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Suzuki DL650 V-STROM Adventure Motorbike Review

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MCN overall verdict rating is 5

We approached the new V-Strom full of skepticism but have been swayed.
First, the restyle is a stunning success in its own right. I can’t think of any bike that looks so classy for so little money. Second, almost every aspect has been improved in terms of performance, ranging from engine and handling to manageability and range.

But what’s impressed most is how all that lot adds up to an immensely, almost peerlessly versatile package that is simply brilliant value for money.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The revised Gladius engine is willing and eager. The SV650 based V-twin has long been considered the virtually unchallenged leader in its class, and in this uprated form, though not startlingly different, is better yet: always flexible, free-revving and yet, for a V-twin, impressively smooth, too.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

There’s an improved tautness to the whole plot. It’s no full-on scratcher, of course – the upright gait, 19-inch front wheel and budget/all-rounder suspension, brakes and tyres preclude that, but it’s now also a long way from the mushy vagueness its trailie style may suggest and can genuinely be thrown around with confidence.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Still a budget bike, but now less obviously so. Instrumentation has gone up another level, ABS is now standard and there’s a decent rack but any other goodies are only as optional extras.

Suzuki DL650 V-Strom 650 ABS (2011 - current)

Detail Value
New price £6,899
Dealer used prices
£4,580 (2011) - £6,320 (2014)
Private used prices
£4,120 (2011) - £5,690 (2014)
  View full used price info
Engine size 645 cc
Power 68 bhp
Top speed 120 mph
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 4.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 5 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

In person the restyle is seductive and classy. The now curvy, wind tunnel-developed lines are more integrated; the detailing and instruments more sophisticated and modern, and the use of more varied materials and textures gives the new V-Strom an air of bikes as luxurious as Ducati’s Diavel rather than a budget-priced middleweight. The front mudguard, tank band and sidepanels have an (admittedly fake) carbon fibre style weave, satins and brushed aluminium mix with glossy metallic paint and the new seat, complete with red stitching and embossed ‘V-Strom logo, on its own looks classy and a cut above.

Value

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Excellent. The old V-Strom was a good, budget bike. The new one is a great bike that just happens to be at a budget price. Considering the style, finish, equipment and ability it makes even the great Tiger 800 seem pricey.

Insurance

Insurance group: n/a

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Model History

2011: Launched as successor to old V-Strom

Other Versions

Specifications

Top speed 120 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 68 bhp
Max torque 44 ft-lb
Weight 214 kg
Seat height 835 mm
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range 200 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group of 17
Engine size 645 cc
Engine specification Liquid-cooled, 90º V-twin, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin spar
Front suspension adjustment Preload only
Rear suspension adjustment Preload and rebound
Front brakes 2 x 310mm front discs with twin-piston calipers and ABS
Rear brake 260mm disc with single-piston caliper and ABS
Front tyre size 110/80R19
Rear tyre size 150/70R17M

See all Suzuki DL650 V-STROM motorcycles for sale

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£3,895

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DL650 V-STROM

21376 miles

£3,999

Suzuki
DL650 V-STROM

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£3,200

Suzuki
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£4,699

Suzuki
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miles

£6,595

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(10 reviews)

  • Very accomplished bike

    johnrodgers

    Average rating rating is 4

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    The bike feels very well put together and is stupidly easy to ride. Perfect low speed fuelling combined with the wide bars make it ideal for commuting in heavy traffic. As a long distance tourere the genuine 200 mile tank range combined with 70+ mpg on long runs make it a great tourer. Handling is good but if you push it you soon find the limits.. It is fun to ride on well surfaced A and B roads and the long travel suspension alleviates the worst of neglected British tarnac Also above 90 the bike starts feeling a bit vague but nothing to be concerned about. Drive chain needed adjusting twice in 10k * miles, the bike never failed to start and nothing went wrong. The engine is a gem, it is very placid if ridden slowly but also satisfying to thrash. Way too heavy to take off road, this is a road bike, don´t believe the marketing hype. Rear tyre replaced at 7K but could have gone to 8K if needed. Lights are class leading, car like illumintion at night. Very safe bet as an all rounder or long distance tourer.Sometimes felts a bit bland and appliance likebut if that is the price to be paid for 100% reliability I am more than happy. Only niggling irritating feature was the cold temperature warning which can´t be overidden. Do I really need a bike to tell me how cold it is?

    30 July 2014

  • Good just got better

    casperdog777

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Having the ''old'' pre 2011 V Strom 650 for three years I knew that the updated version was going to be an improvement. But, it is a reallly new bike, yes, it is still a Suzuki and a 650, but you are getting in effect a new bike. The riding is taut and responsive yet frugal. The dash layout is logical and easy to use (those indicator lights are TOO small though Suzuki!) . Suzuki are milking a winner here. The overcrowded roads of England mean a mid range bike like this is always going to have a place; it eats poor British pot holed roads for breakfast and can easily take mild off roading. The quality of the parts seems to have improved and the rear suspension unit is easily adjustable soft/hard settings. Economy was good on the old model and this model is as good although the tank is two litres smaller. Arguably this slimmed down V Strom looks a bit trimmer than the old V Strom. The wind deflection from the screen/fairing is good. I have to say I am pleased I purchased this model. Oxfor heated grips, hand guards and a centre stand plus a Kappa top box mean that this is a practical yet fun all rounder bike. 10 out of 10 from me.

    02 May 2014

  • Exceeded my expectations

    Hondavfr800

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Having owned many different styles of bike, I wanted something that was comfortable, didn’t aggravate my neck problem, bring back the smile factor as the last two bikes failed on that count and possibly be able to cover some miles if required. Why a DL 650? Well, a slightly desperate measure to off load a recently purchased classic Yamaha sports bike and not wanting a bike similar to previously owned machines I pointed at a DL 650. I have never understood adventure bikes until now…. I was expecting a wallowy uninspiring bike that ticked some boxes but not the ones I wanted. A truly fabulous bike to own and the demo ride left me absolutely stunned on how good it really was ( had to have one – big smile factor back again! ) and whilst I have no plans to go off road, it really handles solidly, the tyres and suspension offer plenty of confidence and feel. The little v twin is grunty and not too vibey and whilst I much prefer inline fours I was pleasantly surprised at the eagerness of the engine especially as you boot it out of a corner. During the running in period I was getting 72+ mpg but for me the fun is just sitting there soaking up the surroundings in a really relaxing package, I actually feel chilled not in that sports bike frenzy mode whilst riding. On the downside I wasn’t too keen on the excessive noise around my helmet, far more than the sports bikes I’d owned so I did a little research and the nice members on V-strom.co.uk pointed out a few cures that can help. ( different mirrors and adjusting the pitch of screen with washers or a new vario screen!) The brakes aren’t the strongest around but they are ok and the front forks don’t pogo too badly either. Sitting up on the 835mm seat has caused a few moments when I wish the seat was a tad lower (or I could justify the cost of the lower seat option or have my seat resculptured ) but sitting bolt upright gives a great view of the road ahead. So my verdict.. absolutely love it but I really wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it is so if you are considering one, give it a go you could be pleasantly surprised too.

    10 July 2013

  • Wanted to hate her

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Firstly i want to say that i have never been a Suzuki fan, and to tell you the truth i don't even know why, i think i found them bland to say the least! Always been a Kawi fan! So when a mate of mine told me that i must test ride the new DL650 i wasn't very up for it.However to shut him up i rode over to Wards Barnsley on MY VERY LOVELY GREEN/BLACK KAWI Z750, and asked if they had any DL650 demos, to my disappointment they did. So off i set on the demo bike,within 400 yds started thinking this bikes ok, within 1 mile was thinking this bike is not too bad at all and within 5 miles i was on the motorway doing 70ish(honest lol) thinking this bike is fabulous, great gear change, no wind blast or buffeting, great comfort from the plush seat and so planted on the road, the way you can fire the thing out of the corners was unbelievable it made my Z750 feel like it was built in the stone-age.Rode back to Wards only out 25mins parked her up, removed my lid, walked into the showroom and did a deal! IT JUST FELT SO RIGHT THAT BIKE, IT ENCOURAGED ME TO RIDE. So i now have a new white DL650, just done 200 mile to the coast and back "faultless". I have some mates with sportsbikes CBR, ZX6R, 996 who i go to IOM with every year, one of my mates told me that "its not as nice to look at as your Z750" to which i replied "i tend to agree with you 100%, however ride the DL and everything makes sense!" His reply was "bikes are not made to make sense they are just toys" not sure he will be saying that at Heysham next year when his back is broke AGAIN, like every year we have been going to IOM, "change the record kid buy a DL" My only problem is that i feel that i now have the bike to do some mega miles, the IOM is no way near far enough, maybe i should ask alleycat1966 if me and my DL can tag along to Morocco?

    06 August 2012

  • 2012 650 V-STRUMPET

    alleycat1966

    Average rating rating is 5

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    I would like to start by saying I have owned many bikes over the years ranging from Gt380's through BT1100 Bulldogs to Fazers and Thundercats and even an F650 BMW in fact all manner of bikes and I wish I would have been able to buy one of these years ago......here is my story: I Went out 6 weeks ago with the intention of buying a DL1000 VStrom (and let me tell you I was not going to settle for anything less). I popped into my local friendly Suzuki dealer he said "we don't have a 1000 in stock, have you tried the new model 650" I replied "not powerful enough for me Guv" he said "You might be surprised" So gear on, licence shown then out on the shiny 2012 plate in orange. What a bike best riding position, not too tall and quick off the mark. Like Victor Kiam said "I liked it so much I bought the company". Well not quite but on my return I did buy the demonstrator that I had just been out on with 70 miles on the clock for well under list and cash back price. I picked the bike up on a sunny Sunday at the beginning of June and set off for a trip across from Swansea to Bristol, to try and chip away at the 600 miles before first service. I popped home first to raise the adjustable screen onto the top setting this was ideal I am 6ft and I get no wind blast or buffeting. Off I set, max 5k revs for the first 600 miles this equates to about 70-75mph indicated, so not too uncomfortable on the motorway. I arrived in Bristol and checked the fuel consumption via the on-board computer....67mpg wow I thought with a 4.4 gallon tank that equates to well over 250 miles between fill ups. Same again on my return over the Severn Bridge mid 60's to the gallon, on the way back I ventured off the motorway and onto the A48 through the twisties, this bike flicks through the corners and always manages to put a big grin on my face. After all the crap weather we have had recently and a week in Turkey it had taken me 6 weeks to do the 600 miles, so this weekend just gone in it went for first service £39 lighter and it was up to 7.5k revs max for the next 400 miles, this equates to around 105 mph indicated (private track honest officer) I have a friend who has owned the Versys and he raved in a similar way about that. Goodies include a gear indicator, ambient temp and twin trip recorders and a very comfortable seat. If you are reading this then take my advice put the sports bike in the corner of the garage and go and buy one of these wonderful underestimated machines. I am already planning a trip to Morocco next year.

    17 July 2012

  • Brilliant Bike

    Steve222

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Brilliant Bike

    09 April 2012

  • 2012 DL650

    petervoros

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Done 900 miles so far and already I cannot believe how confident this bike is in all situations. Suzuki appears to have listened carefully to owners of the previous model and come up with a really well sorted bike. I have to agree with Daveanddian that the main beam warning light is a bit distracting at night, but I got used to it quite quickly and It doesn't bother me too much now. Many people mourn the demise of the DL1000, but in the days of rocketing fuel prices the 650 is hard to fault. Before getting this bike I had considered the Triumph 800 Tiger, but decided that the DL650 was all the bike I needed for general use and probably cheaper to run. There is no doubt that the Tiger is superior in power but the V-Strom is no slouch and sips the expensive stuff more lightly whilst not being too far behind. Well done Suzuki.

    07 November 2011

  • updated reviw

    daveanddian

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    ok i reviewed this bike when i had only 111 miles on clock, she is now run in and 1700 miles on clock. right i will stat of with the bad points. sorry point. the blue main beam dash light is to bright, right the good points, all of it, the bike is a pleasure to drive, from small journeys to long ones, the gear box smooth, handleing superb round town on motorway or hard round corners she stays where you want her to stay, clocks easy to read day or night with adjustable dash lights. 400 miles done in one day, comfortable, ok bum going a bit numb after 300 miles. full tank got me well over 200 miles (riding senseible) hardly any bufferting on the motorway. top speed so far 120mph sorry i meant 70mph (legal speed of course :-) ) front wheel goes a bit light at top end. sits nicely at 80/90 on motorway. my advice buy one great fun.

    14 October 2011

  • Hooked again!

    John Willis

    Average rating rating is 4

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    I had an older V-Strom. Great bike, but I just couldn't look back at it when I parked it in the garage! I loved that motor too. I tried a variety of other bikes (I've had 12) and then took the 2012 V-Strom for a ride. Well, that was it - the only bike I have ever bought two of. I can even look at it without half closing my eyes! Smooth, fast enough for me, comfortable, decent comprehensive clocks, standard ABS, smart finish and good value even fully kitted. I could afford a more expensive bike, but frankly this does all I want of a motor cycle and it is one of the very few I have owned that I keep finding excuses to take out for yet another ride. Why didn't I buy British? The Triumph I owned is the only new bike of all 12 I have had that broke down - and personally I don't think the Tiger is £1,500 better - but I suspect a lot of people will disagree! Now I must go for a ride!

    09 October 2011

  • still running in

    daveanddian

    Average rating rating is 4

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    today i picked up my new 2012 version v strom 650cc. £7000.00. is it worth the money??? yes it is, although im still running her in, the bike in my opinion is awesome, comfortable, engine seems good at the moment, you can feel her wanting to just just go, only down side i see is all the gadgets and gizmos are extra, but for the price what do you expect i suppose, the digital speedo is clear and easy to read in the day or night. once run in will post more. as only done 111 miles at the moment.

    10 September 2011

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casperdog777

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casperdog777says

 As the late Kevin Ash said : ''This is the thinking man's bike.'' (Ash was motorcycle correspondent of The Daily Telegraph sadly died recently). He is correct , this is a superb - maybe the best - all round motorcycle on the roads today. Cost alone mean that a 2013 model will cost you (mine was ppurchased at 12 months old), will ''beat'' say a triumph 800 by a £1,000 to £1,500. Contest over for me, I liked the Triumph Tiger 800 - but the cost of the V Strom meant no contest. Back to Suzuki (I had the old V Strom 650 for 3 years). A top all rounder. I rate it as excellent and I am a bike of mature years who has ridden all sorts of bikes.

02 May 2014 06:46

petervoros

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petervorossays

I had a 2010 DL650X which I loved, so practical, fun to ride, easy to throw around and fast enough for me.  Only thing was it had taken too many ugly pills.

I tried a demo 2012 DL650 it looks good and I felt right at home on it.  Suzuki have addressed most of the winges of the old model with great success.  It felt very sure footed in the wet and very nimble around town.  At motorway speeds it felt very planted and safe with far less buffeting from the screen than the classic.  The motor feels smoother and the new instruments are easy to read at a glance as well as gaining a gear indicator.  I got back to the dealer with the widest grin I've worn for a long time together with an order for a fully kitted out V-Strom.

 

 

20 September 2011 21:54

Tribal-Wolf

User's Badge

Tribal-Wolfsays

Yikes I bought I brand new DL650 for £4600 at the end of 2008, it's scary how much bikes have gone up. I like the changes in the new bike and I would like to own one but I think the prices of all new bikes are killing the biking industry in this country. I benefited from it as I lost very little money when I sold mine but it is getting too expensive to ride a motorcycle in the UK.

16 August 2011 22:02

mogulthrash

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mogulthrashsays

conflict of interest?

"brilliant value for money"? hardly. Has MCN got a vested interest in seeing these overpriced bikes sell? In a world of falling sales for new bikes its tempting to accept low volume and high profit. The only way is down here for Suzuki. Kgb333 is right - its all lovely, apart from the price. Sorry Suzuki, its too much money. Bikes used to be cheaper to run than cars, not any more. I suppose these high prices keep the secondhand market strong. At these sort of prices, are we going to see the likes of Asda WalMart selling bikes? Better get my lottery numbers right so I can get one. My mum buys my pants.

17 July 2011 07:41

kgb333

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kgb333says

EXCELLENT STUFF!!

Everything the VStrom community expected, an update on the shape and some of the bits like instruments sorted even nicer than before but the overall concept of a highly versatile bike has been retained. Great to see the luggage has been given some more thought this time and there is a spot for the SatNav. I think it will be every bit as successful as the original version.

11 July 2011 12:14

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