Suzuki DL650 V-Strom Overview
Suzuki’s 650cc V-twin engine has been doing great work for more than 20 years now. It first appeared powering the original SV650 roadster and is also at the heart of this DL650 V-Strom middleweight adventure machine – one of Suzuki’s most successful designs.
The V-Strom 650 was launched in 2004, with an eight-valve DOHC fuel-injected version of the 90° V-twin engine, putting out around 64bhp from 645cc, enough to top 120mph.
That motor is bolted into a smart aluminium twin-spar frame, with monoshock rear suspension and conventional front forks. Early bikes came without ABS, but that became an option from 2007 and was standard fitment from 2011.
The V-Strom’s off-road abilities are limited compared with a proper dirt bike, but the longer travel suspension gives good ground clearance. Choose a model with wire spoked rims, fit more dirt-biased tyres and you’ll have a decent middleweight machine that can deal with gravel trails and mild off-road riding.
On the Tarmac though, the V-Strom is really useful. The engine is well developed, super reliable and very economical. The bodywork keeps a degree of weather off and gives decent wind protection, so motorway jaunts are more relaxing.
Add some hard luggage, heated grips and some uprated rubber, and you have a fun, quick, reliable and practical all-rounder, which works all year round too.
On the downside, it’s a bit short on tech and outright power compared with something like BMW’s F850 GS or the KTM 790 Adventure. But the V-Strom 650 is also a few thousand pounds cheaper than either of those.
Suzuki DL650 V-Strom Spec
- Top speed125mph
- Average fuel consumption45mpg
- Seat height820mm
- Engine8v V-Twin, four stroke, liquid cooled
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From daily commuting in London to touring loaded up with camping equipment, this bike handles superbly.
Very well mannered, either in town or on the open road. Downsized to this from the DL1000 and don't miss it.
Materials quality – front forks more rust resistant and plastics less prone to fading in sunlight.
This is the trade off. It doesn't like living outside all year round so you have to keep an eye out for rust developing on the forks and fading of the plastics from sunlight.
The brakes are good, but the ABS is a bit quick to kick in and somewhat clunky.
Smooth and bites well
Well it's a 650cc and it is powerful
Really can't think of any, possible a wider front tire?
Built nicely but there is a rubber deal to hide a bolt that holds the frame together that looks like it can come off easy and I have never touched it.
Brakes aren't bad, can't complain
Completely fine, the longer forks and rear shock do help over a sportsbike or naked bike when it comes to rubbish potholed roads.
Engine provides usable torque through the mid range, and enough poke to scoot around cars. Although the exhaust sounds positively anemic for a v -twin and 6th gear could be a little higher for motorway blasting.
Aside from replacing the front brake discs which were alarmingly expensive considering it's a mid-range bike from a mainstream manufacturer. The V-Strom has required nothing more than fuel and oil changes, fuel economy is also reasonably good given its commuter bike heritage a la SV650.
Top Suzuki quality here, mine has developed some surface rust in places making it a little scruffy but that aside it's a really solid bike.
Completely fine for the bike.
Tips in well, no real surprises mid corner. Capable of scraping pegs despite its size.
Possibly the most rounded engine you could ask for, decent torque down low and yet it loves to rev. Leaves you wanting for nothing.
Stellar fuel economy, happily gets 65 mpg, 70 if you are just cruising around the countryside. Never had worse than 60 even when riding like a yob
Mechanically bulletproof, never had a thing go wrong but typical Suzuki finishing quality, so some paint flaking on the swing arm and wearing off by the boots.
Slightly wooden feel to the brakes when cold, and significant brake dive even with the suspension firmed up all the way. Back brake is more than adequate.
Ride quality ok unless the pace is upped when the budget suspension struggles to cope. Mid-weight bike, can feel a little top heavy at low speed. Corners quite well considering the type of bike it is.
It's not overly powerful, but, for most occasions it is powerful enough. Relatively good low and mid-range torque and reasonable power at the top end for a 650 twin.
Fuel consumption can be excellent, mid 60s and more, but drops into the low to mid 50s at motorway speeds. If you really try 70mpg is possible but mind numbingly boring. Insurance, maintenance and consumables are all very reasonable.
My bike has 29,000 miles on it. The finish is average, but ok if you stay on top of cleaning. A hugger and front mudguard extender are wise purchases. I've had two problems with the bike. Headlamp failure. Tiny connectors under the tank burn out as they are taking 10amps and not up to the job. This is a common problem and is downright dangerous. The forums e.g. Stromtrooper are full of cases of total headlight failure for this reason. The solution is to fit relays to the circuit which is what Suzuki should do in the first place. The other problem was the ball joint on the gear lever working loose. New gear lever fixed it.
The brakes are average at best. They work but require quite a lot of lever/pedal pressure. Grip is superb with Metzeler Roadtec 01 tyres.
Good V Twin throb without being annoying. Light on the move, but heavy to push around when parking
For a 650cc has amble power and acceleration
Very economical, averaging 78 mpg, and 300 miles plus between fill ups, very happy with this.
Disappointing, although hardly ever ridden in rain, exhaust welds, forks and clips are showing signs of rusting within a year, plastic fairing components feel poor quality, like a child's toy
Fine in day to day use, however lack power for emergency stops
Not a sports bike but ride perfect for the Enduro bike that it is
Moves well when you open the throttle
No issues apart from bolts breaking but I think that's just age.