While the FZ8 was in, for service, I had the 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT ABS for the day as a loan! Took the chance to explore it and get to know it. Definitely, an huge step-up from its predecessor.
As a previous V-Strom owner, here’s my take on it!
2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT ABS
How have you been? Hope you’ve been embracing the good weather riding! I sure am! But for that, my bike needed a refreshment. It was time for its service and I took it to the dealer. I’ll make a short post for that in the due course.
The dealer is about 11km from where I live therefore I needed a way to return by my own. I asked them for a courtesy bike. I was supposed to get a scooter, but they surprised me with the 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT ABS.
The Looks of a Proper Adventure Bike
As some of you might know, I owned a 2007 V-Strom before. Therefore, I can’t help it but compare them…although they’re not a direct match.
I want to make it clear that I am by no means a journalist or a professional motorcycle reviewer… Everything you’re about to read is born from my personal experience and taste. Please, take it with a pinch of salt! 😉
Appearance wise, to my taste, the new bike is much prettier. As a dual purpose/trail bike, I think the new adventure look suits it better. The spoke-style wheels are gorgeous and fits best to the adventure character of the XT version. Also, the XT version comes stock with hand guards and the lower engine cowl.
The 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT appears to be higher and thinner than the previous XT but it’s not. It is wider and just as high…
At the front, the change is most noticeable by the complete redesign and introduction of a proper peak. Now, it is beautiful. In fact, the peak on the previous XT was just awful…it always reminds me of Big Bird from Sesame Street! 😐
Anyway, it looks a nicely aggressive adventure bike now!
The rear section now has lower mounted exhaust, which actually changed the whole dynamic of the bike, lowering the gravity point. Giving the way most V-Strom owners will ride their bikes, it seems more appropriate. The plate holder itself is much tidier and modern, making it much more appealing to the eye.
The integrated panniers mounting points are blended good enough not to annoy when the panniers are out. And this is a very nice addition to the bike!
Tyre sizes still the same as before: 110/80R19 at the front and 150/70R17 at the rear. I’m pretty sure that at least most of the new Suzuki V-Strom 650 bikes come stock with Bridgestone’s BATTLAX Adventure A40, just as this one, and I really liked them!
The 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT is only available with ABS in Europe. But, just as with the Street Bob, I’m pretty sure there’s a non-ABS version in the US. If you’re from the US, tell me, is the ABS stock there? Or, do they really provide you without it?
Anyway, the ABS works perfectly, and it’s not too intrusive.
The Suzuki V-Strom 650 comes with Traction Control, manageable between 2 levels and Off. To be honest, never felt like it was actuating unless the road was very slippery, such as in the dirt. It also has a low RPM assistant that holds the revs a bit higher when you start letting the clutch go. Actually, liked that despite my initial disbelief.
When I had my V-Strom, there was something that really annoyed me, which was the fact that I needed to fully press the clutch to be able to start the bike. Well, not anymore! It has an easy start function that allows the rider to start the bike without pressing the clutch, as long as it is on neutral.
The new instrument panel is even better than the previous update! Love it! It features much more information than mine had but still is easy to read. We have things like air temperature, traction control level, clock, engine oil temperature and selected gear. Being an adventure bike, I find it’s relevant that it finally displays de fuel range and consumption.
There’s even a 12v power outlet left to the instrument panel, so you can charge your phones or plug your GPS device. This is one more thing that proves the new Suzuki V-Strom 650 is a true, and good, adventure and touring bike.
On the left grip, you have the controls for the usual stuff: horn, passing lights and indicators. Besides that, there’s the instrument panel’s control buttons, very easy to use while riding.
On the right side, there’s the usual start and ignition switches and the first (very minor but annoying)thing I honestly disliked: the hazard lights switch.
The hazard lights switch on the Suzuki V-Strom 650 looks and feels like the indicator switch on my 93 Yamaha DTR 125. I really disliked that…Why couldn’t that be a push button just as usual?…
The handling on the 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT was the most surprising thing I noticed. I expected to be better than my 2007 V-Strom, but not that better!
The bike is super agile and easy to change direction. The front is very light and the comfortable riding position is perfect to manoeuvre it through the traffic. I took it to a winding road, where I could experience just how good it was cornering. It must have to do with the lower exhaust/gravity point!
In fact, this is now one of the best handling adventure bikes I have ever ridden. Probably, only beaten by the BMW R1200GS. Truly impressed!
The ride on the highway is good too. 6th gear in and you get a decent rpm for the speed limit. The adjustable screen helps a lot, but it was creating a little bit of turbulence on my helmet…
Suzuki V-Strom 650 Performance?
We finally get to the point I wanted to talk to you the most. The new 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 have seen the existing engine from the SV 650 receive a few (60 changes!)tweaks to comply with Euro 4 regulation, but it is very much similar to it.
My K7 V-Strom had power figures of 49kW/66,6hp and 63.1Nm of torque. Apparently, the 2017 version went up until 70hp and the torque is about 62Nm. Here’s the controversy….I barely felt it!
Maybe the low fuel consumption helps to forget about the lack of power, giving that it got 4,7L/100km, with passenger and not carrying with fuel at all!
In fact, I want to ask you if you could tell me what you thought about this if you tried it. The torque on my 2007 V-Strom was much more noticeable! I bought it brand new and it was completely stock.
It might be because of the Euro 4 regulation, but it really felt…muffled…both noise and power wise…
I even turned off the Traction Control to check if it was keeping the bike on a leash…but no…It might be me, but this engine is not anywhere near as fun as my 2007 was… Tell me in the comment box bellow if I’m being a bit too tough on it…Is it because I’m used to the power on my FZ8? Let me know, please!
Overall, a very nice bike to ride!
If you read the post where I showed you my previous bike, the 2007 Suzuki V-Strom, you saw that at the very end I told you I was thinking about the 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT…Well….Not anymore…
Although I loved pretty much every other aspect of the bike, the lack of power was too much for me…or too few… Specially because I ride a lot with a passenger, and I felt like it was too much of a step back…But, there’s always the 1000 version…I’ll have to try it first!
Overall, I was impressed with the 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT and it is an amazing bike! To me, there’s no doubt saying the XT is the version to go, instead of the standard. I was very interested on the bike before, and the only reason why I’m not anymore is the fact that I miss the power… Despite that, it is ideal for new riders, daily commute and some bigger adventures! And in some countries, such as here in Portugal, the fact that it’s 650cc may save you a lot of money on taxes.
In the US, the base MSRP is 9.299$ for the XT and 8.799$ for the standard.
For the UK market, the XT goes from 7.899£ and the standard starts at 7.399£.
As for my country, Portugal, 9.399€ gets you the XT and if choose the standard the price drops to 8.999€.
Let me know your opinion on the 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT on the comment section bellow! There’s a Newsletter to get notified whenever there’s something cool on Test On Tour. Consider to subscribe! 😉
Ride Safe and Have Fun! Cheers!