The No-Fuss-No-Hassle Adventure Bike

Suzuki hits MY18 with a shiny new V-Strom 1000 after a one-year hiatus, and it seems the factory spent that time wisely. The range retains the V-Strom 1000 and adds the off-road-tastic 1000XT to the adventure mix for the folks who favor the road (or non-road) traveled by few. Power remains the same at the 100-pony mark, but the mill upped its emissions game to meet the current requirements with a new exhaust system. Electronics received a buff as well with a new Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit that refines the ABS system to include lean-sensitive intervention for an extra layer of protection for those times when the available traction is split between steering and braking forces. Overall, the new V-Stroms look to be a little more capable and user friendly than the previous gen with more top-shelf goodies even if the top-end is currently showing a flat growth curve.

Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and 1000XT.

  • 2017 - 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 & 1000XT
  • Year:
    2017- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    L-Twin
  • Displacement:
    1037 cc
  • Price:
    12999
  • Price:

Design

2017 - 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 & 1000XT
- image 777382
The deep-scoop seat thoughtfully includes a junk-pad on the slope at the rear of the tank so you won't bruise your naughty bits during hard braking maneuvers.

Both models lead off with the typical adventure-beak feature at the front of the fairing that gets backup from the high-side, full-length fender that mounts to the fork feet and doubles as a fork guard to protect the swept area of the inner fork tube from grit and debris that could destroy the fork seal. The headlights come in an over-under arrangement recessed in the front of the new fairing design with an adjustable windshield that comes vented to smooth out airflow and reduce turbulence at the border of the rider’s pocket and the slipstream. No matter which one you choose, you can look forward to some hand protection to go with the newly redesigned front end. Good for riding in the rain, cold and combinations thereof, plus you can ride confident in the knowledge that you’ll never wind up with a pissed-off and injured bee/wasp/stinging-flying-thing stuck between the fingers of your mesh summer gloves.

A 5.3-gallon fuel tank gives the V-Strom that characteristic hump that get accentuated even more by the deep-scoop seat that thoughtfully includes a junk-pad on the slope at the rear of the tank so you (hopefully) won’t bruise your naughty bits during hard braking maneuvers. I guess that’s one good thing to be said for forward controls; plenty of forward bracing.

Fold-up, subframe-mount footpegs and J.C. handles provide the four points-of-contact for the passenger with a wide pad for the fifth; and as an added bonus, the handles flow to the rear to form a little luggage rack for some cargo capacity. Good thing, ’cause unlike the discontinued “Adventure” model, neither of these sleds come with stock bags, and it’s mighty tough to have a jaunt of any appreciable length without at least a few possibles along for the ride. LED turn signals and taillights take care of the rearward lighting with eye-piercing brightness for visibility and safety, and a mudguard/plateholder finishes off the spray containment for the rear.

Chassis

2017 - 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 & 1000XT
- image 777384
The lean-sensitive brakes are a definite boon, and they even allow for safer trail-braking maneuvers.

The V-Strom’s aluminum twin-spar frame looks like it just got back from fat camp with a 13-percent weight reduction and increased rigidity with a yoke-style swingarm to articulate the rear wheel. A set of 43 mm, usd KYB forks supports the front end on the whole Trinity of adjustments — compression/rebound damping and preload — and the rear monoshock is almost as flexible with adjustable rebound damping and a remote, hand-operated spring-preload adjuster for quick and easy tweaks sans the dirty knees.

The narrow chassis makes for easy training-wheel deployment from the lofty 33.5-inch high seat, and is all-around more comfortable than the bulky alternative that can leave you feeling like you’re gripping the barrel of a horse with your legs. It also leaves room for the rider to comfortably stand on the footpegs to control the bike from an erect position (no giggety).

Both come with the near-ubiquitous anti-lock protection, but the info fed to the system by the Bosch IMU makes the ABS perform beyond the norm. An on-board computer calculates the available traction based on the collected metrics, and it tempers the intervention levels so as to not tax the contact patches beyond what they can tolerate, theoretically. Just remember; fancy electronic fandanglery is no substitute for skill, and if you think the gizzies can save you from yourself, there’s gonna’ be some slow singin’ and flower bringin’ around your house, and right soon. That said, the lean-sensitive brakes are a definite boon, and they even allow for safer trail-braking maneuvers.

Additionally, the Combined Brakes feature shares a portion of its pressure with the rear anchor for a balanced braking effect that is meant to further increase stability. Tokico supplies the anchors with a pair of four-pot calipers and dual 310 mm discs up front and a twin-pot binder out back. While the base model rolls on cast wheels, the XT keeps to its off-road roots with laced wheels that use an aluminum rim to keep weight down and stainless-steel spokes to lace it all together. Both run a 19-inch hoop up front and a 17 out back.

Suspension, Front: Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension, Rear: Link type, single shock, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes, Front: Tokico 4-piston calipers, Disc, twin
Brakes, Rear: Nissin, 2-piston, Disc single
Tire, Front: 110/80R-19 M/C 59V, tubeless
Tire, Rear: 150/70R-17 M/C 69V, tubeless
Fuel Tank Capacity: 20.0 L (5.3 US gallons)

Drivetrain

2017 - 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 & 1000XT
- image 777388
The three-channel traction control system has an “Off” setting for those times you'd like to go full raw, and of course, when you want to get jiggy with it off-road.

Engine design is largely unchanged except for the emissions tweaks that see catalysts added to the exhaust system and an update to the Suzuki Exhaust Tuning system that injects fresh air into the waste-gas stream to help burn off any remaining free- or partially-burned hydrocarbons for cleaner exhaust. The two 100 mm barrels come set in a 90-degree “L” with a short, 66 mm stroke to give it the 1,037 cc displacement and performance numbers are reported to be 100 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 76 pound-feet of torque at a low four grand, at the shaft. Dual over-head cams time the valvetrain, and if you thought to save money on gas, you can forget it; the 11.3-to-1 compression ratio will have you at the expensive pump every time.

Induction management falls to the Suzuki Fuel Injection system that sports the Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve feature as well as the Idle Speed Control for smooth starts, power delivery and speed transitions across the range. The second set of butterfly valves helps bridge the gap between rider demand and engine capability, so even if you’re a bit abrupt with the throttle, the bike has got you covered. There is yet another valve in the system, this one is in the exhaust and it creates variable backpressure for a broader powerband.

A three-channel traction control system delivers two modes with different levels of intervention and an “Off” setting for those times you’d like to go full raw, and of course, when you want to get jiggy with it off-road. The six-speed transmission keeps the engine in the usable rpm range with a slipper clutch to help prevent excessive backtorque during downshifts and protect the integrity of the rear contact patch.

Engine: 1037 cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC 90-degree V-Twin
Bore x Stroke: 100.0 mm x 66.0 mm (3.937 in x 2.598 in)
Compression Ratio: 11.3 : 1
Fuel System: Suzuki Fuel Injection, SDTV-equipped
Ignition: Electronic ignition (Transistorized)
Starter: Electric
Lubrication: Wet sump
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate type

Pricing

2017 - 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 & 1000XT
- image 777403
MSRP is right around $13k for either bike, which is a nice price for what you get.

You can score a new V-Strom 1000 for $12,999 or a 1000 XT model for another three bills at $13,299. They come with a 12-month unlimited-mileage warranty with extended programs available and enough cool accessories in the factory catalog to balloon the price significantly.

Warranty: 12 month unlimited mileage limited warranty. Coverage extension and additional benefits are available.
Color:
V-Strom 1000: Pearl Glacier White
V-Strom 1000XT: Glass Sparkle Black & Champion Yellow
Price:
V-Strom: $12,999
V-Strom 1000XT: $13,299

Competitors

2017 - 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 & 1000XT
- image 777386
2017 - 2018 Ducati Multistrada 950
- image 777397
There isn't a lot of 'real' difference between these two, not enough to sway the average buyer either way in the absence of brand loyalty.

The V-Strom is a good-looking bike, it’s true, but for attractive design and capable technology, it’s hard to go wrong with an Italian ride and the Multistrada 950 from Ducati seems to fit the bill nicely. Like Suzuki, Duc’s ADV fairing is all about the bird’s beak, but it carries its lights in a side-by-side configuration and locates the front turn signals in the handguards for a bit of a cleaner front end than the V-Strom. Typical of the brand, the Multistrada carries voluptuous curves and a deep pilot’s seat that really puts the rider in the bike.

As far as electronics go, the Multistrada packs the Ducati Safety Pack that brings traction control and ABS to the table, but seem to fall short of the level of technological brilliance offered by the cornering ABS. The Riding Modes feature gives the engine variable performance on demand, and acts as a one-stop shop to control the other safety systems, so at the end of the day, the Duc is still a relatively top-shelf machine.

As the name suggests, the Duc rocks a smaller engine — 937 cc to be exact — but isn’t left wanting for power with 111 horsepower and 71 pound-feet of torque on tap against the 100/76 from the Suzuki, and it comes with Euro 4 emissions compliance. Naturally, this is one of Duc’s Desmodromic engines, but the new desmo plants aren’t as maintenance intensive as the old ones, so don’t let that scare you off.

Ducati is a bit pricier at $13,995, but much like the price, there isn’t a lot of real difference between these two, not enough to sway the average buyer either way in the absence of brand loyalty, anyway.

He Said

“For once, the Ducati was just a little too something in comparison to the V-Strom. I guess it’s the deep sculpting and dramatic curves that seem to try and add too much elegance to what is, functionally, a very practical bike. Normally I’d be on board, but I think Suzuki got it right, and the electronics suite seals the deal for me.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “You know, this is just a plain ol’ no-fuss-no-hassle adventure bike. It has plenty of torque down low where you need it on this type of journey and power delivery is smooth. It has some nice electronic fandanglery, such as the Motion Track ABS not unlike what’s on the GSX-R1000R. As a commuter, though, I’d like a softer seat, but the windscreen is actually quite nice for a stock screen.”

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 1037 cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC 90-degree V-Twin
Bore x Stroke: 100.0 mm x 66.0 mm (3.937 in x 2.598 in)
Compression Ratio: 11.3 : 1
Fuel System: Suzuki Fuel Injection, SDTV-equipped
Ignition: Electronic ignition (Transistorized)
Starter: Electric
Lubrication: Wet sump
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate type
Chassis:
Suspension, Front: Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension, Rear: Link type, single shock, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes, Front: Tokico 4-piston calipers, Disc, twin
Brakes, Rear: Nissin, 2-piston, Disc single
Tire, Front: 110/80R-19 M/C 59V, tubeless
Tire, Rear: 150/70R-17 M/C 69V, tubeless
Fuel Tank Capacity: 20.0 L (5.3 US gallons)
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 2280 mm (89.8 in.)
Overall Width: 930 mm (36.6 in.)
Overall Height: 1470 mm (57.9 in.)
Wheelbase: 1555 mm (61.2 in.)
Ground Clearance: 165 mm (6.5 in.)
Seat Height: 850 mm (33.5 in.)
Curb Weight: 233 kg (514 lbs.)
Details:
Electricals: Headlight:12V 65W (H9 high-beam) & 12V 55W (H7 low-beam), Tail Light: LED
Warranty: 12 month unlimited mileage limited warranty. Coverage extension and additional benefits are available.
Color:
V-Strom 1000: Pearl Glacier White
V-Strom 1000XT: Glass Sparkle Black & Champion Yellow
Price:
V-Strom: $12,999
V-Strom 1000XT: $13,299

References

Ducati Multistrada 950

2017 - 2018 Ducati Multistrada 950
- image 777392

See our review of the Ducati Multistrada 950.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: suzukicycles.com, ducati.com

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