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2009 Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom Review


by Marc Cantin ,

The great news is that the DL1000 is the perfect machine for simply riding short or great distances on real-life, i.e. bumpy roads. Suspension travel and absorbency are key parameters here, and I had not yet ridden a light touring bike that felt as comfortable as this one, either for a run to the A&P or to Shannonville to see the races.

I may be repeating myself here, but the DL1000 really does shine on the road, with a smooth ride, always enough power to place yourself perfectly in traffic, a seat-handlebar-footpeg arrangement that I could live for several 1000 km days on the trot.

At higher speeds, the second cloud on the DL’s horizon shows up: wind noise and serious buffeting in highway traffic above 100kph. Even with earplugs, I had a headache after only three hours of highway riding in normal Thursday car and truck traffic on a divided highway. I raised the windscreen to the alternate, higher position, and things calmed down enough to not provoke a headache on the return trip, but noise and buffeting still did not come down to a modern, acceptable level for touring.

The great news is that the DL1000 is the perfect machine for simply riding short or great distances on real-life, i.e. bumpy roads.

Much like the dated electronics, this bike needs a serious dose of computer simulation and wind tunnel work on aerodynamics. Suzuki knows how to do this, as demonstrated by the excellent Gladius for example, and I hope that an eventual new-gen DL1000 would feature such advancements, like, say, on recent BMW bikes.

Finally, if you like to ride hard on twisty roads, the suspension will help you until you get closer to the limit, where the enjoyable plushness turns into a bit of a disadvantage. If this type of more aggressive riding is your thing, think fork kit and $1000 shock to raise the handling level to where you want it. For me, thicker oil in the fork would do the trick.

A lot to like
Other than the two aforementioned weaknesses, the DL1000 fulfills all of the needs of a typical street bound adventurer, with plenty of power and torque, a nice and smooth engine sound, agile handling, the best ergos I have ridden in a while, and the smooth ride I love. A stint with a Touratech or Givi catalog would get me a better windscreen and smaller mirrors to manage wind noise and buffeting, and I have already learned to live with a little untimely stumbling around town - a small price to pay for such a friendly bike.

Torque, power and smoothness of the engine
Comfortable, plush ride
Excellent seat-bar-foot peg layout for long distance comfort

Stumbling below 3000rpm

Wind buffeting at high speed in traffic

Photo Credit : Philippe Champoux
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