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2014 V-Strom 1000 ABS: MD First Ride

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We fell in love with the original Suzuki V-Strom 1000. It was introduced long before the adventure tourer category took off in terms of popularity. It was strange looking, but a blast to ride … comfortable, fast and versatile. It also featured a great 90° v-twin engine.

The original big bore V-Strom became long in the tooth, and some of its thunder was stolen by its little brother, the V-Strom 650. It was affectionately referred to as the “Stomboli” around here, and one of our test riders even bought one. Lighter and more nimble, it had an overachieving mid-bore power unit, and received a recent update in styling and function.

So what about the V-Strom 1000? Loyalists were losing faith, but Suzuki finally delivered with a significant redesign that we have now had the opportunity to test in Almeria, Spain. We gave you all the technical details in an earlier article. The highlights of the ground-up redesign include a larger displacement, 1037cc v-twin, Tokico four-piston monoblock front brake calipers on 310mm discs, and rider-selectable three-mode traction control system (including Mode 1 that allows limited wheel spin, Mode 2 that vitually eliminates wheel spin, and an Off position).

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The new frame is 13% lighter, yet stiffer. A new single-muffler layout also contributes to weight reduction, and new upside down 43mm KYB forks are fully adjustable, while the rear shock continues to have a simple, remote preload adjustment knob.  A longer wheelbase than the old model sits on 17″ rear and 19″ front wheels.

Sitting behind the 9-way adjustable windscreen, you are greeted with entirely new instrumentation with analog tach, LCD speedometer, odometer, dual trip meters, gear position indicator, and several other functions, including fuel consumption information.  Redesigned ergonomics include an even more upright seating position with closer bars and foot pegs slightly rearward from their prior position.  Reaching the ground is a bit easier as the bike is a bit narrower between the rider’s legs.

Our ride through Almeria proved that Suzuki has successfully improved upon the older model with more responsive handling and engine performance. The new bike is positioned between the smaller displacement adventure machines and the new mega-trail bikes displacing 1200cc.

We found the added engine performance (compared to the smaller bikes) and the added agility (compared to the larger competition) a nice balance.

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Despite the displacement increase from 996cc to 1037cc, the new pistons are lighter, and thinner rings reduce friction in the cylinders. Redesigned heads feature two spark plugs per cylinder for more power and greater efficiency. New fuel injectors improve atomization, and the bike now features a slipper clutch.

The beefy new brakes have a Bosch ABS system that controls the deceleration of the attractive 10-spoke aluminum rims.

Suzuki focused on making the new V-Strom 1000 comfortable over long distances, because it is now clear that this category of motorcycle is often frequently used for touring on the highways. In addition to the ergonomic changes we have already described, the windshield can be adjusted without tools into 1 of 3 height positions and 1 of 3 tilt positions. The old dual, side-by-side headlights are gone in favor of a stacked system reminiscent of the Hayabusa layout.

We had over 300 miles to assess the performance of the new V-Strom, and the weather cooperated with a beautiful blue sky. I found the new seating position comfortable, and the new instrumentation legible and useful.

The engine is very smooth, and the bike immediately felt well balanced and easy to control. The engine pulls strongly from low revs, and transitions through the mid-range in a linear fashion. Power is strong, but never abrupt.

Vibration is well controlled, and wind protection is quite good, although I did experience some turbulence along a particular stretch of highway. The transmission shifted easily, and the gear ratios are well spread with 6th gear providing relaxed rpm levels at highway speeds.

Where the new V-Strom 1000 really excels is in the corners. This is where you can really feel the lighter weight compared to the larger displacement competition. Direction changes are easy and fluid feeling. The engine is flexible enough that you do not have to shift very often, as I frequently exited corners in 4th gear all the way down at 2500 rpm.

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All-in-all, the V-Strom is a very enjoyable bike to ride on a twisty road with its relaxed, comfortable seating position, flexible power delivery and relatively light weight.

We look forward to doing a more thorough test on the new V-Strom, but we can already tell that Suzuki’s efforts to redesign the bike have paid great dividends.

At a U.S. MSRP of $12,699, the 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS may be all the adventure tourer you ever need.  There are several color combinations (see our earlier article), and Suzuki intends to have plenty of accessories, including luggage. Take a look at Suzuki’s web site for additional details and specifications.

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87 Comments

  1. Clarke Johnston says:

    It’s not just the beak, which is pretty atrocious, but the plastic cladding on the tank, the engine heads themselves (faux fins would help a lot) the muffler, and even the collector for the pipes underneath the bike. All are pretty danged ugly. Whats worse is that price point is not what’s determining this, it’s just clueless marketing, lack of consumer feedback. Inexpensive doesn’t have to be fugly. These bikes make even “modest” machines from the 80’s look like beauty queens. (Yamaha Maxim/Seca, Honda CB-K machines, etc.) I think that the “style” as shown in modern “adventure” bikes is sort of weak Mad Max end-of-the-world stuff. Problem is that the bike doesn’t look good now, and will age poorly over time. Endearing less, not more. Which is a shame, as nearly to the person, V-Strom owners love their bikes, appreciate the value, good handling and reasonable performance, reliability and total usefulness. But, no-ones gonna saunter over at the gas station while you’re fueling up and ask “what is it” or remark that “it looks nice, cool”. Building an adventure bike shouldn’t exclude good curb appeal. Seriously. Suzuki has made similar errors with the M109R, a stonkin’ fast cruiser with awesome rims, a killer motor . . and . . acres of plastic.

  2. Pedro Diaz, Colorado says:

    Agree on harping on the beaks. It has always kept me from liking the BMW R1200GS.

    I think a standard dirt bike high positioned fender would not only look great, but give off the image of being more dirt worthy.

    Any manufacturers listening to our united discontent?

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I think the manufacturers are listening to the cha-ching sound their beak-endowed adventure bikes are making as customers pay uber-bucks to take them home rather than the whining sound coming from a bunch of keyboard critics, most of which will never buy one anyway.

  3. Blue says:

    I think its right on target, lighter, more power and more so in the lower to mid-range, more factory gear and priced well. For folks like myself that might be ready to replace a well used DL 650 a better balanced 1000 could be the trick. Priced is the range new where so less than happy euro unit owners are selling used 1 and 2 year old rides. Suzuki has a hit and the aftermarket will be happy to fill in the gaps that owners crave to fix. My DL 650 has never be less than any other motorcycle in my opinion and in many ways better, on this I am not alone (in fact its rather crowded in here), this is an excellent choice for anyone looking to 95/5.

  4. richard says:

    yaaaawn…sorry !

    Practical yes…..however so damn ugly

  5. Zammy says:

    I saw these in the flesh at the IMS show …All the plastic looks like Chiese “Tupperware”
    I guess Suzuki’s bankrupsy hasn’t been kind to the suppliers either.

    • Norm G. says:

      I beg to differ. I gave the kit a once over and the under carriage a lil’ “how’s your father”. it’s the same as any of the 100’s of models we’ve seen over the years. no more no less.

  6. jake says:

    So guys, all kidding aside, what do you guys think of my little theory about the connection between big noses and adv/tourers as an explanation for why these useless beaks are so common with these types of bikes? Is my speculation getting any traction here. You gotta admit, there seems to be no other reason for their existence, with the beaks even being arguably a P.R. negative, as so many find that the manufacturers inexplicable insistence on including them arbitrarily on their bikes to be ridiculous and an endless source of laughs.

    With my pet theory (stunningly original if you ask me), am I giving Freud (famous for popularizing the theory that everybody wants to sleep with his mother) a run for his money or am I just being an annoying mushy mouthed and mushy brained idiot? Are my musings an insightful, helpful revelation or just plain stupid and retarded?

    Thumbs up or thumbs down. Am I onto something, even in a tentative sense, or am I totally lost and in desperate need of getting a semblance of a life, so that I can quit speculating about the hidden meaning of big noses and the mysterious, subconscious drives and needs of big nosed people?

    However, if you do think my theory totally sucks, which is your prerogative, can you back up your negativity and come up with any other theory which can explain this still mysterious phenomenon of faux beaks and adv/tourers better than mine?

    • Stoopy says:

      Thumbs up, you’re 100% right. It’s “me-too” marketing at this point despite the explanation abotu the DR Big legacy.

      Ed “Big Daddy” Roth was the true pioneer of the concept and the look, google for his “Great Speckled Bird” creation as evidence.

      Nevertheless we still need to get lives and stop thinking about it since it’s a done deal now. Sigh…

    • Gary says:

      What actually happened is that Big Bird got drunk one night and screwed a life-sized model of Battlestar Gallactica, and nine months later … voila.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Am I onto something, even in a tentative sense, or am I totally lost and in desperate need of getting a semblance of a life, so that I can quit speculating about the hidden meaning of big noses and the mysterious, subconscious drives and needs of big nosed people?”

      maverick your in a flat spin and heading out to sea, EJECT…!!! EJECT…!!!

  7. Al says:

    I have a 2012 V-Strom 650 with hard luggages/top case which I like a lot. I think this V-Strom 1000 looks great and it would be an excellent upgrade in grunt & power… I’ll wait and see how it sells as I will wait for september/october 2014 for left over at a better price I hope.

  8. Ed Chambers says:

    Does anyone actually like that fender over a fender beak thing?What possible purpose could it serve? Maybe an opportunity for beak removal kits?

    • Gary says:

      It is pure fashion statement. Years ago it became fashionable to raise fenders in the fork tubes of REAL dirt bikes so that there is distance between the fender and the wheel. That prevents mud from packing in there, locking up the wheel and rudely arresting progress. It sucks when it happens, believe me.

      Modern adventure bikes like the Strom are as likely to suffer real mud issues as I am likely to dance the Nutcracker Ballet. But people still insist on high fenders, even through there is a secondary fender that will foul with mud, should one ever wander off-road, if, say, the pilot has had too much to drink.

      I have an appendix I don’t ever use. Adventure bikes have beaks.

      • jake says:

        I’ll take this an offered alternative explanation for my big nose theory. Yes, like the exaggerated front fenders on the modern Urals. They look very masculine, purposeful, and very cool. But this begs the question: Why do big, exaggerated front fenders, or even the mere, obviously vestigial, fake imitation of them have such an attraction and hold on us? To explain male dating behavior, you can say men like the appearance of boobs and butts, thinking such a straight forward, obvious answer settles the matter, and it does help to an extent, but even more helpful, what is really needed to fully solve the mystery, would be to explain the deeper question of exactly what about them do men find so irresistible and why.

        You gave the standard obvious answer, and there’s no denying its apparent truth, but there are levels of truth and inquiry, and sometimes a truth is unsatisfactory not because it is untrue, but merely because there is a deeper and more meaningful truth to unlocked which being overly satisfied with the lesser hinders. As an analogy, the famous myth of Oedipus:

        “‘What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?’ To this Oedipus replies, “Man” (who crawls on all fours as an infant, walks upright later, and needs a walking stick in old age), and the distraught Sphinx throws herself off the cliffside.”

        Similarly, Oedipus gives the simple, obvious answer, and he is correct. The Sphinx aborts and lets him pass, but of course, we know his answer, unbeknownst to him, is incomplete and therefore faulty, the ignorance of which dooms him to his tragedy and seals his fate. So for those thinking I am merely hair splitting and being overly technical, I give you the weight and wisdom of Sophocles. I think Sophocles (considered by many to be the wisest man Ancient Greece ever produced, which is saying something) would weigh in favor of my side, which I’d say is also really saying something.

        Also, your analogy with vestigial organs is faulty because with disuse, vestigial organs are supposed to atrophy and shrink, not grow bigger, bolder, and more pronounced, the more useless they get, as is the case with these faux beaks and adv/tourers.

        • Gary says:

          Good points but it is possible you are overthinking this :)

          • jake says:

            Or you could be underthinking it. Just substitute the connotations of a nose for that of a wanker and then the connections and the significance of the subliminal messages of the beak becomes more obvious.

            On the 20K GS Adventure, look at its beak. It’s massive, huge, all blacked out, and all out of proportion to the rest of the bike. Riding around on one is like carrying a sign proclaiming you are blessed with a 13 incher, that you are the king of the world.

            Compare that with the Zook’s. It’s beak is much smaller and more feminine looking, with it even painted red (a feminine color) so as to make it near impossible for people to miss its meeker cues. Of course, these differences cannot be due to mere accident or chance. They were intentionally designed with an original, clear purpose in mind. They exist for a reason.

            The Zook’s beak either says that you are the bigger man and are above the childish desire of making public statements about what a big man you are, that you do not have enough money and success to have the confidence to make such a claim, or that you are simply a sneak and would prefer to save the money and blow it on high priced prostitutes and strip clubs rather than on beak sizes.

            With each passing year, these beaks keep getting bigger and bolder (the GS’s is probably the largest on record), looking more and more like noses and beaks, than a mere enlarged fender. So the claim that it is merely an enlarged fender can be said to be inadequate and missing the point to an extent.

  9. todder says:

    Cruise control, cruise Control, cruise control.

  10. Kevin says:

    Have to agree with most that the styling is fairly ugly, but personally think all of the adventure bikes are ugly (accept the Ducati Multistrada) Once you accept that and get past that, it’s all about function. Here for your hard earned dollar the Suzuki wins big! Definitely more bang for your buck. Have owned the previous model when it first came out, and was easily the most practical bike I ever owned, and despite not being pretty to look at, always gave me a smile when I rode it and made me a bit of a hooligan ripping around So Cal urban areas and all those canyon roads embarrassing sport bike riders! My big gripe before was mushy front forks and crappy brakes, especially when you come off a real sportbike. Now sounds like they fixed those issues and re-looked at everything on the bike. Great job Suzuki.

    Now someone else on here said they wished for more of a roadster off this motor, I agree. Prefer the more “street” orientated version like the previous model was going for, instead of the off-road version. I am sure all their market studies pushed them this direction, but personally I would have no pretentions of doing any serious off-road work, just the occasional dirt road. Would buy a smaller dual purpose if I was more into off-road. Guess their all thinking range rover, can do serious off-road with expert rider aboard, but generally will be a commuter/tourer in reality. Maybe someday will get a more street version too like the Tiger 800 does, but I guess they tried that back when with the SV1000 and SV1000S, which both were soft sellers but also loved by their owners as a Roadster. How about an upright cafe style bike with this power-plant. Definitely think they should use it in multiple platforms being such a great motor! Let’s hope their listening!

  11. Tommy see says:

    It,s human nature to find fault vs good. Suzuki you have hit a home run with the new update! Get m into the showroom now !

  12. Gary says:

    The old one looked cheap too. I had one. But here’s the thing: It is versatile as hell, comfortable, handles well and lasts as longs as you care to own it. Never had a minute of trouble with mine. I wish it had cruise control. Other than that it is one of the most versatile, solid bikes you’ll ever buy.

  13. 14kmtnman says:

    I was hoping for a little more in the Suzuki. More of a do all be all type of bike. I’m liking the KTM 1190 Adventure R more & more now. Less weight, more power, features & fuel. Nicer styling, too.

  14. skybullet says:

    Sorry to be a downer but when I saw it at the Dallas Bike Show it really looked cheap. Fit and finish was poor and details like the handlebars and instruments were… cheap looking. OK, I expect that when a bike is priced well below the competition. Maybe it rides great, but it looks like they cut every corner.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “it looks like they cut every corner.”

      gotta cut sumptin’.

    • jake says:

      A real world comparison point would be helpful. Is the fit and finish lacking compared to the old V-Strom or compared to a bike like the 20K GS Adventure? If the latter, then that is to be expected, but if the former, then yes, the people here will be disappointed.

      So long as the fit and finish is even with old V-Strom, I doubt if the people will see it as much of an issue.

    • Yoda from Idaho says:

      Its an Asian bike, what does one expect.

      • Gary says:

        I dunno … what DOES one expect?

        • Scotty says:

          Performance, reliability, decent price, handling, and last of all no need to subscribe to a borg-like mentality and soial code?

        • jake says:

          From a state known for its open mindedness, multi-culturalism, and potatoes, he is voicing the opinion that Asians as a whole don’t do luxury good. They only do the ordinary, the mundane, the repetitive, the uninspiring, the generic, and the cheap good – basically all the low wage stuff.

          Only the Europeans and certainly select groups here in the U.S. (mainly Harley), can do luxury, the special, the expensive, and the exotic well.

          And as a general rule, he appears to be correct, or at least in the neighborhood.

          • Dave says:

            Yeah, never mind Lexus, Infiniti, Acura and the way they nearly put Mercedes out of business in the US and other markets after just 10 years of competing.

            BTW, is that a European digital device you’re posting with?

          • mickey says:

            Jake is right though that IS the perception even if not the reality.

            My son has one of those luxury, special, expensive, exotic European motorcycles. It is sexy as all get out. the problem is it is not so reliable so he won’t ride it more than 50 miles form home…and there is no dealer network to back it up, parts are ultra expensive and take weeks to come in and service is frequent and expensive. When he wants to actually ride someplace, he takes his ordinary, mundane, uninspiring, cheap low wage Asian bike which always gets him where he’s going and back again, and even though the nearest dealer is only 9 miles away he has never needed him. Maybe the Asian bikes are too good.

            Me? I’m older and don’t care about exclusivity, I’ve been riding the Asian bikes for 47 years. I love being reliable mundane and ordinary. Suits me to a tee.

          • Scotty says:

            Hell I ride a Guzzi and have no problem riding as far as I like from home. Its not cutting edge technology though. The same engine has been used since about 1975 or so….

          • jake says:

            To Dave:

            But Asian luxury brands are more the exception than the general rule, and even with them, people without question still lust after the European brands more. People buy the Japanese luxury brands cause of perceived better reliability, value (you get more for the money), or just cause they are plain cheaper, with dealers being forced to give larger discounts just to move them. Rarely, do people choose an Asian brand out of uncontrollable lust, buying with their hearts rather than their heads, as they tend to do with European brands.

            There definitely is a noticeable and constant pattern here between Europeans and Asians which any honest, perceptive person can notice. Just cause Yoda put it in very rude and disrespectful terms, and we disapprove of it, does not mean this difference does not exist. The only question is why. Why does this difference exist? Are they not all human, all the same, and equally capable, and if so, then why this gulf, this near universal difference. Why do people perceive each group so differently and expect such different things from them?

  15. Tommy see says:

    I look forward to test riding this new beast. Still love the 650 but wanting more grunt !

  16. Les says:

    I still find it hard to believe that this ugly BMW pretend off-road style is cloned by so many.

    Imagination is in short supply. We need a Jimi Hendrix of motorcycles so all the boring and unimaginative designers can have a new paradigm to clone.

  17. Artem says:

    Nice woodpecker. siting alone on the pine tree.

  18. MadMax3 says:

    Beak is the new Black. Sat on one at Long Beach; very nice. If you like the Tiger or Tenere, this will be on your list too.

  19. Zedoc says:

    I wish I still had my 955 Tiger.

  20. TimC says:

    I’m curious about the ” foot pegs slightly rearward from their prior position” – too much leg/knee bend is an issue at 6’2″…and it looks like there is definitely some kink from the pics….

    • Craig Jackman says:

      And I’m sure that there will be an Adventure Tech peg lowering kit available shortly. Makes a HUGE difference on my VStrom. If you go to http://cycle-ergo.com/ you’ll see that the VStrom is already roomy in peg location compared to competitors.

      • TimC says:

        Interesting. I haven’t really researched the issue (just griped about it on my current ride), so thanks for pointing this out.

      • TimC says:

        Oh and that is a BAD ASS site. Thanks for that! (Previous post was regarding the Adv Tech idea.)

  21. Randominator says:

    This looks like a very significant upgrade to the previous Strom 1000. I had one of the original Vstrom’s and loved it. Put about 40K on it before trading for a 1250 Bandit. The Strom had a great engine, which sometimes was reluctant to pull really low revs (which the new dual plug setup should cure), and was too tall for my 5’9″ frame. Of course the bike was fugly, but with 5 years gone since I sold it, I couldn’t even remember what the old exhaust system looked like. Shows how important that is to their loving owners. Put stiffer fork springs and heavier oil in the front end, taller Cee Bailey windscreen, and quality road tires and rode it every day in every weather on my 40 mile RT commute. The ’14 looks like a great successor to a great bike.

  22. Yoda from Idaho says:

    Looks a lot like the new F800 GS from BMW. Nice looking bike since I own the new GS.

  23. Terry M. says:

    Guess I’ll keep my ’06 955i Tiger and fall in love again with it in the spring…….

  24. goose says:

    My feeling about this bike have been going back and forth since the first information came out. I thought it was too ugly to exist at first, then I saw it at the San Mateo show and found it not only looked OK it felt really right, not too heavy, not too big, thin in the places my body wanted it to be thin. I left really interested. Then the price came out and I lost interest, too expensive. Now we have reports from actually riding the bike and it sounds like it is as much fun to ride as I thought it would be after the San Mateo show.

    The bottom line is it seems like Suzuki got some things right and missed the mark on others. They deserve praise for the size of the bike, I’m sick of oversized barges being sold as Adventure Bikes. My R100GS was similar in size and weight to the ‘Strom, I wouldn’t want anything bigger off the pavement, my noticeably heavier R1100GS was a pig after the pavement ended. Even the 550 Watt alternator seems right sized.

    However, I just have too many problems to consider buying the bike.I’m sure traction control is great on a light flywheel I-4 but it isn’t that big a deal to me on a V-Twin with “increased flywheel effect”. I’d gladly trade it for a fully (including ride hight) adjustable rear shock. Fully adjustable forks are nice but I’d happily trade it for a well set up non-adjustable fork an enclosed chain or belt drive. Factory saddlebags are great but the Suzuki bags are so small I’d wind up with another set of GIVIs or (for not much more than Suzuki charges) a gorgeous set of Jesse bags.

    Bottom line, I’d buy a Triumph Tiger 800 and put the $1,700 (plus tax) I saved into setting up the bike.

    YMMV,

    Goose

    • jake says:

      Tiger 800?? The one with the beak or without the beak.

    • red says:

      Need to google the new “gorgeous Jesse Bags”.. I’m only familiar with the klunky aluminum boxes.

      • goose says:

        Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

        As an object: Al’s bags extremely well thought out, beautifully made (in the USA, by the way), are narrow for their volume and he is the only person I know of smart enough to make bags that slide forward for solo riding and back for carrying a passenger. Motorcycle manufactures make a big deal out moving two pounds closer the the CofG, Jesse lets you move 20 to 50 pounds (or more!) closer the the CofG. While it slightly reduces their volume I also much prefer the sculpted shape of Jesses to the “ammo box” look of most metal bags, e.g. Happy Trails or Touratech. I love well made, well thought out things like Jesses bags even when I don’t have a use for them.

        For my needs: Because the fit closely to the bike for a given width you get far more volume with Jesse bags. On the 800 Tiger (no interest in the XT, tube tires kill it for me) I can have 90 liters, more storage than I need even for motorcycle camping, with the bike only being 35″ wide across the bags, pretty close to the width of the handlebars. That is less width than the smaller (and fragile and in my opinion ugly) Triumph bags. The Suzuki’s saddle bags may be a little narrower but they hold 55 liters between the two bags, that makes them useless to me.

        Jesse Bags http://www.jesseluggage.com/index.html

        All that makes the Jesses beautiful to me. Don’t tour and camp on your bike? Don’t appreciate clever design and great fabrication for its own sake? Have a fixed picture in your mind that doesn’t include metal bags? You probably see things differently.

        Goose

  25. Norm G. says:

    Toucan Sam.

  26. vitesse says:

    Needs a belly pan to cover up all that ugly plumbing.

  27. TwistedTrottleBob says:

    I voted with my wallet and just put a deposit on a Black SE (Canadian ADV version). Should be here in March and the snow should be gone in August :)

  28. Neil says:

    The beak increases air pressure into the airbox and pulls air up over the windscreen as well. All engineering. The fact of the matter is, you sit on a bike like this and feel at home. Things are in the right place and the seat is comfy. The engine, like all the big motors, is meant to pull up to two people and gear and be able to safely move out of traffic, even on a mountain pass let’s say. Done. Nice rack on the back. Triple disc brakes. ABS. Lotta motorcycle there. Start stripping stuff off and it becomes less worthy of its true purpose. Lot less $$ than a GS1200 and other Euro competition.

    • Dave says:

      The beak is designed to evoke aspirations of off road riding. All marketing.

      If it were engineering then sport bikes would have them.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Real beaks (i.e. engineered beaks) deflect mud and water effectively when hitting a water crossing or muddy slosh pit: not the type of engineering a sport bike would need.

        That said, I’m sure this beak is there for marketing identity reasons rather than playing dirty.

      • jake says:

        Agreed its mostly marketing but maybe for other hitherto unmentioned reasons. From a How To Read Faces Blog:

        “The bigger the nose, the more power, ego, drive, leadership, and desire to work independently. People with big noses hate receiving orders and like being their own bosses. They don’t like doing small tasks and prefer making bigger contributions than others. That’s why these people will hardly ever be your bar tenders or your receptionists. People with big noses like to move higher in ranks and may fight for them. People with big noses get bored easily from systematic and repetitive work.”

        Sounds awfully like the type who would be inclined to buy adv/tourers, doesn’t it? Maybe the beak is not a beak after all, but a nose, and these big nosed buyers are subconsciously attracted to bikes with big noses just like themselves.

        According to this blog at least, adv/tourers buyers tend to have bigger noses than average, so I guess it is reasonable to expect their bikes would also have bigger noses than normal as well – my 2 cents.

      • Motorhead says:

        The beak IS functional. Look at all the sport bikes in the other reviews. Each sport/race/GP bike has a little scoopy-something hanging out front that extends beyond the front axel. With a lot of fork rake such as on these standard bikes, you don’t want your headlight hanging out that far over the front axel, so you need a beak….

        • jake says:

          But the Mien Shiang Institute disagrees:

          “The nose is the subliminal symbol of power, ego, drive, and leadership in most all cultures. When you make your nose smaller, you are perceived as less strong. The larger the nose, the more power, ego, drive, leadership, and desire to work independently. The United States is full of large-nosed people: migrants, pioneers, and adventurers who have overcome great obstacles to carve out a new life in a strange and often unreceptive country.”

          Gotta admit, as stupid as it first sounds, there seems to be some valid connection between big Adv/Tourers, their big butt beaks, and the big noses of people who like them. Get what you are saying, but the fact that the previous Strom, the Caponord, or the Tiger 800 have no beaks suggests the functional aspect of beaks is not all that important. Heck, Triumph can’t even make up its mind, so it offers 2 versions of the Tiger, one with a beak and one without.

          To beak or not to beak, that is the question. So just judging from Triumph’s bipolar behavior, the beak can’t be all that important to function or performance.

          The beak exists mainly as a symbol, not for function – but a symbol of exactly what? Find this answer and you will have unraveled the grand mystery of why the beak and Adv/Tourers are so synonymous with one another. It’s a real head scratcher.

          • mickey says:

            Suzukis DRZ 800 desert racer ( or DR Big as it was known) from 1988 had this same beak or one similar to it. Google it. Maybe the first. Not sure when BMW came out with their first beak, so maybe everyone is actually copying Suzuki…including Suzuki.

            Now if you are building a factory race bike, you probably aren’t going to add something that adds weight, just for looks. It must have some function. Race bikes are usually pretty spartan, sporting only what they need and not much more.

          • jake says:

            Yea, just googled it. Seems the original had no pretension to function or performance, no air scoops around it. And aside from the deeper, mysterious, metaphysical meaning of a big nose – the image of power, stubbornness, independence, and curiosity – and how those subconscious styling cues lure unsuspecting buyers in, there seems to be no other reason for such a honker to exist on a bike.

            It’s sort of hilarious, but it also may have more than a grain of truth to it.

  29. Jeremy in TX says:

    I found this to be one of the more impressive bikes at the International Motorcycle Show, and I didn’t much care for it before seeing it in person. I really liked the all black Adventure version and am a bit disappointed that they don’t offer that color for the standard model.

    I am entering a phase where I am gravitating towards lighter, “purer”, less expensive bikes, but this new V would probably be my pick if I were to replace my aging Ulysses with another ADV bike.

    • jake says:

      Kind of like me in high school. My class photos came out so bad that I stopped taking them after my sophmore year, but in person, I was really impressive and very popular.

      Some things just aren’t photogenic, no matter how beautiful they maybe in person.

  30. starmag says:

    This seems like a great bike. A real shame about the BMW GS styling Suzuki felt they had to go with. This would make a great platform for a beautiful roadster. It might as well have been since most of these will never see dirt. Nice riding position, good power, an unpunishing amount of suspension travel, and a good exhaust note. Here’s a couple of free slogans for Suzuki marketing:

    “Beak is chic!”

    “Ugly is HOT!”

    I’d rather be seen on the old one, which is no compliment. To me there’s more to motorcycling and life than pure function. The snooty “form follows function” mantra has resulted in some real modern day eyesores.

  31. warprints says:

    If I replaced my wee-strom with this bike, it would be for the functionality, not the looks. I think this bike will do quite well against the other ADV bikes out there.

  32. Butch says:

    I never cared for the handling on my 04′, especially with a full tank of gas, so I sold it.
    With the exception of passing slower traffic, the 650 version is a better choice.

  33. Buckwheat says:

    Ugly face, ugly name, ugly chain. Destined to be an also-ran in this hyper-competitive segment.

    • GuyLR says:

      I dunno about that. It seems to me that its price and good road performance should serve it well against the bigger, heavier and much more expensive competition and as far as looks are concerned it’s certainly no worse then the others maybe even a bit better integrated in the styling column. I think it will do well.

      • jake says:

        Exactly, aside from the ego boost, is there any other reason for an adventure tourer to have more CC’s than this Zook, esp. at the cost to handling and low speed maneuverability?

        Unless you’re 6’5” and weigh in excess of 250lbs (which evidently alot of Americans do, at least the over 250 part), I just don’t see any true real world need to go to a bigger, more expensive, less maneuverable bike.

    • jake says:

      Doubt it. People buying in this segment buy to ride, and care more about price and function then the typical bike buyer. And dammit, bikes in this category seem to need a beak to complete their look. The Aprilia Caponord is just a gorgeous bike, but even it without a beak, something just seems to be missing at the front.

      In short, it seems for this category, even an ugly, feminine looking beak is better than no beak at all. If Suzuki had left off the beak all together, everybody here would probably crying, “Where’s the beak, where’s the beak” instead of “I hate the beak”.

      It seems beaks on Suzuki’s are alot like women, you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.

    • red says:

      The competition is ugly
      “ugly name”.. really?
      chain drive: light, easily serviceable, allow gearing changes

      Maybe I’m the outlier, but this would be my pick as a road biased adv’er.

  34. Gronde says:

    Nice bike, but you’ll have to put up with all the “Big Bird” comments.

    • Jim says:

      I would slap a couple Mr. Horsepower stickers on the sides of the tank, that’ll nip it in the bud.

      • Bob L. says:

        Give me an aftermarket beak-eliminator (everything else is ok)…..and I’m in!

        • Blackcayman says:

          I’d bet the Black Beak Replacement kit is the best selling option

          • Motowarrior says:

            You guys must have been frightened by a flock of birds as children. What is all the fuss over the beak? Those of us who have been riding adventure bikes for years have long since gotten over some silly hang up over this particular design element. Almost all of the beak bikes perform extremely well in the real world. They are made to ride, not be entered in beauty contests. Geez…

          • Blackcayman says:

            Come on….that Red Beak is an eye magnet, and not in a good way.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “You guys must have been frightened by a flock of birds as children.”

            I lay the blame squarely at the feet of Alfred Hitchcock.

  35. mickey says:

    Did they do anything with the gearing? My understanding is one of the most frequent mods on these is to seriously gear it down as 6 th gear is only good if you are doing over 70 mph.

    Otherwise a very nice looking motorcycle, with great ergos and a deserved reputation for reliability and durability at a very fair price.

    • sl says:

      I would expect top gear to come into its own at freeway speeds. If it is in the power at 70 I would be happy.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      That is all 6th gear should be good for in my opinion. So long as the ratios in the first five gears are chosen for fun and practicality, I’d much rather 6th be an overdrive. I spend quite a bit of time over 80mph.

    • Brian says:

      Yes, 6th gear is shorter

  36. Moto Potato says:

    I was thinking of a BMW F700 GS, but I think the suzuki would prove to be a far better bike, and it will probably have no (or few) gremlins. They seem to have similar features, except the suzuki has a larger engine and a little more weight. I need to try this out!