Long-term test: What I love about the new Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT

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I’ve always had a huge, gooey soft spot for trailies. And I’ve always loved the simplicity of an easy-going parallel or V-twin. That’s why I’m so stoked to be spending the year with the new Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT.

Suzuki have dressed up the old Strom with proper SW Motech crash bars and sumpguard. It also comes with a beak, hanguards and most importantly, lighter wire spoke wheels for off-roading.  They come wrapped up in dual-purpose Bridgestone Trail Wings, which have been excellent so far, with more grip than expected on tight corners.

So far I’ve been confined to my boring 450-mile a week commute but it’s good to know the Strom is set-up for more, and ready and waiting to be taken along some dusty tracks and easy trails.

Until then, it’s tackling the commute incredibly well. The little V-twin just purrs along without any fuss and it’s not snapping back at me every time I tickle its throttle cable. Overall it’s an incredibly easy bike to ride – simple, pragmatic and functional.

I’m most impressed with the excellent fuel consumption. So far my commute has given me a calculated return of 57mpg. With its well-sized 20-litre tank, that means I can get close to 250 miles until the tank runs dry. Only filling up twice a week is brilliant. So far, so happy.

I’ve got lots planned for the year with the baby Strom, including the odd camping stint and off-road adventure. But first I’m going to have to sort out the luggage situation. Suzuki offer a pannier set which I’ll be looking to fit over the coming weeks.

The bike Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT, £7599 
Weight 215kg Seat height 835mm Miles covered 1625 MPG 57
The rider: Andy Davidson, Staff Writer Height 5ft 7in Weight 73kg Type of rider Long-distance adventurer with nine years’ riding experience