Will Sandilands swaps his top-spec V-Strom for the standard model and discovers a little extra cash goes a long way.
It may sound like a cliché but I didn’t know what I had until it was gone. I’d just dropped my top-spec Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT off for a service and I’d been loaned a standard model for a few days for me to ride instead.
At this point, let me say I’ve been loving every moment on the V-Strom, which is the first big bike I’ve ridden after graduating from the 650 model earlier this year. And, while I was grateful to the lovely folks at Suzuki for providing me with a loaner bike, I admit to becoming rather unsettled on the ride home.
I noticed the little things at first. As I checked for traffic behind me, I was met with a large functional mirror instead of the sleek, stylish design I was used to. I went to rest my feet on the engine bars but quickly realised they’re not included with the standard V-Strom. Then I began to miss features that I’d previously taken for granted, like handguards, a quick-release adjustable screen, and even the look of the slimline LED indicators.
And then of course there are the rider aids. The XT model comes with extra goodies such as cruise control, cornering ABS, and hill hold control. They are all things I previously took for granted but quickly learned I’d come to rely on, particularly when I stalled as I pulled away from a set of traffic lights on a hill.
The chassis and engine of both V-Strom 1050 models are the same and they both feel lightweight for a big bike. The V-Strom has wonderfully flickable steering and enough power from its 105bhp engine to have a hell of a lot of fun in the saddle. They are both incredibly comfortable bikes too, featuring a relaxed upright seating position that I’ve been happy to spend many miles riding in. And, both bikes feature three rider modes, called A, B, and C, which are basically sport, touring, and rain modes.
To be honest, if you bought the standard version of the V-Strom 1050, you would be well served and you wouldn’t know what you were missing out on, but I did. After having ridden the top-spec XT version for a few months, I missed all those little details that add up to give the bike a premium feel, even down to how much cooler the spoked wheels of the XT look over the alloys on the standard bike. In short, it just didn’t feel as special.
So, I’m left with the question, if I was to go out and buy a Suzuki V-Strom 1050 tomorrow, would I spend £9,999 on the standard model, or would I splash out an extra £1,300 to ride off on the XT version? e honest answer is I would dig a little deeper into my pockets and spend the extra cash. I know it’s easy to say when I’m not actually handing over any money, but all those extra little details really do add up to make a very good bike an absolute belter.