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New 2014 V-Strom 1000 Designer Interviewed

Suzuki’s Tomohisa Ichimaru, a Product Planner, describes the design goals for the new 2014 V-Strom 1000 in an interview posted on the special web site set up by Suzuki prior to the launch of this model later this fall in Milan. You can read the full four-page interview yourself, but highlights include an intense effort to reduce weight and the use of radial brake calipers from a recent model GSX-R 1000 superbike. As we suspected, Suzuki is targeting a lighter, more nimble alternative to some of the other large displacement enduros, even placing emphasis on seat height and narrowness of the chassis to improve the ability of normal size riders to comfortably place both feet on the ground. He also reveals the new model will have a stiffer frame with a longer wheelbase.


  1. Dusty Roads says:

    Been riding since 1968-have about 200 offroad and 200 road races(Finished 3rd in the WERA National 6 hr Endurance{Road Atlanta}one year) under my belt with perhaps 300K public road miles.
    Each time I had a new bike,within a year,I started looking for something better:until now with my V-Strom 1000 which I’ve had now about 3 years purchased used.
    I have not once thought of replacing it.I even sold a 06 Goldwing for this one.
    6′ 170lbs-it has a lowered Corbin seat.
    To date,it is the most perfect bike I’ve owned-even riding double with my 140LB better half..What would I like to see on a newer model?fly-by-wire throttle with a manual tensioner.
    My ride area-Cherohala Skyway and Two Wheels of Suches(Georgia).
    Keep the rubber side down

  2. Will says:

    To those of you complaining about the beak. Beaks are a very popular design element in Europe. North America is totally irrelevant to them due to our stupid attraction to retro V twins. They don’t sell enough bikes in north America to justify even paying attention to our tastes. They know from experience that to sell bikes here they have to look like either hardcore sport bikes or imitation Harleys. I ride a 2012 DL650. I have never seen another one on the road. I constantly get derisive looks and comments about it. I get great comments from some people but they would never buy one. If you don’t like the beak keep your cash in your pocket. Problem solved. I will probably buy one when they get here as long as these silly armchair designers don’t scare them off.

  3. PN says:

    I actually like it and wish Suzuki, which likes to go its own way, well. The adventure bike market is getting a little too too. Those beaks which Ducati started are growing on me. And yes, I’d love to see a new SV1000.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Those beaks which Ducati started are growing on me.”

      if you’re not careful, one day they might be “impaling” you.

  4. John F. says:

    Don’t get your hopes up about this being sold here. The old DL1000 was a sales laggard for Suzuki USA and Suzuki management might not want the potential of a lot of unsold bikes in US dealerships. I bought one of the first DL1000s in the US in 2002 and I didn’t even see another bike like it on the streets for another six months after my purchase. There were crates and crates of these unsold bikes taking up space in virtually all the dealerships for over a year after the initial introduction. This occurred while the bikes were selling like hotcakes in Europe. This lack of sales might occur again. You just never know what going to happen with US motorcycle consumers.

    This bike is being specifically designed for the Italian, French and German markets, not for us in America. If people (like those on this very website) whine too loudly about not liking the “beak” or luggage capacity or whatever else on this bike, Suzuki, which monitors this website and its comments section, might take that as a definite sign to err on the side of safety and not import the bike over here.

    Japanese manufacturers are very wary of American consumers who are notorious for repeatedly and loudly demanding bikes (Suzuki SV1000, Transalp et al.) and then not buying them when they finally becomes available over here. I can’t count the number of times Japanese manufacturers have been badly burned by this particularly American fickleness. American naysayers (including magazine reviewers and even dealers) spooked Yamaha so much that they prevented the initial importation of the FJR1300 until one year after it had been introduced in Europe. Even then Yamaha was VERY hesitant about shipping the bikes over here and required cash deposits from potential buyers. In addition there is another factor that might make Suzuki hesitant about introducing the bike here: Americans are notorious for demanding the cheapest motorcycle prices possible. If this bike is a cent over $12,000, no matter how good it is, it simply won’t be bought. American pay prices like that for BMWs or Harleys, not for Suzukis like this one. This factor results in many American dealers not making money (with a few exceptions like Goldwings or race replicas) on Japanese bikes sales but rather only on parts and service.

    Maybe Suzuki would be wise to require deposits from buyers before importing these bikes over here. This procedure prevented Yamaha from initially being burned in the US on sales of the then new FJR1300.

    If it is as good as it might well be, Suzuki will be able to sell every one of them that it produces in Europe because its price there will be most likely be designed to significantly undercut those of the European competition. An example of the Euro competition: a new fully equipped 2014 BMW GS800 Adventure is =$15000 US and probably a lot more in Europe with VAT. Ouch!

    • sherob says:

      That’s why Yamaha is having such a dreadful time with the Super Tenere here in the US, right? That’s why Triumph decided not to market the Tiger 800XC or Explorer 1200 here, right? I won’t even mention how Honda isn’t bringing the Crosstourer here… oh, wait… they are.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Suzuki, which monitors this website and its comments section, might take that as a definite sign to err on the side of safety and not import the bike over here.”

      one would kinda hoped they’d say, “hey ichimarusan… LOSE THE BEAK…!”

  5. JPJ says:

    New SV 1000 PLEASE!! We all know Suzuki builds some great road going machinery. Suzuki’s SV line should be like Yamaha’s FZ. Drop the Gladius. Get back to the SV-650 both standard and “S” model. A new 1000, then if Suzuki wants to be daring give us a SV-1200R to go against the KTM, Buell, and Ducati. That could be exciting ! As for the new V-Strom. These type of bikes don’t excite me.

  6. Michael H says:

    Now that the 1000 v-twin has been re-worked and upgraded, how about re-introducing the SV1000?

  7. puff says:

    Think it looks nice and multi purpose useful.

  8. ABQ says:

    He emphasizied the need for normal people to be able to flat foot the bike.

    • paul A says:

      That is one of the reasons cruisers sell so well.

    • Dave says:

      “Normal” to me is 33″ seat height, total carrying capacity of 550lbs. Normal to a Japanese engineer is not necessarily interesting to me – bring back the original DL1000 seat height and ergos (similar to the “other large displacement endures” listed as the competition); all other “shorties” get the DL650.

      • Rokster says:

        Thank you. I’m so sick of this race towards the lowest seat. And offended to learn that at 6 foot I am not a normal person.

        • ABQ says:

          Race towards the lowest seat? We are talking about dual purpose bikes, most of which never leave the road. I have a BMW GS. Without the lowered seat I would be swinging in the wind. BMW only makes its GS models for people living in a fantasy world. If the rest of us want a more reasonable height it is us that must pay the extra cost of bringing the bike down to earth. How about a dual purpose bike for average height people, and let the giants pay the cost to build theirs to fit.
          Suzuki has made an effort to do just that. BUt all you guys can do is complain about the beak. How about commending them for reaching out to the majority of the riders.

          • mkv says:

            Amen to that. A lot of short people like to ride also and you will be surprised the amount of people that do. Companies can’t always cater to white giants

            Why do you think BMW offers a lower seat version? They realize that there are buyers out there other than ze Germans that can afford these. Why alienate these buyers?

          • red says:

            Look, they already make vstar 650’s for you shorties. let us normal sized people have at least a couple bikes with leg room + ground clearance.. 🙂

            Really how hard would it be to build in 3″ of adjustability? the forks slide up/down in the clamps, just some extra dogbone holes and a way to raise/lower the seat and everybody could be happy. Well not the MD readers, we’re never happy. But regular people I mean.

          • Hair says:

            It’s not just the seat. The industry has to come to grips as to how much ground clearance an Adventure bike needs. The KTM 950/990 has bikes out that range from 6″ of travel to over 11″ of fork travel. If you ride one of each the handling really suffers with the taller models. And it suffers most at slow speeds. I don’t see one crawling rocks with these bikes. So exactly why does one need anything over 6″ of clearance.

          • MGNorge says:

            Probably don’t need the extra suspension travel but as with most areas of motorcycling, it’s become a numbers game. A certain type of bike needs this, that, and the other thing before some claim they’re worthy. Add all the available farkles to the included or options list and suddenly the price is too high and/or it weighs too much.
            I’m not currently shopping adventure bikes but if I was I’m not sure the beak would turn me away. At 6’8″ the elongated ergonomics could be a plus for me but I have little trouble with tighter dimensions so far.

          • iliketoeat says:

            There are plenty of bikes out there for short people. Pretty much every sport-touring, touring, standard, and cruiser bike out there has a super low seat, so people of normal height end up scrunched up, with their knees by their ears. I recently sat on a bunch of different bikes at a bike show and most bikes are super uncomfortable for me because the seats are so damn low. The “adventure bike” category has been the only one left with reasonable seat heights and good seat-to-footpeg distance. There is no need to ruin those bikes as well.

            I’m all for adjustable seat heights, but if manufacturers can’t do that, let’s at least have one bike category with normal (tall) seat heights.

          • Dave says:

            Dual sport, who cares? I’m just talking about ANY street bike that will comfortably fit someone 6′ 1/2/3″ (or better). Take a look at Cycle Ergos – it is only the “dual sports” that comfortably fit human frames of this dimension – no “street standards” or “sport tourers”. Even the Kawa Versys 650, Suzook V-Strom 650 and Triumph Scrambler better fit shorter folks. As has been said, it is much easier to shorten the bike ergo dimensions (through dog bones/shocks/seat/etc.) than make it larger. Leave the DL-1000 ergos alone!

          • Austin ZZR 1200 says:

            For tall people complaining about not finding bikes for their size. Walk into a BMW dealership, spend some money, be happy and stop whining.

      • Tim says:

        It’s MUCH easier to raise a seat that is too low than it is to lower one that is too high.

        • iliketoeat says:

          How exactly would you raise a seat that’s too low? The problem with low seats isn’t the distance from the seat to the ground, but from the seat to the footpegs.

          • Tim says:

            Ummm, thicker foam? My point is that there are many more constraints on lowering an already ‘too high’ seat that simply don’t exist or are much more simply overcome when raising a seat that is too low.

      • murf says:

        Why does BMW sell so many GS and GSAs? Partly because they made a bike for tall people without a compromise. If I want a short and cramped bike I have lots of options. If I want leg room I have very few.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I seriously doubt that BMW sells so many GSs because they decided to make a bike for tall people. In, fact, I would say with 100% certainty that tall people were not at all relevant to the design. It is all a simple matter of function – when the going gets rough, you need more suspension travel and ground clearance, hence, a taller bike. It is just a convenient fact that tall people fit better on tall bikes.

    • Kent says:

      A bike set up for a “normal” Japanese guy will be really uncomfortable for me. One of the reason the adventurer touring catagory is strong is that riders are getting older, and want a longer seat to peg length.
      Don’t we have enough bikes with cruiser ergonomics yet?

  9. Zammy says:

    I know I want to run out and buy a bike from a company thats …well…BANKRUPT !
    I wonder if he’s already looking for a job or ride this one till the end in a year or so. After the car division failed they started closing bike plants all over he world also . R.I.P. Suzuki.

    • Tom R says:

      They closed their car division in the US, but Suzuki sells a lot of four wheelers in other parts of the world.

      I think this model shows that the motorcycle division is again investing in new products, and hopefully returning to health as the economy slowly improves.

    • JMess says:

      Well it’s lucky you’re not the CEO. I have had a several Suzuki products over the years and they never failed me—and I’ve owned almost all the others too…same can’t be said. I hope the new V-Strom does well. It is unfortunate that they were affected so negatively by an unprecedented level of greed and a downturn in the economy but they will likely bounce back.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “It is unfortunate that they were affected so negatively by an unprecedented level of greed and a downturn in the economy”

        don’t leave out the consumer desire for “free lunch”. oh lord don’t forget that.

        • paul A says:

          I have a friend that is a salesman at the local motorcycle dealership and he says that only about 10% of applications get approved by the banks. Suzuki also needs to do a better job of pricing their bikes. Who is going to buy a TU250 for $4,400 when you can buy a 300 Ninja for $4,800 or a Honda CBR250R for $4,200?

          • Zammy says:

            Suzuki has to come up with cash FAST ! They also screw people on legit warranty claims …I know because me and my service rep nearly came to blows when he toldme hE WAS FORCED to cut payouts by half .

          • Hair says:

            Maybe Suzuki can come up with a plan to improve potential buyer’s credit scores.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “I have a friend that is a salesman at the local motorcycle dealership and he says that only about 10% of applications get approved by the banks.”

            wow, somebody’s gettin’ a raise…! every market should enjoy such numbers.

      • Zammy says:

        It’s only Suzuki …fail is fail. I know some of thier people and thier plan …Time for you to jump ship ,they WON’T be there for you.

    • johnny ro says:

      Suzuki is profitable, although not by much. They are a Japanese Company, not an American one. You can read their financials in English if you wish.

      Their forte is very small cars, at which they are really really good and which are not wanted by Americans.

      They sold 2.3 million motorcycles worldwide in their 2013 fiscal year, and 2.6 million cars. 2007 was their last really good year, they have cut costs since then and are bouncing back.

      They view USA and rest of North America as a relatively unimportant market.

      They pulled their cars out of USA and shut down the importer entity in an orderly manner. Think of who the importer’s creditors were, which lost their claims in bankruptcy. The parent is rated A today.

      The bikes wee se are fine. 100% competitive in the USA and Europe markets they are designed for.

      Seat height is a serious issue for bikes. I think it should be very adjustable, like on modern cars, along with the handlebars and pegs.

      • soi cowboy says:

        The north America market is peanuts. They sell 20 scooters in Asia for every gsxr sold in America (maybe 200). The Japanese must get off their butts and start importing 125 step-throughs into America. They sell for about 1000 USD in Asia. The big box stores are importing Chinese bikes that are stealing the market. The china bikes are junk, but Dad doesn’t care as long as it keeps the kid quiet for a while.

  10. bicep123 says:

    What I don’t understand is why the need to go lighter and smaller? If buyers wanted to go lighter and smaller, they can just buy a V-Strom 650. They should have gone the other direction, bigger engine, bigger tank, shaft drive. To give real competition to the other upper class enduros (BMW R1200GS, Triumph Tiger Explorer, Yam Super Tenere, maybe even the Honda VFR1200X). What’s this competing against? Kawasaki Versys 1000? All it’s going to do is steal sales from the V-Strom 650.

    • hipsabad says:

      Lighter is a good thing: quicker at starting and stopping, greater agility. I don’t think I ever want more weight on a bike–unless she’s a real looker. The DL1000 will be considerably more powerful than the 650. I’ve owned two 1000s and now a 650. I like the 650 but feel that it suffers from being overweight for its power output. Both bikes are top heavy, especially the 1000.

  11. Pat says:

    I commend Suzuki for it’s efforts on having a lower seat height, the more tucked in luggage then their 650 model, brakes, etc. It appears to be a well thought out bike. I, however, wouldn’t consider one, no matter how good it is, for the same reason as others have listed here. That weird ass front end.

  12. Ross says:

    The beak makes it look like an Angry Bird…

  13. Azi says:

    It’s nice to see the faces of those involved in the design of the machines we enjoy – I like how it reminds me of the human element behind the industrial object. I know it’s just PR so I’ve watched the video “with a grain of salt”, but it must be a joy and a privilege for designers like Ichimaru to be given the opportunity to essentially dream up new bikes according to their own vision and have it backed up by factory resources. Yes there is the commercial responsibility that comes with the design, but how many home garage tinkerers and hot rodders wish for a factory-supplied workshop, blank canvas and blank cheque to make whatever they like, whilst being paid for it!

    • dino says:

      Agreed! I often wish I had a hotline to some manufacturers so I could ask them “why??” Or to be able to suggest improvements, like the previous suggestion of two different front fenders. Cheap, easy, Euro’s get their Beaks, we get a normal front end!

  14. Sentinel says:

    Yes, loose the godawful bird-beak, and change the muffler so as not to take up so much cargo space.

  15. paul A says:

    I wonder what this guys wife looks like.

    • Tom K. says:

      Gogo Yubari?

    • jake says:

      If you looked like him, what do you think your wife would look like? But then, obviously, he is a highly successful man, so his wifey can’t be all that bad. When it comes to picking out the successful men from the losers, women tend to have dog noses – they be good at it – well, at least the ones who weren’t born with the issue of irrationally hating themselves.

      • MGNorge says:

        Gee Jake, some issues there around your parts?

        • jake says:

          Issues? What issues? I don’t see any issues. If you see a balding, unattractive man with a gal who is positively attractive, then most likely the man has social position or some financial success. If you are ugly and you are also butt poor, it is hard to get a good looking gal, all of which should go without saying. Of course, drug dealers and abusive pimps are the exception to this general rule, which would be one of the reasons why so many young, poor, ugly kids aspire to grow up to become one when they grow up. You really can’t blame them.

          The above are not issues. It’s just what we call reality.

    • Gary says:

      And this is somehow relevant?

      • Zammy says:

        Happy wife= Happy life

      • paul A says:

        Not relevant, just ran out of beak jokes.

      • jake says:

        Relevance? I think the original poster was wondering if his bad taste in the looks of bikes – this bike is unforgivably ugly – carries on to poor taste also in the looks of women. The original poster was trying to come to some rational explanation of how this man could have produced such a god awful looking bike. It was a fair question. I was just trying to go along with the gag.

        But to the real point: The man obviously received orders from corporate to produce an ugly bike. There is no other satisfactory explanation for why the new SV looks the way it does.

    • RBen says:

      (I wonder what this guys wife looks like.)

    • RBen says:

      I wonder what this guys wife looks like.)

  16. skybullet says:

    This is like Christmas and getting what you said you wanted. Light weight(and I am talking close to 400 lbs) means better acceleration, suspension compliance, all around handling, less mass to stop and even easier to roll around when stopped. Beak? Who needs a beak?

  17. goose says:

    Well, Ichimaru san comes across well, I hope his team really has developed a good bike. But, does it have to be so ugly? I don’t mean just the beak, the bike looks like it was designed by six different communities and none of them worked with the others. That thing makes the new DL650 look like a masterpiece on the lines of the 916 Ducati and that ain’t easy.

    If Suzuki sells the bike in the pictures it will need to be very, very good and very cheap.

    Hoping for an 850 Tenere from Yamaha that wasn’t designed by/ for blind people.


    • goose says:

      Also, the bags and top box look tiny. I doubt it comes up often in Japan or Europe but in the US (and lots of other places) Adventure Touring involves camping. Even with modern, “fast and light” equipment camping gear plus gear for everything from 35 degrees and snow flurries to 110 and 10% humidity that means big bags.

      Thought based on Mickey’s comment: How hard would it be to design a beak-less and beaked from end? It is a simple piece of bodywork, not an engine or frame. That way people could run what they wanted.


      • Tom R says:

        “Primitive camping” for most of us is defined as having to stay at a Motel 6.

        Still, I would appreciate panniers that are as box-like as possible. My old Honda Element was called The Toaster by my wife, and was not the sportiest of four wheelers, but it could a lot of stuff! I even hauled a couple of adult sheep in the thing.

        Motorcycle bags (especially on a bike like this) should be functional, not swoopy and “attractive”.

        • goose says:

          I guess it depends on your experience. Mine is that Adventure Touring requires staying in places when Motel 6s don’t exist. Without a tent, bag, ground pad, stove, plate/ bowl and cooking gear you will be uncomfortable, sleep derived and hungry. Just like the lack of gas stations requires big fuel tanks.

          Again, maybe the solution is two parts. The stock saddle bag lids could be skinny for traffic and hotel trips and an optional fat lid for real adventure touring.


          • mickey says:

            Once on a trip I ran into a guy BMW GS rider at a Comfort Inn in St Ignace. We got to talking about our respective bikes and he showed me the expandable factory bags on his bike. They were really cool. Skinny when you didn’t need them fat when you did. He also told me that huge GS weighed under 500 pounds. Unbelievable. to your competition..only better.

          • Hot Dog says:

            Hey, ah, somebody took the panniers off my 83 Venture. Has anyone seen them around here?

    • jake says:

      Maybe the bike will look better in a different color combo. Who knows? But if the bike does look as suggested, I’m a guessing the bike will be awfully cheap. If not in the beginning, then later when no one buys such an ugly for an elevated price.

  18. mickey says:

    Apparently its those dang Europeans that want a beak

  19. Tom S says:

    If you want to soar with the eagles, you need a beak!

  20. Michael H says:

    The key acronym for design improvement here is NFB.

  21. Michael H says:

    Ichimaru-san seems to have his brain and heart in the right places. I’d make three suggestions: (1) Spend a few days in Coldfoot Camp, half-way up the Haul Road, to talk with some serious North American adventure tourers; (2)Figure out a better solution to the muffler so it doesn’t eat up half of the hard case on the right said; and (3)Beakectomy on the current design.

  22. Norm G. says:

    uh oh, this is not gonna end well. LOL

  23. joe says:

    loose the beak!

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