2018 Suzuki VStrom 650XT India Review, First Ride

Enchanting –

  • A simple, easy to live with geunine ADV bike
  • Mature off-road and on-road behavior
  • Comfortable and fuel efficient
  • Welcome addition of traction control

Unsatisfying –

  • Better wind screen and brakes required
  • Needs more essentionals and features

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Adventure bikes are gaining popularity in the country as much as their four-wheel counterpart, SUV’s are trending. The extra ground clearance, the bit of off-road capability, the machines that can take our bad roads, are the new mantra. Every manufacturer has their own way of doing things. Every manufacturer has something or the other in their portfolio to offer to its customers. Suzuki has the V-Strom. The bike has been seen earlier, with a bigger engine, which was the 1000cc unit, now it has come in the 650cc avatar. The motorcycle is known globally rather well for what it does. We did the same too and put first 300 kms of the first impression on this potent machine.

Styling

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The design is of high raised, long, edgy and muscular stance. The fuel tank is big, the twin mudguards, a beak at the front and dual barrel headlights stocked into one give it an old-school yet modern look. The tail-lamps are chunky and LED units. The spoke wheel is large at 19-inch front and 17-inch at the rear. Top box, main stand, aluminium chain guard and engine guard are optional extras. Fit-finish is good, quality is alright for this price and feels solidly built.

Speedo and Switches

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Switches continue to be same as any other Suzuki Superbike. The select mode button to toggle the screen, the pass light button integrated with the high beam button come together. The ignition, engine kill switch and hazard light button are on the right. The cluster looks basic with analogue tachometer and digital speedometer. However, it has fuel economy parameters, traction control of two levels, clock, two trip meters and cluster brightness option.

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Ergonomics

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Ergonomics are extremely accommodating. The fuel tank allows you to lock knees, you can stand up and still the handlebar falls in your hand. The legroom is plenty for all size of riders. Seats are really good for rider and pillion. The seat height options are 835 which is standard and 815 which is optional accessory. There are grab rails, luggage carrier on offer. Wind protection is on offer, but the windshield can be adjusted by Allen key only, it should have been adjustable on the fly with a pop-up system. Mirrors are square shaped and do their job well.

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The Ride

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The dual spark, V-twin 90 degree engine makes 70 PS of power and 62 Nm of torque, which is delivered in a linear manner. The gearing is tall, there is torque everywhere so rideability in the city is excellent. The gearbox as always with every Suzuki bike is excellent, the clutch is light and the NVH levels, including heat from the engine is well under control. Traction control is on offer of 2 levels.

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Vibrations and heat can be witnessed in small quantities when ridden in harsh conditions or redlining the bike. Top-end punch is good for a 650cc bike, the bike puts all the power down quickly because of the smaller tyre it has at the rear.

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The 150 section tyre with the modest 70 PS and 216 kg kerb weight means it just does the job of above average performance and allows for more than adequate cruising speed on our Indian highways. Throttle response is good, the exhaust note is throaty but nothing exotic here. The VStrom 650XT can deliver atleast 300 kms to the tank if ridden hard also. You can expect even more if your speed is below 120 km/hr on the highway.

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Dynamically, the bike is quite easy to manoeuvre, the weight is gone immediately as the bike reaches 4 km/hr. Taking u-turns isn’t much of an issue either, the Anti stall feature will help you do so as it maintains rev high. The perfect chassis balance of this perimeter frame and weight distribution also means parking speed manoeuvres isn’t that bad either. The suspension at the front isn’t adjustable, but the rear is adjustable for preload and rebound.

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The front suspension is pliant enough for our roads and the rear is adjustable so you can do that as per your needs. The motorcycle is largely a stiff suspension equipped one which means it can take corners well. The just about enough compliant-ness means it doesn’t throw you off the bike in a mid-corner bump. The bumps in the middle of the highway at any given speed are taken care of rather well. 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel mean it can do a bit off-roading that we tried and it does it very confidently too.

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Tyres were good on and off the road both. Spoke wheels are offered with tubeless tyres. 26-degree rake means it isn’t the fastest turning machine as the wheel is also 19-inch. However, it changes lanes with confidence and the long wheelbase means stability is top-notch despite we witnessed severe crosswinds. Brake feel at the front and rear isn’t the sharpest and needs work, but nevertheless, the braking power is adequate.

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2018 Suzuki VStrom 650XT India Review, Verdict

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The Suzuki VStrom 650XT comes across as a motorcycle that can do it all. Right wheel size and type. The right displacement for our category as we all upgrade form quarter litres and middleweights to jump on to this adequately powered adventure touring machine.

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The pricing also seems just right as it offers a bit more over its arch rival for that exta money. Suzuki also has a good reach of 14 premium bike dealerships around the country. Sales and service isn’t been much of an issue in the past either. The Suzuki V-Strom 650XT could be better and modern, but then it will lose out on the charm it carries rather well. A thing, which is going to be hard to find in the future.

Price: RS. 7.46 lakhs

VStrom 650XT India Review
  • Design
  • Features
  • Quality
  • Safety
  • Value
  • Performance
  • Dynamics
  • Practicality
  • Comfort
4.5

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