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).
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.
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.
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.