It’s no full-on scratcher, of course – the upright gait, 19-inch front wheel and budget/all-rounder suspension, brakes and tyres preclude that, but it’s now also a long way from the mushy vagueness its trailie style may suggest and can genuinely be thrown around with confidence.
The revised Gladius engine is willing and eager. The SV650 based V-twin has long been considered the virtually unchallenged leader in its class, and in this uprated form, though not startlingly different, is better yet: always flexible, free-revving and yet, for a V-twin, impressively smooth, too. The power builds smoothly from low down and it pulls all the way to the red line.
In person the restyle is seductive and classy. The now curvy, wind tunnel-developed lines are more integrated; the detailing and instruments more sophisticated and modern, and the use of more varied materials and textures gives the new V-Strom an air of bikes as luxurious as Ducati’s Diavel rather than a budget-priced middleweight. The front mudguard, tank band and sidepanels have an (admittedly fake) carbon fibre style weave, satins and brushed aluminium mix with glossy metallic paint and the new seat, complete with red stitching and embossed ‘V-Strom logo, on its own looks classy and a cut above.
Excellent. The old V-Strom was a good, budget bike. The latest one is a great bike that just happens to be at a budget price. Considering the style, finish, equipment and ability it makes even the great Tiger 800 seem pricey.
Insurance group: 10 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.
ABS is standard and there’s a decent rack but any other goodies are only as optional extras.