Zane is off to New Zealand next month for the launch of the all-new V-STROM 800DE. He walks us through the long history of Suzuki's popular adventure model... Photos: BikeReview/Suzuki

The Suzuki V-STROM has been a staple of the adventure category for over two decades now. Since it’s arrival in 2002, the model has undergone a number of changes and is now available in four capacities with a number of different versions to suit all riders…

Suzuki now have four capacity options for the V-STROM. Allowing riders to stay with the brand for a lifetime...

Since the V-STROM’s arrival in 2002, the model has undergone a number of changes and is now available in four capacities with a number of  different versions to suit all riders…

I’m off to New Zealand at the end March to check out the all-new Suzuki V-STROM 800DE. On paper the bike looks absolutely stunning. A parallel-twin powerhouse generating 62kW@8500rpm and 78Nm@6800rpm sits underneath a some-what neo-retro fairing which looks tops in the Champion Yellow no.2. I’m also off to Victoria next week to ride the new V-STROM 1050DE and RR…


Check out all of our V-STROM reviews here…


Put this new machine next to the original 2002 V-STROM 1000 and it’s like night and day. You can see that the original V-STROM came out as a road-centred dual-sports machine, while Suzuki have now gone down the go anywhere route for the entire 2023 V-STROM range…

Suzuki’s now set its focus on the mid-capacity adventure category with the all-new V-STROM 800DE.

Suzuki’s now set its focus on the mid-capacity adventure category with the all-new V-STROM 800DE.

The V-STROM won the hearts of Australian riders, with the 650 being the model of choice for the harsh Aussie roads. Nearly 7000 units across the 650 life span have been sold, and now that Suzuki have gone down the route of a more off-road centric model, it’ll be interesting to check back in on the numbers next year!

Jeff testing the 2017-2019 V-STROM 650...

Jeff testing the 2017-2019 V-STROM 650… The 650 has sold almost 7000 units in Australia!


Suzuki V-STROM Australian Sales 

  • V-STROM 1000 – 2196 units
  • V-STROM 1050 – 289 units
  • V-STROM 650 – 6808 units

2002 V-STROM 1000
When the V-STROM broke cover in 2002, you didn’t really have much to choose from in terms of a Japanese adventure machine. If you wanted to take to the great open roads with the occasional dirt path, you’d have to throw a leg over a European machine like a BMW GS or a Cagiva or the Triumph Tiger. Our editor, Jeff, remembers doing an adventure shootout in 2002 with Two Wheels magazine, where the V-STROM proved to be a new force to be reckoned with…

Honda had entered the market in 1999 with the Varadero while Yamaha was scrambling to get the TDM900 out. 2002 rolls around and the V-STROM is launched at the same time as the TDM900, and the masses seemed to flock to the V-STROM with its thumping liquid-cooled four-stroke 8-valve DOHC 90° V-twin (when the V in V-STROM made sense) borrowed from the TL1000S. The fuel injected powerhouse made a very respectable 74kW@7400rpm, seemingly outrageous for a touring machine to have such high power figures. 

2002 saw the start of a new era for Suzuki. Releasing the all-new Suzuki V-STROM 1000....

2002 saw the start of a new era for Suzuki. Releasing the all-new Suzuki V-STROM 1000….

The front forks used a conventional telescopic setup with 160mm of travel and a semi-adjustable single shock with 162mm of travel at the rear. The setup seemed nice for a road tourer but you could tell just by the marketing photos that Suzuki were aiming more for a road-touring machine. You can find the odd article on the original V-STROM tackling roads less travelled, but those road hoops look like a whole load of “nope” for loose surfaces.


Original V-STROM Tech Overview


The styling of the original V-STROM is very typical of the early 2000s; minimal edges, fairing nicely rounded with those big headlights and flat silver accents. Stylish for the time, but man the bike has aged since then, I reckon there will be a resurgence of early 2000s styling soon though, it’s already starting with fashion!



Suzuki dropped that they were adding a fully adjustable front suspension set-up in 2003! This was huge news as it opened up a whole new world to the V-STROM as a whole, you could commute on road then be comfortable hitting the dirt by turning a tool a few clicks.

2004 V-STROM 1000
2004 saw the 1000 receive a handful of updates to shoot the bike up even further in the ratings. A styling update was on the cards, which included a more dynamic appeal. The styling changes seemed to improve the look of the bike, and future-proof the styling for a few years.

A few styling changes were on the cards for 2004. V-STROM fans had no idea it would stay like this for well over a decade!

A few styling changes were on the cards for 2004. V-STROM fans had no idea the 1000 would stay like this for well over a decade!

Other updates included a revised frame which was now painted black, honestly making the bike look a lot better. Another thing was on the cards for 2004 and the V-STROM though, the model updates pathed the way for a middle capacity version, retaining pretty much everything on the 1000 but allowing new riders an entry into the family.

2004 Suzuki V-STROM 650
Just two years after the 1000 hit the showroom floors, Suzuki realised a mid-capacity rendition of their reasonably popular adventure model. The 650 opened up a new world to new riders (not in bubble wrapped Australia) to throw a leg over an adventure machine on a restricted licence. Applying the restrictor kit meant that A2 licence holders in the UK could enjoy the world of sport-touring, while it wasn’t until 2014 that Australia got a LAMS option.

Just two years after the 1000 hit the showroom floors, Suzuki realised a mid-capacity rendition of their reasonably popular adventure model.

Just two years after the 1000 hit the showroom floors, Suzuki realised a mid-capacity rendition of their reasonably popular adventure model.

This time, Suzuki borrowed the powerplant from the SV650, yet again a liquid-cooled four-stroke 8-valve DOHC 90° V-twin, when unrestricted they made a lovely 49kW@8800rpm! The engine seemed to be the gem of the bike, scoring plenty of brownie points with the media upon its release.



Despite the drop in capacity, the 650 only shed 10kg over its big brother. Much of the suspension and chassis shared the same design with the smaller capacity machine actually measuring up to be longer and taller than the 1000! They even looked identical.

2008 Suzuki V-STROM 650
Both capacity V-STROMs remained the same besides a few styling and engine changes, like twin spark plugs per cylinder, but 2008 saw the entry of a new model choice for customers. The V-STROM 650 was now available in an ABS version for an added layer of security.

2008 welcomed completely updated styling and the introduction of an ABS model!

2008 welcomed completely updated styling and the introduction of an ABS model!

The ABS version also featured a few extras like an adjustable windshield. However, customers were now calling for more off-road capability amongst the V-STROM family, adventure riding was evolving to become more than just hitting the odd loose road.

Instead of updating the machine just yet, Suzuki seemed to affirm the models road ability by releasing two Touring SE models – one for the 650 and one for the 1000, which had the addition of panniers, softer seat, knuckle guards and adjustable windshield.

Want to tackle some less travelled tracks? Suzuki released the V-STROM 650X in 2009, which had no ABS but parts such as a bash plate, chunky engine bars, knuckle protectors and a dedicated orange colour scheme, unfortunately no update to the suspension yet.

Finally! The update everyone was waiting for. 2012 saw the V-STROM 650 receive a pretty sizeable update. The chassis, engine and panels all got a spice up to make it an even more capable machine.

Finally! The update everyone was waiting for. 2012 saw the V-STROM 650 receive a pretty sizeable update. The chassis, engine and panels all got a spice up to make it an even more capable machine.

2012 Suzuki V-STROM 650
Finally! The update everyone was waiting for – 2012 saw the V-STROM 650 receive a pretty sizeable update. The chassis, engine and panels all got a spice up to make it an even more capable machine.

Suzuki made a handful of changes to the engine that reduced overall engine noise and increased the midrange grunt, the power values stayed the same but the torque now peaked at 1200rpm lower than the original model!

Suzuki made a handful of changes to the engine that reduced overall engine noise and increased the midrange grunt, the power values stayed the same but the torque now peaked at 1200rpm lower than the original model!

Suzuki made a handful of changes to the engine that reduced overall engine noise and increased the midrange grunt, the power values stayed the same but the torque now peaked at 1200rpm lower than the original model!

The overall styling was well received by the general public, future-proofing it for at least another four years. The panels were made to last now, Suzuki opted to make them out of resin which seemed to fix quality issues that were noted in previous models.


 


Also new for 2012 was the Adventure model. This was where we started to see the V-STROM evolve into a proper off-road capable bike. Revised suspension, which was now the benchmark over its 1000cc big brother, tough panniers, better dash, the introduction of gravel tyres over road hoops and it shed a few KG from the last generation. Funnily enough, the Adventure didn’t come with a sump guard, weird!

2014 Suzuki V-STROM 1000
A whopping 13 years since it’s release, the V-STROM 1000 finally entered into its second generation. A shell of its former self, it’s hard to imagine that the second gen shares a model name with the first gen.

A whopping thirteen years since it's release, the V-STROM 1000 finally entered into its second generation.

A whopping 13 years since it’s release, the V-STROM 1000 finally entered into its second generation.

The elephant in the room is the styling. Suzuki made a sudden change from a road centric look to styling cues taken directly from a dirt bike. A pointy nose that looks like a motocross mudguard, a long and straight swingarm and all the body work placed nice and high. There was simply no competition between the second gen styling and the first gen styling, it was a spectacular looking bike.

Jeff testing the new V-STROM 1000 in early 2015.

Jeff testing the new V-STROM 1000 in early 2015.


Read our second gen V-STROM 1000 review here…


Interestingly enough, Suzuki retained the original V-twin motor released in the 2002 V-STROM. This time it had been bored out an extra 2mm to give the eight-valve DOHC powerhouse a capacity of 1037cc. Power increased just one hp but peaked later to make 99hp@8000rpm, an increase in 2Nm of torque and a much lower peak rpm saw figures of 103Nm@4000rpm. The V-STROM was now grunt heaven. Other updates to the engine saw it finally get twin spark per cylinder like the 650, updated pistons, new slipper clutch and a heavier flywheel.



To match the new off-road styling, the V-STROM 1000 received an all-new suspension setup. It got 43mm upside down KYB forks at the front, still with 160mm of travel, but an overall much better setup than the conventional ones. KYB also sorted out the shock with a single shock and 160mm of travel.



Yet another addition to the V-STROM 1000 was the TCS system. Adjustable via the dash, riders could select the amount of intervention they wanted. All of this was controlled via wheel speed sensors at the front and rear of the bike and used info from the throttle and crank position sensors.



All of this premium hardware got topped off with twin four-piston Tokico calipers, gripping 310mm floating discs up the front. Supported by a Bosch ABS system, the second gen V-STROM 1000 seriously impressed on and off road.

The V-STROM 650 actually got a little update in 2014 too which saw the standard model stay the same, but the 650 XT received the new family face!

The V-STROM 650 actually got a little update in 2014 too which saw the standard model stay the same, but the 650 XT received the new family face!

The V-STROM 650 actually got a little update in 2014 too which saw the standard model stay the same, but the 650 XT received the new family face! Suzuki also finally introduced the wire-spoked wheels on the 650, in a bid to help some off-road handling over the cast aluminium wheels… This brings us to the present models…

Looking great with all the new mods, with a Staintune exhaust next on the list

The John Arens Project V-STROM that did a big trip around Australia.


Read all about our Staff Bikes 2017 Suzuki V-STROM 1000 that John Arens rode around OZ


2017 Suzuki V-STROM 250
Something a little left-field for Suzuki and the V-STROM range as a whole. Suzuki announced the release of a 250cc parallel-twin V-STROM in 2017, the miniature adventure machine added even more accessibility to the range for all riders.

Suzuki announced the release of a 250cc parallel-twin V-STROM in 2017, the miniature adventure machine added even more accessibility to the range for all riders.  

Suzuki announced the release of a 250cc parallel-twin V-STROM in 2017, the miniature adventure machine added even more accessibility to the range for all riders.

Truth be told, the V-STROM 250 was a dressed up Inazuma 250, the engine was the same and the bikes shared a very similar design. Never the less, it opened up a whole new category and customer base for the V-STROM.

We rode the V-STROM 250 when it first arrived in Australia. Make sure you check out what Jeff thought of it!

We rode the V-STROM 250 when it first arrived in Australia. Make sure you check out what Jeff thought of it!

Powered by a liquid-cooled, four-stroke, SOHC, 248cc, parallel-twin, the V-STROM 250 made 18.4kW[24.7hp]@8000rpm and 23.4Nm[17.2ft-lbs]@6500rpm. It also weighed in at 188kg, this combined with the road tyres would’ve made for a nice, light touring machine. While the suspension was seemingly lack-lustre on paper, the price tag of $7,190 rideaway at the time meant that the V-STROM 250 sort of sat in a class of its own in Australia.



The V-STROM 250 was actually only intended for the Asian market, but it was a big plunge by Suzuki in 2019 to bring the bike over to Australia. It clearly paid off as Suzuki Australia have announced the arrival of the V-STROM 250SX (a bike that shares not a lot with the original V-STROM 250)!


Check out our 2019 V-STROM 250 review here…


2020 V-STROM 1050
2020 saw a completely updated V-STROM , even sporting a new model number! The V-STROM 1050 was named the most technologically advanced production bike Suzuki had ever released, and for good reason. A lot of the tech found on the 2020 V-STROM pathed the way for Suzuki’s spectacular S.I.R.S assist system!

2020 saw a completely updated V-STROM , even sporting a new model number! The V-STROM 1050 was named the most technologically advanced production bike Suzuki had ever released.

2020 saw a completely updated V-STROM, even sporting a new model number! The V-STROM 1050 was named the most technologically advanced production bike Suzuki had ever released.


Check out our V-STROM 1050XT review here. Read the full tech overview here…


We have plenty of reviews and tech talks about the 2020 1050 which can be found in the links above so this will be kept brief for such a spectacular bike, but the V-STROM’s S.I.R.S seriously impressed on paper and out on the road. The new ride-by-wire throttle allowed for a super accurate cruise control system and pretty intelligent assists.

The V-STROM's S.I.R.S seriously impressed on paper and out on the road. The new ride-by-wire throttles allowed for a super accurate cruise control system and pretty intelligent assists.

The V-STROM’s S.I.R.S seriously impressed on paper and out on the road. The new ride-by-wire throttle allowed for a super accurate cruise control system and pretty intelligent assists.

Multiple Power Modes, Hill Hold, Slope Dependent and Load Dependent control systems found on the XT were ground-breaking for Suzuki. While the six-axis IMU, which is standard equipment across all the popular brands now, made sure the assists weren’t cutting in unless they were really needed. Everything could be selected and set via the dash!



The adored 1037cc V-twin made an increase in power from 74kW@8000rpm to 79kW@8500rpm. But other big updates were seen in the chassis. An updated cast aluminium twin-spar frame was applied, combined with the KYB suspension update and wire spoked wheels seen on the 2014 model saw the 1050XT become an awesome touring and off-roader.


The 2023 V-STROM Family

This brings us to the third generation of V-STROM and quite frankly, the best on paper. Customers now have a choice of an all-new 1050/1050XT, an all-new 800DE, an all-new 250SX and the returning 650XT (same as the 2014 update essentially).

Suzuki now have four capacity options for the V-STROM. Allowing riders to stay with the brand for a lifetime...

Customers now have a choice of an all-new 1050/1050XT, an all-new 800DE, an all-new 250SX and the returning 650XT (same as the 2014 update essentially).

2023 V-STROM 250SX
Nick recently attended the press-intro to the all-new V-STROM 250SX. A fun little motorcycle with plenty of capability. We see it as a perfect entry into the Suzuki V-STROM family for new riders. Lightweight and forgiving, you can’t ask for much more on a first bike.

The 250SX uses the 249cc, fuel-injected, four-valve single-cylinder engine making 19.5kW@9,300rpm and 22.2Nm@7,300rpm.

The 250SX uses a 249cc, fuel-injected, four-valve single-cylinder engine making 19.5kW@9,300rpm and 22.2Nm@7,300rpm.


Check out our spin on the V-STROM 250SX here…


The 250SX uses a 249cc, fuel-injected, four-valve single-cylinder engine making 19.5kW@9,300rpm and 22.2Nm@7,300rpm. Plenty power to have a bit of fun off-road while keeping it nice and easy to ride for beginners.



The chassis and suspension have also been designed with off-road use in mind. Weighing in at a kerb weight of just 167kg, the whole bike is quite slim and tall, making it easy to throw around in the dirt. The suspension has been kept simple, but compared to the early V-STROM days it’s an improvement!

Weighing in at a kerb weight of just 167kg, the whole bike is quite slim and tall, making it easy to throw around in the dirt.

Weighing in at a kerb weight of just 167kg, the whole bike is quite slim and tall, making it easy to throw around in the dirt.

The front wheel uses a 19inch setup while the rear sports a 17inch wheel, both cast aluminium. An overall simple bike comes with an awesome price tag of just $6490, you really can’t get much these days for that!

Nick Ware tested out the new V-STROM250SX earlier this year.

Nick Ware tested out the new V-STROM250SX earlier this year. We will have a full review later in the year…


UMI

2023 V-Strom 800DE
Sitting in-front of the 650XT is the 800DE. An all-new machine by Suzuki which had its covers pulled off at EICMA 2022. Landing in Australia around July, this will be the machine I’ll be taking for a spin in New Zealand soon.

Sitting in-front of the 650XT is the 800DE. An all-new machine by Suzuki which had its covers pulled off at EICMA 2022.

Sitting in-front of the 650XT is the 800DE. An all-new machine by Suzuki which had its covers pulled off at EICMA 2022.


Check out the comprehensive tech talk here…


A gem of the whole V-STROM range, on paper it has the longest suspension travel and highest ground clearance across the entire V-STROM history. A proper off-road adventure machine and a far-cry from the road-centric early V-STROM models.



Sporting a two-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 776cc powerhouse borrowed from the new GSX-8S road bike, the 800DE sports 62kW@8500rpm and 78Nm@6800rpm. So much tech has been put into developing this engine, it’s a seriously impressive machine on paper.



However, the chassis is where the bike really shines. Up front we have fully adjustable Showa suspension with a whopping 220mm of travel. The rear is matched in travel with a Showa Link type shock. The 800DE receives an all-new frame made from steel, Suzuki have kept strength in mind for some serious off-roading. A huge 21 inch spoked front wheel and 18 inch rear round up the bike nicely.



Suzuki have been killing it in recent years with their electronic assists. The 800DE uses their spectacular S.I.R.S setup, all controlled via the 5in full-colour TFT. There’s so much to list about it, including the awesome Gravel riding mode, but the tech talk in the link above has the comprehensive run-down of everything.


V-STROM 800 Assist Highlights

  • Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (SDMS) better supports the rider in matching performance to the conditions of the riding scene, road conditions, or preferred riding style.
  • In addition to its 3 standard mode settings (+ OFF), Suzuki Traction Control System (STCS) for the V-STROM 800DE introduces G (Gravel) mode as a fourth setting designed to help riders better negotiate gravel roads and flat trails.
  • Suzuki’s ride-by-wire electronic throttle control system realises throttle action that responds faithfully to the rider’s every intention.
  • Suzuki’s Bi-directional Quick Shift System (with ON/OFF settings) provides quicker, smoother, more assured shifting, without operating the clutch lever while in motion.
  • The ABS system features a choice of two mode settings for differing road conditions, as well as Rear ABS OFF mode, which offers more control over braking on gravel by letting the rider switch off rear ABS.
  • The Suzuki Easy Start System starts the engine with one quick press of the starter button.
  • Suzuki’s Low RPM Assist function helps maintain engine idle speed for smoother and easier starts.

A rugged new steel frame developed for the V-STROM 800DE contributes to comfort, straight-line stability, and nimble handling.

Most importantly, how good does it look? That Champion Yellow No.2 is gorgeous, showing off that famous Suzuki yellow and blue combo.

Most importantly, how good does it look? That Champion Yellow No.2 is gorgeous, showing off that famous Suzuki yellow and blue combo. The 800DE will go on sale for a rideaway price of $18,590. Keep an eye out for my launch report! Click here to pre-order yours!


RatedR Parts

2023 V-STROM 1050/DE
The new 1050DE model will replace the outgoing XT version as a more off-road centric option for customers. It went under a massive overhaul for release this year! I’ll be off to Melbourne to check it out very soon…

The two new-generation models are the V-STROM 1050 and the harder-edged V-STROM 1050DE, which will go on sale in Australia by March 2023.

The new 1050DE model will replace the outgoing XT version as a more off-road centric option for customers.


Read the comprehensive tech talk on the updated V-STROM 1050 here…


The 1050 uses the same assist system mentioned above on the 800DE. All controlled via a number of measurement devices on the bike and developed for on and off-road use. The famous 1037cc has also been updated to fit EURO regulations and now has electronic throttle-bodies for an even more accurate electronics system.



Despite having the fully adjustable KYB inverted front forks with 43mm diameter inner tubes seen on the 800DE, the 1050 does feature slightly less suspension travel, but still an awesome setup. The twin-spar aluminium frame uses castings along with extruded sections to increase the overall bike rigidity.



The 1050DE does use quite a lot of the hardware seen on the base 1050, but receives its own rider triangle. Longer wheelbase, different rake, more ground clearance and a wider handlebar grip, all to improve the off-road experience.



You’ll have to wait until March to get your hands on one, they’ll be landing with an RRP of $22,990 rideaway for the standard model and $24,690 rideaway for the DE. Click here to pre-order yours!


Editor’s Note: If you are reading this article on any website other than BikeReview.com.au, please report it to BikeReview via our contact page, as it has been stolen or re-published without authority.


Suzuki 2024
Share this article
Share this article