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2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050xt review: Red, white and brilliant – Roadshow

The Suzuki V-Strom 1050xt in its pure factor: an all-day trip with pals.


Kyle Hyatt/Roadshow

On paper, the Suzuki V-Strom has by no means been an extremely attractive bike. It is obtained a modest powertrain that produces completely enough energy and torque. It is obtained an unflashy suspension and brake setup that works in addition to you’d need it to. On paper, it is boring. However in observe, it is sensible.

The V-Strom 1050xt is an absolute workhorse of a motorbike. It is snug for hours within the saddle and it is tall (like most journey bikes), so visibility is improbable. It is obtained anti-lock brakes and traction management, so it by no means feels prefer it needs to chunk you, and it is also now a motorbike making energy within the low triple digits, so it is not sluggish. The V-Strom is one thing you purchase as a primary or second bike after which by no means hassle eliminating or upgrading. It simply does the whole lot properly.

The V-Strom is powered by a 1,037-cc, 90-degree V-twin engine, which implies it has a bit extra character than a few of the different parallel-twin-powered bikes within the class. This engine has been round for over a decade, having acquired numerous incremental upgrades over time to the purpose the place it feels nearly unflappable. It is a comparable tactic to different Suzuki fashions like the Katana, the place the corporate retains iterating on an outdated engine and it finally ends up being characterful and nice and excellent for its new life. Just like the Katana, the V-Strom has a number of user-selectable trip modes to assist tweak throttle response to the rider’s liking.

The 1050xt makes a wholesome 106 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque — nothing Earth-shattering, even for the journey class, however the best way it delivers energy is easy and intimidating. That engine is paired with a six-speed sequential gearbox and a moist multiplate clutch. The gearbox is beautiful to make use of, requiring minimal effort to shift. The clutch is mild on the lever and simple to modulate, including to the Strom’s easy-to-ride nature.

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The inventory Tokico brakes aren’t particularly attractive, however they work properly and really feel good on the lever.


Kyle Hyatt/Roadshow

The V-Strom’s suspension is not particularly visually spectacular. Nonetheless, the extent of adjustability is nice sufficient, and the trip — whereas on the delicate aspect — is great, particularly for longer stints. It isn’t the world’s most competent canyon carver, even in contrast with different journey bikes, but it surely’s additionally not as costly as those other bikes, so it is a good trade-off.

The entrance Tokico brakes use twin four-piston calipers that clamp onto 310-millimeter rotors. The again brake makes use of a two-piston Nissin caliper and a single, 260-millimeter rotor. The brakes are completely advantageous for all however probably the most aggressive highway use, and I admire the quantity of preliminary chunk adopted by loads of simple modulation as much as the purpose of ABS engagement. The lever really feel is suitable however would profit from the addition of braided stainless-steel strains to agency issues up. One other excessive level is Suzuki’s resolution to incorporate tubeless spoked wheels, not one thing usually seen at this value level.

Whereas the V-Strom is not precisely packed to the gunwales with creature comforts on the extent of, say, a BMW GS, it is not completely with out them, both. It has a manually adjustable windscreen that’s completely toolless and really intelligent — although it is not safely adjustable whereas driving. The mechanism is a giant, milled aluminum toggle lever on the entrance of the display screen that, when pulled out, gives a number of inches of adjustment.

Cruise management can be commonplace due to the Strom’s ride-by-wire throttle and works very properly. That is particularly helpful on lengthy driving days to assist keep away from hand cramp. The usual device-mounting bar above the digital instrument panel is a really good characteristic, and one thing that might value additional on, say, a BMW. It is on the excellent top for legibility and to keep away from interfering with the view of the speedometer. The USB plug can be a brief distance away from the mounting bar which means you will not have numerous cords tangling issues up.

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Not solely is the V-Strom’s display screen actually arduous to {photograph}, it may be somewhat arduous to see clearly in brilliant mild.


Kyle Hyatt/Roadshow

The mark of any actually good journey bike is simply how snug it’s on a really lengthy trip. To check the V-Strom on this method, I went on a 12-hour trip with some pals to have a good time the lifetime of my late friend Davey G. Johnson. The trip began in Ojai, California, and went north by canyons and forests and even an 18-mile stretch of filth highway alongside California’s San Andreas fault referred to as the Carrizo Plain. Via all of it, the Strom carried out flawlessly. It by no means skipped a beat mechanically, was a riot within the canyons regardless of its modest efficiency figures and solely obtained to be genuinely uncomfortable round hour 10.5 as I used to be driving house to Los Angeles. The V-Strom’s huge 5.3-gallon gasoline tank additionally made the lengthy transits between gasoline stops a nonissue.

The bike additionally excels within the metropolis throughout day by day use. It is tall, and that makes visibility in site visitors wonderful. It additionally has a lightweight clutch, which implies your hand does not get so drained in stop-and-go site visitors. The V-Strom is comparatively slender by journey bike requirements, so splitting lanes is mostly an possibility, even on metropolis streets. On highways, splitting is a breeze. 

Discovering a motorbike that does the whole lot properly is extremely powerful. Motorcycles, by their very nature, are outlined by their specified duties. The issues that make a sport bike sensible on monitor make it compromised on the road and a complete no-go on something resembling filth. Nevertheless, the journey bike class comes the closest to the middle of the assorted motorbike Venn diagrams. It isn’t excellent at something, however you are not going to search out your self lacking out on actions since you’re on the unsuitable bike.

The V-Strom 1050xt is an ideal instance of this versatility. It gives you entry to just about each form of motorcycling that you simply may need to do and handles every activity with stunning competency. The truth that the V-Strom can be fairly priced, well-equipped and mechanically unflappable (if historical past is something to go by) means it might make for one hell of a primary or second bike, and even the final one you will ever want.

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Author

Kyle Hyatt