Author: Dave Reynolds

Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT long term test: Initial thoughts and first ride

V-strom 1000XT in the mountains of spain

I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed when I caught sight of the V-Strom 1000XT outside Suzuki’s HQ. In-ya-face yellow! But I’m used to it now, and honestly wouldn’t change to a different colour. It certainly stands out from the crowd.

So, the first impression was the looks, colour and styling. A new headlight and beak arrangement are the extent of the updates from the old Strom, but underneath is still the same. Which is no bad thing.

It’s about an hour’s ride back to my place from the HQ, and it was a nice dry sunny afternoon, just enough miles to get into the new Strom experience.

The clutch is nice and light, the dash is easy to read, all brakes and controls are light and useable. My thoughts were, it rides more like a 125 than a 1000cc adventure bike. The handling is positive, it just goes where it’s pointed. I can’t emphasise enough how well it handles, it feels light and nippy.

The riding position, seat to bars to footpeg, is perfect for me, and the seat is very comfortable too. I’ve owned a 1000 Strom in the past, a 2005 model, and I have to say, this is light years away from that. Suzuki have certainly evolved this bike into what it is now.

Many have said that the V-Strom 650 is the better bike to ride and live with, and I’ve done many miles on 650s myself. This new 1000 rides as well as a 650, but with the extra oomf of a 1000, and that works for me.

Back at home, it was time to get it ready for my trip to Spain and Portugal. I was riding to Plymouth the following day to catch the ferry!

Half an hour was all I had to attach and wire in the SatNag and then load up the luggage.

Our long-term V-Strom 1000XT has come with Suzuki’s new luggage system; top box and panniers. All lockable with the ignition key. Very nice. The earlier edition Stroms could be criticised for the ‘wide load’ panniers, which made filtering a nervy experience, but these new ones are a great improvement. They’re nicely tucked in and no wider than the bars, and I’ve had no filtering problems.

But, this comes at a cost to capacity. For my trip they were sufficient, but the top box would just squeeze a helmet in and the pannier boxes are really not big enough for a two-week, two-up tour.

With this in mind, a bigger top box would be a good purchase for longer trips, and you can then keep the original for day to day use. Aside from buying and fitting aftermarket panniers, there’s not much that can be done with the stock ones, just take less stuff.

Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT Specs at a glance

  • Price: £9,999
  • Engine: 1037cc liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, V-Twin
  • Torque: 74ftlb @ 4000rpm
  • Gearbox: 6-speed
  • Brakes: Front: Twin 310mm discs, four-piston calipers, cornering ABS. Rear: 265mm single disc, two-piston caliper, cornering ABS.
  • Tyres: Front: 110/80 19. Rear: 150/70 17
  • Weight: 232kg (kerb weight)
  • Fuel capacity:  20 litres
  • Seat Height: 850mm