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

16 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 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.5 out of 5
Engine 4.7 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 4.4 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.
5 out of 5

22 June 2015 by Coops

Having come from BMW's and Honda I expected a bit of a let down as it was a "budget bike" What a revelation! Talk about value for money! I looked on the internet and found "new" bikes from £5400! (pre reg and less than 2 months old! list is near... Read more £7000. Talked to local dealers who said, and I quote " Oh they will be imports at that price", reply " So I press a button on the dash and KPH is MPH, turn a screw and right dip is left?" and the best part " Why are all DL650's made in the UK are they not all imports?" "Oh there may be warranty issues", "What with a two year European wide cover?, I think not," and guess what, I got a brand new DL 650 on the road for less than £5500 bargain of the century!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
As good as my Honda's and better than my BMW'S!
Engine
5 out of 5
Brilliant, a mini crosstourer, 125mph is enough to send you to jail, why do you need more?
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Great for a Suzuki, my last ones were a TS 250 and a GS 850. Ok I may need to keep an eye on it in winter but a good dose of ACF 50 will cover it
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Bit of a let down here, if the new DL1000 has a service interval of 7000 miles why does the DL650 only do 3500 miles between services? But over 70mpg!
Equipment
5 out of 5
My mates bought the Kawasakii Vesrys ( or rampant rabbit) It vibrates enough to pleasure anything female! The basic equipment is well below that of the DL even down to remote adjusters and engine management feedback
Buying experience

Browse on line and go compare!

4 out of 5

22 June 2015 by Snikkari

Read more

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

Very accomplished bike

30 July 2014 by johnrodgers

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... Read more 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?

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

Good just got better

02 May 2014 by casperdog777

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... Read more 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.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 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

Exceeded my expectations

10 July 2013 by Hondavfr800

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... Read more 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.

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

Wanted to hate her

06 August 2012 by Anonymous

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... Read more 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?

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
5 out of 5
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Read all 16 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2011
Year discontinued -
New price £6,899
Used price £3,400 to £8,000
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 10 of 17
Annual road tax £81
Annual service cost £280
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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