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2009 Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom Review


by Marc Cantin ,

The Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom model has been around since 2002. Positioned by Suzuki as a dual purpose machine, it comes with an exciting litre V-Twin inherited from the TL1000 sportbike, the original anti-Ducati model from Suzuki, built to take advantage to the 250cc displacement bonus twins had over 4-cylinder machines in Superbike racing in the late 80s to 2000 period. Throughout its life, the big V-Strom has suffered, unfairly in my eyes, from comparisons with every 650 V-Twin-engined Suzuki, a family of outstanding right-sized sport, standard and dual purpose machines that are universally appreciated.

The DL1000 fulfills all of the needs of a typical street bound adventurer.

With my 115kg, I anticipated a great deal of satisfaction from the bigger machine, with extra torque and power as well as more generous ergos to match my extra “requirements”. And I was not disappointed, as the DL1000 delivers those extras. But all is not sweetness and light, as important items such as the electronics and aerodynamics do show their age, with shortcomings that owners can either live with (The electronics) or work to improve with after-market accessories (The windshield and aero package).

All the power and torque you need
Wide angle V-Twins, from 90 to 180 degrees, have always presented a special attraction to lovers of torque and of just the right amount of low frequency vibration to let the rider know that good, reliable work is being performed down there. Starting with the TL1000S and R sportbikes from the 1997 to 2003 period, Suzuki have worked at developing this hardy and exciting engine, and mated it with a quick shifting easy to use gearbox. With close to 100hp at 7,600 rpm, and strong torque from 3,000 rpm, the engine provides more than adequate power for every conceivable circumstance on the road.

Electronics development on bikes has boomed over the last decade, as current injection-ignition systems have pushed smoothness and correct behaviour way beyond systems from as little as 5 years ago ; and this is where the big DL comes up somewhat short. Starting off with a cold engine or riding through town at steady throttle under 3 000 rpm caused some stumbling, while shutting the throttle and coasting to a stop caused the engine on the machine I tested to die. These afflictions are certainly annoying, and can be minimized by adapting your technique. For example, you can accelerate slowly or simply drop a gear to avoid the stumble, and let the engine warm up before trying to accelerate harder.

Brakes are more than up to the task, with only one or two fingers required on the front brake lever.
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