Suzuki’s been a bit quiet in terms of all-new bikes of late. Its V-Strom range of adventure machinery, the latest Hayabusa, the Katana 1000 – they’ve all been built on the foundations of some quite elderly engine and chassis tech. So it’s great to see this – an all-new Suzuki V-Strom 800 DE adventure bike, using a completely novel 776cc parallel twin engine, which is also featured in the new GSX-S8 naked roadster.
The new DOHC eight-valve engine has some neat tech in the form of a patented new dual-shaft Suzuki Cross Balancer system that claims to give much better vibration reduction from the 270° firing order twin. That firing order gives the same pulses of power as a 90° V-twin, keeping the character and feel of the old V-Stroms, but in a more modern package.
Parallel twins are more compact, easier and cheaper to build, and with the latest designs, can give good power and excellent rideability, on par with older three- or four-cylinder layouts. They’re also more efficient – essential with today’s eco-pressures.
It’s not just a new motor for the V-Strom though: the 800 has a fresh chassis setup too. The basics are a tough steel tube frame, with bolt-on steel subframe and seat rails for extra carrying capacity. The suspension is by Showa, with 43mm USD forks and a piggyback rear monoshock. You get 220mm travel all round, and full adjustability for preload, compression and rebound. It’s a high-spec setup, and should earn the 800 decent offroad skills as well as offering optimised road setup.
Wheels are proper offroad wire-spoked parts, with tube-type rims and 90/90 21 front and 150/70 17 rear tyre sizes, while the brakes use dirt-biased twin-piston sliding calipers and large 310mm dual discs.
There’s plenty of decent equipment on the chassis front too: from the plastic sump guard and hand guards, to the 20 litre fuel tank, passenger grab rails/luggage rack, tough steel dirtbike footpegs and wide aluminium handlebars.
When it comes to electronic rider aids, the new V-Strom 800 does a fair job for the market it’s aimed at. You get basic non-IMU assisted traction control and ABS, with offroad ‘G’ or Gravel settings to improve performance on the dirt. It’s all controlled via a slick new full colour LCD dashboard and ergonomic switchgear, and includes an up/down autoblipping quickshifter setup. LED lighting, rider power modes and a USB charging socket rounds off the solid touring spec.
You can bump up the distance capabilities even further with the new range of optional accessories too. There’s a lot in there, from aluminium or plastic panniers, tall windscreen and top boxes, through heated grips, centre stand, fog lamps, aluminium sump guard, engine bars, and much more.
Suzuki’s clearly got high hopes for the new 800 V-Strom, and reckons it fills in the gap between the 650 and 1000 bikes nicely. Both of those will continue in production, giving the firm a solid range of well-priced ADV machinery to suit almost all needs.
The new Suzuki V-Strom 800 DE will be on sale in the spring, prices to be confirmed. More info: www.suzuki.co.uk