Part of the appeal of Adventure Touring is the ability to go pretty much anywhere, anytime. If a gravel road just happens to be an alternative route to where you’re heading to chances are you’ll take it. Why the heck not?
For the vast majority of riders interested in this genre of bike, the pavement is as exotic a surface as it gets. Then again, that pavement can also take you to places that you never would have dreamed -- and there’s no fault in that.
The All-New Suzuki V-Strom 1000
When “Adventure” is indirectly part of your name, you have some big shoes to fill.
And with the highly anticipated introduction of the 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000
, the shoes got even bigger.
Was it worth the wait? I would say, yes.
Suzuki offers a genre of bike that not only has a very reasonable price tag, but one that can take you off the beaten path, and still look good doing it.
What it Gained. What it Lost.
In the revamping process, the V-Strom 1000 shed 8kg (17.6lbs) and adopted a sleeker style.
Drawing from the Japanese motorcycle maker’s heritage, the bike reflects design cues from the 1988 DR750S, Suzuki’s first adventure touring motorcycle. Note its beak-like nose and rear LED lights.
Some think it falls short on the aesthetic appeal side. I can see what they’re talking about. It’s definitely not as sexy as the BMW R1200GS or Ducati Multistrada, but I like its humble appearance. And more importantly, I like the way it rides -- more on that later.
There’s also a height- and angle-adjustable windscreen. Its height ranges from 15mm to 30mm from standard position, and the angle is adjustable by hand from 7.5-degrees to 15-degrees from standard position.
Furthermore, there’s a redesigned four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 1037 cc, 90°V-twin engine that powers this new bike, linked with a 6-speed transmission. Suzuki doesn’t publish their horsepower numbers, but it had everything I needed for the open road. I wasn’t disappointed.
The V-Strom also has the new Suzuki Clutch Assist System. It works as a slipper clutch to provide smoother downshifts, and also works to make the lever 13% easier to squeeze. Translation: The clutch is so easy to work with and a dream to use when riding in urban environments.
|There’s a redesigned four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 1037 cc, 90°V-twin engine that powers this new bike, linked with a 6-speed transmission. (Photo: Alexandra Straub)
When riding with someone on a Harley and another on a Ducati, they got a little envious of my saddlebags.
There’s a capacity of 29L in the left case and 26L in the right case. They lock and unlock with the ignition key and are detachable without tools. That way, I didn’t need to take a backpack for my adventures.
Don’t Call me Cheap
The Suzuki V-Strom has a very reasonable price of $12,999, which includes ABS, the side cases, hand guards, and a centre stand.
If you just want the ABS without the side cases and such, it has an MSRP of $11,999.
Some ask if it’s worth the price jump from its 650 sibling. Having ridden the 650 a couple of years ago, and not having been amazingly overwhelmed with it I would say the 1000 is worth it. Then again, if you don’t need the additional weight or power, it’s up to you.
Loving Life on the Road
Thanks to a lower seat option -- 820mm/32.2” -- it made it just that much easier to put my foot down. For those who don’t need this, the standard seat height is 850mm/33.5”.
Weighing in at 228kg (502lbs), it’s not as heavy as some of its competitors, but is still a sizeable bike. It feels firmly planted on the road at highway speeds and doesn’t waver easily when it’s windy outside.
Having put over 1,500km on the 1000, I got a feel for its road dynamics. Its engine revs smoothly, but you really need to bite into the throttle for that launching effect. The suspension isn’t jarring and very pleasant for leisurely tours. -- or for a 12-hour day on the open road.
|Weighing in at 228kg (502lbs), it’s not as heavy as some of its competitors, but is still a sizeable bike. (Photo: Alexandra Straub)
While I didn’t take it too far off the pavement -- a lot of owners don’t either -- I didn’t feel a lot of vibrations in the grips, seat or pegs. Overall, it’s a very well-balanced and comfortable bike.
There’s also a 12-volt DC outlet that can be used to power a GPS or charge a mobile device, located conveniently by the instrument cluster.
It is said that it’s not about the destination, but about the journey. With the 2014 V-Strom 1000, it’s about both -- and what a wonderful bike to go places on.