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SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM (2004-2010) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"As a fun, realistic alternative to a licence-bashing sports middleweight, the V-Strom's a winner"

Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding

"As a fun, realistic alternative to a licence-bashing sports middleweight, the V-Strom's a winner"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

As a fun, realistic alternative to a licence-bashing sports middleweight, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom's on to a winner. That engine is sublime, with mountains of really useable power where you want it. To an extent, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom is built to a budget, but it’s a real performer. Cost-effective and versatile, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom is well worth a second glance.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Comfortable, fun and truly versatile, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom can be taken anywhere. Handling’s good enough for fast, twisty roads; protection’s ample for motorways; and the riding position’s perfect for urban commutes. Brakes, suspension and gearing are all good. The Suzuki DL650 V-Strom's sturdy chassis makes it stable and it turns quickly. Don’t take it off road though.

Engine 5 out of 5

The retuned SV650 engine is the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom's strongest feature. Tweaked for more midrange, boy it delivers. Peak torque kicks in at 7600rpm but anywhere between 4-9000rpm will have you grinning like a maniac. The Suzuki DL650 V-Strom offers smooth, fuel-injected power delivery and a top speed of around 125mph… Fantastic.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Overall build quality is fine but the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom needs a bash plate to protect the engine and exhaust system from being destroyed by road crud. The Suzuki DL650 V-Strom engine’s just wonderful, and very reliable, but does send some vibes through the bars and pegs.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

The Suzuki DL650 V-Strom is a tourer, a sportsbike and a commuter all handily wrapped together in one. Against other, trail-style middleweights, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom has a very competitive price tag and you’re really getting a top all-rounder for your money. Excellent tank range, low insurance group, slow tyre wear and an easily-serviced engine make for good, real world savings. Find a Suzuki DL650 V-Strom for sale.

Insurance group: 10 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The Suzuki DL650 V-Strom's seat’s wide and comfortable with ample room for a pillion and luggage for touring (although ground clearance can be a bit hairy, two up into sharp corners). The mirrors are excellent and the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom's adjustable screen works well until it rains, when it lets water through, doh!

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2004
Year discontinued 2010
Original price £6,125
Used price £1,800 to £3,300
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 10 of 17
Annual road tax £88
Annual service cost £340
Performance
Max power 60 bhp
Max torque 40 ft-lb
Top speed 125 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 13.2 secs
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 218 miles
Specification
Engine size 645cc
Engine type 8v V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 22 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 189kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload and rebound
Front brake Twin 310mm discs
Rear brake 260mm disc
Front tyre size 110/80 x 19
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2004: Suzuki unveiled the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom; a smaller sibling of their 1000cc version. The Suzuki DL650 V-Strom, cosmetically, is virtually identical to the Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom but has a lower seat and weighs around 20kg less.

Other versions

Suzuki DL650 V-Strom Touring: Launched in late 2005, this version of the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom has a centrestand, hand guards, heated grips and a top box as standard.

2011: V-Strom 650A (ABS model) available for £6,535

Owners' Reviews

28 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM (2004-2010) 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 (2004-2010)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.5 out of 5
Engine 4.6 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.9 out of 5
Equipment 4.3 out of 5
4 out of 5

18 August 2016 by Rob S

I’ll start with the good bits. The engine is one of the best I’ve ever experienced. Just torque all the way through the revs and definitely quick enough off the line for almost any situation. It handles a load well too, two up touring with camping gear and never missed a beat or showed any sign of struggling. It’s comfortable and tall enough so that you get a good view over traffic however not so tall that I can’t reach the floor (28” inside leg) although it’s close. It’s fairly frugal for a big bike, you’ll definitely get more than the 218 miles suggested out of a tank as long as you’re not ragging it. Mine has the colour coded luggage which is fairly good and easy to use. I think it looks good, maybe a bit front heavy but by no means an ugly bike. Also it sounds excellent, especially at the lower end of the rev range. Now the not so good bits. The biggest thing I wish I knew before buying the bike is that the front end/fairing/screen set up is woefully inadequate. I assume that whoever designed it had their mind on the next project and a phobia of the wind tunnel. The whole front fairing is too far forward and the screen has a lip on it that causes a lot of buffeting. The mirrors also contribute to this, no surprise as they’re like a pair of garage doors. The problem is, however, easily solved by replacing the mirrors with Aprilla ones and an aftermarket screen. I’ve also found that removing the top box helped. Although the luggage is quite good, the panniers open at the side, like a suitcase, which can be a bit annoying when you’re on the road but are easily removed with a key so not really a problem. Lastly, my ABS pump has failed. I think this is more because it spent the first 5 years of it’s life living on the coast so there’s a bit of corrosion. Not a big problem if, like me, you’re not a fan of ABS.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Comfortable, excellent engine and brakes have never let me down.
Engine
5 out of 5
Best engine I've ever owned.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
ABS pump has failed, not necessarily poor quality just a consequence of living by the sea. Paint on the swingarms has also begun to wear away.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Fairly easy to work on so can be cheaper.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Screen, fairing & mirrors let it down. Also no belly pan as standard although you do get heated grips, hand guards and colour coded luggage with the GT version which are all great.
5 out of 5

One of the best

14 July 2016 by Jon Bromfield

Do any thing go any where bike. If you want a good cheap tourer you wont get better. Im 6ft 3 inch and find it really comfortable but a bit of a squash two up with the standard top box on. The only thing I could fault the bike on its not the best looking bike. I have fitted a head light beak which improves the looks no ends. Ive been riding for 45 years and its possibly the best bike i have owned.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
It really suprised me how well this bike handles. The suspension is fairly long travel so this makes it great on some of our b roads. And the wide bars and low weight mean you can really flick it through the tight bendsI find the ABS can cut in a bit early
Engine
5 out of 5
when I first rode it I thought that it was a bit under powered but then thinking about it its only 650 so it isnt going to be a rocket ship. .The motor or is smooth with alot of character, It has Really good fuel consumption when ridden sensibly
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
The bike already had 5,000 miles on it when I bought it. Ive only covered about 1,000 miles on it but its been totally reliable
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Easy to service and parts are easy to get. . I do my own servicing
Equipment
4 out of 5
I have the ABS model which is a bonus . the instruments are straight forward and easy to read. The only down side is if your tall you get a bit of a buffering. The screen could do with being a bit taller but their are taller after market screens avaiable
Buying experience

I bought it on Auto trader for 2900 from a car dealer. then paid a courier 110 pounds to deliver it from wolverhamton to devon. brilliant service from both partys

5 out of 5

Medium sized bike with big presence

10 April 2016 by Rusty

Excellent owner experience, and good all round fun. If you want to ride without having to dress up like a Power Ranger or be pushed around like a 125, you can't go far wrong with a DL.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Ride is smooth and leans smartly. No ABS unfortunately, but stops OK with a handful but don't even think of cheaper pads. Fade comes quickly when bringing the clock down from beyond the 2 o'clock position in a hurry. Seat gets a little noticeable when riding for an hour or more but a stand up stretch helps.
Engine
5 out of 5
Plenty of torque going both up and down the throttle, making it easy to make progress. As others have said, the power sits in the middle of the clock and noticeably runs out of steam somewhere north of about 8k.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Keep an eye on the front fork seals and fit a headlight bypass relay if you can.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I regularly get in excess of 200 miles per tank, have pushed this to 230 but would not recommend it beyond that.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Handguards offer excellent wind protection but heated grips are a must with the British climate. A foot peg lowering kit will help the taller riders out there as will a taller screen.
4 out of 5

Great first touring bike

14 October 2015 by Edward Voelcker

The only thing I could wish for is just a bit more motorway power for those long hauls

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
Another 10%-20% of horsepower would be appreciated on some of those autobahn runs and when trying to keep up with bigger bikes on group rides, but it does very well for a 650
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Never had any unexpected breakdowns or faults. 100% reliable.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
As it is so reliable I tend to forget some needed maintenance. Still recommend sticking to the service manual/book and doing the right services at the right time.
Equipment
5 out of 5
The panniers that came with the GT model are plastic and a strange triangle shape, it does mean you can carry them with easy even fully loaded and they probably hand side winds a bit better then larger square metal panniers.
Buying experience

Bought it 2 years used, with just 3,200 miles on the clock, for half it's new price. Basically got very lucky.

4 out of 5

29 July 2015 by tom

Good all rounder with inadequate rear suspension, lousy tires and tire life, needs quite a bit to make it a first rate ride. Upgrade rear spring and shock and better tires, add some givi bags and a decent windshield and you have created a truly fun, sport tourer thats way more fuel efficient than most sportbikes, real usable power, change the front sprocket to a 16 or 17 tooth cog and you still have ample grunt but can cruise at real world slab speeds without wringing the snot out of the engine.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
I have done as much as 200 miles without a break but a 100 is more typical....brakes work well but need a pretty strong hand for fast stops. The front suspension is vwry stiff and rear very soft...with rear stiffened enough to match the front ride quality is plenty good enough handling is really good....slab or twisties it works.
Engine
5 out of 5
Some low intensity vibes that occasionally intrude on the joy....but seldom at any pseudo legal or prudent speed
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Factory suspension sucks and only gets worse with time
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Number above includes about everything...I ride 8 to 10 k per yr
Equipment
5 out of 5
See above...
Buying experience

New from dealer....typical dealer experience...feel a little used and abused afterwards.

4 out of 5

Great but the new one is better.

23 July 2014 by kaisersoseh

Bought a new one in 2010 and it was perfect as a lazy solo tourer, great engine and very comfortable. Handling and brakes were pretty good, and the headlight is one of the best I have ever experienced. The new model came out in 2011 and as soon as I rode it, I knew it was a better bike in all areas, so I sold my old model. They sell very easily secondhand and are an easy introduction to adventure bikes. Overall a great prospect and highly recommended.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Great on a budget

03 November 2012 by Anonymous

For the money it's great. I gave up a GSXR750 for something more sensible to commute in london every day, so I bought a hornet. Got bored of the hornet, found the suspension too poor, and the handling a bit awkward, and the ability to travel long distances in comfort was becoming a problem as I did it more often. I needed an all rounder bike that wasn't going to break the bank. The more I looked the more I realised it was going to be the weestrom. There are similar alternatives, but I fancied trying a new type of bike having only owned sports bikes and naked road going commuter bikes. I've only owned the bike two weeks but already I've grown very fond of it. It handles great, way better than the hornet, better than the aprilia shiver (which I thought should have been way better for the money), in fact this is one of the best handling bikes (under 70mph) I've owned. It reminds me of how well the MT03 handled, really great in town and on twisties which is where many bikes seems to struggle providing you with awkward feedback. You can drive this bike hard up to 70mph in to corners and turns very fast, inspring confidence with every turn. The stock tyres you early and ample feedback before they start lose grip. I'd never ridden dual sports tyres before, but really enjoying it in london where I can hoon over all sorts of surfaces with a single anxiety attack at all sorts of lean angles. I could never do that on the hornet which would wallow and shit it's pants at anything that wasn't a straight line. The suspension works well all considered, but at higher speeds you find the limits very quickly. I do miss taking the GSXR round country lanes at 130mph, but hey, at least my license, my life, and my wallet are safer doing them at 60-90mph instead. Comfort is great, although I had to go out and buy the MRA screen with spoiler as at 6 foot the odd turbulence problem created by the stock screen was very annoying, it was giving me a headache. Taller and shorter people don't seem to suffer the problem so bad. So add on another £200 for adjustable bracket and new screen if you're around 6 foot. A lof of peopel say the 650 has poke, but imo the engine is a bit weak, it's pretty good up to 60mph, but accelerates like a car at motorway speeds. I have issues with overtaking sports bikers who feel offended I've passed them and then insist on overtaking me even though they were driving slower originally, twats. Luckily you can out manouvre most bikes if you're not going in a straight line on this bike. In town it's great, especially on crappy uneven london roads. I'm constantly mounting obstacles that leave other bikers stuck - that really puts a smile on my face :-D No bike can give you everything, and I do miss the hornet's engine which has plenty of go for a 600. The vstrom 650 can wheelie if you clutch it, and for what you get it's still pretty good. Now i can tour in comfort, with pillion & luggage, commuting every day accross london is a hoot (except for fecking scooter drivers and BMW bike drivers who ruin london motorbiking), and I can do motorways all day. All in all not many bikes can do so much for so little. When I have more cash I'd like to try the dl1000 for a bit more oomph. Given a bit more savings I'm also considering the tiger, KTM SMT or adventure, or the versys, but that will be next year.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

09 650 vstrom GT

17 April 2012 by martyirish86

Just changed my transalp for a v strom,what a great bike in every way.65/70 mpg with well over 320 miles to a tank.A lot lighter,am well pleased

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

The Perfect Commuter

25 September 2011 by DEF2001

I have just sold my hornet and brought an 09 650 Vstrom GT and can't believe how much I prefer the Vstrom. Whilst the hornet was much faster when your in the mood as a day to day bike the Vstrom can't be beaten. It has plenty of pace for real road riding and is supremely comfortable. It is also amazingly agile for such a large bike. I will be riding it through the winter (although probably not once the gritters are out) and hoping it wears it as well as my hornet did. Time will tell but at the moment I can't recommend this bike highly enough.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Adventure tourer par excellence...

08 June 2011 by casperdog777

The 650 V Strom is a typical japanese mid range bike with a bullet proof engine set in a good frame which will keep you upright and a smile on your face. No sports bike this bike is all about that punchy v twin 650 alongside a superb twin headlight and upright riding position. It rides superbly into corners and on the straight it will cruise smoothly and cleanly. Economy is good and its possible to get up to 70 mpg. The fitting and fasteners are not high quality and chrome is not top notch. However with many models having hand guards, centre stand, heated grips and a superb fairing, the reason for buying this bike is clear: great value for money and a bike for the real world. The suspension is apparently not top notch either but I don't really notice , the bike is the sum of its parts and that means you get a brilliant mid range tourer that could do almost anything you ask of it. No wonder in 2010 the Xpedition 650 V Strom was launched by Suzuki. A lot of UK bikers are realising the world is not over impressed with hyper sports - get this bike and you will be pleased as punch! A superb all rounder that does most things well and some things utterly brilliantly !

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Superb mid size allrounder

24 August 2010 by Anonymous

I swapped a 700 Deauville for a DL650X after a test ride ended with a big grin. The Strom just felt so agile the engine is proven bulletproof and smooth for a V twin. It doesn't pull as well from 2000 revs like the Deauville, but the red line is 2000 revs higher too. In real everyday use this is a remarkable machine, which does anything reasonably asked of it comfortably, efficiently, and crucially is good fun to ride. I just wish I had tried one sooner. I haven't been in the saddle for more than an hour yet but have had no aches or pains to report being the wrong side of 50 and 6'3".

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

More smiles to the mile.

02 July 2010 by VstromDave

I'm on my second 650 V-Strom and I only got rid of my 2003 example because I was going to work overseas for 2 years. As soon as I came back to the UK I bought a brand new GT model which I may keep for ever! I went for the VStrom after using a Transalp to do some motorcycle instructing on. I have always had fast sports-tourers like ZZRs, VFRs etc but I loved the Transalp's riding position and handling. What I didn't like was the lack of power so I looked around and saw the V-Strom. It seemed to have everything going for it that I liked about the Transalp plus around 15bhp more power. I took a demonstrator out for a test ride and bought it as soon as I got back to the shop. I find that the V-Strom is comfortable, much quicker than you would expect from a 650 twin and handles very well. Although it's the slowest bike I have owned since 1992 I am quicker through my favourite twisties than on any other bike I have had. It's so easy to chuck around that I have pegs down despite the large ground clearance. I always feel I am getting 10 tenths out of it. It's also economical to run and I can insure it fully comp for well under £100. Tyres last well - up to 7000 on the back, 9-10000 for the front. The OE fit Bridgestone Trail Wings are very good and my friend (and fellow instructor), who bought my first V-Strom from me also rates them highly. I have done 220 miles on a tankful of petrol more than once. Build quality is ok, I work hard to keep mine looking good but after 2 years and 6000 miles it has no furry fasteners or rusty brakeline crimps. One negative point is the screen. I suffer a lot of buffeting around my head, regardless of the screen position (I am 5'11"). It is worse with my Suomi than with my old Arai though. I fitted a Givi touring screen which has improved things. Also the Suzuki luggage could be better - the panniers are too small and the top box, while big and very good, intrudes into the pillion space. I love this bike, it satisfies all my motorcycling requirements and if you are looking for something different from hyper-fast sports tourers it might fit your bill too.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Just brilliant

11 March 2010 by simon0503

I could not be more pleased at having chosen the wee VStrom! As an all round package Suzuki have got it spot...this is a gem of a bike. To me nothing else comes close for grin factor (the engine is just brilliant!), comfort and touring ability.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Perfect commuter

16 October 2009 by Anonymous

Recently upgraded from a 650 bandit to the X model DL650 and what an improvement. Excellent riding position, flexible engine power and the biggest plus is the fuel economy. I commute 200+ miles a week and the DL is so frugal it lasts 6 days between visits to the petrol garage where the bandit barely managed 4! The only downside is the bars are a bit wider which can cause problems when filtering.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

first NEW bike

03 June 2009 by leett

this is the first bike i have owned from new and it's a great choice.So easy to ride and the power is there when needed. Its so comfortable too. My first trip was the day after i bought it, 550 miles and less than £40 in fuel.FANTASTIC!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Comfort at last

28 April 2009 by asroth

Just changed from a thundercat to the dl650 on a 57 reg, got the non abs version though not ever having ABS dont miss this. Bike sounds a bit humpy compared to the thundercat, but is sooo much more comfortable, getting about 270 miles from a tank of fuel with revs not going above 6k, great for touring or comutting, im 6'1 so find this bike perfect in size and riding position, not to heavy to handle at about 190 kilos, no back ache or hand ache after 8 hrs straight riding, just a numb bum :O). Highly recomend this bike.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Better Than Most

10 October 2008 by Tribal-Wolf

I have just bought a new DL650x and I love it. Its a nice metallic orange with black trim, engine guards and protection plate. Riding it is very smooth and pulls from anything above 2k if needed. I like the high riding position as you can see above cars so you're aware of what is going on way up the road. I find it extremely economical for its size easily getting over 60mpg. I suffer from pain in my wrists riding most bike but not with this, no backache or any other ache to be honest. The only thing I would have liked would have been a reach adjustable clutch lever, even my old ER-5 had that, it should be standard on bike these days I think. That said the clutch is very smooth so my stubby fingers cope. I would highly recomend this bike to anyone who is not into lying on the petrol tank, its a great all round bike for a great price.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Happy with V-Strom

06 July 2008 by Massimo1

I bought the ABS version. It came with a top case, handguards, and crash bars, all for 7200€. ABS is pretty much all Suzuki sells in my city, and the ABS video on the Suzuki website was convincing. I am still breaking it in, but I can tell it's got plenty of guts I haven't tapped yet. I love the engine and the shifting is in all the right spots for urban riding. No hunting for neutral like on my last bike. It is comfortable and feels very stable on the highway. Really easy to ride. I thought the V would be unwieldy because of its size (it is the longest in it's class), but I am having no problems and find I can throw it around a bit. The turning radius is more than I am used to from my last bike. The throttle sometimes is a bit sensitive, especially when going over bumps. My only minor complaint: I wish the pegs were a tad lower to get a more relaxed angle on my knees and hips. The only other bike I was looking at was the Versys which is a fine bike, but it was too tall for me with a 840mm seat height (I am just about 5'9"). I had trouble push/paddling it in and out of parking. I thought lowering its seat would raise my arms too much for comfort. It had a couple of other design oddities. Everyone said "you'll get used to them", but I think that is the wrong way to look at it if you are going to ride everyday, i.e. the bike should fit. Plus the V had overall better reviews in most publications. I test-drove the new BMW F650GS twin, but everything useful was at extra cost, raising it to over 9100€!!, nearly 2000€ more the V. And the separate left & right turn signals made me crazy. The best thing about the V is that is very popular here, so you can service everywhere, and it should be easy to resell when the time comes to move to another bike.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Hong Kong commuter

26 May 2008 by Shiprex

Just upgraded from a '92 Honda 250 Spada (HK sporty type bike) to the V-Strom and I haven't looked back. Apart from my legs being too short this bike is perfect for my 40km drive to and from work. Lacks storage that can be added but that would spoil its look. It gets lots of admiring looks from all. The scooter/moped and naked 400 Hondas that dominate the local roads. Its different and gets noticed The bike likes to be revved and has power all the way. I thought going from the 250 to this much bigger/heavier bike would be a nightmare to navigate through the (common) traffic, but its nimble and narrow frame makes it almost as easy to slip between taxis and busses with a lot more presence than most other bikes. High riding position also makes it easy to see over the sea of MPVs in town and plan routes through traffic successfully. Cheap to run too. Getting between 65 and 71 mpg as good as the old 250. Brilliant !!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Excellent Value

09 May 2008 by robbobiker

This is my second review of the Dl650 as the first was having only had the bike a week or two. It's now fully run-in and I'd like to point out a few issues which are minor but relevant to others interest in this overall great motorcycle. You HAVE to keep on top of the cleaning as just a few days left to the elements, even in a garage which is not entirely sealed off from air flow will begin to reveal rust spots on the disks and the start of corrosion on the rather flakey fastenings. The paint however is good, as is the frame. It's the engine and blts you have to keep an eye on. While the gear box is generally smooth the throttle response is not always silky smooth and picking up on junction and roundabout exits I find I have to be careful and use delicate throttle inputs to avoid a certain amount of jerking in the drive train, and this is with a well adjusted chain. The brakes, with ABS, are not stella and require quite a firm pull. The back brake is below par and requires quite a lot of pressure even after the pads have bedded in. The other thing to watch is low speed handling. When coming to a stop it is important to keep the bars dead centre as even the slightest front brake when coming to a stop makes the forks dive and can really unsettle the top heavy tendency to keel over a little. Use of back brake only in the final part of the stop is advisable...this bike is really quite top heavy. It's also hard to push around in a garage or parking, and you have to concentrate on keeping it dead upright. However once you are riding at even low speeds it is reasonably easy to maneouvre using throttle, clutch and back brake, and U-turns, with practice, are fine. The seat is for my taste to scooped out and curved, so there is a limited area in which your bum feels comfortable and numb bum kicks in quite soon. The seat would be better with a flatter profile. Apart from that it is a very good motorcycle and the star of the show is the engine which pulls evenly and strongly right through to redline. The sweet spot is around 4500-5000 rpm where it is quiet and smooth. Doesn't like being ridden below 3000 rpm. There is just a hint of weave above 85 mph with panniers and top box, but not alarming so far. Without luggage the steering is true. The large tank and fairing does make crosswinds a little challenging, but no more than similar bikes of similar weight.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5

Great bike but some issues..

22 April 2008 by Built for comfort

Owning from new (Suzuki 0% finance clinched it ) just run in and still getting used to it after Varadero 1000 ( which had to go due to thirst for petrol!! ). Not as comfy as Varadero ..( is anything!!?? ) and passenger gets a raw deal with suzuki standard rack and back box. My only gripe really! The back box takes 2-3" off the rear seat , which is not that big to start with , and digs nastily into whoever dares sitting there , notice ( unless wearing full body armour etc ) how a nice inprint is left on passengers back!!! Loose the box you might say, OK OK and guess what you get two nice bolts to stick up in the behind of whoever is foolhardy to try, so unless your passenger is 7 stone and a wee person try before you buy ( especially if you plan to do some 2 up touring ). I have the matt black version which comes with engine bars and belly pan ( both essential!! I reckon ) and plan to get fender extender and rear hugger to help keep the worst of the weather off the exposed engine. So , I've been biking since 1975 and had some great bikes and some dogs, the V Strom 650 is smooth , no vibes , easy to ride comfy for short rides ( I'm 6 foot and wish I was 3 inches smaller as would probably be perfect ) , sort of wish I had tried the 1000cc but reckon what with petrol prices + Tax + insurence etc I made right choice. Nice bike , fine commuter ( 40 mile round trip ) but try before you buy .. oh and its rained most every day I've taken it out since I got it :( obviously reliability has not been tested as still new , hence the 3 stars.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
2 out of 5
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5 out of 5

First big bike - look no further

14 April 2008 by mattearnshaw

Firstly one of the main reasons for me choosing this is that I'm 6ft3 so not many bikes are made for people my height except the trailie look alikes. Its my first big bike since doing my direct access and it inspires confidence in the twisties and is comfortable cruising down the motorways at 80! Its still running in at the moment but its nearly there thanks to 500 miles in the 3 days after my test!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
4 out of 5
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5 out of 5

Value and Reliability

12 April 2008 by robbobiker

After a couple of years with a Honda, Kawasaki and Moto Guzzi I think I've at at last found the bike for me. Since I want a bike for the road, not the track, I have no interest whatsoever in Sportsbikes or having wrist or back ache, but it would be folly to describe the Weestrom as a pedestrian motorcycle. The V-twin 650cc engine is superb, and much more useable, smooth and flexible than the by comparison clunky and coarse 1000 cc version. The large front wheel and long travel suspension do not in any way make the Vstrom sluggish round corners, once you get used to the response which is stable and planted rather than the quick-flick variety which I don't want anyway. The seat is very comfortable, the bars just the right height, and the road handling is up there with the new BMW GS 650 and 800, but at two thirds the price when you include ABS, Centre Stand, Top Box, Hand Guards and full gauges including full fuel readout (all the above are monstrously expensive accessories on the Beemers but came AS STANDARD on the Vstrom deal I negotiated - BMW wake up....you are beginning to price yourselves out of the market). While not having immense character at first sight the Vstrom grows on you and I have never felt so at ease with a bike in cross winds, on wet roads and over pot-holed tarmac, where for the price the Vstrom is impressively stable, poised and unruffled. The fly in the ointment is the standard screen which is hopelessly turbulent. An after market aerofoil screen solved this, but Suzuki really must be aware of how dire their standard screen is and it is pure laziness not to have addressed it. The other thing to watch is corrosion. The Vstrom is well put together and very solid but can get away from you if you do not religious keep everything clean. Overall, a stunningly good bike, and not just because of its value, but also because it is a proven, reliable, rock solid machine which won't let you down, and you can have a lot of fun round the twisties without pushing things beyond sensible. One final point....excellent economy with 60 mpg very easy to achieve and the best tank range in its class. Recommended.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5

new strom better than first

14 September 2007 by wee strom

first strom 22000 miles and loved every minute traded it in for tdm [bit more power]but there were to many down sides .have had new strom for four months now and covered 11500miles inc 3000 to the dolomites and back in a week can say that the new engine is better on fuel 300miles two up on b roads 250 on motoways is quite easy about 50miles more than first bike.have to say only prob so far is left mirror kept moving which was replaced and now have a prob with same mirror delaminating another one on order.comfy easy to ride excellent lights fun on the back lanes 300miles to the next fill up wot more could you ask for?good looks mybe. carnt have everything.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
5 out of 5
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4 out of 5

DL650 GT

28 August 2007 by Anonymous

Having been surgically attached to my new DL650, Grand Tourer spec, for the past few days I have to say I’m very impressed, especially with the handling. My previous machine was a Yamaha XJR 400 and I wouldn’t have dreamed about throwing that in to some of the corners that have been doing on the DL, It’s a very forgiving machine. The ride is very comfortable, I’m 6’2 and it provides me with a very upright riding position. The tank range on the specification is 218 miles, which isn’t far off, I got to 210 with the gauge flashing before wimping out and fuelling up. My only criticism, and it’s a small one, is that the screen doesn’t give that much protection from the wind. At its lowest point the wind was hitting me just below the helmet; I adjusted it up one notch and it was hitting me in the face. I took it to the next level, which I’m guessing would have been perfect however it looked a bit silly with the screen so far up so I dropped it back down to the bottom. It’s something I’ll just have to get used to I guess, given that the XJR didn’t have one I guess I shouldn’t complain as it’s better than nothing! In summary - A very nice machine, great handling, great comfort, good tank range, and loads of storage. Screen could be better.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
5 out of 5
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4 out of 5

Great all-rounder, despite its looks.

10 August 2007 by oxfordsnowman

Overall: looks like angry wasp with bloated thorax. Looks better with top case at rear -this balances out the bloated thorax. Top case doesn't seem to affect handling. Mine's a matt black post-nuclear holocaust Mad Max future bike, although I've drawn the line at a rabbit-skin saddle and shotgun holster so it's not the Full Monty. Great riding position. Seat not comfortable, I may fit a gel pad. Fuel economy/tank range A1. Engine: gutsy with pleasing V-twin burble at low revs, very eager at high revs. Ride: pretty good, but you can feel the bumps at times. Handling: great, encourages enthusiastic cornering (bike's capabilities way beyond my own). Equipment: I bought an 06 Touring model with heated grips, centre stand and top case -all very handy. Bad buffeting with standard screen for those over 6' -Cee Baileys screen fixes this. ABS now available on new bikes. Quality: overall, not bad. Way below, eg BMWs, for durability ...wash, oil and spray all over with WD40 regularly to reduce tendency to corrode. Reliability: seems fine, vg good starter, whatever the weather. Value: compared with other bikes, seems OK. Buying a year or two old =bargain, but occasional good deals on new bikes -try to get a top case and centre stand (can be a devil to fit -leave it to dealer) and maybe heated grips.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
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Engine
4 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
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Equipment
3 out of 5
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4 out of 5

good first bike

06 July 2007 by johnneil1970

i have only had my full licence for 6 months. and as a first bike the dl 650 v strom is a good learner safe good height for motorway riding .good round twisty roads. I will keep for couple of years and move up to a bigger bike

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
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Engine
4 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
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Equipment
4 out of 5
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5 out of 5

Great bike, does everything!

21 July 2006 by delgodfrey

Got mine a year ago and use it everyday for my commute from Kent to London. Good riding position, very comfortable, good power, great tank rage (210 miles+) and very reliable. I have done over 12,500 miles and the bike has not had a single problem - in fact I'm still on the same set of Bridgestone Trail Wings! I don't, however, thrash it around but do give it some if I need to. I was thinking (due to milage) that I might change it soon - but I honestly don't think I would find anything better. Great bike, love it! Strengths: Comfort, Power, reliability and Tank Range. Weaknesses: I like the looks, some don't.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
4 out of 5
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Photo Gallery

  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Front view
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom motorcycle review - Riding
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