Trying out the bike in the shop, but wrong colour and no ABS
The Suzuki V-Strom DL650 is a mid-weight dual-sport motorcycle manufactured in Japan by Suzuki and sold worldwide. It was launched in 2004. The name V-Strom combines V referring to the bikes engine configuration with the German word Strom, meaning stream or current.
Unlike specialized motorcycles, the V-Strom 650 trades strength in a single area for adaptability to a variety of riding conditions: commuting, cruising, adventure touring and to a lesser degree off-road riding. In this respect, the DL650 resembles a UJM with a broad character taking the place of specific strength.
A 6-speed transmission mates to the fuel-injected and slightly retuned 645 cc liquid cooled, 4-stroke V-twin engine from Suzuki’s own SV650 sport bike. An upright,standard riding posture and 427 lb (194 kg) dry weight contribute to the bike’s handling characteristics.
The engine is a 90-degree, liquid cooled, 4 stroke V-twin, with 81 mm (3.2 in) bore and a 62.6 mm (2.46 in) stroke, four valves per cylinder, and intake and exhaust valving each with their own camshaft. More relaxed cam profiles over the SV engine boost the power between 4000 and 6500 rpm, along with slight changes to the airbox and exhaust. Relative to the SV, the crank inertia (flywheel effect) is also increased by 4% via a redesigned starter clutch. As well, the DL650 engine uses a plastic outer clutch cover and engine sprocket cover for reduced weight and noise.
In a significant departure from the SV engine, which uses cast iron cylinder sleeves, the DL650 uses Suzuki’s proprietary SCEM (Suzuki Composite Electro-chemical Material) plated cylinders, a race-proven nickel-phosphorus-silicon-carbide coating for reduced weight and improved heat transfer, allowing for tighter and more efficient piston-to-cylinder clearance, similar to a Nikasil coating.
The DL650 employs sophisticated engine electronics for starting and throttle control and uses Suzuki’s AFIS (Auto Fast Idle System), eliminating a fast-idle control. The engine control module (ECM) reads engine information (ie, coolant temperature) via a 16-bit central processing unit (CPU) — controlling the fuel system’s dual throttle bodies and contributing to strong acceleration up to a rev-limited 10500 rpm.
The DL650 employs Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) fuel-injection and exhausts via a two-into-one exhaust system with a catalytic converter in the muffler. European models meet Euro 3 emissions specifications. In the US, a “PAIR” air injection system reduces CO and HC emissions.
A twin-spar aluminum frame and swingarm accommodates rear Showa mono-shock with a hydraulic preload adjuster. Front Showa shocks are pre-load adjustable. The DL650 uses a 19 inch front wheel, 17 inch rear wheel.
Instruments and bodywork
The bike’s instrument cluster includes a compact analog step-motor speedometer and tachometer (both with LED illumination) and a digital LCD unit with odometer, tripmeter, coolant temperature gauge, fuel gauge, LED neutral, digital clock, turn signal and high beam lights and an oil pressure warning light.
An adjustable windshield allows movement of 50 mm. A small underseat compartment, suitable for small tools, gloves, or an owner’s manual, can be accessed by removal of the seat, via a keyed lock located at the rear of the bike, just below the built-in rack.
Global sales and manufacture
Sold in Europe, Oceania and the Americas, the DL650 competes with the Aprilia Caponord and Pegaso, BMW F650 Series, and most directly, the Kawasaki Versys. The Suzuki DL650 is manufactured at the Suzuki’s ISO14001 certified plant in Toyokawa, Japan.
The V-Strom 650 was named one of the “ten best” bikes under $10,000 by Motorcyclist (USA) magazine, October, 2007—beating out, among many others, the V-Strom 1000. In a September 2006 article, Cycle World magazine wrote “the DL650 may just be the most shockingly competent machine in the world today.” A 2004 article from MotorcycleUSA.com said “it was hard to imagine another machine with a competitive versatility-per-dollar ratio.” Twice consecutively, the DL650 has earned the title “Alpenkoenig”, winning Motorrad magazine’s (Germany) grueling trans-alp multi-bike test in 2005 and 2006.