There are adventure bikes that allow you to live the image, and others
that only allow you to imagine the life.
Which group does the new Suzuki
V-Strom 650XT ABS belong?
Both. And, for that matter, it also
belongs in a multitude of other
groups: multi-surface commuter,
budget adventurer and freelance dirt
explorer. The Suzuki 650 has been
around long enough now to earn its
stripes across the board. At first,
charter members of the adventure
elite didn’t consider it high end (read,
expensive) enough for acceptance.
And it was never really designed with
hard-core dirt warfare in mind, so it
was initially left out in adventure conversations. But years and miles have
changed all that. The Suzuki has been
elected as a legitimate off-road touring machine by the masses. For 2015,
it gets some attention to acknowledge
its place in the market.
This isn’t a complete redesign of
the bike. In fact, it’s not a redesign at
all. This is simply a scheduled tune-up with mostly cosmetic updates.
The “XT” suffix is new to separate
it from two preexisting siblings: the
base-model V-Strom 650 ABS ($8549)
and the V-Strom 650 ABS Adventure
($10,049), which has a decent list of
upgrades with the older look. The XT
has the same engine, frame and suspension as the base model, adds all
the accessories of the Adventure, then
goes a step farther with new bodywork and reverse-spoke wheels.
If you know what all that means,
then good for you. Skip ahead. For
everyone else, here’s the short form.
The Suzuki V-Strom 650 dates back
11 years and was redesigned three
years ago. The bike has a DOHC,
90-degree V-twin motor displacing 645cc. It’s in an aluminum frame
with a conventional fork and a single
shock. Suspension travel is modest,
and so is the seat height. By adventure bike standards, it’s a low-rider,
measuring 32. 9 according to manufacturers specs.