SUZUKI V-STROM 1050XT review (2020-on)
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£160|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The previous Suzuki V-Strom XT sold well for good reason – it was comfortable, had a punchy V-twin motor and was outstanding value compared to other big adventure bikes.
- Related: Standard 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050 XT review on MCN
- Related: Suzuki V-Strom 1050 and 1050XT revealed
The new 1050XT pulls of much the same trick while moving the game on with class-rivalling electronic rider aids, feistier acceleration and handsome retro styling. The suspension feels plusher too (though the frame, swingarm and geometry are unchanged).
In isolation, the 1050XT is an excellent bike. The Suzuki’s problem now is that the space below expensive class leaders such as BMW’s R1250GS and Ducati’s 1260 Multistrada is no longer empty – the new BMW F900XR TE, for example, has similar power and torque figures to the 1050XT and costs less. The 1050XT has some tough competition.
This bike replaces the 2017-2019 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 XT.
Watch: 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050 video review
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The KYB forks and rear shock have new internals, which give the 1050XT a tauter, plusher feel compared to the old bike. It’s not a massive change, but does feel slightly firmer without ever becoming crashy and unpleasant.
On the smooth twisty roads at the world launch the 1050XT handled sweetly – it’s not as sporty as a Multistrada, but it’s now not a million miles off. The Tokico monobloc brakes easily cope with the XT’s 247kg, though it’s questionable how much use the new 'load dependent control system' is.
It’s meant to spread the braking force – like a linked brake system – when the new inertial measurement unit (IMU) senses the back lifting but how often is that likely to happen on a 247kg V-Strom?
EngineNext up: Reliability
Fundamentally, it’s the same engine as the old model’s – a 1037cc 90-degree V-twin derived from the long dead TL1000. But Suzuki have had to make it more efficient to get it through Euro5 emission regulations, changing the camshafts to reduce the valve overlap and fitting ride-by-wire to increase fuel metering accuracy.
The upshot of the tinkering isn’t much in terms of power – it’s up 6bhp to 106bhp – and peak torque actually drops by 1ftlb to 74ftlb. But those peak figures don’t tell the whole story.
Suzuki has reshaped the torque curve so instead of peaking early and dropping through the midrange, it does the reverse. So as you wind it on during an overtake, the new bike feels like it’s got more go – it feels keener to get to the 9500rpm redline and makes the old machine’s power delivery feel a bit bland.
Throttle response from the new ride-by-wire is generally smooth and predictable – you can feel a slight jolt off a closed throttle at low revs, but it’s never enough to become an issue during mid-corner roll-ons.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The first iteration of the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 (2002-2008) suffered terribly from corroding fasteners, banjo bolts and so on.
But the 2014-2019 model was a huge improvement and there’s no reason to expect the new 1050XT will go back to the bad old days. The engine has been around for over 20 years with no reports of major issues and we don’t expect the changes to create any problems.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The ride at the world launch included thrashing the 1050XT’s nads off down canyon roads then tootling through villages and cruising along motorways. The new bike averaged 42mpg and we’d be surprised if more normal riding earned less than 50mpg.
Service intervals stay the same as the old bike at 7500. The insurance group is 12 – the same as a Honda Africa Twin and par for the adventure bike course.
As ever with V-Stroms, value is right up there. With a 2020 launch price of £11,299, the XT is £700 cheaper than the Africa Twin and over £2000 less than BMW’s base model R1250GS.
Suzuki’s problem going forward is the new Tiger 900 and BMW F900XR – the posh TE version of the new BM is £600 cheaper than the 1050XT, and the Tiger 900 GT is likely to be cheaper, too, when it is launched in 2020.
Sure, they’re lower capacity, but power is about the same and they’re very good. The base model 1050 is £9999, but lacks so much kit that we can’t imagine many riders being tempted (see below).
The big news is the new V-Strom has lots of electronics, and as ever Suzuki couldn’t resist giving a couple of systems acronyms that are no help to anyone.
SIRS is the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System, which is another way of saying 'the electronics', while SDMS stands for Suzuki Drive Mode Selector, which is actually a throttle response selector.
Mode A is the sharpest, and perfect for most road riding situations, B feels pretty much the same while C is noticeably softer – good for icy conditions. The XT also has three traction control levels, plus off, and like the SDMS, you can adjust it on the go if you shut the throttle.
There’s Low Rpm Assist, too, which is an automatic anti-stall system, plus Hill Hold Control which detects when you’re on a slope and stops you rolling back, and two levels of cornering ABS intervention.
Electronics aside, you also get an adjustable screen (though you can’t adjust it on the go), centrestand and a wide range of accessories. The only obviously missing kit is a colour TFT screen and the LCD one fitted looks a bit old hat. The Adventure package gets you side cases and a top box, plus all the fitment kit, for £2499 (£629 cheaper than buying the parts separately).
The base model looks a bit sparse though, with no cruise control, cornering ABS, cornering traction control, hill hold control, adjustable saddle, 11-way adjustable screen, DC power outlet… the list goes on. It is £9999, but we can’t see many buyers going for it.
Suzuki V-Strom XT helmet by Arai
In July 2020 Suzuki announced details of a new lid inspired by, and available for, the V-Strom XT. It's the Arai Tour-X4 V-Strom Edition, costs £649, and is available from Suzuki dealers. As you can see below, it's finished in a colour scheme to match the top-of-the-range Strom:
|Engine type||Four-stroke, liquid-cooled DOHC, 8v V-twin|
|Frame type||Aluminium twin spar|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|Front suspension||43mm inverted forks, fully adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Rear shock, adjustable preload and rebound|
|Front brake||Twin 310mm discs. Four-piston radial calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||Single 265mm disc, two-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||110/80 x 19|
|Rear tyre size||150/70 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£160|
|Used price||£9,600 - £11,300|
12 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||3 years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||106 bhp|
|Max torque||74 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
The original Suzuki V-Strom 1000 was introduced back in 2002, before being discontinued in 2008. It was then relaunched as new model in 2014 with better build quality an updated V-twin engine and new styling. For 2020, there is updated electronics, new styling and slightly better performance.
For 2020, the Suzuki DL1050 V-Strom is also available in a standard and XT Adventure trim. The adventure model is essentially the XT, only with panniers and a topbox.
MCN Long term test reports
MCN Fleet: Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT post-it pad video review
After a year living with the Suzuki V-Strom 1050 XT, News Editor Jordan Gibbons gives his video verdict. Watch the full film above and catch previous updates below. Related: Full Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT review MCN Fleet: Forced tyre swap for the V-Strom 1050XT grates Published: 03.02.21 Ever…
Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI DL1050 V-STROM XT (2020 - on)
8 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI DL1050 V-STROM XT (2020 - 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£160|
Annual servicing cost: £150
The Vstrom is one of the best kept secrets in motorcycling. Sweet handling for a big bike with plenty of power regardless of gear or revs
It rides like the bike was built personally for me. I cannot fault it
Power across the rev range regardless of gear selection
Suzuki bolt heads rust a bit so apply a dab of XCP or ACF50 to keep the rust at bay. Otherwise a solidly built bike
Great on fuel for a big bike. 10mpg more than my old K3 Vstrom
Heated grips would have made it a 5
Buying experience: Bought from Shirlaws in Aberdeen and delivered next day to Cumbria. Incredibly helpful staff made it a simple process to buy
What an excellent bike. Well balanced, smooth and punchy engine with great comfort. Good level of equipment, too. Went for yellow as it was a good deal. Did not like the colour at first, but it really grows on you. Love the colour now - not part of the black/grey/monochrome crowd any more. I commute about 20000 miles per year (pre-lockdown) and rely on my bike as main transport. Loved my last bike (GSX S1000F), but could no longer endure some of the long motorway stints without numb hands. Was looking to change because of that and recalled how much I had enjoyed a couple of DL650s I had previously loved but thought e power was too low. Enter the DL1050.
I've been really impressed with this big bike. Very smooth ride over varied surfaces. Took a while to adapt to the bigger front wheel feel in the bends, but now that I have faith in what it is doing, it handles very well.
Grunty, smooth, nice-sounding motor. Love the v-twin sound, thumping vibe and the spread of torque. Yes, my GSX was clearly much more powerful, but it needed to build the revs to get there. The difference here is that the v-twin is already in the power when you twist to overtake. Nice.
Too early to say about reliability as only just purchased, but the quality is really sound. I have just traded in a 19-plate GSX S1000F which was also a solid machine, so I have no doubts this is going to be reliable too. My fifth Suzi, so far having covered 250000 miles on them, so that says a lot about my level of luck/satisfaction with them brand.
Great value - much much cheaper than the competition per litre/kit, and built in Japan. Bought online from dealer - pre-reg, with Explorer kit. saved £2000 and got £500 more on trade in than local dealer offered.
For my tastes this is spot on. Not too much stuff, and what is there is intuitive to operate. Cruise is a wrist-saver on my long commutes.
Annual servicing cost: £175
If your looking for a big adventure machine to tour around and carry all your stuff , that is reliable , good value for money and you have no interest in off roading , then forget the Tiger GS and Africa , the V Strom steals the show. Big tourque , decent V Twin with just the right amount of BHP for some fun , I love my V Strom .
Riding time is endless . The seats , rider and pillion are cracking . The bike performs well , deep quick power delivery and when you get your suspenziom set to your liking , it sits happily in a tight quick bend . The tyres are not the best . Their is some vaigness from the front wheel and an upgrade of tyres is required to correct this and give the bike much more stick .
Good solid V Twin , no issues , does as advertised
No issues to date , at all . Suzuki build quality machines with a solid 3 year warrenty to go with it
Its a fair price and if anything minor needs tweeking , they get on and do it , including a test ride before handing it back to you , with a full tank of fuel
Standard fitted tyres leave a little to desire , an upgrade is a must . You will feel a little vaigness from the front which is purly down to grip and the front forks , weight reacting . A decent suspension set up and a slight upgrade in tyres will resolve this . The bike is no way designed for off roading performance wise , despite the sales pitch , it is a cracking road bike Suzuki should be proud of , so get some good solid road tyres like a pair of Dunlops . Heated grips are a must , get them in a deal if you can . I got some Oxford heated grips fitted and thrown in with the sale . Avoid the Suzuki offical ones if you can and get something better . Hill hold is really good and the standard fitted tyko breaks are punchy
Buying experience: From Suzuki . No issues , top bunch of lads and happy to make a deal
Version: Champion Yellow
Annual servicing cost: £160
Great adventure style tourer in my opinion. Too heavy for any real off-road action although gravel roads fine.Great level of comfort and features especially the 6 axis imu and related options. Didn’t think I’d ever need hill start but found I used it more and more
Great tourer, stable and well planted. Decent brakes and well behaved suspension as stock
Great engine not an absolute fan of the sound but probably down to stock exhaust
No corrosion but the style of the spoked wheels makes cleaning them a nightmare!
Electronics are superb and perform way above the price range of the bike, which is why I think it’s good value.Heated grips are not standard but on reflection I’d have forked out for the oem heated grips. I had Oxford grips fitted by dealer but they don’t look that great to he honest. They restrict hand grip size poor for Oxford they’re normally better than that
Buying experience: Dealer, paid rrp although I did get tank bag in the deal. Probably won’t buy there again
Annual servicing cost: £150
Low cost to buy and run, well equipped and comfortable. Electronics superb. 1st to 2nd gear a bit imprecise. Would definitely recommend.
Usually 2up with full panniers and top box. Need a brief stop 80-100 miles.
Lovely engine, but needs revving.
Should have heated grips. Otherwise we'll equipped.
Buying experience: Dealer. Slightly under list.
Annual servicing cost: £150
ABS TRACTION CONTROL HILL ASSIST STYLING
Comfortable for 3hrs plus in the saddle, handles well with ABS, HILL START, TRACTION CONTROL.
Power delivery and torque adequate for everything that you would need, smoother than the old 1000 cc engine
For the money an excellent comfortable touring bike, decent build and finish not to everyone's style but had three now. 60 yes old so comfort better than sports riding is a must.
Main service 200
Like the styling and colours in the yellow, got luggage, heated grips and usb port to connect accessories under seat and near speedo
Buying experience: Dealer
If you are a badge snob stay away because whatever I say you will ignore. I come from BMW 1150 GS and more recently CRF 1000 Africa twin and have been riding bikes for over 50 years and the STROM is easily the best all rounder for real world riding I have owned. After reading some of the rubbish that so called professional reviewers have written I must own a one off because a lot of the comments do not resonate with me at all. Fantastic frame and engine, very stable at all speeds, comfortable and can really get a move on if you want, however it’s by no means a hardcore off-roader but handles dirt roads and some light off road work very well ( I live a mile and a half down a dirt road which gets very muddy) Go and test one and decide for yourself.
Very comfortable ride - excellent brakes.
Flexible, sounds great, more than enough power for the real world and economical. Some reviewers feel its over geared-rubbish just change down and leave it in a lower gear, fourth works really well on the twisties and sixth great on the motorway.
Very solid and feels as well built as my last Honda
A lot of bike for the money
More than enough for me, after all it’s a motorbike what more do you need? Some might miss a tft screen but how much time do you spend looking at your screen if you are riding properly?
Buying experience: Great experience from Cupar Motorcycles in Fife.
Annual servicing cost: £150
This is a great bike to jump on and ride anywhere you want. It carries its weight low so its great for when you're feeling ambitious and fancy some muddy back roads. Standing back and looking at just gives me a beaming smile.
Good strong brakes, would have like Suzuki to put an off road option on the brakes but I doubt these bikes will ever be put through any extreme off road. The down hill descent is a strange sensation the first couple of times I used it but it works so no complaints. Seat is ultra comfy compared to other makes and can spend plenty of time in it without getting sore.
Suzuki's TL engine is possibly the best version of a V Twin ever, nothing complicated, pure pleasure. Just the sheer fun of this thing brings a massive smile every time I open it up. Open road A mode but when you want to chill out B mode is so smooth.
I had a TL1000 back in 2000, that thing was abused for the 7 years I owned it and it never let me down once, so expecting something similar with this one. It feels tough and sturdy and witha warranty of 3 years for peace of mind.
Decent price to purchase 7500 mile servicing but looking at the service book it wont need much doing to it. Averaging 48 mpg at the moment which is good enough for this size bike.
Do we need TFT? All of the info is there that you need. I ride with a Cardo system and bluetooth GPS so never need the bike to pick up the call or tell me where I'm going. GPS mount is handy, More factory screen options would be nice, as for adjusting on the go have you ever tried to adjust a GS screen whilst moving! Seat adjust is a bit annoying but all the tools are on the bike just need 5 minutes to do it. Suspension is perfect and after riding GSA's for several years I'm now questioning why we need electronic suspension.
Buying experience: Buying just as the lockdown for coronavirus kicks in is not good. However my dealer did the best they could and Suzuki finance was sorted so easily. As a Keyworker I require my bike for work and its been a pleasure.