by Andy Bisson.
Continuing in the same style as the last couple of months, Pete sent me out on an adventure bike. So having reviewed the Yamaha Tracer 7GT and the Honda Transalp, it was the turn of the new Suzuki V-Strom 800 DE. I’ve also recently reviewed the V-Strom 1050 DE so this would be interesting to compare to others in the mid-range adventure group as well as its big brother.
Visually it has sharp lines making it clear that it’s had a face lift and I personally like the beaked front with stacked LED headlights. The ‘Glass sparkle black’ colour scheme, highlighted in blue was stunning and its general style was nicely finished.
It comes with a new 776cc Parallel twin engine, adjustable suspension and a larger 20 litre tank. It has a very clear 5” TFT colour dash, 3 rider modes, 5 traction control modes (including off), with 3 ABS including an off mode.
It has a USB socket near to where a sat nav could be fitted which is handy. I found the screen was small and although adjustable, I would want to upgrade it for touring.
It felt high getting on and the seat is set at 855mm which is fairly high but its adjustable. There is also the option for a lower seat if that was needed. It didn’t feel high when you were on it and the seat was very comfortable. As soon as I headed off, I liked the riding position. The pegs were well positioned and the bars were wide providing a nice upright relaxed posture.
It was a very easy and forgiving ride and it has a light clutch and comes fitted with a quick-shifter which is great. It presented more torque lower in the rev range and it was very responsive with the ride by wire throttle.
At no time did the power faulter and the brakes were responsive. It’s so smooth and I didn’t really feel anything through the pegs or bars. Suzuki claim that their focus for the V-Strom 800 DE was off road but that wasn’t something I tested out but if it matches its on-road capabilities, you will not be disappointed.
A friend of mine is moving up from a 125 and was keen to get my opinion on it for commuting and taking it away on tours. The demo ride left me in no doubt that this bike is perfect for Jersey but I needed more time in the saddle to see whether it was comfortable for long periods. With that in mind, I kept it for the weekend and set out the next morning and after 70 miles under my belt it was as comfortable as when I first started.
So, to answer my own question on where it sits against the others left me a little surprised. I’ve also labelled the Tracer 7 as the mid-range bike to beat as a perfect all-rounder that does it all and I think this could be its match. I’d have to ride them back-to-back to really determine my favorite but that shows how close it is.
This really is a great bike. It looks good, feels good and the build quality seems top notch. I’m a Yamaha guy in general but I’m slowly getting the lean towards Suzuki and this bike has pushed me even further that way. Great bike, great value, a must for a demo and in answer to a friend’s question, yes without doubt this bike is perfect for commuting and trips abroad.