MCN Fleet: V-Strom 650XT the ideal workhorse

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Working as MCN’s British Superbike reporter takes me here, there and everywhere. Not only do I get to head out to 12 rural destinations in far-flung corners of the UK (and the Netherlands), I’m often out and about in the week visiting racers.

This sort of riding covers most
 of my annual mileage, on top of my 136-mile round-trip commute to our Peterborough office.

So, it’s simple; I need a workhorse, something that’ll chew up the miles, carry a decent amount of luggage and doesn’t mind being parked up in a wet, muddy field while it’s inevitably raining at Oulton Park.

I carry a lot of stuff to BSB meets. Not only do I have my work uniform for each day but a change of clothes for the evenings and a rucksack full of the paraphernalia needed to do my job.

I’m away for four nights, from Thursday to Monday and if I go in the car I’ll take a medium-sized suitcase, a rucksack and a bag of MCNs. It’s easy. Fitting it all on the V-Strom, however, is a little more challenging.

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I’ve done a few shorter, non-BSB weekend trips this year and Suzuki’s panniers and topbox provide ample storage for a couple of days away, but there was no way I was going to fit
four days’ worth of work uniform and clothes as well as all my kit in. One MCN Alpinestars jacket and a pair of shoes and the exhaust-side pannier is full.

While you can fit a bit more into the topbox and left-hand pannier, it’s still not enough. I ended up having to put most of my clothes into a roll bag and attach it to the rear seat and use a rucksack for work kit.

Aside from having to spread my luggage out, the V-Strom handles work trips well. The 20-litre tank and decent fuel economy mean I’m not filling up every five minutes and the upright seating position and wide bars make for a comfortable ride on motorways and A-roads. The big screen, handguards and aerodynamic front-end also protect me from the weather.

Ultimately, the V-Strom is an ideal workhorse. It’s not a gas guzzler, it’s comfortable and while I might moan about luggage space, I could still have taken a lot more with me if I’d really wanted or needed to. 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing