SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM ABS (2011-on) Review

Published: 08 July 2011

"An immensely, almost peerlessly versatile package that is simply brilliant value for money"

SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM ABS (2011-on)

"An immensely, almost peerlessly versatile package that is simply brilliant value for money"

Overall Rating 5 out of 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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 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.

Engine 4 out of 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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 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.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 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 group: 10 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 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.

Owners' Reviews

22 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM ABS (2011-on) 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 ABS (2011-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.4 out of 5
Engine 4.7 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 4.2 out of 5
4 out of 5

The Best Inexpensive Motorcycle in Canada?

23 May 2016 by Walter Wilkins

This is my third V-Strom 650 - 09, 12, and now the '15. I rode the first two long and hard, so I know these bikes. I've ridden lots of other bikes over 45 years, for many people, I suggest this bike (or at least the genre) is the one to buy. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
Brakes are okay - that's it. Suspension is okay - that's it. Seat is very good, controls are very good. Clutch is good, transmission is excellent - the engine is a gem.
Engine
5 out of 5
Truly, the main reason to buy a V-Strom 650 is because of that sweet little engine. I've owned many bikes, but thousands of miles on bikes over 45 years. Some of the bikes I've owned cost three times the cost of the 'Strom, but that little engine just doesn't get much better.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Put over 180 000 kilometers on two 'Stroms, rode them from Canada to Central America, all across the USA and Mexico - twice; not one problem.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
After years of riding shaft driven bikes (BMW, Suzuki) I had to learn the hard way about chain drives. What I learned? Leave them alone - don't fiddle with them too much, just keep them clean. Also, no need to change the oil filter every oil change... in short, follow the manufacture's manual.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Buy aftermarket - it's less expensive and often better quality. That said, the heated grips are expensive, but work well.
Buying experience

Here's the rub... and maybe why I've owned three 'Stroms. The MSRP for the bike I have now is selling in the USA for $10,399.00 on SALE for $9,199.00 - In Canada, I paid $6707.76 US dollars - on sale with Suzuki discount.

5 out of 5

A true all rounder.

01 May 2016 by Bill

Excellent affordable long distance one up tourer. Will cruise all day at motorway speeds leaving you still able to stand up when you arrive. It has sufficient power to keep up with much bigger bikes as long as you do not overload it. Good range. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
You will run out of fuel before your rear gives out. There are bikes that are better in every area than the Vstrom, but you will have a hard time finding one that does everything so well for the price.
Engine
5 out of 5
Simply fabulous, hard to believe at times its only a 650. Smooth, plenty of torque and free reving. Careful use of right hand can produce excellent economy.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Faultless so far (9000 miles). Typical Suzuki build quality, fine as long as you do not neglect it.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
3k servicing is a bit excessive.
Equipment
4 out of 5
SW Motech engine bars are good, no vibration at all. For all year/weather riding add a Givi Airflow screen. A pair of Aprilia mirrors virtually eliminate buffeting. A suzuki plastic cover keeps the engine clean.
Buying experience

The local Suzuki dealer was very helpful and willing to bargain. The Vstrom is good value at MRRP so do not expect massive discounting.

4 out of 5

Does everything!

19 April 2016 by Mat

A genuinely practical and enjoyable bike to ride. Perfect as a commuter and works well as a touring machine with a pillion and luggage. It really does everything very competently. The bad bits are the finish, the front brakes and the service... Read more intervals. Would I recommend the bike? Absolutely.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Ride quality is excellent. Super comfortable even after 200 miles and it's very relaxing sitting at 70-80 on the motorway. I changed the Tyres to Pirelli GT as I found the Bridgestones didn't do the bike justice. It's no off-road machine so I found this to be a solid upgrade. The handling/grip is transformed..
Engine
5 out of 5
Nothing to dislike. It's a lovely engine which sits very relaxed at motorway speeds. You can sit in a lower gear than usual and the bike picks up well. If you want a little fun it will shift once you get between 6-9000. For an all round machine, it's excellent.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Corrosion/flaking on the underside engine casing. I've had to give it a good coat of acf50. You need to keep on top of cleaning, especially over winter. The bike starts perfectly every time and has been Ultra reliable. I cannot fault it.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I do quite high mileage so the 3500 mile service interval is a little annoying. The running costs are generally low and i get 60mpg.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Crap Tyres (see above). Once I changed to Pirelli Angel GTs it was a different bike! :0) Not much in the way of equipment.. Preload adjustment is useful. I've fitted a centre stand, Givi rack and hand guards. its pretty basic. Clocks are nice and clear.
Buying experience

I bought privately as this was my first bike since passing my test. My advice is the get down and really check the finish underneath, in hindsight I could've knocked a little off the price. I paid £3750 with 7k and in reasonably good condition.

4 out of 5

Just perfect.

03 March 2016 by Majic

This Bike will take care of any age of a biker. Keep it clean maintain it and will be a good bike for years. Sits high in the seat which gives a bit of buffering . Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The bike for me is great at 50- 60mph great comfort good all rounder. 100miles no problem before a rest a gel seat would help.
Engine
5 out of 5
Performance for a 650cc twin for me is just fantastic. The engine is very forgiving if you make mistakes and we all do. A gear selector on screen would be a good addition.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
You really need to wash and look after the V-Strom every time you're out or the bike will suffer. The bolts at the brake pipes tarnish. For the price a well built bike.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I did 2 services in one. 11,000 and 15,000. The 15,000 miles being the big one. Fuel is great 250 miles easy to the tank but then am not pushing 70mph or more. I bought this bike to go up Glens on narrow roads and tour all over Uk. Cant fault it.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Best feature computer checks just brill. Safety system great. Gear hugger I put one at last service. Tyre Metz tourance I just like them.
Buying experience

I bought from a dealer at the price they asked got delivery to my door for £100 bike like brand new 10,000 miles, £3995

4 out of 5

General quick overview

25 February 2016 by Dav

This is my first bike, it is very comfortable, great riding position, and is comfortable for a good 6 hours easily. I travel from South Wales to Norfolk, and get off not aching at all. Though at the same time, I would like another bike with abit... Read more more punch like the Triumph Tiger, or BMW R1200GS. Downside to this bike is the helmet buffeting!! It is absolutely crazy, to a point where I was going to sell the bike as it was becoming an unpleasant ride, even though I had changed the screen, it wasn't working. Until I found a Givi Airflow Screen, and it changed the ride completely, so much I thoroughly enjoy riding it now. I'm 6'1, so a smaller rider may not have a problem. It's a heavy bike, however at 10mph+ the weight disappears, and handles really well. It can be chucked around, though I haven't yet pushed it to its limits yet. For a first bike, a commuter, or certainly a tall rider, id highly recommend.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
Quite punchy for 650 68bhp. Low end power is ok. It's sweet spot is between 6000-7000 rpm, though for an overtake you do have to kick down from 6th to 4th to pass a car on an A road.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
No problems so far.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I'm 6'1 and weigh 102KG, and the bike returns to me between 55-62mpg, so riding between 70-80mph (where speed limits allow) and I get 180-210 miles at a push to a tank, with panniers and top box. The panniers do stick out more than the handle bars and do cause a lot of drag.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Heated grips are a must. I've got the GT pack on my bike, which is engine bars, panniers, top box, undercowling, and knuckle guards, which are very effective in the winter with the heated grips. An aftermarket screen is highly recommended (Givi Airflow) especially if over 6ft tall.
3 out of 5

07 February 2016 by Db2601

This bike has the potential to be brilliant, but is let down by poor build quality and even worse dealers. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Very comfy for me, did a long trip france/Spain with no problems, brakes are up to the job
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
1 out of 5
Painted surfaces suffer from corrosion badly, waterpump and forks suffer worse on my bike, apparently not covered by the warranty! when add this to lack of aftersales interest from the dealer and Suzuki GB, save a bit longer and buy something.
Value & Running Costs
2 out of 5
Now the Xt has very long service intervals over double the length of my year, funny thing is the only difference between them is cosmetic, but apparently the service schedule to remain at 3500! Hmmmmm
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Everyone should have one!

13 January 2016 by P Frazer

After conducting lots of research, this was my first bike after passing my test on 31st December 2014. Obviously a huge step up after the 125 that I owned previously and, I must say that all the rave reviews were spot on and I have no intention of... Read more swapping it any time soon. Took a while to get used to the height as I have short legs, definitely wouldn't buy anything taller. I have already recommend to a couple of people and would do so again.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
I do cover lots of miles per week yet I still think of the ride to come and still get a bit excited.
Engine
5 out of 5
Nothing to say other than it's absolutely fine for what I need. I'm sure I'll want something a bit stronger one day... but not today.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
I needed a new clock as the old one apparently filled up with rain water. No problems since despite me clocking up an average of 1550 miles per month for over a year. Completely agree that it is very comfortable even after a couple of hours on the road.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Due to the amount of miles that I do, it gets three or four services per year. I'm certainly not the fastest of riders, but then my minimum speed is usually the speed limit of the road I'm on. Saying that I never seem to get any less than 230 miles per tank. Pretty good in my book!
Equipment
5 out of 5
I bought it in January 2015 and it came with a top box, knuckle guards, heated grips, electric socket, skid plates and engine guards. I very rarely need to use the heated grips, however everything else should come as standard as I couldn't see myself coping very well without them.
Buying experience

Second hand from Blackpool Honda. Brilliant, with a nice long journey home to get used to the bike.

3 out of 5

30 November 2015 by TowerRider

Good runner and value, average running costs, very short service intervals. Build quality and after-sales customer service is poor so recommend buy alternative manufacturer's alternatives if you can afford a little more. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Brakes do not inspire confidence and can't be pushed, but adequate for the job. Really smooth ride.
Engine
4 out of 5
Generally very good. Slight flat spot/vibrations at about 64mph in top gear.
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
Had 2 mirrors break on simple adjusting. Suzuki customer service refused to replace second one, and the first one was only "goodwill". Genuinely poor quality on certain little things like plastic/rubber fixing for top box, mirrors as described above.. few other things so be prepared to spend replacing things as they break or just don't buy Suzuki in the first place. (mechanically sound no running problems hence avoids 1 out of 5 rating)
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
Could do with a 12v socket, has very little as standard but it has a seat and an engine.
5 out of 5

Reliable for short and long trips

14 November 2015 by Mike Carpenter

Coming from a bike with a bit more horsepower (KTM 990 Adventure), I was wondering what riding would feel like with 29 horses missing. After having this bike three years now, I can say that with my, admittedly "relaxed" riding style, I'm not missing... Read more anything at all. What I'm enjoying most is the easiness of manoeuvring this bike around, especially when you are off and push the bike into the slot/position you want it in. Would I recommend this bike to a friend? I already have, and he's a happy rider as well with his 2013 model...

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
This bike is great fun on mountain passes with narrow and sharp corners. The seat is so comfortable that long distances are not a problem at all. With 5'10", the handle bars and foot pegs fit me ideally. Can't say anything about pillion seat as I'm a solo rider. The brakes react fast and are easy to control. The ABS kicks in nicely as well (but then, with my riding tyle, that doesn't happen very often...)
Engine
4 out of 5
The engine has a broad band of revs that you can work with in the lower gears, and going up the gears without the clutch is so easy too. But sometimes you wish it had a bit more "punch" in 5th and 6th, but that doesn't happen that often with my riding style.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
The bike feels solid at all times. So far, no complaints what so ever. No mechanical or electrical problems at all. Routine cleaning and maintenance on my side and I haven't found any signs of corrosion. A reliable bike for short and long rides. Living just south of Munich, Germany most of my 20,000 Km (12,430 miles) have been on twisty mountain passes in Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland, and I've been on a ride through all of France and then up to John O'Groats via England and Wales on this bike as well.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
On average, the fuel consumption (see riding style) is at 3.7 liters per 100 Km since I've had this bike. Given that, the 20 liter tank offers good distances between fuel stops. The newer versions will have even better value in the maintenance category since they changed the rather short service intervals. And since they haven't changed the bike, Suzuki should offer the same intervals to us with older bike with the same specs. But after the warranty period, with the older bikes like mine, I believe you could skip the smaller services if you're willing to invest a bit of time doing a few of the items yourself.
Equipment
5 out of 5
One thing I would change on the bike is the position of the passing/high-beam switch and the toogle-switch for the modes on the rider display; these two should swap postions. Otherwise: I find that the Michelin Anakee 3 fit this bike very well and I'm getting good milage out of them. The SW Motech aluminum side and top cases plus the quick-lock tank pack give me all the loading capacity I need for long trips. The Touratech cradle for the Garmin is top quality! Heated grips and the hand protectors are good to have on long rides and cold or rainy days.
Buying experience

Bought mine from a dealer who gave me a good trade-in price for the KTM and helped out with finding the right options for the Garmin cradle plus crash bars and engine guard, etc.

4 out of 5

Best bike I have owned.

07 November 2015 by Gary

Easy to ride with ample power and handling. Would not hesitate to recommend Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Before buying the v strom 650 I had a 1000cc + sports tourer but find I've lost nothing and gained a better overall bike in the v strom. Tours the highway as well, and handles second rate twisty country roads better.
Engine
5 out of 5
Great v twin that has all the power that most riders could want.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
Buying my 2012 V Strom 650 second hand with a heap of aftermarket accessories for $7200 was a bargain. It has new screen, sump guard, engine protection bars, centre stand, staintune pipe and a top box. These extras complete the bike.
Read all 22 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2011
Year discontinued -
New price £6,899
Used price £3,600 to £8,100
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 10 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £310
Performance
Max power 68 bhp
Max torque 44 ft-lb
Top speed 120 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 49 mpg
Tank range 200 miles
Specification
Engine size 645cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 90º V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 835mm
Bike weight 214kg
Front suspension Preload only
Rear suspension Preload and rebound
Front brake 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

History & Versions

Model history

2011: Launched as successor to old V-Strom

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

  • SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM ABS (2011-on)
  • SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM ABS (2011-on)
  • SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM ABS (2011-on)
  • SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM ABS (2011-on)
  • SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM ABS (2011-on)
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