is a third new model, the V-Strom 1000 Adventure. It gets locking top and side cases for a $600 premium above the standard 1000′s hangtag (which saves buyers about $700).
To re-cap, the 650 gets significant updates for 2012. Re-styled bodywork improves ariflow and heat management and freshens up what was becoming an elderly look. Internal motor improvements enhance fuel economy and reliability, and there have been upgrades aimed at making the bike easier to ride. New instruments, an anti-theft ignition and a re-designed ABS make it even better, without adding weight—the 650 V-Strom’s claimed curb weight is 472 pounds, down from the old bike’s 485 pounds (helped a bit by the loss of about a half gallon of fuel capacity).
With just 17 street-legal models, Suzuki has the smallest line-up of all the Big Four. According to Suzuki’s website, however, this is a big increase from the 2010 model year when only one street bike was offered in the U.S., the GZ250. And though it lacks a sport-tourer and a true standard, it has a trio of three very serious sportbikes as well as a robust off-road stable. Hopefully, this indicates Suzuki will keep its nose in the North American market for the foreseeable future.