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

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
Power: 106 bhp
Seat height: Tall (33.5 in / 850 mm)
Weight: High (545 lbs / 247 kg)

Prices

New £11,299
Used £9,700 - £11,300

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

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 & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

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.  

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
5 out of 5 (5/5)

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).

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

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: 

Suzuki V-Strom XT helmet by Arai

Specs

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

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £150
New price £11,299
Used price £9,700 - £11,300
Insurance group 12 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term 3 years

Top speed & performance

Max power 106 bhp
Max torque 74 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model 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. 

MCN Long term test reports

MCN Fleet: The new Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT is ready for the off

MCN Fleet: The new Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT is ready for the off

Right at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, I kept myself busy and did my good deeds for society by joining the Bike Shed Community Response volunteers. Spending a few days moving PPE in an enormous rucksack reminded me that if I have any hopes of getting away in the future, I’d need to make som

Read the latest report

Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI DL1050 V-STROM XT (2020 - on)

2 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.

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

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Value vs rivals: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Equipment: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
5 out of 5 Brilliant bike - test it yourself
07 September 2020 by Wonga

Year: 2020

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.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Very comfortable ride - excellent brakes.

Engine 5 out of 5

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.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Very solid and feels as well built as my last Honda

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

A lot of bike for the money

Equipment 4 out of 5

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.

4 out of 5 Convert to a Strom you wont regret
06 April 2020 by Greg Tompkins

Year: 2020

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.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

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.

Engine 5 out of 5

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.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

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.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

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.

Equipment 4 out of 5

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.

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