Review: Suzuki DL V-Strom 1000 ABS
Posted at 02:00:00 PM
File under Product Review Suzuki
Author: Gwendal Salaun
Location: Normandy, France
The French site Le Repaire des Motards.com , one of the oldest, biggest and most respected sites in France has agreed to let us take their very extensive road tests/reviews of new motorcycles, translate them and publish them here. You will see that a lot of effort went into the tests, and therefore in advance I apologize if I missed some of the finer points between French and English jargon. All mistakes are mine, and mine alone.
Thank you to Jonas G. for helping me with the technical translations.
Modernized and more powerful, the Suzuki DL V-Strom 1000 makes a noticeable return to the highly competitive and very popular market segment of maxi trail GT, the Dual Sport segment. The bike will have to deal with the big boys in this category, with the BMW R1200GS in mind, but can certainly count on a more favorable quality / price ratio.
Removed from the Suzuki catalog in 2008 due to too stringent emission standards (Euro3 standard), the DL1000 is back in action and even comes back in top form.
In addition to its modernized look, but still inspired by the 1988 design of the adventurer DR 750 S, the V-Strom 2014 sees a totally redesigned 90° V-twin engine DOHC 4-valve cylinder heads. The engine goes from 996 to 1037 cc, with a power gain of 4 horses (100 hp at 8000 rev/min) and 2 Nm extra torque (103 Nm at 4000 rev/min), obtained earlier than before, at 2400 rpm. The operation is optimized by adopting a dual ignition, a 32-bit ECM housing, a fuel injection system and dual throttle injectors with 10 holes (4 above), which contribute to a serious drop in fuel consumption (-16% in WMTC test).
Many parts have been improved in order to reduce friction including: cylinder heads, cylinders, pistons, rings, piston pin, connecting rod, crankshaft, air box, alternator and flywheel, clutch, 6th gear and spark plugs. The ISC system integrated in the injection system facilitates cold starting and stable idling, while the rectifier cell controller disconnects the alternator when it does not supply electrical power, which helps the engine torque by reducing mechanical losses. A sign of the times, the V-Strom sees as standard a disengageable and two modes adjustable traction control located on the handlebar. A SCAS (Suzuki Clutch Assist System) hydraulic control clutch also minimizes the effort required to operate the left lever during a gear shift and prevents rear wheel chatter when downshifting.
The chassis also evolves and gains more vivacity as well as rigor, with a modified caster angle (-1 °), a longer wheelbase (+20 mm) and a new weight distribution favoring agility while the rider goes through the gears. The frame's double aluminum beams still carries an extruded aluminum swing arm and 10-spoke alloy rims of 19 and 17 inches, but overall looses 8 pounds (weight of 228 kg in running order) thanks to the use of a simplified cooling system and a single exhaust muffler. We also note the appearance of a new, fully adjustable, inverted 43mm KYB gold-anodized fork, as well as a progressively adjustable single shock absorber with a spring preload (22 clicks) using a large wheel offset, located at the left rear.
The new DL1000 V-Strom also adopts a more reassuring braking with front dual discs of 310mm, radial-mounted 4-piston Tokico monobloc calipers and a rear 260 mm disc with a single-piston Nissin caliper, all supported by a Bosch ABS as standard.
It is in Almeria, Spain, where we get acquainted with this new generation DL1000 V-Strom ABS. It received a new look, different from that of its younger DL650 and older DL1000, with a double stacked headlight, slimmer and more elegant, sitting over a "duckbill" as featured in the 1988 "Big DR" (DR750S). A nod to the past that highlights the adventurer side and "off-road" capabilities inherent in the DNA of the machine, without going as far as using spoked wheels.
The front fairing is more compact, as is the fuel tank, which loses 2 liters in capacity. Above it is the standard windshield, narrower with a more complex shape, with adjustable (without tools) tilt (3 angles) and height (3 positions, adjustable with an Allen key). Experts will notice the disappearance of the oil cooler, rendered useless by the more efficient adoption of a full water cooling system, but also the lack of engine and hands protectors, available as optional extras.
The rear part is refined thanks to the low positioning of the exhaust silencer (with questionable aesthetics) and placed to facilitate the addition of 29 and 26 liters (right side) optional side panniers. A new raised cargo rack incorporating large pillion grab handles and lugs allows the placing of an optional extra 35 liters top case. These rugged polypropylene elements, decorated with aluminum panels follow the overall style of the bike and are of course locked with the ignition key, as is also the case with the aviation style gasoline reservoir cap. A LEDs taillight completes the picture, offset somewhat by large unsightly front/rear indicators. As in the previous DL1000, the center stand is an option to facilitate maintenance operations (see table of options below).
In the Saddle
Sitting on the DL1000 V-Strom ABS, you are confronted with a compact, well integrated, and particularly well equipped dashboard with adjustable brightness. It includes a large analogue rev counter combined with a digital display split into two parts; speedometer and gear indicator on the one hand, battery voltage, average and real-time current consumption, remaining range, clock, outside temperature indicator with freezing warning and trips odometer, gear indicator and traction control mode selected, fuel gauge and water temperature gauge, plus various other indicators. Below it there is a 12-volt outlet, handy for powering a GPS or other additional devices.
Wide handlebars hosts ergonomic and easy to handle switches; stop switch and starter on the right, high beam, turn signals, horn and traction control change mode on the left. Brake and clutch handles are of course adjustable.
The proposed seat is rather comfortable, with a wide and soft saddle rising to 850 mm, allowing people of average height (1.70m) to almost put both feet on the ground (but not flat). This is all easier as this saddle is narrowed in its front part to facilitate the exercise. The rear portion of the saddle, dedicated to the pillion, proves to be as well padded and wide enough to provide significant comfort, with large grab handles and well positioned retractable footrests. The riding position is slightly more upright than on the former model with the handlebars closer and rider's footrest 15mm more to the rear. Same for the pillion, with raised and forward set footrests (33.1 mm and +7.7 mm).
With the engine running, the new V-Strom manifests itself with a raspy but discreet exhaust sound, barely more pronounced than the DL650. From the first ride, we noted the improved handling compared to its predecessor. Very stable at low speeds, the DL1000 maneuvers without apprehension thanks to its low center of gravity and a more than respectable turning radius, which allows a turn in one go; maneuvers facilitated by a relatively docile engine, which accepts cruising at low revs in lower gears without knocking too much and that is easy controlled by the clutch. The vibrations are well filtered at these speeds, even when riding at low revvs. You just need a small twist of the throttle in order to increase the power in a linear way, regardless of what gear is engaged.
The gear ratios are even and well balanced, with a smooth and precise selection that allows upshifts without using the clutch. A small decrease in throttle is enough. At the traffic lights, my 1m78 allows me to put both feet on the ground, though not flat (I must have short legs because a colleague who is just slightly taller can do it). The DL1000 leaps forward at the slightest touch of the accelerator, even lifting its front wheel off the ground on the first gears if you opened the throttle a little bit too hard, and traction control is disabled. Going into a curve is unrestrained or without excessive liveliness. A feeling facilitated in part due to the fitting of the new Bridgestone BW (Battle Wing) 501 and 502 tires, which contribute noticeably to the driveability and ride comfort, despite being a little slow to warm up.
Motorways and Freeways
Once out where the horizon is visible, the 100 horses of the DL1000 express themselves without any other restraint than the rider's, anxious to keep his driving license. At the first stretch with good visibility, going through the gears, one after the other, the speedometer reached 205 kph, in 4th gear at the end of the straight line! A maximum speed never reached or exceeded for the rest of the journey, even on the expressway where this time the counter struggled to reach 198 kph in 6th gear (probably the effect of a notable headwind). However, the available power is more than enough to cruise at good speed on the motorway while maintaining substantial power reserve. In a more "reasonable" use, cruising around 150 km in sixth gear, an additional flick of the right wrist is enough to confidently perform an impromptu passing, event though a shift into fifth gives a stronger push
The stability of the vehicle at high speed is excellent, even with baggage; we were able to verify this using the fully equipped DL1000, with panniers and a lightly loaded top box. No significant vibrations from the front at high speed, no unwanted movements, all these elements are perfectly integrated. The wind protection of the standard windshield turns out to be correct at high speeds, despite a small area of turbulence on the top of the helmet, with the windshield both in low or high position. The optional Touring windshield, a little higher and wider in its lower part, fortunately improves this issue. The rider's legs are well protected behind the sides of the fuel tank, at least from wind and morning freshness. What about rain and possible spatter? To be validated in a future test.
On the smaller country roads, the centering of mass and the increased agility of the front wheel works wonders, the DL1000 is throwing itself unrestrained into the curves and passing from one curve to the other with ease. The grip of the Bridgestone BW tires is very reassuring on dry ground, with good feedback to the handlebar, quickly putting you into confidence. The confidence is further boosted by the presence of a reassuring traction control, minimizing the risk of loss of grip during a heavy-handed throttle or passing into a wet or sandy spot. Every 4 ms the system analyzes the wheel speed differential and controls the ignition accordingly.
Mode 1, which allows a degree of slippage of the rear wheel is less intrusive. In mode 2, the system reacts at the slightest alert, which can be frustrating for the more experienced riders. These riders can fortunately completely disable the traction control in order to carry out their sporty driving antics, which at the same time will quicker outline the limits of the tires. During this test, the system was triggered only twice, despite a relatively unrestrained riding on mountain roads with some residual traces of moisture in the morning.
In the end, this Suzuki traction control shows good efficiency in the dry. Remains to test it on rain-soaked roads in order to validate it to 100%.
Regarding the suspensions, the conclusion is very positive, with a fully adjustable KYB fork, reinforced by a larger internal piston. Its default setting is suitable for a wide variety of riding styles, from more leisurely to the most punchy. The bike reacts very well to brutal conditions, while effectively absorbing minor imperfections of the road surface. The rear shock, adjusted as the fork at half of its amplitude and hydraulic preload settings (11th notch out of 22) contributes both to the riding comfort and to the excellent handling of the machine. Two-up, simply strengthen the preload via the dedicated knob (on the left side), something which is done very rapidly.
After a test ride of 342 km alternating between city, mountain roads and highways, we must acknowledge that the original saddle is very comfortable and offers good ergonomics, for both the rider and the passenger. The riding position is relaxed, offering an excellent control of the motorcycle whether riding it carefully or riding it sportively. The pillion is accommodated properly, slightly raised, on a comfortable seat with an anti-slip coating, and large, well placed grab handles on the side. The positioning of her/his legs is also well chosen.
The brakes of the DL1000 V-Strom ABS are powerful and have a significant bite and good endurance under intensive use. One finger is enough to push the front down and slow-down sharply, a little bit more force is required when making an emergency stop on the motorway while riding at high speeds. Fortunately, the rear brake is also effective and perfectly complements the braking capability of the machine in this context, all the more because the whole is assisted by a Bosch ABS which is very discreet on dry surface.
The Japanese manufacturer has announced a reduction in consumption by 16% and 4.78 l/100 km fuel consumption of the WMTC (United Nations Worldwide Harmonized Motorcycle Emissions Certification/Test Procedure) test standard. At the end of the 342 km in the Iberian lands, we have observed an average consumption of 7.2 l/100 km by calculating each refueling, which was almost identical to that displayed by the dashboard indicator showing an average consolidated 7 l/100 km. So the average range of the 2014 DL1000 V-Strom ABS sits around 278 km with the 20 liters of fuel in the tank (at a rapid pace). At a more reasonable pace, we can expect a consumption of about 6 liters per 100 km and 330 km of autonomy.
With the return of the DL1000, Suzuki has once again a serious offer for the segment of Dual Sports. One could indeed hesitate between the two proposed models, DL 650 and DL 1000, because both have convincing arguments: more affordable, lightweight and easy for the DL650 (€ 8,199); modernized look, more rigorous chassis, engine, and enhanced traction control for the DL1000 (€ 12,499). A € 4,000 difference anyway. It all depends on the use you want to make of your bike, knowing that the DL650 is the most versatile and economic for daily city commutes and outskirts rides, while the DL1000 allows long-distance to take any type of road with added comfort and security. All while remaining capable of assuming the role of the smaller sibling if necessary. In short, we once more come back to the question of purchasing power because in the end, who can do most, can do most!
The DL1000 V-Strom ABS will be available in the local dealerships in January 2014 at the price of € 12,499. It will be available in several versions: Standard; Urban (engine and hands protectors and a tank bag) Adventure (engine and hands protectors, touring windshield, center stand, top box kit, LED indicators) and Tourer (Adventure + bash plate + full luggage set + tank protector + stickers). Suzuki France hopes to sell 1,000 to 1,500 units in 2014, which will increase the score to about 197,000 V-Strom (140,800 DL650 /46,200 DL1000) sold worldwide between 2002 and 2012.
The return of the DL1000 V-Strom promises to be under the best auspices, especially against rivals that usually are more elaborate and certainly more expensive. Lighter, powerful, economical and with a modernized look, it offers an interesting alternative to existing dual sports bikes.
|Strong Points ||Weak Points |
- Agility and maneuverability
- Safe braking
- Price / quality ratio
- Flexibility at low speeds on interim gears
- Still high consumption
- No central stand by default
- BMW R1200 GS
- Yamaha XTZ 1200 Super Ténéré
- Honda Crosstourer 1200
- Triumph Tiger 1200
- Aprilia Caponord 1200
- Ducati Multistrada 1200
- KTM 1190 Adventure
- Kawasaki Versys 1000
- Benelli Tre-K 1130
- Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200
- Moto Morini Granpasso 1200
DL1000 V-Strom Options
Hand protectors, heated grips, low saddle, high saddle, protection bar, engine protector, touring windshield, fuel tank bag, chain protector, center stand, LED fog light, thinner indicators, 35 liter top-case, 29 and 26 liter panniers.
Click here to read the original review of the Suzuki DL V-Strom 1000 ABS (in French)
Via: Le Repaire des Motards