While the timing of Suzuki's 2012 V-Strom 650 launch remains a mystery, our first ride of the revamped middle-weight adventure bike this week blows away any doubt that it's been changed for the better.
When news of the new V-Strom first broke a few weeks ago following a baffling series of leaked 'teaser' pictures, the sceptics, myself included, had a field day. Why launch a new model into dealers in July/August, towards the end of the buying season? And prompted by the seemingly unchanged chassis, it was pointed out that this was just a facelift and bound to cost more.
We were wrong. Having ridden Suzuki's newcomer over 200 miles along Croatia's spectacularly rugged Dalmatian coast, scratched down snaking mountain hairpins and endured prolonged motorway cruising both with and without its impressive range of accessories we can say this: the new V-Strom is not only much better looking than the original, it's also better equipped, classier, more comfortable, a sharper performer, more economical and yet just as good value.
Read the full test in this week's issue of MCN (6 July), on sale now. Get MCN from only £1 an issue when you subscribe today.