The Suzuki V-Strom is a bike of huge capabilities, especially when it comes to long distance touring. But with its hefty price tag and a lack of appeal amongst Indian consumers for adventure bikes, can it change popular opinion? We do the Suzuki V Strom just to find just that.
Adventure bikes, as a segment, haven’t really caught on in India. Blame it on the high price tag of such motorcycles, the fascination with sports bikes, and, quite simply, the lack of knowledge amongst the buying public about the vast capability that adventure bikes possess. Nine out of ten people may even confuse an adventure bike for a dirt bike. Anyways, let’s lay your doubts to rest once and for all. An adventure bike is one that works very well whatever the road terrain or the lack of them may be. So, when we heard that Suzuki has dared to go the adventure way and launch the Suzuki V-Strom in India, we just had to get our hands on it and get a taste of the bike’s abilities and to figure out whether it lives up to its cult status. Read on our comprehensive Suzuki V Strom in the terrain to which it belongs.
I had seen photos of the Suzuki V-Strom online, but, in reality, I didn’t expect it to be such a tall bike. Silly me, of course, it would be towering thanks to its massive 19-inch wheels. Honestly, I was a bit nervous initially because I had to tilt the bike a little bit to climb on. My ego was shredded to bits because my average Indian height fell extremely short for this bike. Anyways, having finally clambered onto the bike, I pressed the ignition button and was welcomed with a rather synthetic sounding grunt – which quite suited the character of the bike actually.
Two things that standout in this Suzuki are the riding position, and its maneuverability. The wide seat not only provides excellent cushioning, but even the lower back gets ample support – making the ride very comfortable. Comfort is the key word here, and the handlebars are placed perfectly so that your arms don’t tire out easily – which, of course, will help to no end when you’re touring long distances. With a raised seating position, your forward vision is even higher than some cars on the road, and you end up rubbing shoulders with tallboy hatchbacks and urban crossovers – which makes riding the bike, even in traffic, quite easy. Now, the bike is far from being a featherweight – after all, a dry weight of 228 kgs is no laughing matter. But the way it’s been balanced and can be maneuvered through traffic is quite exemplary. Even snaking through bumper-to-bumper traffic is an easy task with the Suzuki V-Strom.
This wanderlust bike’s 1,037cc engine is completely unlike that of a sports bike, which is always ready to jump out of its skin. The Suzuki V-Strom, instead, is a champion of torque delivery at low revs where the one-litre engine provides enough punch to accelerate quite quickly. Though it may feel like it’s a big, lazy bike, there’s no performance compromise in most situations – when prodded, the V-Strom shoots to speeds in the 160km/h region effortlessly.
However, one has to keep in mind that the Suzuki V-Strom is a tourer and not a knee scraping sports bike – but yet if you want to push the envelope limits and explore the outer limits of its performance, then it does so without disappointing you. Due to its weight, the bike remains stable and is quite confidence inspiring to ride even at high speed. On tarmac, the tyres provide ample support and grip. But try that on a dirt track, and the bike has a tough time balancing on loose road surfaces. This is a pity, because we were expecting a lot more. But to be fair on the bike, the tyres are designed for tarmac as well as gravel. So, maybe a change of tyres would make the V-Strom sing a different tune. Knobby tyres would have definitely transformed the bike into a credible hardcore off-roader.
To demonstrate how serious Suzuki is about the Suzuki V-Strom being an adventurer’s delight, it comes with two levels of traction control – with an option to switch it off completely if you’d like. The ABS remains on at all times however. So, if you want to venture off to India’s bikers’ paradise, Ladakh, or the final frontier – the North East – then the Suzuki V-Strom fits the bill.
The instrument panel is clean and easy to read, as the set up comes with a large analogue rev counter and a digital speedometer. It even tells you the ambient temperature and whether or not the traction control is on, and which mode its in. There is also a 12-volt socket where you can charge your gadgets or plug in a GPS device. It comes with a windscreen visor, which can be adjusted for height and angle simply with an Allen key.
The KYB adjustable front forks and the mono-shock rear suspension provides one of the best ride qualities of any two-wheeler in the country. It easily soaks up potholes and speed breakers. As the suspension is more setup for touring, the ride is not stiff and the damping of the shocks delivers good ride comfort. The V-Twin engine delivers solid power without producing any numbness or vibration. The six-speed gearbox is slick and the clutch is easy to use. The brakes, too, are very responsive, – maybe a little too much, – as it comes with twin discs in front and a single in the rear. So, one needs to be careful as a slight misjudgment in applying the brakes could have you diving forward.
The Suzuki V-Strom, with its beak like fascia, may not be the most attractive bike in the world, but it certainly comes across as being tough and rugged, – which, of course, it is. Priced at Rs. 14.95 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi), it’s hardly an affordable choice, but then when you’re looking for a bike with such a wide breadth of touring capabilities, a big budget is a must. It’s especially great for long distance riding, and keeps the rider in complete comfort, while the engine delivers a lot of grunt at low rpm. It’s clear that is a very capable machine. And, to get all these capabilities in a single product, there’ll always be a big price to pay.
- SUZUKI V-STROM
Engine: 1,037cc, V-twin, liquidcooled, DOHC
Power: 101bhp @ 8000 RPM
Torque: 103Nm @ 4000 RPM
Kerb Weight: 228kgs
Price: 14.95 lakhs (ex-showroom delhi)