SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM (2004-2010) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"As a fun, realistic alternative to a licence-bashing sports middleweight, the V-Strom's a winner"

Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding

"As a fun, realistic alternative to a licence-bashing sports middleweight, the V-Strom's a winner"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

As a fun, realistic alternative to a licence-bashing sports middleweight, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom's on to a winner. That engine is sublime, with mountains of really useable power where you want it. To an extent, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom is built to a budget, but it’s a real performer. Cost-effective and versatile, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom is well worth a second glance.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Comfortable, fun and truly versatile, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom can be taken anywhere. Handling’s good enough for fast, twisty roads; protection’s ample for motorways; and the riding position’s perfect for urban commutes. Brakes, suspension and gearing are all good. The Suzuki DL650 V-Strom's sturdy chassis makes it stable and it turns quickly. Don’t take it off road though.

Engine 5 out of 5

The retuned SV650 engine is the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom's strongest feature. Tweaked for more midrange, boy it delivers. Peak torque kicks in at 7600rpm but anywhere between 4-9000rpm will have you grinning like a maniac. The Suzuki DL650 V-Strom offers smooth, fuel-injected power delivery and a top speed of around 125mph… Fantastic.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Overall build quality is fine but the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom needs a bash plate to protect the engine and exhaust system from being destroyed by road crud. The Suzuki DL650 V-Strom engine’s just wonderful, and very reliable, but does send some vibes through the bars and pegs.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

The Suzuki DL650 V-Strom is a tourer, a sportsbike and a commuter all handily wrapped together in one. Against other, trail-style middleweights, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom has a very competitive price tag and you’re really getting a top all-rounder for your money. Excellent tank range, low insurance group, slow tyre wear and an easily-serviced engine make for good, real world savings. Find a Suzuki DL650 V-Strom for sale.

Insurance group: 10 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The Suzuki DL650 V-Strom's seat’s wide and comfortable with ample room for a pillion and luggage for touring (although ground clearance can be a bit hairy, two up into sharp corners). The mirrors are excellent and the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom's adjustable screen works well until it rains, when it lets water through, doh!

Owners' Reviews

25 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM (2004-2010) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM (2004-2010)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.5 out of 5
Engine 4.6 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 4.4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great first touring bike

14 October 2015 by Edward Voelcker

The only thing I could wish for is just a bit more motorway power for those long hauls Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
Another 10%-20% of horsepower would be appreciated on some of those autobahn runs and when trying to keep up with bigger bikes on group rides, but it does very well for a 650
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Never had any unexpected breakdowns or faults. 100% reliable.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
As it is so reliable I tend to forget some needed maintenance. Still recommend sticking to the service manual/book and doing the right services at the right time.
Equipment
5 out of 5
The panniers that came with the GT model are plastic and a strange triangle shape, it does mean you can carry them with easy even fully loaded and they probably hand side winds a bit better then larger square metal panniers.
Buying experience

Bought it 2 years used, with just 3,200 miles on the clock, for half it's new price. Basically got very lucky.

4 out of 5

29 July 2015 by tom

Good all rounder with inadequate rear suspension, lousy tires and tire life, needs quite a bit to make it a first rate ride. Upgrade rear spring and shock and better tires, add some givi bags and a decent windshield and you have created a truly fun,... Read more sport tourer thats way more fuel efficient than most sportbikes, real usable power, change the front sprocket to a 16 or 17 tooth cog and you still have ample grunt but can cruise at real world slab speeds without wringing the snot out of the engine.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
I have done as much as 200 miles without a break but a 100 is more typical....brakes work well but need a pretty strong hand for fast stops. The front suspension is vwry stiff and rear very soft...with rear stiffened enough to match the front ride quality is plenty good enough handling is really good....slab or twisties it works.
Engine
5 out of 5
Some low intensity vibes that occasionally intrude on the joy....but seldom at any pseudo legal or prudent speed
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Factory suspension sucks and only gets worse with time
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Number above includes about everything...I ride 8 to 10 k per yr
Equipment
5 out of 5
See above...
Buying experience

New from dealer....typical dealer experience...feel a little used and abused afterwards.

4 out of 5

Great but the new one is better.

23 July 2014 by kaisersoseh

Bought a new one in 2010 and it was perfect as a lazy solo tourer, great engine and very comfortable. Handling and brakes were pretty good, and the headlight is one of the best I have ever experienced. The new model came out in 2011 and as soon as I... Read more rode it, I knew it was a better bike in all areas, so I sold my old model. They sell very easily secondhand and are an easy introduction to adventure bikes. Overall a great prospect and highly recommended.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Great on a budget

03 November 2012 by Anonymous

For the money it's great. I gave up a GSXR750 for something more sensible to commute in london every day, so I bought a hornet. Got bored of the hornet, found the suspension too poor, and the handling a bit awkward, and the ability to travel long... Read more distances in comfort was becoming a problem as I did it more often. I needed an all rounder bike that wasn't going to break the bank. The more I looked the more I realised it was going to be the weestrom. There are similar alternatives, but I fancied trying a new type of bike having only owned sports bikes and naked road going commuter bikes. I've only owned the bike two weeks but already I've grown very fond of it. It handles great, way better than the hornet, better than the aprilia shiver (which I thought should have been way better for the money), in fact this is one of the best handling bikes (under 70mph) I've owned. It reminds me of how well the MT03 handled, really great in town and on twisties which is where many bikes seems to struggle providing you with awkward feedback. You can drive this bike hard up to 70mph in to corners and turns very fast, inspring confidence with every turn. The stock tyres you early and ample feedback before they start lose grip. I'd never ridden dual sports tyres before, but really enjoying it in london where I can hoon over all sorts of surfaces with a single anxiety attack at all sorts of lean angles. I could never do that on the hornet which would wallow and shit it's pants at anything that wasn't a straight line. The suspension works well all considered, but at higher speeds you find the limits very quickly. I do miss taking the GSXR round country lanes at 130mph, but hey, at least my license, my life, and my wallet are safer doing them at 60-90mph instead. Comfort is great, although I had to go out and buy the MRA screen with spoiler as at 6 foot the odd turbulence problem created by the stock screen was very annoying, it was giving me a headache. Taller and shorter people don't seem to suffer the problem so bad. So add on another £200 for adjustable bracket and new screen if you're around 6 foot. A lof of peopel say the 650 has poke, but imo the engine is a bit weak, it's pretty good up to 60mph, but accelerates like a car at motorway speeds. I have issues with overtaking sports bikers who feel offended I've passed them and then insist on overtaking me even though they were driving slower originally, twats. Luckily you can out manouvre most bikes if you're not going in a straight line on this bike. In town it's great, especially on crappy uneven london roads. I'm constantly mounting obstacles that leave other bikers stuck - that really puts a smile on my face :-D No bike can give you everything, and I do miss the hornet's engine which has plenty of go for a 600. The vstrom 650 can wheelie if you clutch it, and for what you get it's still pretty good. Now i can tour in comfort, with pillion & luggage, commuting every day accross london is a hoot (except for fecking scooter drivers and BMW bike drivers who ruin london motorbiking), and I can do motorways all day. All in all not many bikes can do so much for so little. When I have more cash I'd like to try the dl1000 for a bit more oomph. Given a bit more savings I'm also considering the tiger, KTM SMT or adventure, or the versys, but that will be next year.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

09 650 vstrom GT

17 April 2012 by martyirish86

Just changed my transalp for a v strom,what a great bike in every way.65/70 mpg with well over 320 miles to a tank.A lot lighter,am well pleased Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

The Perfect Commuter

25 September 2011 by DEF2001

I have just sold my hornet and brought an 09 650 Vstrom GT and can't believe how much I prefer the Vstrom. Whilst the hornet was much faster when your in the mood as a day to day bike the Vstrom can't be beaten. It has plenty of pace for real road... Read more riding and is supremely comfortable. It is also amazingly agile for such a large bike. I will be riding it through the winter (although probably not once the gritters are out) and hoping it wears it as well as my hornet did. Time will tell but at the moment I can't recommend this bike highly enough.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Adventure tourer par excellence...

08 June 2011 by casperdog777

The 650 V Strom is a typical japanese mid range bike with a bullet proof engine set in a good frame which will keep you upright and a smile on your face. No sports bike this bike is all about that punchy v twin 650 alongside a superb twin headlight... Read more and upright riding position. It rides superbly into corners and on the straight it will cruise smoothly and cleanly. Economy is good and its possible to get up to 70 mpg. The fitting and fasteners are not high quality and chrome is not top notch. However with many models having hand guards, centre stand, heated grips and a superb fairing, the reason for buying this bike is clear: great value for money and a bike for the real world. The suspension is apparently not top notch either but I don't really notice , the bike is the sum of its parts and that means you get a brilliant mid range tourer that could do almost anything you ask of it. No wonder in 2010 the Xpedition 650 V Strom was launched by Suzuki. A lot of UK bikers are realising the world is not over impressed with hyper sports - get this bike and you will be pleased as punch! A superb all rounder that does most things well and some things utterly brilliantly !

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Superb mid size allrounder

24 August 2010 by Anonymous

I swapped a 700 Deauville for a DL650X after a test ride ended with a big grin. The Strom just felt so agile the engine is proven bulletproof and smooth for a V twin. It doesn't pull as well from 2000 revs like the Deauville, but the red line is... Read more 2000 revs higher too. In real everyday use this is a remarkable machine, which does anything reasonably asked of it comfortably, efficiently, and crucially is good fun to ride. I just wish I had tried one sooner. I haven't been in the saddle for more than an hour yet but have had no aches or pains to report being the wrong side of 50 and 6'3".

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

More smiles to the mile.

02 July 2010 by VstromDave

I'm on my second 650 V-Strom and I only got rid of my 2003 example because I was going to work overseas for 2 years. As soon as I came back to the UK I bought a brand new GT model which I may keep for ever! I went for the VStrom after using a... Read more Transalp to do some motorcycle instructing on. I have always had fast sports-tourers like ZZRs, VFRs etc but I loved the Transalp's riding position and handling. What I didn't like was the lack of power so I looked around and saw the V-Strom. It seemed to have everything going for it that I liked about the Transalp plus around 15bhp more power. I took a demonstrator out for a test ride and bought it as soon as I got back to the shop. I find that the V-Strom is comfortable, much quicker than you would expect from a 650 twin and handles very well. Although it's the slowest bike I have owned since 1992 I am quicker through my favourite twisties than on any other bike I have had. It's so easy to chuck around that I have pegs down despite the large ground clearance. I always feel I am getting 10 tenths out of it. It's also economical to run and I can insure it fully comp for well under £100. Tyres last well - up to 7000 on the back, 9-10000 for the front. The OE fit Bridgestone Trail Wings are very good and my friend (and fellow instructor), who bought my first V-Strom from me also rates them highly. I have done 220 miles on a tankful of petrol more than once. Build quality is ok, I work hard to keep mine looking good but after 2 years and 6000 miles it has no furry fasteners or rusty brakeline crimps. One negative point is the screen. I suffer a lot of buffeting around my head, regardless of the screen position (I am 5'11"). It is worse with my Suomi than with my old Arai though. I fitted a Givi touring screen which has improved things. Also the Suzuki luggage could be better - the panniers are too small and the top box, while big and very good, intrudes into the pillion space. I love this bike, it satisfies all my motorcycling requirements and if you are looking for something different from hyper-fast sports tourers it might fit your bill too.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Just brilliant

11 March 2010 by simon0503

I could not be more pleased at having chosen the wee VStrom! As an all round package Suzuki have got it spot...this is a gem of a bike. To me nothing else comes close for grin factor (the engine is just brilliant!), comfort and touring ability. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Read all 25 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2004
Year discontinued 2010
Original price £6,125
Used price £2,300 to £4,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 10 of 17
Annual road tax £81
Annual service cost £580
Performance
Max power 60 bhp
Max torque 40 ft-lb
Top speed 125 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 13.2 secs
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 218 miles
Specification
Engine size 645cc
Engine type 8v V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 22 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 189kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload and rebound
Front brake Twin 310mm discs
Rear brake 260mm disc
Front tyre size 110/80 x 19
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2004: Suzuki unveiled the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom; a smaller sibling of their 1000cc version. The Suzuki DL650 V-Strom, cosmetically, is virtually identical to the Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom but has a lower seat and weighs around 20kg less.

Other versions

Suzuki DL650 V-Strom Touring: Launched in late 2005, this version of the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom has a centrestand, hand guards, heated grips and a top box as standard.

2011: V-Strom 650A (ABS model) available for £6,535

Photo Gallery

  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
All related reviews