Since passing my A licence, I have always wanted to ride a large adventure style bike. Off-road style bikes often have high seat heights which make stopping tricky for the shorter legged person.
I know some manufacturers do smaller seats to accommodate for this but didn’t feel like jumping in at the deep end with a huge bike and no confidence. It was by chance that I was at an open day, testing the new GSXR250 (review here http://ridewithpeaks.com/suzuki-gsx250r-2017-review/) when I mentioned that I had not tested an adventure style bike before. Instantly I was ushered towards the 2017 DL650. I was told to sit on it and check it out for size.
It wasn’t too bad, and I was still tippy-toeing it which wasn’t very comfortable with such a weighty bike. I found the best course of action was just to put one foot down and lean the bike over slightly to be able to touch the floor.
The 2017 V-Strom DL650 is the smaller brother of the DL1000. The 650 takes direct aim at some of the other smaller CC adventure/tourer bikes.
The V-Strom has been around since 2004, Suzuki claims they have sold over 230,000 DL’s worldwide. It is easy to see why.
The 2017 model comes with adjustable rider modes, traction control and ABS as standard and a wide range of accessories are available from added bars and protection to huge panniers.
The 650 version uses the hugely successful V-twin engine from the Gladius, which in turn comes from the SV650. Compared to the gladius and the SV, the gearing is better, and it has more torque.
The 645cc V-twin engine meets the Euro4 requirement, after some clever engineering also boosting peak power compared to the outgoing engine.
Despite being nervous about not being able to touch the floor, I headed out into Cheshire. Riding it through town was a delight, the torquey engine, made it a joy to navigate the streets to get to the open roads and sweeping corners.
The steering was light and precise with plenty of steering lock, perfect for filtering through rush hour traffic. Addition of the low RPM assist system which helps prevent stalling when pulling off. The bike automatically raises the idle speed slightly. The system works well and takes some pressure off the throttle hand.
I didn’t know what to expect in terms of handling having never been on this style of bike before. I have seen people throw adventure bikes around. I started out taking it pretty easy and just enjoying the scenery. Pretty soon though, confidence levels were building, and I was enjoying myself more and more. Throwing a giant adventure bike around through twisty corners, but it blew my mind. The upright riding position gives excellent control on the bars allowing you to lean it into the corner. The seating position is great, and the seat itself will enable you to move around on it easily yet is still comfy on a long journey.
The main wow factor was that you could throw this bike around like it’s a sports bike. Except it’s a sports bike that is comfy and you can do distance with. The only problem is that it doesn’t look like a conventional sports bike. I love how it looks, and I do have to admit I have a bit of a thing for wire spoke wheels. They are a thing of beauty.
The tyres are nothing short of fantastic and the brakes likewise. The suspension felt good, quite soft on the road but that is what I would expect. The screen is large and gives very good protection from the wind blast, I found myself riding with my visor open, without a problem.
The V-Strom is a complete hooligan machine, and it’s only the 650!
I would be quite happy to ride his bike for hours and hours without a problem. The next step for me is to have a go on the 1000 after I enjoyed this that much.