WRR44: Riding the New Suzuki VStrom 1000 (DL1000)


After covering a few small displacement bikes over the past several weeks, I was excited to get back on a big bike with some power. Don’t get me wrong, little bikes can be really fun, but big power is, well, fun-er. I was even more excited that the bike I would be riding was the all new Vstrom 1000, a complete redesign of the popular (albeit ugly) adventure touring bike.


I get the sense that Suzuki designed the original DL1000 (and the 650) with touring in mind, but maybe what they didn’t fully expect is how adventurous some strom riders would actually be. Tackling trails, moto camping, and even full on dirt-biking with their big touring bike maybe wasn’t what they fully envisioned, but what they couldn’t deny is the bikes were actually quite good for some adventure. The new DL1000 picks up on the adventure bike market trend and really runs with it. A more adventurous styling package is the first thing you’ll notice, and oh how refreshing it is. That’s my opinion, of course, but I’ll be honest. I would have seriously considered a DL650 or 1k, they seemed to be right up my alley, but I just couldn’t get past that styling. This new V-strom 1000 is so much better (again, my opinion). Sure, it’s a bit like the other bikes in this category, but it works, and looks decent.

The redesign is definitely more than skin deep, though. A 13% reduction in weight means this new model is just a hair over 500lbs, and there are plenty of other great new improvements as well. The V-Strom 1000 is the first Suzuki with traction control, and yes, you can turn it off. With this much power on tap, having a little help might not be a bad thing, either. The engine has been thoroughly redesigned, with very efficient fueling and seemingly no downsides to power delivery. From 3k rpm and up the Vstrom pulls and pulls hard, having that much power on tap, in any gear, means for effortless highway cruising and touring, loaded or not.




Suspension has also been redone, soaking up bumps without feeling too vague in the corners. Braking is likewise excellent, with ABS kicking in only when needed.

There are many things I loved about this bike, but the one downside was the wind blast off the windshield. I know this was a common complaint on the previous generation bikes, and was hoping they would have done their homework in that department, but my experience lead me to believe otherwise. Wind noise on the highway is deafening, ear plugs would be an absolute requirement. The windshield is, however, adjustable, and I didn’t have the luxury of playing with different positions to see if I could get it a bit better. Of course aftermarket replacements are always an option, too. Fix that one issue, and Suzuki has a home run motorcycle on their hands. I know I’d be happy to ride one across the country, loaded down with luggage, camping gear, exploring unknown areas and just really getting out there. This is that kind of motorcycle.

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