by Andy Bisson.
Having the opportunity to take bikes out and demo them for the day is pretty good in anyone’s book but having the opportunity to take out two different models and compare them against each other over different riding conditions was both interesting and exciting.
Both these bikes had been out on the demo days and I was surprised at how varied the feedback was from different people with some preferring the standard 1050 and others choosing the 1050 DE model. Whilst both bikes are similar in many ways, they are also miles apart in others.
The standard V-Strom 1050 looks like an adventure road bike with a lower seat and what appears to be a smaller frame and has an adjustable screen but not whilst seated. The V-Strom 1050 DE model looks like an offroad contender with a smaller fixed screen and higher seat.
They both have a 5” TFT dash which on closer inspection, was bright and clear to see. The controls are simple and easy to navigate through and the switch layout makes it easy to use. There are various settings which include 4 settings of traction control if you count off (5 on the DE Adventure), 3 power modes with different throttle responses, A, B, & C (A being very quick off the mark) and 2 ABS settings including cornering ABS (3 on the DE Adventure).
Both come with up & down quick shifter, centre stand and cruise control as well as a 12V and USB socket.
The twin front brake disc and single rear disc are linked and supported by SIRS (Suzuki Intelligent Ride System) which calculates how much weight is on the bike to help maintain balance and reduce stopping distance and improve braking performance.
The liquid-cooled 1037cc V-Twin engine sounds great with the standard exhaust producing a pleasant snarl when you wind it up. The increased teeth on the rear sprocket make it feel lively and responsive in lower gears which blends perfectly with the 6-speed transmission.
The DE models come with a 21” front wheel, longer forks and a lower longer swing arm providing more ground clearance as well as wider handle bars and bigger foot pegs designed to match its spirited off-road character. They weigh an additional 10kg coming in at 252kg and are higher in the seat. They have an aluminium engine protector for the off-road rubble.
Suzuki also have a range of extras that be added to tailor your ride, such as a lower seat (30mm lower) heated grips and either plastic or aluminium panniers and top box as well as fog lamps and adjustable foot pegs.
Having spent the day out, swapping between the two at various intervals, they both performed well and delivered real character. They were both fun and engaging to ride and the standard V-Strom felt planted on the road and the lower seat gave that extra comfort when the foot down on the ground rather than tiptoe.
Whilst we didn’t go completely off-road, we did have a little play in a few tracks and gravel areas and again, for me the standard felt better balanced. I’m not an off-road rider so that opinion may be biased by my lack of off-road experience but with both models available as demo bikes, you can test that for yourself.
I think that if you are looking for an on-road adventure type touring bike then the V-Strom 1050 standard is a great bike and will deliver everything you are looking for and more. I felt that the DE model was a little top heavy but as I said at the start, it was mixed reviews at the demo day so the best advice as I can give, take them both out and decide for yourself. If you do, let us know your thoughts on them.