It is hard to believe that SUZUKI created V-Strom almost 2 decades ago. Today it is considered one of the most reliable and affordable ADV motorcycles on the market. In the early two-thousands, Suzuki helped to define the adventure motorcycle category through DL1000.
Today ADV bike market is booming with every manufacturer trying to get a piece of the huge adventure market pie. And finally, Suzuki raised the competition stakes through their newly refreshed and updated V-Strom 1050 XT.
Stand out Features
Despite the lowest price among the “around a 1000cc” engine displacement ADV bikes, V-Strom is packed with all modern tech. It has a ride by wire throttle with 3 riding modes, cruise control, and modern traction control.
On top of that Suzuki has full LED lights, adjustable windshield, hydraulic clutch, hill hold control, combined brakes – the bike automatically applies rear brakes while front brakes are pressed. Also, V-Strom now has 6-axis IMU unit allowing for cornering ABS. The XT version bike comes equipped with spoked tubeless wheels, engine guards, and a centre stand.
V-Strom 1050 Engine
The engine is the same 90-degree V-twin that Suzuki used on V-Strom since 2002. Through the years it was updated multiple times to comply with Euro emission standards. The 2020 redesign increased displacement to 1037cc by increasing the bore from 98 to 100 mm while remaining stroke the same.
Suzuki installed a larger diameter throttle body to increase maximum power up to 106 horsepower at 8500 rpm and maximum torque to 100 Nm at 6000 rpm. Suzuki claims 4.9 l/100km fuel consumption (48 US MPG), which is considered good for a 100+ horsepower motor and allows a 400 km range with a 20-liter tank.
Also, the engine is more revy now. The previous V-Strom generation engine had maximum torque at 4000 rpm – a feature that many V-Strom fans enjoyed. For the 2020 redesign, Suzuki changed the engine character and moved peak power and torque up the rev range. The engine still has a lot of low-end grunt and can cruise at 90 km/h (60 mph) in 6th gear at just 3500 RPM.
Most modern ADV bikes including Honda Africa Twin, Yamaha Super Tenere, Triumph Tiger, KTM Adventure have steel frames installed. The reason for that is a better motorcycle feel while riding dynamically. Steel frame bends taking in access energy during bike manoeuvres and releasing this energy back going out of the corner or loosening throttle. The rider can feel the energy trapped in the frame and predict rear wheel spins and wheel traction limit with higher precision.
Unfortunately, V-Strom comes with an aluminium frame. Aluminium has its benefits in terms of weight saving, rigidity, and corrosion resistance, however, most riders would prefer a better on and off-road motorcycle handling feels to these qualities.
The bike comes equipped with a 19-inch front wheel and a 17-inch at the rear. This combination proved to be a good compromise for ADV bikes for decent all-road riding. There is a plentiful tire choice for these wheel sizes to accommodate both road and adventure rider needs.
V-Strom comes equipped with Kayaba 43 mm inverted and fully adjustable fork with 160 mm front wheel travel. The rear shock can be adjusted for preload and rebound damping also providing 160 mm rear-wheel travel. The rear swingarm is made of aluminium for lower unsprung mass. Final drive -chain.
While V-Strom suspension has much lower wheel travel compared to the competition in face of Africa Twin, Triumph Tiger, KTM, and even Guzzi V85TT, it is still good enough for dynamic riding on gravel and sandy roads. Especially in combination with spoked wheels.
The rear shock is linkage-assisted providing a smoother ride over small bumps and more controlled handling over bigger bumps. Also, 43mm inverted front fork has enough stiffness to handle higher pressure without bending providing better handling and control on bumpy roads. Read more about 2020 V-Strom 1050 specs
V-Strom 1050 XT Weak Side
Honda Africa Twin and BMW 850 GS have spoiled riders with insanely wide steering angle allowing for 180 turns in tight places. A much smaller steering angle on a V-Strom becomes evident right away you jump on it and try to manhandle the bike out of a parking lot. It is not a deal-breaker, but just something to think about when approaching a dead end.
One feature missing on a V-Strom is a skid plate. For a modern adventure motorcycle protecting the engine crankcase and oil filter is vital. Unsuccessfully lifted by the front wheel rock may turn a relaxing Sunday ride into a 5-hour headache with a tow truck. Even while riding on a paved road.
Overall 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050 XT is one of the best ADV bikes for the price. At $12000 it is very well equipped for a long adventure trip on paved and gravel roads. Cruise control, spoked tubeless wheels, decent suspension, 6 axis IMU with combined brakes and cornering ABS. Amazing ergonomics plus a proven bulletproof engine turns this motorcycle into an ultimate adventure tool.
There is no ideal motorcycle and Suzuki has its issues. However, for the price, V-Strom 1050 XT simply blows competition under the water. Other manufacturers should be ashamed for asking $20k for a similarly equipped motorcycle.
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