SUZUKI DL1050 V-STROM (2020 - on) Review
- Low-down grunt and linear power
- Good value for money at £10k
- Lighter than most litre-plus adventurers
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£250|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The standard version of the new-for-2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050 might lack many of the XT model’s luxuries, but it does get most of the basics right. And at just over £10k on the road, it’s decent value too.
Comfortable, calm and composed, the V-Strom is very easy to ride and confidently turns its hand to a bit of everything. Those who prefer their motorcycles solid, simple, stripped-back and sensibly priced may ask why you’d want any more. The Suzuki is brisk rather than fast, demands very little, has some thoughtful touches and obliges whether you want to commute, cover distance two-up or just have a bit of fun at weekends.
With its cast wheels, road rubber, modest suspension travel and lack of crash protection it’s not going to coerce enthusiastic off-roaders away from their KTMs. And with little in the way of flash gadgets or cutting-edge tech, it won’t invite someone to hop off a spangly new BMW R1250GS to check out the Suzuki’s fancy toybox. But if you don’t want to ride round the world, don’t want to follow the crowd and don’t want to have to take out a second mortgage just to pay for a load of hi-tech thingamajigs you’ll never use, the base-model V-Strom 1050 is well worth a look.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Front brakes are surprisingly sharp, those four-piston, one-piece Tokico calipers giving instant bite and masses of power. Forks are fully adjustable, though soft springs mean they’re eager to dive deep into the 160mm of travel when you brake hard. The shock, adjustable for preload and rebound, feels fine at normal speeds, but over uneven surfaces at pace and you do get jolted out of the seat from time to time.
Through turns the Strom is stable, holds a line obediently and has decent ground clearance. This standard model’s steering geometry is microscopically more relaxed than the XT version, even though they share the exact same frame, swingarm and suspension. The difference simply comes down to the fact that the regular V-Strom is 11kg lighter, with less weight at the front of the bike (thanks to not having engine crash bars), meaning the standard Strom rides 5mm higher on its springs and sits fractionally further backwards, increasing rake and trail.
Turn-in speed is measured rather than manic, though sticking with slim, old-school adventure tyre sizes (a 110 front and a 150 rear) helps keep it reasonably nimble. Its 236kg kerb mass is substantially less than a big BMW too. In fact, the V-Strom is lighter than a Honda VFR800 – so while it’s not as agile as a Yamaha Tracer, it definitely doesn’t feel hard work along a twisty road.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Despite the number in its name going up from 1000 to 1050 this year, the V-Strom keeps the same 1037cc V-twin it’s had since 2014. Power has been nudged up to 106bhp – that’s seven horses more than last year’s 1000 – thanks to new camshaft profiles giving more lift and less overlap. Peak torque has been reduced a fraction, but only right at the very bottom end of the rev range. On paper the headline figure drops from 75 to 74lb·ft and now needs 6000rpm rather 4000rpm, but rest assured this hasn’t suddenly become some rev-hungry two-stroke.
No, the V-Strom retains the same gutsy, grunty, relaxed feel it’s always had. Peak performance and outright speed remain a long way short of a GS or Multistrada, but the Suzuki’s party piece isn’t an arm-wrenching top-end. Rather, it’s all about its easy, willing, even-handed delivery.
The soft, warm, smooth pulses of its veteran V-twin feel casual and composed, with a torque curve so flat from 4000 to 7000rpm you could iron a shirt on it. Tall gearing means third is all that’s needed to roll around leisurely between 40 and 80mph, with enough revs in hand that it can be stretched to three-figure speeds. Sixth is set for something like 150mph – clearly it can’t ever reach that, but the overdrive-like feel keeps revs down at cruising speeds.
Clutch action is light and the gearbox shifts easily without any quickshifter assistance. The most noticeable glitch in the powertrain is a twitchy throttle response in the sharpest of its three throttle modes that’s especially irritating in town. But dial it back from aggressive ‘A’ to medium ‘B’ setting and that nervousness vanishes. The softest ‘C’ setting is so ultra-slow action it’s not really worth bothering with.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
With more than 20 years of evolution and refinement – and six years in its current capacity – the V-Strom’s engine is a very safe bet. And with little in the way of extravagant technology going on, you don’t have to worry about keyless ignition packing up, or semi-active suspension going on the blink, or an IMU failing: the standard Strom doesn’t have any of those things to begin with.
The V-Strom 1050 continues to be produced in Japan. Some of the engine bolts and fairing fasteners look a step up from Suzuki’s older stuff, but overall build quality and attention to detail look to be much the same as the previous V-Strom. The 2017-on model receives positive reviews for reliability from owners, though the older 2014 machine gets much more mixed feedback, perhaps because it’s been around for longer and so the mileages will be higher, with cases of corrosion and electrical issues. Still, Suzuki’s three-year warranty should give a new owner confidence.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
At £10,147 on the road, the V-Strom looks massively appealing next to those ultra-premium adventure flagships, getting on for almost half the price of a top-of-the-range BMW R1250GS or Ducati Multistrada 1260. It’s certainly a lot of the bike for the money – just a few hundred quid more than the entry-level version of Triumph’s new Tiger 900 or Yamaha’s Tracer 900. It’s less than a Kawasaki Versys 1000, and a lot less than Ducati’s Multistrada 950 or Honda’s Africa Twin.
Selecting the standard Strom saves £1300 over the XT version – whether that’s good value or not depends on how much you want the posher bike’s additional gadgets, spoked wheels and practical extras. If you can live without them all, that’s a healthy saving.
Running costs should be pretty modest for a litre bike, with decent 50mpg-ish economy, long 7500-mile service intervals (15,000 between valve clearance checks) and reasonable spares prices. Given its affordability and hardly hedonistic reputation it’s not expensive to insure either.
The base-model V-Strom is deliberately sparse and simple. There’s no centrestand or handguards, while hi-tech touches like cruise control, hill-hold control and cornering ABS are saved for the XT model. Gadget fans do get a USB power socket hidden under a rubber flap though, which is handy, especially given there’s a rail to mount a sat-nav or phone above the dash. Other simple but practical touches include solid pillion grabrails, a small luggage rack, a sunshield for the dash, and a remote preload adjuster.
Traction control has two levels of intervention, though both are fairly conservative. Throttle response can be set to three levels of aggression, with all giving the same maximum power. The LCD dash looks busy and a bit dated in 2020, but it does have a tank-range countdown and a useful two-stage reserve light, which really helps you stretch the 20-litre fuel tank as far as possible.
Suzuki’s official accessory list includes heated grips, luggage, foglights and plenty more, but the prices don’t, shall we say, appear to offer the same level of value the rest of the V-Strom does.
During August and September 2020, Suzuki offered a free City Pack on the V-Strom 1050, netting you a 55-litre top box with mounting kit, and a centre stand. The kit was previously worth £549.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 8v, 90° V-twin|
|Frame type||Aluminium twin-spar|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|Front suspension||43mm KYB forks, fully adjustable|
|Rear suspension||KYB monoshock, adjustable preload and rebound|
|Front brake||2 x 310mm discs with four-piston radial Tokico calipers|
|Rear brake||268mm disc, single-piston Tokico caliper|
|Front tyre size||110/80 R19|
|Rear tyre size||150/70 R17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||51.4 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£250|
|Used price||£8,300 - £10,000|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Three years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||106 bhp|
|Max torque||74 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||226 miles|
Model history & versions
The original V-Strom was powered by a detuned 996cc V-twin taken from the infamous TL1000S. Cast three-spoke wheels and aluminium twin-spar frame place it squarely as a road-going upright all-rounder rather than a down-and-dirty hardcore dual-sport bike. Slight upgrades in 2004 with a smarter ECU, adjustable windscreen and different mirrors. GT versions had three-piece hard luggage. Discontinued for 2009 due to emissions rules.
After being teased for a year, the V-Strom was relaunched with a larger 1037cc motor, power boosted to 99bhp, fresh beaky styling, upside-down forks and Suzuki’s first road-going traction control. An eight-kilo diet (228kg) thanks to new single silencer, lighter headlight and no oil cooler. Cast wheels only, with still little in the way of serious off-road intent.
Taller windscreen, new linked cornering ABS, and cleaner Euro4-compliant motor thanks to a second catalyser in the exhaust. Torque drops a whisker from 76 to 75lb·ft. Regular V-Strom now joined by a new XT version with tubeless wire wheels and tapered handlebars for a £500 premium.
Adds cruise control, cornering ABS, hill-hold control, a centrestand, engine crash bars, handguards, spoked wheels, adjustable seat and screen height, plus brighter 80s-style paintschemes. Different mirrors and LED indicators too. Same engine output, but the XT is 11kg heavier and costs £1300 more.
Fantastic value all-rounder built to a very similar brief as the 1000, but with a smaller 645cc V-twin from the SV650. Less power (70bhp and 46lb·ft) but lighter (213kg), better on fuel and £2400 cheaper. Also comes in XT guise with spoked wheels.
Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI DL1050 V-STROM (2020 - on)
3 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI DL1050 V-STROM (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:||£250|
Version: DL1050 base model
Annual servicing cost: £250
Great real world motorbike , enough power to be fun , does daily commute well and still fun at the weekend , averages almost 60 mpg commuting so far with estimated 250 mile tank range
Stock suspension very good needs a bit of tweaking but does not need after market suspension upgrade Brakes especially the front really strong
Very different to the DL1000 engine , more like a DL650 on steroids as really likes to rev
Early days but so far seems well put together
7.5k service intervals , 3 year warranty , 60 mpg
ABS ,TC , riding modes , adjustable levers , useful out of the factory , just added a center stand and top box plate
Buying experience: Dealer - pre-reg good price
Version: Standard DL1050A
This bike is an underrated gem. It’s comfy, has decent weather protection, low fuel consumption and a twenty ltr tank means over 200 miles range, standard suspension is great over bumpy back roads, brakes are excellent and the engine has plenty of go. Even this standard bike has thoughtful little touches like a bar above the instruments to mount your sat nav plus a usb power point beside the instruments to power it. On top of that all of the control are light and smooth and in the right place so the bike is easy and well balanced to ride. For a big adventure style bike it’s not to tall and is very light and flickable in the bends. The only minor irritations I can find are some of the info on the dash is a little small and difficult to read and the foot pegs are just where you want to put your feet down when you come to a stop. You seen get used to it though and it’s no worse than my last BMW which had the same issues but was twice the price.
Suspension and brakes are excellent and I’m pretty picky about suspension in particular. I’ve spent a lot of money fitting high end suspension to various bikes so know what Ohlins etc feel like. While the big Strom may not have quite the quality of the very best suspension it is very good and is one of those very rare bikes I can happily live with right out of the box and that says a lot. On rough Highland back roads it soaks up the bumps well and flicks into corners beautifully, job well done by the Suzuki boys.
The engine is very usable and tractable and for a big V twin it pulls smoothly from low revs with good torque but still has a decent top end rush. Not got the top end of a big Ducati or KTM but more than enough go for most. It has various engine modes but I put it A when I got it and have felt no need to change it. Throttle is smooth with now hesitation or snatching when getting back on the throttle.
I’ve not had the bike long so hard to comment. However it looks well screwed together and been faultless so far. I’ve owned a few Suzuki’s in the past and never had a problem so see no reason this one should be any different. Compared to brands like BMW and Ducati it doesn’t have quite the same high end look to the finish and some areas look a bit more basic but it’s nearly half the price so you can’t complain.
I bought the standard model for £8995 on the road and the first service was £70, so have to give the bike five stars for value. Fuel consumption has averaged out in the mid fifties, so good for a big bike and the service intervals are 7.5k or yearly so should be cheap to run.
This is the base model but has most of what you need. ABS, traction control, various engine modes, a luggage rack, sat nav mounting bar, power socket, adjustable levers, a rear brake pedal that’s where it should be and a back brake that works. Also has a full length front mudguard that keeps most of the crap of the engine etc. Not sexy but blooming useful.
Buying experience: Bought new from Cupar Motorcycles in Fife, a great bunch of folk and excellent service.
I got the basic version for £8500 ex demo 120 miles on the clock, I couldn’t let that pass after riding it and part exchanging my 2020 Vstrom 650! Nothing wrong with the 650 at all, just wanted a bit more for motorway use (lower revving engine and more torque). Overall I would say this is a great bike that gives good solid value for money. After all, when the “honeymoon” period is over what are you left with? Did you make the right choice, or was it too expensive? This ticks a lot of boxes I’d say and would recommend it to anyone.
Brakes are a big step up from the 650 Vstrom. Excellent. I need to tinker with the suspension adjustment to suit me, but stock I’d say it was on the firm side and maybe a little bouncy? But no complaints to be fair, I’d rather that, as it gives confidence when deciding to push on a bit. Not that different to a R1250GS handling wise, had one of those too. Paid double for that compared to this. Comfort wise, I find the seat good, haven’t yet ridden longer than 1.5 hrs without getting off. But no issues.
Can’t fault the engine really. The spread of torque and power works well, better than the previous Vstrom 1000 as it has good useability throughout the rev range, it can bog down a bit below 3000 rpm in a higher gear though if you’re not too careful.
Haven’t had it that long so can’t comment at the moment, but everything I’ve seen looks well put together.
Fuel economy whilst running in, not above 4500 rpm (65-70 mph on and off) for the first 500 miles for some reason for me was only 68 mpg (imperial). That’s measured from tank to tank. But then I only weigh 75kg (Not including full gear) and the basic bike is 236kg. I expect that to drop as I can use the revs more freely. The economy above was not steady throttle in 6th either, due to break in requirements as per manual recommendations.
Features...well what do you really need you may ask. For me at 6.1” I need that small spoiler lip on top of the screen to deflect the wind which otherwise blasts the top of my helmet, otherwise it gets too tiring on a long journey. I’l put a Monokey rack and small 33 Trekker case on the back. Centre stand handy, Oxford heated grips. I’ll stop there, otherwise I’ll regret not getting the XT!
Buying experience: Bought from Robinsons Rochdale, good bunch of guys. Bought a few bikes from them over the years. Recommended.