SUZUKI V-STROM 650 XT (2017-on) Motorcycle Review

Highlights

  • Tried and tested 650 V-twin engine
  • Economical option in middleweight adventure market
  • Softer suspension handles UK roads well

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £190
Power: 71 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.7 in / 830 mm)
Weight: Medium (476 lbs / 216 kg)

Prices

New £7,899
Used £5,000 - £7,800

Overall rating

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

Suzuki have taken an already good bike and made it great - not because it boasts all the latest tech, but because it does the simple things even better - and that's all that really matters.

Suzuki have unveiled the new colour options available on their V-Strom 650 and SV650 for 2021. The models’ long-lived V-twin engine has also been tweaked to make it through Euro5 emissions regulations.

The more off road focused XT version is still available in the classic bright yellow with gold rims and grey with blue rims but both have been slightly tweaked for the new year. There is also a new red and black variant with black rims and a white, gold and black option with gold rims.

2021 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT

For 2022, Suzuki added some extra colours to the mid-sized V-Strom 650 and V-Strom 650XT adventure machines. If you want the fancy yellow paint, which is arguably Suzuki’s trademark colour for off-roading, then you’ll need to plump for the spoked wheel XT.

Also available for the XT in 2022 are white with blue and an all-black option. Both bikes come with Suzuki’s 645cc v-twin as well as simple electronics such as ABS and traction control.

The biggest draw to the 650 though is really the price, with the with its wire wheels, handguards and lower cowling priced at £8299.

For 2023, Suzuki added a new V-Strom 800 DE to the range. This parallel-twin version of the bike will sit alongside the 650 as a more powerful version that stops short of the range-topping 1050.

Ride quality & brakes

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

The rear suspension is preload adjustable, with no adjustment available on the forks, but Suzuki have done a great job dialing in the standard settings, which sit on the slightly soft side of plush. On motorways the suspension soaks up the bumps with ease, and isn’t troubled by bigger bumps.

When it comes to the cornering the suspension copes just as well, soaking up any bumps and doing a great job of keeping you on your desired line. There’s no dramatic fork drive when you hit the brakes, and the rear shock doesn’t immediately compress when you get on the gas, the bike just remains level and balanced and leaves you to concentrate on the job of riding.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT rear shock

Engine

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

The SV650 engine remains as fun and flexible as ever. Making 71bhp it's right at home up near the redline as it is driving out of corners from 3000rpm. On the twisty mountain roads in Tarragona, Spain the V-Strom almost turned into a scooter thanks to the flexibility of the engine.

Stick it in third gear and it'll drive out of tight 20mph hairpins without bogging down. There are a few tingles through the bars and seat at around 7000rpm, but nothing too intrusive. The V-twin engine used in the V-Strom should go down as one of the best engines of all time.

First used all the way back in 1999 in the 'curvy' SV, the liquid-cooled lump in the V-Strom has barely changed over the years and is a no-nonsense, torquey motor you can't help but love.

It's one of the last remaining middleweight V-twin engines in production - most have been replaced by parallel cylinder configurations - and many have assumed it would disappear from Suzuki's line-up years ago.

It sounds great with a fruity end can fitted, too.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT off road

Reliability & build quality

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

The SV650-based engine has been around since the nineties and is pretty bulletproof. Not only have Suzuki built millions of the things, but for many years they were the engine of choice for mini twin racers who tuned and revved the nuts off them. So they should run and run on the road, no problem.

Suzuki used to have a slightly iffy reputation when it came to finishing, especially on their more budget models, but that's no longer the case. That said, have a really good poke around for rust - especially if it looks like a previous owner enjoyed a greenlane or two.

There's not much in terms of tech to go wrong either so if the service history is good, you shouldn't run into any problems. A can of ACF-50 wouldn't hurt if you ride through winter.

Value vs rivals

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

If you told me the V-Strom 650 XT cost just shy of £9000 I wouldn't be entirely surprised, nor would I turn my nose up. At £7899 it's great value for money, and if you're being honest with yourself it's likely all the bike you'll ever need.

We put the V-Strom through its paces on the UK's toughest test route, the MCN250 against the Honda NC750X and Yamaha Tracer 7 to see which would come out on top.

They may all be middleweights but each has its own approach. The Suzuki is a workhorse of a bike that would make a fabulous commuter as it just gets on with the job.

Yamaha Tracer 7, Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT and Honda NC750X (L-R)

It has the best range, the biggest tank, the most protective fairing (aside from its screen’s irritating adjustability...) and the squishiest seat – but it also has the least impressive motor.

The Honda is also a workhorse but it is one with a bit more style, tech and practicality. The storage compartment is a genius idea, the DCT gearbox will split opinions but for mundane rides it certainly reduces the strain while its handling is sporty yet still nicely safe and secure.

It’s not sexy but it is remarkably efficient and fun to ride briskly within its chassis’ parameters. But for us it feels too much like a ‘tool’ rather than a bike to be enjoyed, making it a bit too car-like when compared to the entertaining Tracer 7.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT on the road with the Yamaha Tracer 7 and Honda NC750X

The Yamaha isn’t perfect and taller riders will find it cramped but it is most fun to ride, has the best handling and also the most spirited engine. It’s a bike that, while it can handle a commute, is much better deployed for enjoyable weekend rides rather than a rush-hour slog.

If that sounds like your motoring then buy the Tracer, if you are looking to hack through the traffic, we’d pick the Suzuki (and haggle a bargain price on it), while if you want the best of both worlds it’s the Honda.

You might also consider the Kawasaki Versys 650, Yamaha Ténéré 700 or Triumph Tiger Sport 850.

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

The V-Strom 650 XT certainly isn't in the same league as the top adventure bikes when it comes to gizmos, but it doesn't need them.

You get ABS and traction control as standard and the screen is adjustable with allen keys. A 12V socket is now standard but heated grips (a £270 option) and cruise control are absent and would make sense on a bike that's likely going to be used on long trips and in all weathers.

The LCD/analogue combination screen is easy to read and there's a certain satisfaction to be had from watching a physical needle climb with your revs - a rarity in these days of TFT ubiquity.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT dash

Specs

Engine size 645cc
Engine type 90 degree liquid-cooled V-twin
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 830mm
Bike weight 216kg
Front suspension Non-adjustable conventional forks
Rear suspension Monoshock adjustable for preload
Front brake 2 x 310mm discs with twin-piston sliding calipers
Rear brake 260mm disc with single pot pin sliding caliper
Front tyre size 110/80R19M
Rear tyre size 150/70R17M

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £101
Annual service cost £190
New price £7,899
Used price £5,000 - £7,800
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 71 bhp
Max torque 45 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

MCN Long term test reports

MCN Fleet: V-Strom 650XT incoming!

MCN Fleet: V-Strom 650XT incoming!

Having spent the last few years riding A2 licence friendly bikes, I was keen to step up to something a bit more substantial for 2017. As soon as I saw the fleet MCN had secured for the months ahead, the V-Strom 650XT instantly stood out.  Practicality and comfort are really important for me, especia

Read the latest report

Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM XT (2017 - on)

8 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM XT (2017 - 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 DL650 V-STROM XT (2017 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Engine: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Equipment: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £190
4 out of 5 Great Adv midsize bike. Gret value. Bulletproof engine.
28 April 2021 by Vic

Version: ABS

Year: 2021

Annual servicing cost: £150

Great Value in the Medium Size Adventure Bikes. Bulletproof engine.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

The brakes are fine, ABS works well. Confortable bike. The only bad thing is that you cannot turn the Abs off.

Engine 5 out of 5

Perfect engine, reliable, low and mid torque is strong. Good cruising speed. Power delivery is lineal, whick makes an easy bike to drive.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

The finish and built are top notch in the segment.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

150 Us dollars of service a year. ( Here in Mexico).

Equipment 4 out of 5

*Good: Abs works well, traction control is good too. I love the old school dash with analogue and lcd dual display ( I dont like TFT). Good Bridgestine Battlax tires ( good grip and handling). *Flaws/ missing: You cannot turn off the Abs, No LED headlights, no hazard switch / lights, no gear shift indicator.

Buying experience: Bought it brand new in the Suzuki dealer. Great service.

4 out of 5 2019 suzuki DL650xt Vstrom.
14 November 2020 by Gary Burton

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £180

this bike can commute, tour and enjoy a days riding with no fuss and is an all day comfortable bike to ride. The brakes on this bike need a good handful on the lever to haul this to a safe stop as its quite a heavy bike due to its large fuel capacity. It carries 20 litres when full and this makes it top heavy but on the flip side this gives the machine a good radius between fuel stops.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

I love this bike for its looks and all day comfort and i keep it clean , so when its parked up i regularly get nice comments about it. My 650 xt is the white one with blue graphics and spoked blue rims. Once brimmed i can ride approx 250 miles before it needs refuelling.

Engine 4 out of 5

This bike is all about the low down torque and is happiest when ridden between 3000 & 5000 revs in either 3rd or 4th gear. It runs out of puff above 70mph but its not built for high speed, just cruising around the legal road limits is fine.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

the fit and finish on the Vstrom is pretty good so long as you keep on top of good routine maintenance, ie regularly wash and wax , check and lube chain and regular servicing.I have recently had a new clutch fitted due to my own fault as i installed some handlebar risers during lockdown and didnt think to adjust the clutch cable . This resulted in the clutch being burnt out over a period of time and it cost a whopping £550 plus new brake pads and a blown headlight bulb.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

The first service cost £180 after running it in then followed by £220 for its 7000 mile service, my local suzuki dealer do all the servicing and repairs as its under warranty and its got all the relevant stamps in its service book.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Firstly it has great wind protection, due to it being fitted with a suzuki oe screen with a wind deflector . It also came supplied with a main stand , rear carrier and top box which are all optional extras. I swapped the hand guards for some barkbusters as the oe fitment ones are a cosmetic thing and i just didnt think they would stand up to any abuse. Also i swapped both brake & clutch levers for some aftermarket adjustable ones and these also fold up in the event of a spill, oxford heated grips are a must for our british winters so these were added at its first service.

Buying experience: I bought my Vstrom brand new from Crescent motorcycles on a hire purchase plan on a 4 year deal . Total price including accessories on the road cost £8500 and i am currently paying £140 per month.

4 out of 5 650 vstrom
08 August 2020 by Pete1807

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £120

A user friendly bike that will do pretty much anything. Came with Suzuki hard luggage which is poor quality.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Extremely comfortable bike and you can easily last a full tank without a break if need be. Ride quamlity is generally good but the brakes feel as if they could benefit from a little more bite. Screen could be a target higher as I do get a little buffeting, but nothing too drastic

Engine 4 out of 5

It’s a 650 and it’s not a sports bike so I don’t expect sports bike performance, but it’s got a decent low and mid range. Does what it says on the tin.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

I rarely ride in the wet but the rear wheel spokes stared to rust after one wet outing.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Servicing was reasonably priced

Equipment 3 out of 5

The standard Suzuki hard luggage is pants. Like a lot of bikes it would Benifit from a centre stand. Didn’t,t these used to be standard on bikes years ago?

Buying experience: Bought from Orwell’s at Ipswich on a PCP. My last bike was on a PCP and I was pleasantly surprised that I got enough to pay of the FGV and put down a decent deposit on the Vstrom. Excellent service from Orwell’s as usual

4 out of 5 The best bike purchase ever.
04 April 2020 by Stromtrooper21

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £300

This bike being the xt version is equipped with spoked wheels with the ability to ride off road, but i would only take it green laning or very light gravel/dirt road riding.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

This machine can be ridden all day long as the seat is very comfortable and the vtwin engine is ultra smooth, this can commute, tour and enjoy a little off road fun.

Engine 5 out of 5

This vtwin engine has great low down grunt thanks to the torque and excellent engine braking when needed, but it just runs out of steam higher up the rev range so a constant stirring of the gearbox is required.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

The build qualityof this model is excellent and the option of having a lower seat is a great one for for people who have a shorter inside leg measurement. This machine has not let me down in the last 12 months of ownership and has had all its required services.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

servicing at my local suzuki dealership is expensive but is required as its on HP finance, but gives peace of mind knowing that its fully reliable.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The overall seating position gives a great view over cars and the size of the machine in general gives great road presence. heated grips and the suzuki official taller screen with the air deflector fitted is excellent. The Bridgestone tyres fitted as standard have not given me any problems or issues athe wear rate is good too.

Buying experience: I bought my Vstrom brand new from my local dealer with the following accessories already fitted: Rear carrier and 55ltr top box, taller screen & main stand. Total otr price £8500, the best bike purchase ever in my opinion.

4 out of 5 Great engine, great ride - poor quality finishing
04 April 2019 by 2Niels

Version: DL650 AL7

Year: 2018

Great engine, great ride - poor quality finishing.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Ride quality is very good. Decent, predictable handling is unexpectedly good for an 'adventure' style bike. Riding position is very comfortable. Rear suspension is adjustable, though forks aren't. I'm 15 stone in weight and it's fine for me - less so with pillion though. Brakes are OK, not had a situation yet where I've felt they could/should have been better - though again, with a passenger, definitely need to grab a bigger handful.

Engine 5 out of 5

Fabulous torquey engine and a lot of fun in the sweet spot. Absolutely no complaints for a 650 V twin.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

8 months in, no problems so far in terms of reliability, except one manufacturer recall. Biggest let down so far is the amount of rust appearing. Underneath the front of the seat on petrol tank (on and around a welded-on catch), silencer, exhaust clamps, around the brakes, footpegs... will be getting in touch with Suzuki for a warranty claim.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

For the price it has some very decent 'extras'. ABS of course, but traction control and a power socket are very welcome additions.

Buying experience: Local Suzuki main dealer, no problems.

5 out of 5 Great value and great all round bike V strom 650
13 June 2018 by AddsVstrom

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £200

Fantastic bike great for commuting 300 mile range

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

Bullet proof engine

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Got everything you need on a bike must add on heated grips

Buying experience: Great buying experience great dealer Johns of Romford

5 out of 5 Awesome Machine
25 November 2017 by Kevin Ellington

Version: DL650 V-StrombXT

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £170

Fantastic bike, got this to replace a BMW R1200GS and I have to been disappointed. Handles well with good low down V twin grunt, fully loaded with luggage solo it handles with ease. But struggles if you add a pillion. Getting between 250 to 300 out of a tank so the range is excellent.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Ride quality is good, only gripe was with the front brake as it had little feel for the first 2000 miles. Feels better now but still little feel before the ads kicks in.

Engine 5 out of 5

This 650 v twin is a gem, slightly more power than previous models and pulls well even fully loaded. Only struggles two up fully loaded.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Reliability has been excellent with no issues at all in the 7 months I have had the bike, didn’t score 5 out of 5 due to thin paint around the bar ends and hand guard fittings.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Insurance was less than £145 comp and the fuel economy is great.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The instruments give lots of good information and they are clear to read. Accessory socket comes in handy for powering your mobile devices.

Buying experience: Had a great experience with my local Suzuki dealer, long road test and and great customer service. Only had four days to run it in before an 1800 mile euro trip but they fitted me in.

5 out of 5 Awesome bike! Awesome experience so far! Pleasure everyday!
07 November 2017 by Carlos Sertorio

Year: 2017

Handling - TOP Consumption - TOP Braking - TOP Accelaration - 4/5 Confort - TOP Front Suspension - 4/5 Rear Suspension - 5/5

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
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