Suzuki adds to its lineup with a mid-displacement adventure-ready V-Strom

If you’re looking for a mid-displacement adventure bike that will actually handle some off-road work or a solid commuter for the urban jungle, then Suzuki’s 2020 V-Strom 650XT Adventure should be on your short list. This model builds on the 650 platform and it boasts extra protection for both bike and rider along with stock dry-storage and a proven V-twin powerplant. As usual, Suzuki rounds out the package with a bevy of proprietary ride-quality electronics to back up the various variables built into the mechanics of the bike to deliver a customizable riding experience.

  • 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Displacement:
    645 cc
  • Top Speed:
    100 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    10399
  • Price:

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure Design

  • Halogen and LED lighting
  • Three-way adjustable windshield
  • Blackout treatment
  • LCD Display
  • 9.8-gallon waterproof aluminum panniers
2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
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2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
- image 878722
2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
- image 878725

More frequently now, I see mid- to large-displacement adventure bikes used as general-purpose commuters, and when they come stock with panniers, handguards, and an adjustable windshield, they’re effectively ready to go with nary a glance at the accessories catalog. The V-Strom 650XT Adventure fits that bill. A short bird’s beak and over-under halogen headlights lead the way over a sculpted front fender that multitasks as an inner fork-tube guard and wind shunt. The blackout treatment starts early with darkened rims, hubs, and fork sliders, and it spreads to the drivetrain, engine guards, and frame to create a generally sinister air with custom-build and off-road undertones.

The windshield is adjustable for a trio of positions to cover a range of body styles, and since it's well vented, there is little of the tiresome head-buffet effect apparent at speed.

Behind the glass, an extra accessory bar provides a handy place to mount mobile electronics devices such as a GPS receiver.

A 5.3-gallon fuel tank lends the V-Strom 650XT Adventure the typical ADV-bike hump, but manages to soften the effect through some gentle curves and a front fairing that extends the lines from the tank. Without the quick-connect bags, the flyline sports a graceful “S” curve as it rides back up from the pilot’s seat to the pillion’s along the upswept subframe, but the aluminum boxes visually break up that curve somewhat once they’re installed.

The taillight rides tucked under the little luggage rack that’s behind the p-pad, and it looks like this is where the only LED lights on the bike are found. The rest are halogen/incandescent bulbs. A short mudguard mounts the rear blinkers, tag light, and license plate ride in a fairly protected area, as long as the boxes are installed, anyway. Out back, the blackout treatment continues into the tip of the tail, the swingarm and even the exhaust system to visually tie the bike together end-to-end.

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure Chassis

  • ABS
  • Accessory mount bar
  • Narrow waist
  • Bash plate
2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
- image 878736
2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
- image 878729
2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
- image 878731

Aluminum is the material of choice on the V-Strom 650XT Adventure for the lightweight strength it adds to the equation. A twin-spar frame and twin-side swingarm provide the main structure with the engine used as a stressed member to keep weight down and maintain rigidity at the same time.

Frame, tank, and seat meet at a narrow waist that helps shorter riders deal with the somewhat lofty, but not unexpected, 32.9-inch seat height.

You had to know that the 6.7-inch ground clearance would come at a price, right?

A bash plate protects the engine and exhaust system from terrain strikes if you actually take it off the black and onto the brown. The wheels are offroad-tastic with aluminum hubs and rims laced together with steel spokes. They mount a 110/80-19 up front opposite a 150/70-17 in a street-biased tread that’ll also tackle loose material such as sand and dirt roads.

Standard 43 mm forks deliver adjustable spring preload, while out back the link-type rear shock sports both the ubiquitous selectable spring preload complete with hand-wheel adjuster and a variable rebound-damping adjuster to wrap up the stems. Dual front brake discs and twin-piston Tokico anchors join a single-pot Nissin caliper to reduce speed under ABS overwatch.

Suspension, Front: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension, Rear: Link type, single shock, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes, Front: Dual Tokico, 2-piston calipers, ABS-equipped
Brakes, Rear: Nissin, 1-piston, ABS-equipped
Tires, Front: 110/80R19 M/C (59V), tubeless
Tires, Rear: 150/70R17 M/C (69V), tubeless

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure Drivetrain

  • 645 cc V-Twin engine
  • Easy Start feature
  • Idle Speed Control system
  • Low RPM Assist
  • Traction control
2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
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2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
- image 878724
2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
- image 878723

There’s a lot to unpack with the electronics suite on the V-Strom 650XT Adventure, so let’s establish the mechanicals first. An 81 mm bore and 62.6 mm stroke gives the 90-degree V-twin its 645 cc displacement and 11.2-to-1 compression ratio. Dual over-head cams time the valves to eliminate the need for pushrods and keep the reciprocating mass low for safe revs at the top of the range, plus the dual-spark heads deliver reliable ignition.

A six-speed transmission crunches the ratios with short gearing that ensures solid holeshots and a top gear that runs an overdrive ratio for interstate travel.

A tough O-ring chain drive makes the connection between power and pavement. The 70-horsepower output and overall drive ratio turns out 100 mph at the redline in top gear.

Now for the gadgetry. Induction control falls to the dual, 39 mm throttle bodies that house a pair of butterflies each; one for the rider demand, and a computer-controlled secondary that smooths out the deficit between demand and capability to deliver seamless operation. An Easy Start feature, Idle Speed Control system and Low RPM Assist ensure reliable stable operation at the bottom of the rev range and during cold starts. The advanced traction control comes with a trio of intervention levels (1, 2, and “Off”) to deliver varying levels of slip so you can dial in for the conditions and/or your skill/comfort level.

Engine: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 90˚ V-twin
Displacement: 645 cc
Bore x Stroke: 81.0 mm x 62.6 mm (3.2 in. x 2.5 in.)
Compression Ratio: 11.2:1
Fuel System: Fuel injection, SDTV-equipped
Starter: Electric
Lubrication: Wet sump
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate type
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Final Drive: Chain, RK525SMOZ8, 118 links

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure Pricing

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
- image 878738
2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
- image 878721
2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
- image 878730
The 2020 V-Strom 650XT Adventure rolls for a base price of $10,399.

It comes in Pearl Vigor Blue over black as the only color package available this year.

Warranty: 12-month unlimited mileage limited warranty, Longer coverage periods with other benefits available through Suzuki Extended Protection (SEP)
Color: Pearl Vigor Blue
Price: $10,399

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure Competitors

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure
- image 878732
2015 - 2018 Kawasaki Versys 650 / Versys 650 LT / Versys 1000 LT
- image 771527

Suzuki’s domestic foe, Kawasaki, looks like it has an answer for the V-Strom in its Versys 650.

Kawasaki Versys 650

2015 - 2019 Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT
- image 822735

The Versys rolls with less capability than the V-Strom due to a lack of hand protection and secure dry storage in the stock equipment. Sure, that can be remedied through the accessories catalog, but at extra cost so keep that in mind at the checkout.

The Versys strikes a similar figure with some flow to the design and S-curve to the flyline while it meets all the usual design criteria for the ADV genre. I prefer the look of the Suzuki, but I’ll let your taste speak for itself.

Kawi gets a win in the front suspension with adjustable rebound and preload up front, but it falls behind with only the obligatory spring-preload out back to more or less break even. The brakes are similar enough with ABS protection across the board though the Versys can be had in a non-ABS edition for a raw ride in that respect. A parallel-twin mill drives the Versys with 68 horsepower and 47 pound-feet of torque against 70/45 from Suzuki’s V-twin for another close-enough metric.

As for electronics, Kawi falls significantly behind with little of the fandanglery that the V-Strom brings to the table, and it is perhaps because of this that Kawi is able to get its most significant victory at the checkout with its $8,299 sticker against the V-Strom's $10k-plus tag.

Read our full review of the Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT.

He Said

“Looks like the V-Strom 650XT Adventure is nearly as capable as its large-displacement sibling, the 1050 XT, just in a slightly smaller package. While the Suzuki wins out against Kawasaki in the fandanglery department, it will find stiffer point-for-point competition from the likes of Ducati and Triumph to name a few. Of course, the real question is whether any of the pros choose one for some globetrotting rally or another. Time will tell.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I knew this had to be coming when Suzuki released the V-Strom 650XT Touring. The Touring was so road oriented, I knew there would be a more off-road version sooner rather than later. Here we are. It just needs some street knobbies. The narrow waist makes it much easier for height-challenged folks (I include myself in that description) to reach the ground.”

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 90˚ V-twin
Displacement: 645 cc,
Bore x Stroke: 81.0 mm x 62.6 mm (3.2 in. x 2.5 in.)
Compression Ratio: 11.2:1
Fuel System: Fuel injection, SDTV-equipped
Starter: Electric
Lubrication: Wet sump
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate type
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Final Drive: Chain, RK525SMOZ8, 118 links
Chassis:
Suspension, Front: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension, Rear: Link type, single shock, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes, Front: Dual Tokico, 2-piston calipers, ABS-equipped
Brakes, Rear: Nissin, 1-piston, ABS-equipped
Tires, Front: 110/80R19 M/C (59V), tubeless
Tires, Rear: 150/70R17 M/C (69V), tubeless
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 89.6 in. (2,275 mm)
Overall Width: 35.8 in.(910 mm) No accessories installed, 37.0 in.(940 mm) Approximate width with Adventure accessories installed
Overall Height: 55.3 in. (1,405 mm)
Wheelbase: 61.4 in.(1,560 mm)
Ground Clearance: 6.7 in.(170 mm)
Seat Height: 32.9 in.(835 mm)
Curb Weight: 476 lb.(216 kg) No accessories installed, 528 lb.(239 kg) Approximate weight with Adventure accessories installed
Fuel Tank Capacity: 5.3 gal.(20.0 L)
Electrical:
Ignition: Electronic ignition (transistorized)
Spark Plugs: NGK MR8E-9
Headlight: 12V 65W (H9 high-beam) and 12V 55W (H7 low-beam)
Tail light: LED
Details:
Warranty: 12-month unlimited mileage limited warranty, Longer coverage periods with other benefits available through Suzuki Extended Protection (SEP)
Color: Pearl Vigor Blue
Price: $10,399

Further Reading

Suzuki

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TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
About the author

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

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