Does Suzuki’s DL250 V-Strom cut it for adventure?

Published: 01 September 2017

The DL250 V-Strom joins Suzuki as the baby of their adventure bike range. Sitting below the 650 and 1000 variants, the bike is Suzuki’s first offering to the ever-more-popular mini adventure bike class.

Taking styling cues from the both the DR Big and DRZ ranges, Suzuki say this machine is the ideal first adventure bike – perfect for distance touring, as well as the urban commute. But, can it match that claim?

It needs a bit more poke

At the heart of the V-Strom 250 lies the same basic non-threatening 24.7bhp 248cc parallel twin engine as you get in the new sportier GSX250R. Based on Suzuki’s ageing Inazuma lump, the easy-going nature is ideal for new riders, however it wouldn’t take long to master, before leaving riders yearning for more grunt.

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From an experienced riders’ standpoint, the electrically quiet V-Strom feels quite underpowered for its size. It will sit at 70mph all day, however really starts to struggle when pushed further.

The bikes ridden at the launch had none of the optional luggage attached either, which suggests that once fully laden it would struggle to be used as the low-capacity adventure-tourer Suzuki claim it to be.

It can cut it in the dirt, but is better suited to commuting

After riding the bike both on and off road, it soon became obvious that the V-Strom is more at home as a commuting tool than as an adventure bike. Its low seat height, lightweight clutch and fantastic MPG figure make it the perfect companion for traveling in and out of the city centre for minimal cost.

Although I am a complete off road virgin, I found the bike well balanced and perfectly capable travelling down the two-mile stretch of mild green lane on our route. The IRC tyres gripped the surface well and once I’d stopped trying to ride it like I was on the road, it inspired enough confidence for me to stand up on the pegs (whatever that’s supposed to do).

Back on the tarmac, the conventional front forks feel perfectly firm for everyday road riding and offer enough confidence to lean the bike over in the bends. The preload adjustable rear shock feels a bit soft on standard settings, but manages to keep the bike feeling well planted and capable of being chucked around.

It’s comfy

Sitting on the V-Strom is a nice place to be. The upright bars are appropriately placed for long-distance journeys in comfort and the seat has plenty of padding for long stints in the saddle. The bike is also feels very roomy and the pegs are perfectly placed for shorter riders like myself.

The addition of a metal fuel tank also means you can fit either a magnetic or strapped tank bag, should you so wish. At faster road-going speeds though, the nonadjustable screen is a pain. It’s simply too small to be of much use and wind buffeting soon becomes a factor to contend with.

It’s kind on your wallet

According to its digital dash, the 250 will return in excess of 70mpg after spirited riding. It’s also the cheapest in class, meaning those wanting a low budget run-around should look no further. The money saved over its rivals could also go into buying accessories.

You also get a few neat touches of note as standard. At the rear, there’s an aluminium carrier mount, capable of taking 8.5kg. There are also integrated hooks down the sides, ready for the instillation of the optional panniers or hooking straps. Should you wish to go off road, there’s a sturdy bash plate to help protect the sump too.

There’s a nice finish

The finish on the glossy paintwork is lovely. Suzuki offer the 250 V-Strom in three colour options and it looked resplendent in the mid-morning sun. Again keen to highlight the adventure-nature of the bike, Suzuki claim the yellow and black scheme pays homage to their past success in the world of motocross. 

FACTS

Suzuki DL250 V-Strom

Price £4599 (launch price)

Engine 248cc parallel twin

Frame twin-spar frame

Seat height 800mm

Suspension Telescopic, coil spring oil damped (front). Swingarm type, coil spring, oil damped (rear). Preload adjustable rear.

Front brake Disc brake, ABS

Colours Red and black, black and red, or yellow and black

Available October

Power 24.7bhp@8000rpm

Torque 17.3ftlb@6500rpm

Kerb weight 188kg

Tank capacity 17.3 litres

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