Suzuki’s V-Strom 650 has enjoyed immense popularity ever since the model’s debut in 2004. Compared to over-the-top 1,200cc and above ADVs, the current third-generation V-Strom 650 balances reasonable bulk and mass with reasonable power, making it a totally reasonable solution for multifaceted riders. The 645cc, 90-degree, DOHC V-twin makes power across a wide swath of the rev range and has a pleasant, modest vibration signature as well. For new riders, Suzuki’s “Low RPM Assist” feature automatically adjusts engine speed while you’re getting underway.
The standard V-Strom 650 is decidedly road-oriented, and thus is outfitted with black cast aluminum wheels and street rubber. Meanwhile, the V-Strom 650XT aims to conquer both tarmac and trails with its wire-spoke wheels, tubeless dual-sport radials, a skid plate, and handguards. These features reportedly add 3 inches to the bike’s width and 6 pounds to its curb weight (476 pounds for the V-Strom 650XT versus 470 pounds for the 650). While that’s heavy for a true dual-sport bike, it’s impressively light for ADV bikes in general, which further explains the popularity of the V-Strom 650 and the 650XT.
Likes: Almost everything! Suzuki got this one just about right.
Dislikes: V-Strom 650XT tires and ground clearance are inadequate for technical off-road work.
Verdict: Everything you need for ADV riding, minus the excessive mass.