JOURNEYMAN: SUZUKI V-STROM 1050 XT | FIRST RIDE
As Suzuki's V-Strom morphs closer to being the full house Adventure bike it will inevitably become, how close is it in 2020?
When is smooth too smooth? It’s a fair question when riding the 2020 V-Strom 1050, Suzuki’s new version of a bike so dependable and smooth, it can be hard to define it.
It looks awesome, the red version AMCN grabbed – for this test and for our mega Adventure test coming up next issue – based on the original Dr Big, the grunty single-cylinder 750 designed by the same bloke, Ichiro Miyata, back in 1988. That red is the closest Suzuki dared to go to the tobacco-sponsored Dakar weapon, but the overall look is effective. It is a head turner, and there’s no missing its Katana-like nose, but my gaze settled on the 19-inch front wheel pretty quickly, though.
A 19-inch front wheel, such as on the KTM 1290 S and Ducati Multistrada Enduro, says “we can kinda do Adventure, but not totally”. Fair enough, like lots of riders, and at the starting price (from $16,490 +orc), the V-Strom makes for an excellent go-anywhere machine, but without the full off-road credentials of some of its rivals.
With that in mind, I set off on a 1000km round trip to a friend’s property near Narrabri, situated at the end of a fun 45km dirt road which gradually descended into a narrow goat track of a road. Would the Suzuki make it? Course it would…
While it looks like an Adventure bike, 19-inch front wheel included, it really is still an excellent all-rounder. If it never hit the dirt, an owner would still enjoy its road manners, linear engine and fuel range.
It would be a shame not to take it down the road less travelled, though, because it will take you down that path, as long as you weren’t trying to make it at Dakar pace. Being able to comfortably navigate the dirt opens up so much more touring potential in Australia, so if pointing somewhere unfamiliar on something that can get you to work appeals, Suzuki has a bike you need to try.
The new electronic suite brings the bike in line with what people expect from a modern bike and Suzuki didn’t mess with that engine, save to make it Euro5 compliant and add six claimed horses while they were at it. This adds up to worthy reasons to upgrade your old V-Strom, or try the Suzuki for the first time.
Read our full test in the current issue on sale now