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.
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.
The SV65-based engine has been around since the nineties and is pretty bulletproof. Suzuki used to have a slightly iffy reputation when it came to finishing, but that's no longer the case.
If you told me the V-STrom 650XT 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.
The V-Strom 650XT 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.