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Memorable MC Suzuki DL 1000 V-Strom

Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The small windshield doesn t provide much protection from buffeting once you get the DL 1000 up to speed.
When Melling started looking for a solid do-it-all motorcycle,  Suzuki's V-Strom kept coming up in conversations.
Okay, okay, okay. Don’t hit me again with the rubber truncheons. Remove the electrodes from my dangly bits and turn off that bright light. Yes, it’s true. Despite being MCUSA’s resident classic bike guru, I actually LIKE modern motorcycles.

My heart, my soul, the very blood which runs through my veins, is all pure classic. The snarl of a G.50 at 7000 revs, the thump of a pre-war sporting Single, the scent of two-stroke exhausts and baking castor oil leaked on to engine cases. All these are the reasons for getting up in the morning.


But my brain tells me the truth. If you want to go somewhere on a motorcycle - quickly, safely and reliably - then you need a modern motorcycle. Classics are old and need nurturing and loving. Yes, they are wonderful fun - but not if you absolutely must catch the ferry at 9 a.m.

Nor are they something to take out on a whim. In truth, they never were. A trip on a BSA or Velocette always required deliberation even when the bikes were new. Foolish was the Velo Fellow who sallied forth without his clutch-adjusting tool. Confident to the point of stupidity was the BSA Bloke who thought he could ride his A10 at night with any hope that the lights would work for more than ten consecutive minutes.

Having come out of the closet and admitted that I needed a modern bike, I was then faced with the almost greater issue of choosing one. Clearly, I had to have a Ducati 1098R. How could I live without a 1098R for trackdays and visits to British Superbike rounds?

It s easy to overlook the fact these 8 Balls deliver the best value on the Cruiser market because they re loaded with outstanding Victory performance and tremendous style.
Melling thought that a big black Victory cruiser like this Jackpot 8-Ball would be just the thing for high summer rides.
Then a big Victory V-Twin cruiser all black, black, black, black - and a splash of chrome. Yes, absolutely must have a black cruiser for the high summer.

As a classic man at heart, a retro bike like is essential. Put that XJR 1300 in a gift wrapped bag and I’ll take it, please. And a Pan European for the long distance blasts across Europe and something neat and light for when I need to nip into a city center and...

That was the problem. I could have easily taken delivery of a large truck full of bikes - and justified the ownership of every single one. In fact, I could have still been defending my purchases as my wife beat me to death with a rolled up bunch of bike brochures and the walls of my garage burst through being stuffed with my new toys.

What I really needed was at least ten bikes. What I could afford, and store, was just one. That left me with a real dilemma. So what to choose?

One end of the problem was solved in that I could live without hyper sportbikes. We own, and I race, two extremely nice classic race bikes, so I get all the speed fixes I need in the place where they are best found: the race track.

What I needed was a fast tourer/commuter/Sunday-fun-ride/working machine/affordable/two-up-welcoming/cheap-to-run/easy-to-ride-when-tired motorcycle. In fact, what I really needed was a series of compromises.

Melling wasn t immediately sold on the styling of the V-Strom  but over time it has grown on him.
Melling wasn't immediately sold on the styling of the V-Strom, but over time it has grown on him.
The bike which constantly came up in conversation with other compromisers was the Suzuki DL 1000 V-Strom. But there were two problems with this bike. The first is that the DL is one of the most seriously ugly motorcycles produced since the 1963 Greeves Sportsman (see Memorable Motorcycles if you are into hard core horror stories) - a motorcycle so distressingly offensive to the eye that wearing protective goggles was recommended for anyone attempting to look at it for more than 10 seconds.

I know that beauty is not everything but bikes are an object of lust - and there’s no disputing this.

The other problem for me was that having ridden the DL1000’s baby brother, the 650 V-Strom, I came away thinking that it was no more than okay. Whilst ugliness can be forgiven in a bike, being merely satisfactory most certainly cannot.

The nice people at Road and Racing Motorcycles in Manchester (0161 377 5167) had a DL1000 demonstrator and, after a courteous but thorough pre-flight briefing, told me to have a long ride and then let them know my thoughts. No pressure, no attempt to sell me a bike - just rather old-fashioned service levels which really are very pleasant.

The clever thing was that Mark Samuels, Road and Racing’s Sales Manager, knew something I didn’t: the big V-Strom is a seriously clever motorcycle.

The first thing which strikes one, after five minutes riding, is that the 996cc V-Twin which powers the DL is one of the great motorcycle engines of all time. Considering that there are two enormous pistons banging away under the fuel tank it is electric smooth and effortless to use. Open the throttle and the bike accelerates. Open it some more and the DL goes quicker and quicker - and eventually rather fast indeed. It is utterly fuss-free and as willing a servant as ever inhabited a motorcycle chassis.

The eight-valve Twin of the DL puts out a claimed 98hp at 7600rpm. The engine impressed Melling so that he went out and bought a V-Strom.
The eight-valve Twin of the DL puts out a claimed 98hp at 7600rpm. The engine was a deciding factor when Melling elected to purchase a V-Strom.
The original incarnation of the DL’s engine was a fire-breathing, 135 hp, Ducati 916 challenger. In the V-Strom, the eight-valve Twin has been dramatically re-tuned to give a very pleasant 98hp at only 7600 rpm. In the real world, the motor is never stressed. The gearbox is typically Suzuki sweet and the hydraulic clutch as fuss free as the motor.
In truth, the motor sold the rest of the bike to me and an hour later I was filling in the sales forms.

If the motor convinced me that the DL was a bike to consider, then the value of the package actually got me to sign the order form. I opted for the GT version of the DL which has everything available in the Suzuki catalog as standard - with the notable exception of a rear hugger. Centerstand, heated grips, hand guards, adjustable screen, a full set of panniers and an enormous top box make up a comprehensive package and all for an on-the-road price of under $10k. Added to this, long-term servicing costs are very reasonable and it becomes easy to see why residual values are so solid.

That was 3000 miles ago and now I know a lot more about the DL and here is how I have learnt to love our 85% Suzuki. Why 85%? Well, it is 85% as good as a hyper sportbike, a Grand Tourer, a back lanes’ scratcher and a big scooter. In fact, it’s probably 85% as good as a Golf buggy and a farm tractor too - I just don’t have the experience to judge.

The motor has proven to be even better than on first impressions. Using the overdrive sixth gear, a few revs over 4200rpm will waft you up the Interstate highways at 80mph and that’s as fast as I go in Britain where having your driving license suspended is a rather easy feat to achieve. Uphill, headwinds, two-up, fully loaded - it makes no difference. The creamy power is simply perfect and the ride rock solid.

In the more tolerant parts of Europe, the DL will lope along at 110mph all day. Not fast by Hayabusa standards but ample for me.

The V-Strom is a jack-of-all-trades in the motorcycle world  capable of filling numerous roles in one bike.
The V-Strom is a jack-of-all-trades in the motorcycle world, capable of filling numerous roles in one bike.
Drop it down a gear, rev the motor a bit, and suddenly it is not a bad sport-tourer. Take away all the radar cameras and the DL would slaughter fast State highways in the style of a VFR. Run the bike in fourth, and rev it to 8000, and suddenly you have a very perky back roads’ scratcher.

Is it possible to have visual handling? If so, the DL would rate very badly. It looks big and clumsy and the saddle height is tall at 33 inches. However, ride the bike and the story is very different. Again, it’s the 85% rule writ large.

I had the pleasure of riding the DL at the Darley Moor race circuit during a pre-event evaluation for a forthcoming classic race. Surprisingly, the DL can be pressed very hard indeed. The alloy beam chassis is excellent and with the hero blobs on the footrests sending showering sparks, the big DL whistled through Darley’s 100mph chicanes in a manner completely at odds with its staid appearance.

What stops the DL being outstanding are mediocre front forks which flex when the bike is ridden hard and dull brakes. With twin 310mm front discs, the bike ought to stop effortlessly. Instead, it takes a conscious effort and this spoils the riding experience.

If 85% is the DL’s normal score, in some respects it is a class leader. Despite its apparent size, the DL is light at 458 lbs - that’s nearly a full sack of potatoes more svelte than a BMW GS1200 - and is beautifully balanced. Anyone who can’t ride the bike to a complete stop, feet up really isn’t making an effort. Compared with the big BMW GS1200 and the old Triumph Tiger, the DL is dirt bike nimble.

It will, at a push, even manage some mild trail riding. Certainly not serious Enduro bog bashing but easily un-made Alpine passes and forestry fire roads.

It is also outstandingly comfortable. My wife - a full-sized woman, not a tiny thing - and I did a lap around the edge of Wales starting at our home on the English side of the border in the North-West of England. Eight hours and 438 mainly backroad miles later, we got home without a trace of an ache. This is no 85% comfort level but completely outstanding.

Also top notch is the fuel consumption. Expect 48mpg in brisk, but not desperate, riding and only slightly less two-up. On another trip to mid-Wales, I forgot to fill up in Newtown so when we arrived in Llandrindod Wells the fuel warning light was getting really stressed. That was 204 miles - with still a tiny amount of fuel left - so the DL will manage serious distances between re-fuelling.

The topcase held two Arai helmets  two pairs of gloves and a few assorted bits and pieces without difficulty.
The topcase held two Arai helmets, two pairs of gloves and a few assorted bits and pieces without difficulty.
Carol loves the top box. All her girl stuff goes in here so she can ride without a back pack. When we arrive, the box swallows two Arais, two pairs of gloves and few bits and pieces. Very convenient.

As well as faults, there are two irritations. All the DL forums complain about wind buffeting. Yes, it does exist but to avoid all wind noise it’s better to buy a car. The heated grips are rubbish too with the right-hand one running cold whilst the left hand grip sears the rider’s hand.

Against these niggles, I am looking forward to the long-term costs of ownership. I spent an essential $125 on a rear hugger but other than this I’ve just put fuel in the bike. The first service will cost me around $150 and it will be 15,000 miles before I have to fork out serious money to have the tappets checked. Now that’s what I call sensible motorcycling.

But here’s the really interesting thing: I’ve started to polish the DL. The truth is that the ugly duckling is such a willing worker, so keen to please and so completely competent that I have begun to develop a real affection for it - and that is a real surprise.

If you want a bike which is the supreme master of the universe within its chosen field - the DL is not for you. Should you be seeking a two-wheeled object of lust which brings a tingle to your loins as you walk past it - avoid the DL. However, if you want the best all round motorcycle in series production today - and the outstanding bargain - then look no further than the DL. And, after a couple of thousand miles, expect to fall in love.

* Talk about this article in the MotorcycleUSA Forum.
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Suzuki DL 1000 V-Strom Specs
Drop the DL down a gear  rev the motor a bit  and suddenly it s not a bad sport-tourer.
Engine: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC,
90° degree V-twin
Bore/Stroke: 98.0 x 66.0mm
Compression Ratio: 11.3:1
Fuel System: Fuel injection system
Lubrication: Wet sump
Ignition: Electronic ignition
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Final Drive: RK525 SMOZ7, 112 links
Overall Length: 2295 mm (90.4 in)
Overall Width: 910 mm (35.8 in)
Overall Height: 1395 mm (54.9 in)
Seat Height: 840 mm (33.1 in)
Ground Clearance: 165 mm (6.5 in)
Wheelbase: 1535 mm (60.4 in)
Dry Weight: 208 kg (458 lbs)
Suspension Front: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension Rear: Link type, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes Front: Disc brake, twin
Brakes Rear: Disc brake
Tires Front: 110/80R19M/C 59H, tubeless
Tires Rear: 150/70R17M/C 69H, tubeless
Fuel Tank Capacity: 22 L (5.8/4.8 US/Imp gal)
Color: Grey/Black, Black/Silver
Suzuki V-Strom Dealer Locator
Related Suzuki V-Strom Articles

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dwfree   May 2, 2014 07:49 AM
After 10 yrs ownership, the 'Strom is ugly as ever - but I don't have bikes to ogle with my eyes, I ogle them from the seat. The big 'Strom is a great UJM, albeit a tall one. Of course the stock suspension is crap (I have yet to ride a bike that didn't need a suspension overhaul - probably because I weight 250lbs) - revalved fork with Racetech springs and Penske shock fixed all that. Stock it corners like a dirt bike, pushing the front badly without being able to swing the back tire around to finish the corner. So the front is lowered 1-1/2" and the back raised 1" (this will really help if you have big bags, ride 2-up fully loaded). Handles very well now, except it is a long wheelbase. Once uncorked, the engine makes on honest 97HP (89HP stock) and sounds wonderful breathing through a big hole in the airbox and exhaling through Remus cans. With the Power Commander properly custom mapped, it makes power everywhere except above 8k, where it's done and I don't ride it there anyway. The clutch "chudders" a bit, mainly when lugging in higher gears. Wind buffeting is fixed by cutting a "NACA" style duct in the lower part of the shield. With the large seat-to-peg distance, it makes a great tourer, and with the engine and suspension tuned as described, it's a very good backroad scratcher, and is very good doing anything in between. It's fine on smoothish dirt/gravel roads, but is not a dirtbike - all of these fat adventure bike bikes are absolute pigs off=road, and have to be crawled through the rough stuff. IMHO, the 650 version is too weak in the engine department for any consideration (unlike it's brother SV650). The big V-Strom is a great bike!
accelv   April 15, 2011 10:19 AM
It took me a while to warm up to the Vee. The styling actually grew on me. It is the most comfortable sport-adventurer I've ridden and the greatest value for the buck in motorcycleland. I did replace with windscreen and sit on the gel seat. The tires last forever and the motor is bulletproof. Suzuki dialed-in the fuel injection perfectly. The exhaust note is not as pleasant as a 4 banger, but I cut out the pea shooters and it sounds deeper, but not too noisy for touring. Brakes are okay but I will upgrade the pads when needed. I feel I could take this bike to Patagonia and back with no issues. The only thing missing is ABS, but I could find another one with that option. 85% is a correct assessment.
Roy M -DL 650 vs DL 1000  October 11, 2009 06:28 AM
I just crashed my '09 650 so I'm looking for another ride. Considering riding to Alaska from Ga. so I'm considering the 1000 for more juice to run 80 mph fully loaded all day every day for a week. I loved my 650 and it does fine at 80+ mph but I was thinking, a little more weight-a little more power might equate to a little less strain on me and the bike. I weigh in 150lbs and always ride solo so it's not a weight issue. Anyone care to comment on what the 1000 might or might not do for me?
Rob Stone -K2DL 1000  September 26, 2009 02:36 PM
Hi I ride a K2DL 1000 which I fitted with a K/N air filter earlier this year and had the throttle bodies rebalanced. After riding for a sustained period of time (over 35 mins) averaging 80mph on the motorway, when decelorating and shifting down shes coughing and sputtering and cutting out. On restarting her,revs drop to 800rpm on idle. Has anyone any thoughts as to what the problem may be and how to fix it?
Email - robertstone1979@hotmail.com
Guy Nichols -the looks  July 28, 2009 05:53 PM
Why do you say it's ugly?
It's a dual sport machine,I like the looks.
it sings a nice song at 80mph and has an ominus look when rolling up behind inattentive motorist.
I'm use to the sound of my y2k Thunderbird Sport with aftermarket mufflers so it;s hard to not enjoy the sound from it's screaming 3 cylinders. So the DL could use a better tone from the mufflers (let me see if I can find my 7/8 inch concrete drill bit).
stephen murphy -handleing  July 6, 2009 05:47 AM
above 80mph it starts to fell unstable moves around a bit only done 850miles so far ?
Chris -awesome but too loud  July 2, 2009 03:53 PM
Just bought an 05 dl1000. love the bike but it came with two bros carbon fiber slip ons. these pipes are beautiful but way two loud. anyone have any ideas how to tone these down?
Skip Green -DL 1000  May 24, 2009 08:34 PM
Even while owning a variety of bikes--SR 500, XS 650, CB 550, and an '02 GSF 1200, I have wanted a V-Strom 1000--because the whole DL concept just seemed right. I have been partial to Suzooks since I first uncorked a new X6 Hustler back in the 60's so I finally bought a nice '07 DL 1000 this weekend--I am not disappointed. The DL is more comfortable than the Bandit because of the greater peg/set distance. I like the torquey power delivery and the less intense temptation to cruise in the triple digits. This bike not only seems right--it IS right. I will admit that the seat and windshield are going to get changed--but even the last Beemer & HD I owned had to get the Corbin treatment--and they cost MUCH more.
Carl Sik -The DL-1000 another Run with the Strom  April 19, 2009 07:46 PM
I had a 2004 Strom for a while and then decided that I would try something different for a while. My initial Strom was with me for less than 1000 miles (I bought it used) and the clutch chudder really aggravated me. Having read that this had been solved I took the plunge again with a 2008. This time I went ahead and bought a new one. The initial impression was more fun than I remembered. However, about 200 miles into this new one, and a low tone hammering has developed. I hear it only at idle but it is annoying enough to get in the way of enjoying my rides. Then engine also has a definite rough section between 3,500 rpm and 4,000 rpm. Above that it feels great but because I ride primarily country roads with lower speed limits and overzealous DPS agents, the rough area of the band are making me rethink this choice. I am planning on patience and give it another 4000 miles to see where it lands when it is supposedly broken in.
terrance -Vstrom  March 14, 2009 05:55 AM
Loved my K-strom to bits, put over 65000ks on her and she was my baby till I rode a new FJR. WOW- you've gotto try one of these. They are different but they are the same, know what I mean. I won't be able to forget my Vstrom babe, but guys you've got to try one of these new 1300's out for yourself!
TheEvolone -DL1000  March 9, 2009 08:27 PM
A 2005 sits in my garage, 26,000 miles on the odometer. It was my first bike back after some years away from riding. I have a fused back and it allowed me to ride and not always slowly. A power commander or a Yosh box is needed to richen the low throttle mixture. Then it runs smoothly from 1000 rpm. The hinged madstat or simply washers between the windshield and in the lower mounts take care of buffeting. I've got no complaints. It is long-distance comfy, my wife is comfy riding on it, it has a nice rear rack for topbox or bungieing stuff too. With after-market pipes it makes more hp and sounds better without being obnoxious. I wanted to be embarrassed about its looks, but love knows no challenges. My wife thinks it looks good. I'd like to have some other forks to improve handling. And I'm thinking about a Hyperpro rear shock with remote preload. And I say all of this despite having even a better bike in the garage, a Triumph Tiger 1050 -- and this bike has a larger windscreen, a Hyperpro (thanks Klaus!) rear shock. I must say that the Triumph stops and goes better, maybe handles better, travels just as well. But when I throw a leg over the V-strom, I always smile. There's something about that engine, the sound, and how it works. It is happiness -- and after test-riding a GS BMW, I came back to the V and thought it handled nimbler, had as much power, was so much slimmer. Forget the GS. But I must say that the Tiger is another keeper. It pulls everywhere, it handles great, would do a stoppie if I used more than one finger. So where was I...You can't go wrong. The Vstrom is great. But if you like a bit more spice, consider the Tiger. That triple is a motor to die for. By the way, my wife also likes the Tiger, and that counts for a lot.
Mike Williams - Kennesaw, GA -Love the Strom  February 25, 2009 06:50 AM
I'm on my 2nd V-Strom 1000. A wonderful bike. Love mine. The Power Commander not only gives a bit more power (not that the 1K needs more power but it's sort of like money, it's hard to have too much) but it also made mine smoother. Cee Bailey windscreen (tall) is good for the buffeting. If you're less than 5'10" though you'll be looking through it. Let's ride!
Handoverfist -The DL1000  February 14, 2009 08:11 AM
I fell in love with the VStrom the first time I saw it... After almost 24.000 miles I still can't wait to ride it... best bike I have ever owned.
Tom Womack -WeeStrom  February 1, 2009 09:06 AM
There isn't much that I can add to what others have said, except to perhaps offer a slightly different slant to the whole DL experience. At 6'4" no one would ever call me short, nor would they call me small or skinny. At 275 lbs, I represent a serious load for the little strom. To accomodate my less than svelte size I had to make some minor mods to be comfortable on the bike. First of all, a windshield tall enough for me was a must. The stock one sucks and the buffeting will drive you crazy on a longish ride at highway speeds. If you do all your riding at 50 mph or below, it may not matter to you. But if you are at 55 or above most of the time as I am, you will want a different shield. I bought the Givi shield and put some 1/2" spacers under the bottom mounting screws with it mounted in the highest official position. This has worked well for me with the stock seat. I don't ride as far or as long in the winter so the stock seat works well for winter use. I replaced the stock seat with the factory touring seat with the gel insert and use that during the spring/summer/fall season. The gel seat helps the monkey butt problems that appear after a couple of hours on the stock seat and has the added benefit of seating me about an inch higher so I get a little more airflow to keep me cool when the weather is warm. Its all a compromise of course but it seems to work fairly well for me. If you are of significant weight as I am, plan on dropping a few hundred on a stiffer rear spring/shock combo soon after purchase. The stock shock/spring works well for those that fall in the flyweight category. The factory tires are merely adequate with no real outstanding merits or faults. Since I am roadbound and do no offroading, I replaced the stock tires with Metzeler Touring tires that are one size up from stock. A significant handling improvement and more than twice the life of the stock tire. The rear tire will go well over 10k miles if I dont have a road hazard issue that kills it prematurely. The front may live longer than I do. I bet it'll go over 20k miles...Anyway, with some carefully spent money on targeted upgrades you can transform the strom into a liveable bike that will do a lot of things well. I have done several longish road trips with it and found it to be capable and comfortable, fuel efficient (55-65 mpg depending on riding style and time of year), a great commuting bike, a great touring bike, very competent chassis and suitable for riding with any group that shows some sense about how fast they go. Relatively cheap to insure, around here for me it is about 1/2 of what the 1000cc version insures for. In short, this is a bike that you can almost treat like your car. It really is that reliable. Nothing ruins a trip like having mechanical trouble that is serious enough to foul up your schedule. If you want to spend your time riding rather than working on the bike, this is a good choice. Oil changes are every 3500 with valve adjustments every 15k. I just had mine checked at 13500 and they were within spec. So we're off the hook for valve adjustments for the time being. So far, plugs oil, air filter and tires have been the only expenses other than fuel.
GARY UK -dl 1000 vs bandit  January 21, 2009 05:55 AM
tested both, loved bandits engine but for two up comfort vstrom wins, hands down , great allrounder . bought one , great bike 08 black .
Gman -1250 Bandit vs. V-Strom  January 12, 2009 04:27 PM
Having owned both a 650 and 1000 V-Strom, and now a 1250 Bandit, I have some experience on all 3. The V-Stroms always had some buffeting at highway speeds, though I didn't try the various aftermarket solutions on the net. They are more "adventure" bike than the Bandit. They have some dirt road advantages due to their narrower width and front tires. On road, the Bandit is sportier. It has better tires, better brakes, better suspension and a slighly more aggressive riding position. The power of the 1000 is not far from the Bandit, though the delivery is not the same. The V-twins rely more on torque than horsepower. The Bandit feels faster, though it isn't much more powerful. The in-line engine revs quicker and still has comparable torque. The 650 is turning more rpm at highway speed, but it doesn't feel too strained. The 1000 and the Bandit are just loafing at 65-75 mph. Although the 1000 has an overdrive 6th gear, the Bandit doesn't vibrate at all, so both remain smooth on the interstates. The 1000 would occassionally vibrate if you lugged it too much, so you avoid lugging it. I would choose the 650 over the 1000 unless I planned a lot of long distance riding, especially if taking luggage and a passenger. The 650 is more nimble and easier to ride due to the lower weight. If you expect to ride on fire roads, the 650 is again a better choice due to the lighter weight. I added a Two Brothers exhaust to the 1000 and took it though Deals Gap. It got a lot of looks from those parked along the road; I think they were expecting a Ducati based on the sound and were surprised to see a V-Strom when I arrived. It was a little too loud for a "civilized" person, but it sure was fun! I still have the Bandit and have taken two cross-county trips on it since I added Givi luggage and a gel seat. It makes an excellent sport touring bike. I may someday return to a V-Strom though, I can't really get them out of my system. You really can't go wrong with either bike. They are all bargains compared to the European alternatives.
Audiocus -Bandit 1250s ABS to DL1000  January 10, 2009 07:48 AM
I was looking to change my old bust trusted 1984 GS1150EF for a newer bike but having lower back problems, I was concerned on the model I should choose. The sale’s person at the Montreal Motorcycle Show showed me the V Strom DL1000. Initially, I was stunned by its appearance. I too thought it was an ugly duckling but when I turned around and noticed one with full fairing from France, I thought it looked great. I went to the motorcycle shop next summer and test drove the new Suzuki Bandit 1250s ABS. This bike was a looker and its lower torque power was just a joy to ride. But I felt I was riding my GS1150EF but with a new paint job. I decided to test drive the DL1000 V Strom to see what I was missing. SOLD. ON THE SPOT. What a ride. If you do not like it’s looks, get the full fairing. It looks great with it.
jlvdo -Bye '05 1K, hello '09 C14  December 22, 2008 06:10 PM
The Strom equipped with the MadStad and a Windstrom shield took care of all the buffeting. Very dependable bike, good torque, plenty of acceleration, and relatively cheap. I took it out on the track and found it to be very agile in the twisties. Had I kept it, I would have put on Michillin road tires, different brake pucks, and cartridge emulators in the forks. Alas, the Strom was recently replaced with the '09 Connie. No regrets.
Dirty Dave -V-Strom DL1000 all rounder  December 22, 2008 11:23 AM
This is my 2nd DL1000, the 1st was an '03, good power, great handler, terrible buffeting, it was so bad I sold it. Picked up an'05 Triumph ST Sprint, what a wonderful ride, but not a good city bike. So I started looking again at the '07 V-Strom, this time adding the Maddstat Windshield Bracket. What a difference, no more buffeting a sure joy to ride, and guess what? it does everything the sprint could do travel wise, and then some. I concur with just about everyone else, the DL does everything pretty damn well.
Alan -DL1000  December 9, 2008 08:22 PM
I too LOVE my 07 BUT his MPG's are a little off due to the speedo error.The speedo in the USA is off about 6-10% so you really get about 40-45 MPG's.
2w2tor -Even Better 2nd time around!!!!!  December 4, 2008 07:48 PM
I recently purchased my 2nd DL1000 Vstrom. My first was a Yellow 2003 model and this one's a Silver 2008. My first was fantastic and I deeply regretted my decision to trade it in on a BMW GS. The BMW was cursed with problems and I was abandoned by thier service department!! The first strom was completely reliable in the 10000km's or so that I owned it. Plenty fast, comfortable and cheap to insure. The gas mileage was amazing and a solid handling bike. Four bikes later here I am again! I don't think there's a better bang for the buck than the Vstrom. I'm looking forward to a long term relationship with #2.
Globalman -Big luggage for the VStrom  December 1, 2008 12:56 PM
When I discoverd the DL1000, the BMW GS1200 quickly came off my wish list. The DL gives me everything I want for half the price of the BMW. For that kind of savings, I don't mind keeping an eye on a chain. Has anyone installed Jesse aluminum bags on the DL1000 and if so what are your thoughts? http://www.jesseluggage.com/whatsnew.html I'm considering this. I enjoy distant touring and sleeping in the woods along the way - so I need large, lockable and rugged bags.
angelo -sport touring  November 30, 2008 05:21 PM
I had a 2002 VFR in Europe and was worried I would never find a new motorbike to love after that experience. The Strom 1k made the miracle, it has all what I was looking for: comfort, reliability, affordability. I feel safer on a BIG Strom in USA than I would be on a "tiny" VFR. Another plus on the Strom is that it handles better rough roads. And yes, I like it better now and I strongly disagree about being ugly. The Strom is a beauty!
Koinz -V-Strom Versatility  November 30, 2008 06:56 AM
I was also looking for an "all arounder". My 06 DL1000 is fun to ride, ample power and easy to maintain. What more can you ask for? Good Ergonomics? Yep, it's got that too. I don't really understand the comments about the looks of the V-strom. I have seem some really odd looking bikes and the V-Strom is a gem compared to some of them.
BirrellM -Suzuki DL 1000  November 27, 2008 07:39 AM
I have an 2006 V-Strom, I too fell in love with the look of this bike. I've out fitted mine with bags, taller wind screen, some pipes, and a power commander. All I can say is wow! Truely a do everything bike (85%) but maybe better for taller riders, I'm 6'3" and its perfect.
Michael -V-Strom appearance  November 25, 2008 11:23 AM
I agree, Suzuki did a great job in making the 07/08 versions of the DL1000 as ugly as possible. Silver Headlight mask and silver side cowlings on a black bike - Huh ?? Repainting that, make it look like a 06 ( all black ) make it looking very much better. I´m a great fan of the bike, rode 38000km in two years and really enjoy every ride. Suspension tuned with Wilbers and you start to love hairpins.
Brian's Love Affair -DL1000  November 25, 2008 01:29 AM
The V-Strom would have to be one of the most prctical bikes that I have ever owned. I have had it for 5 months and covered 8,500 kilometres. I have in the shed at home a 2005 Hayabusa all blinged, a B-King all blinged and a GSR600K6 all blinged. But I always seem to want the DL now. I have fitted 21 litre GIVI Panniers, Ventura Rack and Bag, GIVI Crash Bars, Touratech Front Guard, Aluminiun Bash Plate, Tank Bra and running Anakee Tyres. I don't have a problem with wind buffering as I use an Arai Tour-ross Helmet. Most of my weekend riding is on gravel road exploring the many back roads. They make a great priced Adventure Bike. Well I suppose I will have some very low kay Sports Bikes in the shed for collectables and one V-Strom with very high kays and heaps of memorable memories of great rides.
Simon Moore -The STROM  November 24, 2008 07:40 PM
I was in the same place, I couldn't decide where to go. I saw the movie doc "Long way Down" And things really changed for me. Cruisers became not so important. Dirt trails became interesting. My two V-Stars 650 were sold & I now have 2 650 wee-Stroms instead. Stock they are good but not fab. Not a prob. New gel seat a bunch of upgrades from tour-tech 3 years & 65,000km of traveling around OZ, and I wouldn't have another bike. Awsome
Jimmy Hansen -DL1000  November 24, 2008 05:27 AM
I have owned many bikes over the years, toured Tens of thousands of miles on both Black Top and Dirt, and raced off road competitively, but I'm here to say the DL1000 is the best all rounder built for the masses so far to date. With a change of tyres to suit the occasion, the big V-Strom will run rings around most, so called specialist bikes. Frank Melling wrote it was the 85% motorcycle, I agree, with one slight change. The DL1000 is the 100% motorcycle 85% of the time. The other 15% is doing more than 145mph in a straight line (who really cares) and doing the cleaning and servicing chores (boring). Until you ride one you will never understand.
Patrick Worsham -Its true  November 23, 2008 10:26 AM
The 'Strom is one of the best values in motorcycling: but don't yell it too loud, otherwise the streets will be crawling with them! Really, the bike is a great one. Most of the complaints about it can be solved via reasonably cheap aftermarket solutions: Heated grips, buffetting, seat, etc. The only thing I could do without is the motor, I guess i'm a inline 4 kinda guy, but with proper love and a power commander + pipes, the twin can be fairly smooth.
Erik -Don't Knock the Wee-Strom  November 22, 2008 09:19 AM
I test rode both the DL 1000 and the DL 650 and found the 650 to be much more suited to my riding style (mostly commuting, rare two-ups and even rarer touring). Coming from an SV650s, the engine is the same but the ergonomics are light years ahead. And I will also respectfully disagree that it is an ugly bike, it is unique and beautiful in its own way. It stands out from the cookie cutter sportbikes and cruisers.
Izn -DL1000 Strom  November 21, 2008 08:05 PM
Good test and conveys the spirit of the Strom. Mine is just 6 weeks old and going superbly. I have the K8 version with luggage. Wow, what a super versatile and user friendly bike with plenty of power. And that V- twin engine sounds so good!
Craig Harlamoff -Strom  November 21, 2008 04:40 PM
The Strom is a versatile bike. The upright position will allow for distance. The light weight and willing motor make it sporting. You have the ground clearance to to up rutted dirt roads. The Strom is easy to clean, which makes it a good day in and day out commuter. I put 6000 miles on mine this summer. I'm reminded of the old Honda 750 four. The original multi purpose bike. Just a note, like most twins, you need to know how to balance the carbs to achieve a smooth motor. The California 1000s will need a Dynojet to deal with low speed missing.
Wes -'08 DL1k  November 21, 2008 02:08 PM
I also bought it un heard. Did the research, put down the $$. It doesn't look bad at all from behind the wind screen! The head shake is a good indicator to keep it under 125mph. Crossing Nebraska hours before the tornadoes last June, fully loaded 48L bags and top case from Givi. I thought that was the reason. I've a 30" inseam Ya it's tall! The seat from the wee lowered it an inch and links dropped it another. Hanging off on something this tall yeha. Ya I like it :^)
Vazmon -Suzuki DL 1000  November 21, 2008 08:36 AM
I got my used '02 with 3000 miles on it in late '04 on E-Bay for $5,100. Added a center-stand, taller windscreen, and Suzuki/Kappa luggage. Now, puttin' her up for the winter with 20,000 trouble-free miles. I've been very happy overall, but would like to get a powercommander and some pipes: that engine is just waiting to be 'opened up'.....As for the looks, I always thought of the bike as ugly, but it's the function over fashion factor that wins over. The bike sits high for me (I'm 5'8"), but I make do with stock height. If I had the coin, I would have a garage full of bikes. For one do-it-all, though, I'm pleased with my 'Strom!
Gritboy -Love affair with  November 21, 2008 08:29 AM
Best bike I've owned, though mine's the 650 model. Handles just about anything I throw at it with aplomb - especially twisty back roads in disrepair. A proper set of tires (Pirelli's), better brake pads (Galfer), and a Murphkit fork brace brought the performance on par with what I wanted. Can't say enough good things except I'll ride it 'til it's dead.
Bill Morris -DLs  November 21, 2008 12:32 AM
Gotta agree. Naysayers--guarantee they either haven't ridden one or didn't spend enough time on it to get the "evil". It's so fun it's criminal. I go for the princess and the pea metaphor for motorcycling. If you're not her, you're going to 100% love this 85% bike.
Erik -Don't Knock the Little Brother  November 20, 2008 10:59 PM
I test rode both the DL 1000 and the DL 650 and found myself having far more fun on the 650. Perhaps because my previous bike was an SV650S (the same engine but in a far more comfortable package) but also because I'm not a huge guy and rarely ride two up. I bought my 'Strom because of its looks, because it isn't a cookie cutter overly "faired" wanna-be racer. Its comfortable, tracks fantastically well, has a good sized tank and does what I need it to. It is an outstanding commute bike and does a pretty solid job of carving up the mountain roads above Santa Cruz where I live. I do love my V-Strom, glad you're loving your big brother!
jmshaw -85%--it's true!  November 20, 2008 10:56 PM
This article captures the Strom experience better than any other I have read. In my case I love the physical size of the thing--I'm a very large rider at 6' 6", and this is the first motorcycle I ever felt fit me well. I needed to add lower (Buell) footpegs and the Suzuki tall seat, and since then I have a good fit for the first time in my life. What was unexpected is the way this bike inhales the miles! There is a sweet spot at about 80-90 mph that is relaxed yet speedy enough to put a lot of miles behind you with little stress. Its my favorite bike for most any riding--almost addictive.
Ed Young - Wilmington, Delaware USA -Great Bike  November 20, 2008 08:08 PM
After 44,000 miles I too have grown to really appreciate the DL-1000. I have solved the wind problem (after 4 tries) with an MP Cycle Design windshield with adjustable spoiler. Everything else you mentioned about the VStrom is so true. Well, except for the looks. I always thought it looks good. But then I'm an engineer...
Jr Hooker -2004 DL 1000  November 20, 2008 04:08 PM
I bought mine new in Garden City Ks.and in 11 months had 12000 miles on it. Loved the bike The only thing I didn't like was at over 125mph I would get head shake which is not good. I went up side down on a trade in on a 2005 Hayabusa.Butt no more head shake even up to 180 mph
Hanadarko -Wha'ts not to love..  November 20, 2008 03:38 PM
I too bought one w/o ever hearing it run. This is one tall beast. As far as looks go? - I live in Harley country. It's nice to see a bike that stands out among the crowd. People always come up and ask about it. Her look (all in black) makes me think of her as a Dominatrix. Ride one and it's likely your agree.
Steve Clack -V-Strom  November 20, 2008 03:17 PM
I have a 2003 DL-1000 and it is the perfect bike for me 48,000 trouble free miles later and it still runs great. In my opinion one of the best bikes made I would not hesitate to get another.
PSUDad of Southeastern PA, USA -Tombstone, I must agree  November 20, 2008 02:16 PM
I liked the look so much, bought the bike without ever even hearing one idle, let alone riding one. Granted, I did alot of homework and felt it was the perfect combination of bike for me. Had it (DL1000K8)a month and love it - everything Frank said, and then some.
Cap'n -Ayep  November 20, 2008 01:25 PM
I have had just about exactly the same experience with my fz6. I was never in love with its looks, but a test ride got my attention, and at $6,600 new for almost 100 comfortable hp, I caved in. The addition of givi's all around finally completed the picture. Competence has its own sort of attraction.
Chris Shilton -DL 1000 V-Strom vs Bandit 1250S  November 20, 2008 01:00 PM
The new Suzuki Bandit 1250s has just as much horsepower as the V-Strom, weighs about the same, costs about the same, and can tour and commute just as well as the V-Strom. It seems like the Bandit would be a better street bike since it has more road biased tires. I haven't ridden either bike though, can anyone comment on this comparison since i'm considering purchasing one of these bikes? Thanks.
TechnoMage -Add a SuperBrace  November 20, 2008 12:58 PM
To get rid of the fork flex, try installing a SuperBrace. They only run around $150, can be installed in minutes and made a HUGE difference.
Tombstone -I must take issue...  November 20, 2008 12:27 PM
"Melling wasn't immediately sold on the styling of the V-Strom, but over time it has grown on him. The bike which constantly came up in conversation with other compromisers was the Suzuki DL 1000 V-Strom. But there were two problems with this bike. The first is that the DL is one of the most seriously ugly motorcycles produced since the 1963 Greeves Sportsman (see Memorable Motorcycles if you are into hard core horror stories) - a motorcycle so distressingly offensive to the eye that wearing protective goggles was recommended for anyone attempting to look at it for more than 10 seconds." Sorry...but I absolutely must take issue with this passage. It was the LOOK of the V-Strom that originally piqued my interest. I fell in love with the look of this bike. I was immediately enamored with its sensual lines and graceful curves. I felt compelled to defend this sexy, sultry siren of the superslab. A motorcycle purchase is largely one driven by visceral appeal and my Vee had all of that for me and more. Granted, opinions will vary, but verbal attacks against the appearance of my beloved Vee will invariably garner a heated response in her defense. Otherwise, the article was an enjoyable read. Ride safe, ride often.
Baggerchris -Suzuki DL 1000  November 20, 2008 12:16 PM
To dern high at 33 inches. Even with the lowering links it is still too high.