2017 V-Strom 650: First time test from the Weeking

My bike is in Esztergom now, at Suzuki. The local store is waiting for the last shipment. This will happen in 2017 CW18, and then I will get mine during the next week. I can say I am more curious than ever. Each day makes me more and more impatient. And then the miracle happens!

A few days ago I had a call from Motor Center Gyulai, and I was invited to test the new V-Strom 650. Weeeeee-haw! At last! This is what I was waiting for so long! I checked everything: my motorbike clothing, the map around the store in Budapest, etc. Today was the day of the event.

After the arrival, I found the black V-Strom waiting for me outside, with almost empty tank. The dashboard was not able to tell how much fuel was in it. It wasn’t malfunctioning or anything. The technician opened the tank, and… I couldn’t stop laughing… it SHAKED the tank, just like I used to do with my MZ ETZ 125! He found some minimal fuel in it, the computer couldn’t measure, and we could barely hear the sound of the moving liquid. This scared me. Somebody has to refill it!

But no! The guy closed the tank, and he started the bike, and told me: “This will be enough.” Haaaa-haaaa, I thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t. He asked me to hop on and follow the first motorbike in the city. “We’ll refill the tank when we are back.” I was expecting two 8 turns and 2-3 left or right turns with a very short distance. And we started to roll out. I was prepared to pull the clutch if the motorbike stops due to the missing fuel.

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But it seems the V-Strom uses air if it runs out of fuel. Or it has a hidden reserve somewhere. The trip took 10 minutes with an average of 19 mph (~30 kmh) speed. We went through smaller and larger streets with different speeds in Budapest. The dashboard was on panic due to the very minimal fuel, but the bike just kept going forward.

The first start was strange. Not stranger than each case I try a new bike. I had to get used to the clutch, the brakes, the sensitivity of the throttle, and -because I’m a geek- the dashboard controls. I didn’t want to try out the low RPM assist (it would be a shame if I stalled the bike at the very beginning of the test, so I skipped it), but the start was so smooth.

The clutch and the throttle were very smooth during the whole test. I’d say you can change the RPM with a very small amount if you want. The from brake isn’t so aggressive, but it is accurate and it does its job very well. The rear brake was sensitive,. I could use the brake even with the lightest touch. Of course it was very light then. While turning in a small radius, I could feel its smoothness.

Leaning into the corners was very easy thanks to the large handlebar. The size of the grips were just fine for me. Before the start I was afraid of the bike’s tallness. I thought it will have a high center of gravity, especially with me (231.48 lbs /105 kg without clothing). But the bike could be handled very well. There was no need to push the bike into the corners hard. It wasn’t a superbike. I think the main focus of the engineers was maxing out the comfort.

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Most of the time I was driving around 2000-3000 RPM. This bike was brand new, so I was asked to keep the RPM under 5000. It wasn’t impossible, the motorbike had adequate power to do everything I wanted in the city. The maximum RPM I used it was around 4000.

The seat seemed very comfortable compared to the CB500X I was driving for 2 days during this February. At first I was concerned about this, because if you put your feet on the ground, it is not comfy. In riding position, this feeling disappears and you feel the seat was molded for your bottom.

All the buttons were well designed, but the switch for the high beam or the light horn. The trigger in the red circle turns it on/off. If you push it forward, the high beam will be switched on. Pulling it back from that position, you can turn off the high beam. If it is in off position, you can pull the trigger to shoot a light beam (horn). I hate this small trigger for now. Most of the time when I wanted to pull the clutch, I turned the high beam on. It is so close and easy to reach that you have a huge chance to touch it accidentally.

The windshield -although it was set to the highest position- was low for me (I’m 6 ft 3 in / 190 cm). I definitely need a solution for that. My head was in the turbulence zone.

high beam

Oh, I just realized that I forgot to test the horn! 😦 #sadpanda

We arrived with no issues, but they brought fuel to the V-Strom. I think it was super thirsty.

It was a very short term, and first time test. The real test needs longer routes, and more time. I promise I will get back with a longer and more detailed test later, when it will be possible.

Thanks to Motor Center Gyulai for the motorbike!

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