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SUZUKI V-STROM 1050XT review (2020-on)

Published: 29 January 2020

Updated: 30 January 2020

Great value adventurer gets class-rivalling electronic rider aids, feistier acceleration and handsome retro styling

Riding the Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT

Great value adventurer gets class-rivalling electronic rider aids, feistier acceleration and handsome retro styling

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The previous Suzuki V-Strom sold well for good reason – it was comfortable, had a punchy V-twin motor and was outstanding value compared to other big adventure bikes.

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.

Watch: 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050 video review

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

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?  

Engine 4 out of 5

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.

The V-twin engine promises slightly more performance than the old version

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

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.  

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

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.

Riding the Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT

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).

Insurance group: 12 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

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.

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050 XT dashboard

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.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2020
Year discontinued -
New price £11,299
Used price -
Warranty term 3 years
Running costs
Insurance group 12 of 17
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 106 bhp
Max torque 74 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption -
Tank range -
Specification
Engine size 1037cc
Engine type Four-stroke, liquid-cooled DOHC, 8v V-twin
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 850mm
Bike weight 247kg
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

History & Versions

Model history

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.

Other versions

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.

There's also a 650 version, available in standard and XT guises, and you can bag a parallel-twin A2-compliant V-Strom 250, too. 

Owners' Reviews

No owners have yet reviewed the SUZUKI DL1050 V-STROM XT (2020-on).

Review your SUZUKI DL1050 V-STROM XT (2020-on)

Photo Gallery

  • Riding the Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
  • A static view of the Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
  • Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT beak
  • Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT LCD display
  • Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT comes with a centre stand
  • Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT fuel tank
  • Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT engine
  • Stand-up riding on the 2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
  • Riding the Suzuki V-Strom 1050 XT
  • Off-roading on the Suzuki 1050 V-Strom XT
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