User Rating: Excellent
Handling And Control:
Quality and Craftsmanship:
Pros: Power band. Excellent finish and quality. Looks cool minus the front end looks.
Cons: I cant find a comfortable seating position. Wind protection lacks.
The Bottom Line: My final recommendation is, if you are looking for a good all-around machine with some higher-speed capability, this is the machine for you. Make sure it fits you though.
I recently purchased my new 2007 Suzuki V-Strom as a hopefully worthy replacement for my 1989 Honda Transalp XL600V. I’ve had my Transalp for nearly 7 years now, bought used but in mint condition. I must say, I love the Transalp. For it’s time, it was by far a highly advanced bike, probably more so than I ever realized until recently.
Before I get into the review of the V-Strom, I think it’s relevant to talk about the Transalp for a little bit.
The Transalp was only sold State-side for 2-years, in 1989-1990, but never really caught on. Despite having great success in Europe along with its larger sibling, the Africa Twin, I’m not sure anyone really could relate to a large dual-sport here, pretty much dooming all other dual-sport models from Honda and the other manufactures from ever making it over the pond. Over the years, a lack of dual-sports on the market in the US, but a growing popularity, gave the Transalp a cult following.
It’s versatility, reliability, and solid design make it one of the most appealing bikes on the road. Its engine is a watercooled 600cc 45 degree V-Twin, with dual spark plugs, and three valves per cylinder. Coupled with respectable wind-protection, comfortable seat, large gas tank, and decent but not great suspension, made for a capable machine mostly on-road with an occasional of-road excursion possible.
The bike is smooth, efficient, rock-solid, and makes less-than perfect roads a breeze. The worst thing I could say about the bike is the suspension was too soft, a lack of a 6th gear, made higher speed cruising so-so, and the brakes (updated over the years in the euro models) were ok, but not great. Otherwise, if I had a choice of any middleweight bike it would be either the Transalp or the Africa Twin.
These bikes are that good! In my opinion the Transalp set pretty high bar almost 20-years ago in the dual-sport market.
So lets fast forward 19 years. My fairly high opinion of the Transalp, led me to look for another dual-sport when I was in the market for a new bike. Nowadays, there are quite a few duals on the market, ranging from almost all the manufactures. BMW has the GS and F models, Kawasaki still has the KLR (although very outdated), Triumph has the Tiger, and Suzuki has the pair of V-Stroms.
Nothing in the Honda camp, which I still find unusual, especially considering they have the two best duals in Europe (The Africa Twin replacement, the 1000cc Valadero, and the redesigned Transalp, which are probably some of the nicest bikes over there).
Suzuki’s pair of V-Stroms are very nice bike’s as well. There front end styling I think is still ugly but the rest of the bike has a very complete look to it. It is a bigger bike and heavier bike. The 650 lacks the full rear end look, due to the lack of the second muffler, unlike the 1000.
Mine is the silver/black model, which I must admit has a certain non-threatening look to it; almost #147classy#148. The #147visible#148 engine area makes for a nice conversation piece, but I will say the engine gets dirty and it doesn#146t look all that protected from stone and debris. Especially vulnerable is the oil-cooler at the bottom end of the engine. The seat looks wide and comfy, but something about sitting on it for too long makes my rear hurt. I have not figured out why exactly yet.
The windshield has three adjustment heights. The rims are three-spoke alloys which look very nice. The addition of dual-disks brakes and a single in the back are a nice change from the Transalp#146s (TA) single disk in front and drum in the rear.
The stickers and emblems all look great, and the dash is exceptionally nice. Here is the technical data from http://www.motorcyclistonline.com
2007 SUZUKI DL650 V-STROM / DL650 V-STROM ABS
Building on the impressive performance and versatility of the DL1000 V-Strom, the DL650 V-strom was introduced highlighting all the features that made the larger V-strom a hit but in a light and nimble middleweight package.
The 2007 Suzuki DL650 V-Strom builds on this strong foundation and adds an updated engine package with dual spark plugs per cylinder for improved combustion and reduced emissions. Also available for #14607 Suzuki will proudly offer an ABS equipped version of the DL650 V-Strom for unmatched rider control and optimum braking performance.
The V-Strom 650 is powered by an updated dual spark plug, DOHC 90-degree 650cc V-twin engine with an over-square bore and stroke of 81.0mm x 62.6mm. It utilizes liquid-cooling, four valves per cylinder and Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) fuel-injection system, along with a 16-bit CPU for maximum performance and efficiency. The powerplant specifications are textbook examples of state-of-the-art engine design.
Narrow valve angles (14 degrees intake, 16 degrees exhaust) allow for a compact and efficient combustion chamber. Large valve size (31mm intake and 25.5mm exhaust) and the straight, downdraft intake ports create maximum performance.
Tuned for low-end and mid-range performance, the DL650 engine employs short-duration camshaft timing, a 7.8-liter airbox and increased crankshaft inertia. Shot-peened connecting rods, are stronger and lighter than conventional units. And the six-speed transmission utilizes vertically staggered input and output shafts for a smaller engine and, in turn, a shorter wheelbase.
Supporting the V-Strom 650 is a twin-spar aluminum frame and swingarm designed for smooth handling and balanced rigidity. Rake and trail measure 26.5 degrees and 110mm respectively, creating a 60.6-inch (1540 mm) wheelbase. Suspension for the smaller ‘Strom consists of preload-adjustable 43mm fork in the front and a rebound-adjustable rear shock.
The latter comes complete with an easy-to-use hydraulically adjustable spring preload system.
Three-spoke cast-alloy wheels shod in radial tires provide the rolling stock for the DL650. A pair of dual piston hydraulic calipers gripping 310mm discs provides stopping power up front. Rear brakes consist of a 260mm disc and a single-piston hydraulic caliper.
New for #14607 the DL650 is now available with Anti-Lock Braking System for optimum braking performance in a variety of conditions.
Even parked on its side stand, the V-Strom 650 looks ready for adventure touring. It comes with a sporty front fairing to deflect the wind and riding position is designed with comfort in mind. Seat height is set at a low 32.3 inches (820mm) and the saddle blends smoothly into the ample 5.8-gallon (22.5 liter) fuel tank.
Wind protection for the V-Strom 650 is particularly unique. Designed to reduce turbulence for riders of all shapes and sizes, an adjustable windscreen covers a vertical range of 50mm and can be angled differently as it’s raised or lowered.
The DL650’s compact instrument cluster includes: an analog speedometer and tachometer; digital LCD, odometer, tripmeter, coolant temperature gauge, fuel gauge; and LED neutral, turn signal and high beam indicator lights along with an oil pressure warning light.
DL650 (K7) AT A GLANCE
Suggested Retail: $6,699, $7,199 (ABS)
Engine Type: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, 90-degree V-twin
Bore and Stroke: 81.0mm x 62.6mm
Front Brake: Dual Hydraulic Disc
Rear Brake: Single Hydraulic Disc
Wheelbase: 60.6 inches (1540 mm)
Dry Weight: DL650 – 427 lbs. (194 kg).
Here is my assessment of the bike with 400 miles on it since I got it. I#146m currently in the process of #147properly#148 breaking the bike in, So I have not explored the full powerband of the bike, so additions to this review are warranted.
Getting on the bike and turning the key you are greeted with a self check of the instrument panel and pressurization of the fuel injection system. The instrument panel consists of a semi digital system indicating fuel injection status, temperature and gas gauge, and clock (I love the clock). The tach and speedo clocks are analog dial format.
Controls are a kill switch on the right, and turn signal, hazard, high-beam, horn, and a button that flicks the high-beams indicated as a #147pass#148 button. The front brakes are adjusted with a dial, and the brake levers are aluminum. The grips are not all that comfortable and the 650 does not come with standard grip-guards unlike the 1000. The seat at first feels good with ample room. Hit the start button and the bike starts right up with a nice low-end rumble.
The bike is rather quiet but the tone is nice. The clutch is nice and smooth and put the bike in first and off you go.
Low end power seems nice, I have had the bike up to 5,000 rpm and by all indications the bike has lots of power throughout its range. A warning though#133this is no Honda! My Honda was as smooth as butter with no vibrations or quirks about the power-band.
It ran like lawn-mower with virtually no character, but I liked that. The Suzuki, is a little on the rough side. It vibrates a little and it doesn#146t like to be under the 3,000 rpm mark. This surprised me a little bit considering the engine was designed close to 20 years after the TA. So I really expected something much more in the engine area.
Not that anything is bad, I just really expected it to be that much better. The addition of fuel-injection, a computer management system, 4-valves per cylinder, and new for 2007, dual spark plugs per cylinder, simply led me to expect something more. Maybe it#146s just a matter of getting used to it and breaking it in.
But I can tell the engine is a derivative of the TL1000S.
The gear box is pretty much the same deal. I expected a much more smoother system, again not that it#146s bad, just the TA was silky smooth. The clutch feels awesome though.
The addition of a sixth gear is very nice. But I really wish the bike had a gear indicator, I still for the life of me can#146t figure out what gear I#146m in unless I#146m in first or second. The 1000 has an overdrive indicator (showing your in the top gear), and so should the 650.
The suspension feels hard, even after I have adjusted the pre-loads. Both the front and rear have adjustable pre-load. On the front I can feel the adjustment. On the rear however I can#146t feel anything different. It just feels hard.
I can see the adjustment happening on the spring, but I can#146t feel it. Could be because they are new. On rough roads, the bike just feels hard. On the interstate, it is very nice.
The wheel-base feels long and the bike sweeps nicely through turns. The relatively high center of gravity makes the bike feel (it is) top-heavy at lower speeds. At higher speeds though (60 mph, the highest I have had it) it feels smooth and light.
The tires are larger and wider than what I am used to, so it turns and leans with much more ease than the TA.
Now the two things I really don#146t like about the bike. I have not figured out this seating position yet. At times the seat feels to high, at time too low. The handlebar/seat/peg position at times feels perfect and at times it feels all wrong.
So, I have no idea what is up. The windshield, despite being adjustable does little to alleviate the wind buffeting. My TA has a lower fairing, so legs are very well protected from the wind.
No such luck here. Despite having a larger front fairing than the TA, it just doesn#146t do the job all that well. Again, it#146s not horrible, but I expected better.
To compound to the problem, for a bike with an upright seating position, pressure on the wrists seems excessive. The vibrations of the bike leave a tingling feeling in my right wrist. Never experienced that before on a bike#133any bike! So I#146m not sure, if I#146m not just used to it yet, or there is an adjustment I can make, but at times I love riding it#133other times it just feels plain bad#133almost like I can#146t get comfortable on the thing. So we#146ll see.
It#146s not enough for me to hate the bike, but typically dual-sports are very comfy#133at least all the one#146s including the some of the euro models.
The finish of the bike is flawless. All the plastics have a perfect fit and the quality of the parts seem excellent. The paint and clearcoat are very nice as well.
Hopefully, in the long run they stay that way.
The dealer that sold me the bike is Trans-Am Motorsports in Lititz, PA. The transaction went smooth, all my questions were answered and they gave me a nice discount on some accessories. They even threw in a set of riding gloves to go with my new jacket, helmet, and bike cover.
My future accessories include a top-case, grip-guards, and possibly heated grips.
As I get more miles on the bike, I will update this more. But this should provide a good first impression. This is my first new bike, so I plan on breaking it in correctly.
Hopefully this is useful for you. If you are thinking of getting a V-Strom, please feel free to post a message and I#146ll try to help you out the best I can.
Recommend this product? Yes
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