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Three New Suzukis for 2012: The Perfect ‘Strom?

V-Strom 650 ABS Adventure

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.

V-Strom 1000 Adventure


  1. Don Miller says:

    When will the 2012 650 abs hit the showrooms in the US?

  2. Afrosentrix says:

    Just recently completed 22000km, 17 European countries and 1 African country – West, North, east and South, 2 up over 3 months, 90% tar on our overloaded ABS wee strom. 1 oil service, 1 puncture. We kept off the motorways 90% of the time but on them, I found myself looking for another gear. But that’s it. It delivers fully what it promises.

  3. Mr.Mike says:

    Glad for the improvements on the 650. It would have been nice if the adventure model came with a skid plate too. Also, the side cases look kind of small and I wonder if there’s a top case. Still, progress all in all.

  4. SpikedLemon says:

    looks ok. I’d consider one if they put 17″ hoops on it – or better yet brought the return of the SV1000S (with better brakes and suspension)

  5. Eric says:

    I have an 08′ DL1000 – it’s a great bike.. It’s big, fast, comfy, and has storage/luggage options – at half the price and maintenance of the Beemers. Yeah – not so great off road, but works great on the road!

  6. max frisson says:

    I’m 59, at the most I’ll do overnite trips, mostly day trips. Don’t like cruisers, so this looks pretty good, cheap to insure as a 650. A little protection, some storage, seems like a reasonable bike choice. But the all black isn’t so appealing as I like a little visibility.

  7. Grover says:

    C’mon Suzuki. Give me the big Strom with the changes made to the 2012 Wee, but with a slightly bigger tank and fix the poor low-end response from the 1000cc motor. I would buy one immediately.

  8. ian saki says:

    Looks nice, but I would like to see traditional wire spoke wheels for off road, and inverted forks.

  9. Mickey says:

    The Suzuki “Wee Strom” is undoubtedly ugly, but so reliable and competant that if one will simply overlook the ugliness, they will be rewarded beyond measure with happiness. Never heard of a disgruntled Wee Strom owner.That speaks volumes. If the Japanese just mastered seats and suspensions, they would rule the world of motorcycling.

  10. Steve says:

    I have an 04 DL1000 and out of all the bikes I have owned I love this one the most…..With that said it is no dirt bike and any serious rider would know that going in. I love the adventure concept and use it in that way often albeit carefully. There is nothing made that can do it all not even the new Triumph’s, BMW’s or KTM’s. If you want to be serious off road buy a small single. The Big Strom is just a fantastic all around bike with just enough soul and left over dough to buy a small single dual sport.

  11. Bob says:

    How can they call it “Adventure” with cast wheels? The first potholed fire road will deform that wheel.

    But I do admit the wee-strom has always been a great all-’round bike.

  12. Denny says:

    Hi Strom owners: could some of you tell me how much these bikes are sensitive to cross wind? They are kind of tallish and rightly so, but it is often function of overall configuration such as shape of fairing, centre of gravity and so on. I do not feel comfortable if it gets too far an have to fight for stability.

    • Dean says:

      I have an 02 DL1000 with 36,000 miles on it. I would say it is about average in the crosswinds.

      Taller bikes do take a few trips to “get used to” the altitude. But that quickly feels normal. Cross winds can throw around lightweight bikes alot, these aren’t so lightweight. Not as heavy as a Goldwing that might be impervious to cross winds!

      I did not expect to like this bike so much, but they let me test ride it (sales were slow at first) and I couldn’t pick it apart… It just did everything well. Even now if I ride a newer bike (sport tourer, standard, whatever) I am usually impressed, but then I ride my Vstrom home like I am on a test ride, and am impressed all over again.

  13. Tommy See says:

    An all time best motorcycle. Thanks Suzuki for the many miles and smiles.
    On my second one, 05 now 09 !

  14. 40oz_Warrior says:

    I know everybody raves about how versatile the V-Stroms are supposed to be, but I’ve always viewed them as being neither fish now fowl. They don’t particularity excel at anything, unless you really crave riding hard-packed fire roads, or your neighbor’s lawn.

    If Suzuki wants to get serious about off-capabilities with the DL1000, take some inspiration from the old Cagiva Navigator, give it spoke wheels (a larger one up front), and re-route that lower exhaust pipe out of harm’s way. Give KTM some competition.

    Then give us a light sport tourer based on the DL1000 frame and motor ( think the Voxan 1200GTV that never was… )

    The Wee-Strom is a hit with the masses, so best not tamper with it. Lighter alternatives exist for the serious off-roaders (DR650. DRZ400).

    Doing Suzuki’s product planning for them is hard work…. I’m taking a break for today. Maybe I’ll work on Honda’s tomorrow.

    • Garak says:

      If Suzuki wanted to get serious about off-road capability with the DL1000, they would. Then it would cost $18000, and eleven people would by it.

  15. Mike says:

    I will wait until the DL1000 gets the new body work like the DL650.
    I like the look of the new bike.
    I had an 05 DL1000 for 5yrs/27,000 miles and miss it!
    I understand Suzuki needs to try selling out the old inventory tho.

  16. Tom says:

    Nice bikes! IMHO the lighter the bike, the more off-road-able it is. So if the Strom weighs less than a GS or Tenere or KTM, then the Strom is more off-road-able. I think the KTM wins the weight battle.

  17. Harvey Mushman says:

    If the TU250X isn’t a “true standard”, what is?

  18. Ruefus says:

    The second pic has to be some of the absolute worst photo editing (or lighting) I’ve ever seen from a ‘professional’ photographer. The bags, right mirror and handguard look phony. Maybe its me, but that’s an awful photograph.

  19. steve says:

    vstrom is nice and all but the big ktm will absolutely dust it on a dirt road, and 2 track forget it. The difference is the ease of speed, the ability to soak up big hits and small chatter and maintain a line easily.

  20. ben says:

    I have an 05 DL1000…love it!!!! I would buy another one in a second.

  21. tron says:

    The 650 Adventure does appear to be nicely set up, basically its all stuff you could get from Twisted Throttle and appears to be SW Motech crash bars and panniers along with an MRA Vario windscreen. If you like that combo maybe its a good deal.
    I’d like to know if they made the abs switchable, which it wasn’t on the previous version and would be a very nice touch on a so-called adventure bike.
    As for the 1000 its the same bike they were selling in ’03 with the same crappy bags they had the last few years it was offered which I have a hard time being impressed by.
    I certainly don’t consider myself a brand loyalist I think I’ve owned more Suzukis over the years than any other brand, not by design, they just had what I wanted at the time. I still have a dr650, 400 Burgman and an LTZ400 quad. I like Suzuki and think they are one of the best makers at finding a niche market and filling it. They’re not so good at exploiting and developing that niche. This 650 Adventure may be one of the best attempts ever if they just keep pushing a little further.

  22. johnny ro says:

    Is it really better than my 06 DL650? Maybe a bit. Windshield setup is kind of goofy looking. The wing is flat to the wind, it appears. Looks funny. Probably works. ’06 is probably easier to tune up, basic maintenance-wise.

    Will I upgrade? No, not to this. 2006-9 Burgman 650 is my next bike purchase barring some unforeseen barn find antique or gsf650F for cheap. A used TU is on my list as well, to go ahead and custom right away. My first custom project.

    Am I glad they are still bothering with US market? Yes, big time. Suzuki is a really great company.

  23. mb says:

    I still have a hard time reading negative comments about various bikes. To use the old cliche ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ the Strom is an excellent all purpose ride. My wife and I have DL650’s and we ride them everywhere. We just completed a 1200 mile journey this summer through the Finger Lakes region of NY and enjoyed every mile (dirt included). We spent 6-8 hours a day on our Strom’s in perfect weather and downpours and were always comfortable. Anyone who complains about comfort on a motorcycle obviously chose the wrong bike. We both have stock 2006 DL650’s and have enjoyed every minute of riding them. You want a reasonably priced do-it-all motorcycle buy a Strom!

  24. manwall says:

    “The Perfect ‘Strom”

    ^ Ha!

  25. Dave B says:

    Or for those like me who have been clipped by cars while commuting, very useful in saving the expensive plastic.

  26. George says:

    I would really like to see an even smaller ADV bike. Suz should bump the DRZ400S to 450 (they already have the motor) and lean it just a little more toward the street, still leave some real dirt legs under it. A real dual sport, like no one offers today.

    • johnny ro says:

      Me too.

      But real men don’t buy 400s or 450s. Not in this country they don’t. Or 250s. Or even 500s. Suzuki knows its customers.

    • Steve D says:

      It’s called the DR650 and it comparable to the KLR in cult following. It may not be new but it’s an amazing machine.

  27. Fensley Golwak says:

    BLUE BRAND!!! ???? Yamaha?
    I think you mean yellow.
    Where’s the ABS big Strom? MIA.

  28. ziggy says:

    I get the general concept of the V – Strom.

    What I don’t get is why a bike with that general concept would require crash bars.

    Seems to me that bike is simply destined to get in over its head off road.

    Probably best for Suzuki to give up on the whole DS / ADV bike pretense and just send this project in the direction of the Versys – a leggy backroader.

    …or perhaps Suzuki knows this bike is just destined to go down multiple times in an off-pavement environment…those bars may leave enough left to limp the bike home.

    • Tim says:

      V-Stroms are just as capable on unpaved roads as any of the other large adventure bikes – more so than some. Owners of any of them would be wise to fit some protection for the expensive bits.

    • Dean says:

      Vstroms need crash bars for the same reason that Harleys do… the occasional tip over.

      My turnsignal took a beating, but luckily the bars and small plastic nub on the side fairing just got scuffed! two pounds of epoxy later, the turnsignal is horizontal again..

    • SpikedLemon says:

      Meh. I’ve taken my CBR929RR offroading enough to know that almost any motorcycle is “acceptable” offroad limited by traction and suspension (or ground clearance).