Adventure biking is all about being able to blast down any road, be it smooth tarmac or broken trails. These versatile bikes enable you to carry luggage and still ride comfortably, covering long distances rapidly even when travelling with a pillion.
Suzuki launched the V-Strom at the Auto Expo a few months ago. It is a bold and sizeable motorcycle with a masculine air, and a mean and aggressive look. A beaked front with daytime running headlight gives the big Suzuki a distinctive look and provides bright and well focussed visibility at night.
The windscreen angles can be adjusted in three ways, with the help of a tool. The instruments are neatly placed and comprise of both, an analogue tachometer and a multifunction LCD display. The brightness of the display can be adjusted. Also here is a speedometer, odometer, trip meters, gear position indicator, fuel consumption and range, traction level indicator, voltage meter, and real-time outside temperature, all of which makes the readout a tad crowded, and not very easy to decipher on the go. There’s also a power output under the instrument panel, a handy feature that can be used to plug the navigator or charge your phone.
The high handlebar comes with good quality switchgear that includes traction control level selection and a high beam switch. Palm grips are premium, as are a set of top drawer, reach adjustable clutch and brake levers. The broad mirrors have a solid, sturdy feel to them and provide good visibility, although they do look a bit dated.
There’s a bulbous 20-litre tank that narrows as it flows into the rider saddle. The adventure bike openly displays its engine, with the handsome body armour partially hugging the tank. A heavy-duty luggage rack is also provided, and the pillion gets large grab rails to hold onto.
The bike is powered by a four-stroke, 1037cc, V-twin and liquid-cooled engine. Heading out to the highways, it’s immediately clear that the powerful Suzuki engine has excellent low-end performance, peak torque being 10.5kgm at 4000rpm. Acceleration is strong, and available at just a twist of the throttle. The bike generates a peak power output of 99.2bhp at 8000rpm.
The clutch feels good and progressive, while the 6-speed gearbox functions smoothly too, shifting with a nice click in a one-down and five-up pattern. The smooth engine revs with a potent exhaust tone that’s quite silent except if you’re really gunning the bike hard.
It comes with upside down front forks and is supported by an allow spar frame. It also gets a monoshock suspension system, easily adjustable with a large knob and supported by an alloy swingarm. In keeping with its high set, masculine profile, the upright riding position is high and commanding, which is perfect for a tall rider like me, but makes this bike off limits for shorter riders.
The riding saddle is nicely textured, comfortable and wide enough to seat two people with ease even during long distance travel. The front footrests are well placed. Ride quality is good; the suspension feels firm and a touch towards the sporty side as compared to say the extra plush BMW R1200GS. The setup, nevertheless, feels apt for Indian road conditions, and allows the big bike to effortlessly glide over potholes.
For such a big bike, it feels surprisingly light and sure footed when riding, easily manageable even when two-up with a hefty pillion astride. Handling is still confidence inspiring, stable and reassuring, admirable cornering abilities despite the considerable heft.
The renowned Japanese manufacturer is offering a multi stage traction control system, which can be turned off as well. Dual discs upfront and a single disc at the rear works efficiently to offer good stopping power. A good ABS system comes as standard with the bike and can’t be turned off. Bridgestone tyres are well treaded, offering good grip, both on and off road.
Our brief first ride astride the V-Strom confirms that the adventure-tourer is a high quality motorcycle, with ample performance. It’s a good option for riders looking at an adventure bike that’s comfortable, respectably quick and an efficient and functional all-rounder, albeit one that comes at a big price, at Rs. 14.95 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).