As it stands, Suzuki GSX-S750 won’t be the only performance motorcycle to be launched by the Japanese brand in South Africa this year. According to our sources, Suzuki will launch the V-Strom 650 XT in our market by July.
The new V-Strom 650 XT will be the most affordable performance motorcycle offering from Suzuki in SA (ex-showroom). It will be the third motorcycle from the bike maker, after the Hayabusa and the recently launched GSX-S750, to be locally assembled. Internationally, the V-Strom adventure tourer is offered in two variants – the standard V-Strom, which is a more road-biased motorcycle, and the off-road-specific V-Strom XT which is the version that’ll be sold in SA.
The styling of the V-Strom XT is inspired by its elder sibling, the V-Strom 1000, and that isn’t a bad thing. The motorcycle gets premium anodized wire-spoke rims shod with Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A40 tubeless tyres. The twin-spar alloy frame is suspended on a conventional telescopic fork at the front and a monoshock unit at the rear. The rear suspension is equipped with rebound adjustment and a remote preload adjuster.
Powering the motorcycle is a 645cc V-twin mill pumping out 71hp at 8,800 rpm and 62Nm of torque at 6,500rpm, mated to a six-speed transmission. Its main rival, the Kawasaki Versys 650’s motor produces 69hp at 8,500rpm and 64Nm at 7,000rpm. Unlike the Kawasaki offering, the V-Strom 650 XT gets a three-stage traction control system (two levels and a disengage option). Other features include three-way height adjustable windscreen, Suzuki’s useful Easy Start System and standard ABS (off-road enthusiasts will be disappointed to know that it cannot be disengaged).
The saddle height of the V-Strom 650 XT is 835mm, as opposed to the 840mm of the Versys 650. The fuel tank is quite generous at 20 litres and the motorcycle tips the scale at 216kg (kerb weight) However, the standard Versys 650 sold in SA is more road-oriented and doesn’t come with the V-Strom’s expensive wheels or electronic aids like traction control, and this could work in Suzuki’s favour.