Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT, the medium maxi enduro designed for travel, low fuel consumption and perfect performance for on and off use.
During the Suzuki V-Strom Academy, this year held in the suggestive hills around the Castle of Luzzano in Rovellasca (PV) we had the opportunity to try the maxi enduro 650 XT, already very popular on the market, in its second off-road adventurer soul.
La motorcycle it is presented as from the factory, with the classic stems and without any particular off-road element, being ready for adventure, except for the tires. The standard ones, too road, have been replaced by Anlas, with knobs for mixed use, or the super-performing Capra-X, distributed in Italy by Innovabox.
The first impact is good, the bike is high but without putting anyone in difficulty (to do off it is necessary to have a greater distance from the ground), especially when wearing the stivali suitable for enduro or touring / adventure (we have chosen the Alpinestars Corozal Adventure Drystar® oiled leather boot, really comfortable and protective).
La V-Strom it is designed for numerous uses: it is the typical everyday bike for the home / office commute and allows you to escape far away, even in two, on weekends or on vacation. In addition, the “dual” setting has been specially designed to get dirty off-road without fear. The medium-displacement twin-cylinder is smooth and progressive, the vibrations are contained and the off-road weight is manageable with considerable ease. In our opinion it is an excellent compromise also for the female audience.
The V-Strom is offered with Abs, adjustable Traction Control as standard, and for the 1000 also the inertial platform.
The control panel leaves ample space (perhaps too much) for the analog rpm counter, while all the information such as gear engaged, speed, TC level, temperatures, odometer and fuel level are relegated to the right digital section.
The bike mounts riser well-proportioned standard for use both off and everyday, which accommodate a handlebar that is just the right size, both to allow a correct posture of arms and shoulders, and for greater control in off-road driving. The controls on the knobs are intuitive and immediate, even if they are not used in off, but they are easily found on the road.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
The V-Strom has a streamlined line perhaps more street, given the aerodynamic profile, and is often underestimated for an “off” use, but its disarming qualities of reliability, handling and immediate adaptation to the tracks of different invoices literally surprised us. We have dealt with Strade Bianche uphill, even very steep, gravel downhill and stretches of tall grass without the bike being affected by changes in terrain and slope. The course did not allow the engine to express itself completely, as the track and the routes made were obviously not designed for speed but for driving technique. For those who suspect that they do not have enough low back we can instead confirm that the bike has no gaps at low revs, it is always ready but never invasive, the TC and ABS are activated only in extreme situations, leaving the rider with the pleasure of driving. with the right la safety.
In off-road, speed doesn't matter, engine response and reliability count, and the V-Strom passed the test with flying colors. During the transfer from the base camp to the castle, however squeezed the six gears always ready and manageable at all laps. The delivery is brilliant and satisfies even those with a "happy" guide. Tires Anlas Capra-X they always behave very well, giving a really good sense of safety both on dirt and asphalt, even if the knobs and the compound cannot promise a mileage equal to more road models.
CHASSIS AND BRAKES
The gear lever and rear brake lever are adjustable in a few easy steps, the knobs are proportionate as well as the clutch and brake levers. During the course we electrically disconnected the ABS, removing the dedicated fuse in the compartment under the saddle and we tested the real power of the brakes: they bite well without being spongy even in intensive use, they are modular, giving the right perception of locking when you overdo it. The traditional suspensions on the 650 do not make you regret the upside-down stems of the 1000: they naturally absorb the roughness of the many terrains tested during the course, preventing the arms from getting tired and without ever letting you lose control of the bike.
The phrase we often heard repeated by the course participants was: “this bike is a bicycle”.
Despite its size, the V-Strom immediately puts you at ease, the seat is intuitive and comfortable, the saddle tight just between the legs and comfortable in travel, moreover the tank is designed so that the knees can adhere well. natural at the same, without hindering the standing guide too much. The footpegs have been designed so that the imaginary line between the knees and the arms is as correct as possible, even for riders with important heights. In fact, at the course there were people from meter and seventy to meter and ninety. Everyone has harmoniously found the ideal and correct position.
In narrow and irregular sections, the V-Strom lets itself be guided without problems, tackles sharp bends in an intuitive and natural way, without ever giving a sense of instability, but never underestimating it: on slopes and when stationary, it immediately reminds you that it still has its own important specific weight (215 kg dry) and a high center of gravity like all road enduro bikes.
I would buy it because:
it is an all-rounder, it gives satisfaction both in mixed touring and off-road. The bike conveys safety and a desire to dare, with spartan and essential settings you do not get confused. It has no frills: the brake pedal and gear lever are adjustable in 10 minutes. The engine always pushes well and is sparing in consumption. Two cannot expect sprint miracles but it certainly has all the credentials to make you do many kilometers and long journeys.
What we did not like: in the digital age that is increasingly avant-garde and economical, the control panel is out of place, leaving so much room for the analog rpm counter at the expense of other more useful information for touring use. We do not understand the reason on this type of bike. The line would need a makeover with more character. The dimensions for a 600 are more suitable for a larger displacement, it should lose a few centimeters and kilograms.
La V-Power 650 XT turns out to be the right product for those who love the "tourist" tessellation and who in any case do not want to give up the Sunday ride, or are looking for a valid alternative to the car for the home / work section. With the V-Strom 650 XT Suzuki has managed to revitalize its workhorse, that of the mid-displacement enduro / tourer with attractive prices under 10 thousand euros. It is certainly not the historical “BIG” but the direction is the right one.
We have used: clothing Alpinestars, Premier helmet. Ph. Credits (Giovanni Oriani - Suzuki Moto Italia)