Suzuki’s aluminum side cases are almost
indestructible but not very well tucked in.
The V-Strom has two weaknesses
in the dirt. The first is soft suspension
and the second is vulnerability of the
low-hanging motor. It doesn’t have
much ground clearance, and there’s
no skid plate. The exhaust pipe, on the
other hand, is tucked in nicely, and the
XT’s crash bars are well-placed and
sturdy. For that matter, the aluminum
side cases are super tough, perhaps
even overbuilt. Suzuki didn’t make
much effort at keeping them tucked
in, and the end result is that you have
a wide, indestructible caboose that
smashes everything in its path. On any
given ride, you’ll hit brush and sometimes make contact with saddlebags
on other bikes. The Suzuki’s saddlebags always win in a collision.
CHOOSE YOUR RIDE
As we said, Suzuki originally didn’t
build the V-Strom with dirt as its
primary target. The seating position,
footpegs, handlebar and foot controls
all reflect more of a street attitude.
The anti-lock brakes can’t be turned
off, which is annoying in the dirt but
a common problem in this category.
The fact that the bike was welcomed
by the adventure community reflects
the fact that it fills a need for something in its price range. A base-model
V-Strom is an incredible bargain.
And even though the price for the
XT sounds high, you would be hard-pressed to find your own accessories for the same price. Most Suzuki
V-Stroms probably won’t be pressed
to cross the country off-road, but at
least they can, and that means the
bike will continue to be a hit in alternate worlds. ❏