MCP Review: Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS
Posted by BoyG On August – 6 – 2013 2,182 views
The route was supposed to be Manila-Vigan-Manila. Wheeltek’s motorcycle go-to guy had already said that the bike was available for pickup anytime at their Bautista St. shop. I had already made reservations with a friend for our accommodations and all that was left to do was leave.
Unfortunately, due to reasons beyond my control, we had to scrap the Vigan plan and settle for a daytrip.
Destinations were thrown around, Montalban, Jariel’s, Real, Pampanga, heck even MOA was brought into the picture. The evening of the ride, there was still no destination. The obvious choice for a no-brainer quickie was Jariel’s peak (a fun ride up the mountains of the Marilaque all the way to the boundary of Real). To cut a long story short, my riding companions begged off on the ride for various reasons and I was on my own.
A bike to review and no destination.
A friend had told me about that new tunnel that cuts from Ternate to Nasugbu months before and everyone in the riding community seems to have gone there already, so that’s where I decided to go. No GPS, no maps. Just me and the bike and some good old fashioned seat of the pants common sense.
With the ride home from Makati to Pasig as my introduction to the Vstrom, I set out on a solo trip to Nasugbu via the Kabiyang tunnel.
Frankly, I was a bit worried about my riding position on the VStrom. Having been blessed with strong but woefully short appendages, the arms felt a little stretched and any sudden blip on the accelerator would have me grabbing on to the handlebar to catch my grip. A little adjustment on the saddle was all it took to make me a lot more comfortable. The configuration of the cockpit really shines when you stand on the pegs.
The reach of the handlebars and the way the legs rest on the body panels feels very natural and inspires confidence in offroad riding.
Everyone was telling me about the seat height about how high the Vstrom was, make no mistake, it’s a rather tall bike. I was on my tiptoes on both feet at full stops. As long as I could reach the ground, even by my toenails, that was fine by me.
I was told there was an option for a lower seat for the Vstrom available which is nice and I may consider should I end up with one of these in my garage.
The Vstrom’s handling is superb. Though a bit top heavy, the bike leans into corners and holds its line very well. Even for a mediocre rider like me, turning this bike was a treat.
The tires held rather well considering their lackluster reputation from most Vstrom sites. No peg scraping though, I’ll reserve that when it’s my own bike.
Speed is what this bike as a lot of also. Not sportbike speed mind you, not even naked bike speed, this is adventure bike speed at it’s best. Power when needed. The bike can easily cruise at 80-90kph on 6th gear without a care in the world. You can also open up the throttle to overtake that pesky truck on the same gear and go back to cruising.
Of all the features of the Vstrom I loved this was it. Climbing the twisties of Ternate i could play between 3rd and 4th gear and the bike would respond without question. Some steep climbs were easily done on 3rd.
This makes riding a lot easier and a lot less stressful. This is, of course, dependent on your riding skill so your experience may vary.
Braking is solid. I found that the ABS works, courtesy of our favorite road companion, “manong” tricycle. Wind protection is adequate care of the itsy bitsy touring screen.
A Laminar Lip extension will do wonders for this.
All in all, a solid motorcycle worthy of all the accolades it has received from riders all over the world. A dependable dual sport at home on the city streets as well as the backroads. An all around bike you can do 2-up touring on easily.
As I finished the ride and got home rather early. My wife asked me, “So how was the bike?” I could only answer. “ Can we keep it?”
The Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS is available at Suzuki Auto Moto Makati. You can visit their website here .
Bimbo Isidro is the Administrator of Motorcycle Philippines and Vespinoy.
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