2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT ABS: Versatile Adventure Tourer [Review]

The Suzuki V-Strom 650XT ABS is an all-new bike for the 2015 model year. Go power for this new ride comes from a 645cc DOHC, 4-valve, four-stroke, liquid-cooled 90- degree V-Twin engine with Suzuki fuel injection that provides improved performance over the original V-Strom 650 ABS. The engine delivers torque over a broad range, while providing a quick-revving high rpm level with sporty surges of power for a more pleasurable riding experience over a full range. The throttle response is linear thanks to the high-speed 32-bit Electronic Control Unit that manages Suzuki’s Dual Throttle Valve system and also contributes to lower emissions.

STATS Starting Retail Price As Tested Price HP / Lb-Ft
2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT ABS $10,399. $10,649.*Dealer prep and handling may vary. Horsepower/torque ratings Not Given.
EPA Rating As Tested MPG
Rating: BUY IT! Not tested Not tested

There are twin iridium spark plugs for both cylinders that provide increased spark strength as well as more efficient combustion, giving easier engine start-up along with a more stable idle. The radiator now comes with a more compact core that’s flanked by wind deflecting plates, shaped with holes, enhancing cooling and directing the flow of the engine’s heat to outer air outlets away from the rider’s legs for added comfort. The Suzuki V-Strom’ 650XT frame is a lightweight rigid twin-spar aluminum affair, that when combined with the aluminum swingarm delivers smoother handling with greater stability.
Suspension componentry consists of inverted 43mm stanchion tube front forks with 5-way adjustable spring preload and the link-type aluminum swingarm featuring an adjustable rebound stepless damping in addition to a spring preload adjuster that may be increased or decreased simply by turning a knob – no tools are required.
Whoa power is provided by front dual 310mm disc brakes up front, and a 260mm disc aft. Expansion resistant high-pressure brake hoses provide a more responsive brake feel.

The Suzuki V-Strom 650XT ABS rolls on Bridgestone Trail Wind 101 Radials –
110/80 R19 M/C 59H tubeless forward, and 150/70 R17 M/C 69H in the rear mounted on lace reverse spoke wheels featuring bright spokes and Black painted rims.
Visually, the Suzuki V-Strom 650XT takes on the look of a marriage between a sport bike and a dual purpose adventure tourer with a myriad of details to take in. The top and side cases are newly designed and lightweight.
The front of the bike displays a distinctive beak-like appendage inspired by earlier bikes of Suzuki heritage. The “beak” incorporates air intake ducts for enhanced air flow to the radiator. The bodywork is compact and narrow, aimed at providing long-range comfort. Using one’s imagination, the beak and headlight design give the bike a very “Bird-like” image.
Instrumentation consists of an analog tachometer and an LCD speedometer with adjustable brightness. LCD readouts include an odometer, a dual trip meter, and a gear indicator; there are readouts for both coolant and ambient temperatures, average fuel consumption, a fuel gauge and a clock. A left handlebar switch navigates between LCD readings. LED indicators also include a road freeze warning indicator, which combined with the ambient temperature display, aids in analyzing road conditions.
The V-Strom 650 tips the scale at a very manageable 474 pounds making it an ideal multi-purpose bike. There are rectangular hard bags of resinand aluminum construction for both sides that lock and are easily removable. The left side bag is wider at 11.5-inches than the right side bag which is 10-inches wide. Spacing from the inside of the right bag is 3.5-inches wider than the left side spacing to allow for exhaust clearance. An optional trunk pack mounts easily to a fixed aft platform. A three-way height-adjustable windscreen is effectively shaped to minimize wind noise and rider buffeting, aided by the aerodynamically designed fairing.
My test 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT ABS bike was finished in Graphite and Silver Gray metallic tones, with a carbon fiber textured look to the front fender. The base price was set at $10.399 with an estimated final sticker of $10,649 although Dealer prep and handling charges may vary.

SUMMARY: If there’s only room for one motorcycle in your garage, the new V-Strom 650XT presents itself as an ideal choice. The riding position is upright and comfortable, and the functional, one-piece seat combines red-stitched leather-look sections and suede-look, slip-resistant surfaces, topped off by an embossed V-Strom logo. The seat height is a workable 32.8-inches and it’s comfortable once onboard, but mounting and dismounting the bike with the large bulky hard bags is less than a graceful exercise, especially for a rider with long legs. The aft pillion section of the seat provides both pegs and hand grips for a passenger. Make no mistake, the bags are highly functional and well designed, but the bike, in my opinion, looks much better without them. My fathead full-face helmet was a tad too large to fit inside.
Clutch operation and shifting are both smooth and easy, and acceleration responds instantly with a twist of the throttle. The ride quality is compliant without being too harsh or too soft, and as already mentioned, it’s adjustable. Self-cancelling turn signals would be a nice addition to the V-Strom
The V-Strom is well balanced and easily managed. Initially, the rake seemed on the short side, making for a different sensation during tight slow speed maneuvers – turns out that the tires were under-inflated – not visibly noticeable, buut topping off the air supply to the proper pressure took care of the issue. Lesson to be learned – always check tire pressure before riding.
In the final analysis, the Suzuki V-Strom 650XT ABS delivers a very nice multi-purpose ride that’s suitable for virtually every kind of riding scenario, and at an affordable price, especially considering its feature content. It also comes with a 12-month limited warranty.
On the TFLcar scale of:

  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give the 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT ABS a Buy It! for a versatile, dependable and affordable adventure touring bike.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT ABS

Base Price: $10,399.
Price as Tested: $10,649. Dealer prep and handling charges may

Engine Type and Size: 645 cc, DOHC, 4-valve, four-stroke, liquid-cooled 90-
degree V-Twin with Suzuki fuel injection.

Horsepower (bhp): Not given.
Torque (ft./ lbs.): Not given.

Transmission: Six-speed constant mesh sequential manual.

Drive Train: Final drive – Chain – DID525V8, 118 links.

Suspension: Front – 5-way spring-preload-adjustable 43mm stanchion
tube, telescopic, oil damped coil spring inverted forks.
Rear – Link type, oil damped coil spring with
rebound stepless damping knob adjuster.

Brakes: Twin 310mm discs – front / 260mm single disc – rear.

Tires: Bridgestone Trail Wind 101 Radials-110/80 R19 M/C 59H
tubeless front / 150/70 R17 M/C 69H rear mounted on lace
reverse spoke wheels.

Wheelbase: 61.4 inches
Length Overall: 90.2 inches
Curb Weight dry: 473.9 lbs.
Ground clearance 6.9 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gallons.
Seat height: 32.9 inches
0 – 60 mph: Not tested

Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.