Let’s start out here with a little bit of a confession. I’m a sport bike guy through and through. I may go off on tangents whining about how my back hurts from their riding positions and how I can’t deal with it for long distances, but at the end of the day I would choose a super-sport over anything else on the market. Our friendly national Suzuki rep decided to yank me out of my comfort zone for a week and offered me a spin on the 2013 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS. Not only is the V-Strom a far cry from the sport bikes I’m used to, it’s considerably more comfortable!
I jumped on the V-Strom right after getting off a Honda CB500, so the first thing I noticed is how large it is. With a seat height of 32.9”, I was actually surprised that I wasn’t able to put both feet flat on the ground while on it. I quickly became accustomed to the bike though; it astounded me with how simple it is to ride and manage. I could actually get very used to this. Upon picking up the V-Strom, I headed on a 75 km highway blast to Milton, ON. It was on that maiden ride that this touring bike won me over. It’s easily the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden, and I can definitely ride one daily.
This motorcycle’s simplistic design and height-adjustable windshield deflect rain away from the rider, as I came to discover. I hit a torrential downpour on one spirited jaunt, which would typically have me pulling over and hunting for shelter if I were on a sport bike. The V-Strom 650 actually gave me the confidence to keep going, and I realized as I arrived at my destination that I wasn’t even as wet as I expected to be. The lightweight luggage carriers (one on the rear and one on each side) that my test bike came equipped with kept my notebook bag as well as my iPad nice and dry. It’s important to note that these luggage boxes come right off within seconds and are lockable by key.
The 2013 V-Strom 650 ABS is powered by a 645 cc 4-stroke two-cylinder engine. It does a more-than-adequate job of getting the bike moving. The transmission is a 6-speed constant mesh with an especially tall top gear designed to cruise comfortably on the highway. Those expecting sport bike power will probably be a bit disappointed, but the V-Strom has plenty of power for a touring bike. Upon a visit to my parents’ place, one of their neighbours waltzed over the second he saw me getting off the V-Strom to check it out. Apparently, he has just ordered one, and plans to do the Alaskan Highway on it in a few weeks. I can’t help but feel as though this is the absolute perfect bike to do something like that on. An incredible seating position that’s just right for long rides, adequate power, and great overall fuel efficiency. I averaged 4.2L/100km in combined riding. What more can you want from a touring bike?
I had the opportunity to test the anti-lock braking system that is featured on this V-Strom. I tried to stop the bike on a closed course in wet weather using only the rear brake, and the ABS kicked in immediately. It’s worth noting here that this was my first experience with ABS on a motorcycle, and it felt no different than in a car. I’m a big believer in threshold braking; actually maintaining just enough pressure on the pedal so the ABS doesn’t have a need to kick in. I appreciate the ABS feature on this Suzuki from a safety standpoint, but being a purist, I would prefer modulating the brakes (even if it means locking them right up!) at my own free will.
It’s always been on my bucket list to do the Canadian Rocky Mountains on a motorcycle. The cliffs, lakes, and curvy mountain passes are heaven for any gearhead. Ideally it would be just me, my D-SLR camera, and a few sets of clothes. The dream had always been to do it on one of my favourite bikes, a Ducati 1098 Streetfighter. After my week with the V-Strom though, I can’t bring myself to turn away from the sheer comfort this beautiful touring bike offers. With its 20L fuel tank, it actually has the ability to go significant distances without demanding a refuel. Could the 2013 Suzuki V-Strom 650 actually be the perfect adventure motorcycle?
2013 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS Gallery