The phrase “Jack of all trades” usually comes with the unspoken implication that the subject is also a “master of none.” Suzuki makes significant inroads toward combating that assertion with its 2015 V-Strom 1000 ABS SE. Built for the Canadian “sport-adventure” bike market, the factory added features normally seen only in upper-middle to top-of-the-line, single-purpose bikes (ie sport, tour, offroad et cetera) to give this ride options and abilities beyond the norm for a dual-purpose bike. Join me as I look into how this Jack (Jacques?) challenges the second half of that phrase.

Continue reading for my review of the 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS SE.

  • 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS SE
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    4-stroke, 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 90degree V-Twin
  • Transmission:
    6-speed
  • Energy:
    Fuel Injection
  • Displacement:
    1037 cc
  • Price:
    13499

Design

2015 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS SE Exterior
- image 615354

As with most of these dual-purpose rides, form follows function – by a significant margin. Tour bikes and offroad bikes are as chalk to cheese as far as their design and mechanical needs go, and this particular blending of DNA does not necessarily beget the prettiest crossbreed. With that caveat out of the way, I would follow with a big, fat “So what!” To a pragmatist, this thing is a work of art.

You get just enough “tourish” features (front fairing, windscreen, bags and luggage rack) for comfort on the open highway, and the offroad capabilities you need to blaze trails of your own. No need to be selfish either – the two-up seating, passenger footpegs and grab rails allow you to take a friend to share the adventure. Overall, the design features represent a compromise between form and function – as it should.

Chassis

2015 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS SE Exterior
- image 615359

Offroad bikes have a tendency to be a bit tall (with good reason) and the V-Strom is no exception. Even though seat height is lower than in previous years, the 850 mm (33.5-inch) height on the 2015 model still starts to creep into tall territory. Do not despair, shorter riders, ’cause the narrow engine and fuel tank design gives the bike a narrow waist, hence a straighter (read: shorter) path between the turf and your tookus.

Even though seat height is lower than in previous years, the 850 mm (33.5-inch) height on the 2015 model still starts to creep into tall territory.

In spite of the narrow design, the tank still manages to pack in 20 liters (5.3 U.S. gallons) – think fuel camel without the hump. Let me say that I like having plenty of fuel, truly, I do; but I dread having to stand up a bike that tall with that much weight at the end of the lever, as it were.

Inverted, 43 mm KYB forks stiffen the front end to handle the forces of hard cornering and adverse terrain, and the coil-over rear shocks can be dialed in (literally, they have adjustment dials) for variations in the riding conditions and cargo/passenger load.

Personally, I like to see plenty of “brakeage,” and this Suzuki does not disappoint. Dual, 310 mm front discs provide plenty of leverage for the binding power of the four-piston, Tokico monoblock brake calipers.

The ABS monitors wheel speed and moderates the brakes when slippage is detected to prevent loss of traction due to overbraking, so you are free to use the brakes with confidence. The factory kept the brake components light, and used a lightweight, cast-aluminum rim to keep unsprung weight low. This should translate to good sensitivity and suspension response when the going gets rough.

Drivetrain

2015 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS SE Exterior
- image 615360

Now we get to the really “top-shelf” features, most of which are hidden away in the 1,037 cc, 90-degree, V-twin engine and its control systems. In typical Suzuki fashion, the engine comes with a veritable alphabet soup of control systems and engine enhancements. The factory kept piston-to-cylinder friction low with the Suzuki Composite Electrochemical Material (SCEM) plating on the cylinders and thin piston rings.

In typical Suzuki fashion, the engine comes with a veritable alphabet soup of control systems and engine enhancements.

Fuel-air induction falls under the management of a few different systems. First, each throttle body utilizes a 10-hole injector and the Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) system that allows the rider to control one valve, while the Idle Speed Control (ISC) and Traction Control System moderate the second valve in response to engine conditions and available traction, respectively. The traction control system monitors engine position and samples wheel speed every four milliseconds, and the sensitivity and intervention level can be set to one of two levels, or turned off altogether.

For me, one of the neatest features is in the most unglamorous of areas — the exhaust. The Suzuki Exhaust Tuning (SET) system uses an ECM-controlled butterfly plate within the single-muffler exhaust system that allows it to control the amount of backpressure in the system.

I like playing with the backpressure on my bike, but since I’m using lollipops it is a static adjustment. Glad to see someone has come up with an automatic system for this.

Highway trips and offroad adventures both benefit from the Suzuki Clutch Assist System (SCAS), which acts as a slipper clutch to prevent wheel hop and loss of traction during aggressive downshifts.

Price

The V-Strom SE can be had for $13,499 CAD with a 12-month, unlimited-mileage warranty, in Red, Gray, Black or White. A reasonable price for the most part, and very reasonable if you consider that it precludes the need for a second bike if you are into both off- and on-road adventures.

He Said

“I appreciate what Suzuki is doing with this design, and can dig what they stuck under the hood. Maybe it’s because of the bill-like front fairing, I don’t know, but I can’t get the image of a bird out of my head! Ok, maybe that was too mean – after all, mud fences are ugly too, and they work just fine.”

She Said

My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "I am a fan of these adventure bikes, though the offroad aspect makes the ground clearance high enough that the seat height is prohibitive for us height-challenged folks. Still, these V-Stroms offer nice "big bike" power and performance in that mid-range cc slot. Folks like to compare these V-Stroms to Yamaha’s Super Ténéré bikes. The 1200 cc Super Ténéré has a little more oomph, but it has a bigger engine. It comes down to personal preferences and individual priorities as to which one wins."

Specifications

Engine Type: Four-Stroke, Two-Cylinder, Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, 90 degree V-Twin
Displacement: 1,037cc
Bore X Stroke: 100.0 Mm X 66.0 Mm (3.937 Inches X 2.598 Inches)
Compression Ratio: 11.3 to 1
Transmission: 6-Speed Constant Mesh
Overall Length: 2285 Mm (89.96 Inches)
Overall Width: 865 Mm (34.05 Inches)
Overall Height: 1410 Mm (55.5 Inches)
Wheelbase: 1555 Mm (61.22 Inches)
Ground Clearance: 165 Mm (6.5 Inches)
Seat Height: 850 Mm (33.5 Inches)
Curb Mass: 228 Kg (502.65 Pounds) (Excluding SE Accessories)
Suspension Front: Inverted Telescopic, Coil Spring, Oil Damped
Suspension Rear: Link Type, Coil Spring, Oil Damped
Brakes Front: Disc, Twin
Brakes Rear: Disc
Tires Front: 110/80R19M/C 59V, Tubeless
Tires Rear: 150/70R17M/C 69V, Tubeless
Ignition Type: Electronic Ignition (Transistorized)
Fuel Tank: 20.0 Liters (5.3 U.S. Gallons)
Standard Warranty: 12-Month Unlimited Mileage Limited Warranty
Price: $13,499 CAD
What do you think?
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