Adventure & Dual-Sport Motorcycle Reviews Adventure & Dual-Sport Motorcycles Motorcycle Reviews Suzuki Motorcycles Suzuki Reviews Tech Top Stories

2018 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT vs 1000XT

Suzuki V-Strom

The V-Strom 1000 and 650, proven right here with the XT packages that embrace tubeless spoked wheels, have the excellence of being direct rivals regardless of, or maybe due to, their totally different sizes and costs. Which one works higher general? Pictures by Kevin Wing.

How does one determine on an adventure-touring bike? All the decisions on the market can flip your thoughts into Play-Doh. One option to slender them down is by the entrance wheel measurement that fits your driving fashion.

Planning plenty of off-road driving? You want a thin 21-inch entrance to carve up the unfastened stuff and roll effortlessly over ruts and obstacles–you’ll discover one on a Honda Africa Twin or Kawasaki KLR650.

No dust in your future? A 17-inch entrance wheel will give the bike sharper dealing with on the road and an excellent number of sport-touring tire decisions–the Ducati Multistrada 1260, Yamaha Tracer 900 GT and bigger Kawasaki Versys fashions all have 17s up entrance.

Learn our Comparability Evaluation between the V-Strom 650 and Versys 650 LT.

For many of us a compromise is so as. You’ve got goals of conquering the Atacama Desert or Dalton Freeway, however will in all probability spend most of your time within the decrease 48 on paved roads, and about 10 % on dust byways and Four×Four trails connecting them. That actuality has made 19-inch fronts widespread amongst ADV bikes as a result of they’re a (principally) pleased medium between road and dust.

Now, winnow out the costly European machines with 19s and the expensive (and kinda heavy) Yamaha Tremendous Ténéré, and also you’re left with simply two bikes–the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and 650. That’s a great drawback to have, although, as a result of each are extraordinarily competent on-road and may deal with some filth as properly.

You’d assume that selecting between them can be straightforward due to their measurement distinction, however there’s truly a long-running debate over which is the higher bike general, largely as a result of the V-Strom 650 is so versatile and rather a lot much less moolah. Rider sometimes solely compares comparable bikes from totally different producers, so we’ve by no means tried to resolve the V-Strom 650/1000 debate. Let’s do it!

Suzuki V-StromWe snagged two Stroms and hit the street for our check, driving a mixture of filth and road to see which Strom guidelines all of them.

For this story Managing Editor Jenny “Slim” Smith and Yours “Fuel Hog” Really deliberate an extended road journey with a piece of rutted dust street to shut the loop, so we requested the XT variants of the V-Strom 650 and 1000, that are a further $500. This will get you tubeless spoked wheels that may take some abuse, hand guards with bigger bar finish weights and an engine cowl on the 650XT. The 1000XT will get the spoked wheels plus a Renthal Fats Bar handlebar; the remaining is already normal on the bottom mannequin. The plastic cowls supply some safety for the weak bits in entrance (just like the oil filter) from stones and particles, however are not any alternative for a superb skid plate.

Suzuki V-StromFor 2017 the V-Strom 650’s V-twin acquired new camshafts to spice up energy, twin spark plugs for higher combustion and Suzuki’s Low RPM Help and Straightforward Begin System.Suzuki V-StromV-Strom 1000 engine obtained an influence improve in 2014; refinements for 2018 make the 1,037cc, 90-degree V-twin Euro Four compliant.

Suzuki took issues a step additional by including fairly useful accent prime and aspect instances, tank luggage, centerstands and “accent bars,” a.okay.a. bash bars, that are a great place to mount issues like auxiliary lighting and should assist shield the fairing in a tipover. The equipment added $2,636 to the $9,299 retail worth of the 650XT and $2,413 to the $13,299 value of the 1000XT.

On the crux of the large debate between the 650 and 1000 are the similarities between the 2 machines. Each are powered by liquid-cooled, 90-degree V-twins with DOHC and Four valves per cylinder, and have six-speed transmissions, chain last drive and the identical 14,500-mile valve inspection interval. Engines are mounted as harassed members in twin-spar aluminum frames, which have aluminum swingarms and bolt-on metal seat subframes, and each use the identical wheel and tire sizes.

Suzuki V-StromTubeless spoked wheels are a part of the XT package deal and add some genuine seems to be and toughness. Twin discs up entrance with 2-piston floating calipers might use extra chew.Suzuki V-StromRadial-mount Four-piston opposed brake calipers present extra stopping energy and are a helpful improve on the 1000XT.

Following a serious redesign for the 1000 for 2014 and a few updates for 2018, and a redesign for the 650 for 2017, the rugged styling and bodywork from their “beaks” in entrance to the bags racks/passenger grabrails in again is analogous now, and the stacked halogen headlights, instrument panels and LED taillights are similar. Each maintain 5.Three gallons of gasoline, although the 1000 requires 90-octane premium or higher and the 650 is proud of 87.

Riders at reverse ends of the dimensions chart will discover this a simple selection, because the 650XT is lighter and decrease for the vertically challenged, and the 1000XT has extra energy and legroom for the Paul Bunyans on the market. Until budgetary considerations are paramount, nevertheless, these within the center have extra to mull over.

Riders of just about all sizes personal and love their V-Strom 650s because of its average seat peak, 467-pound moist weight (with out equipment) and energetic engine, which made 68.7 horsepower at 9,100 rpm and 44.2 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 on the Jett Tuning dyno on the rear wheel, although the torque curve is so usefully flat that you need to hunt for the height. It gives loads of energy for solo touring or two-up day rides, sufficient that even at 6 ft, Three inches tall and 220 kilos, contributor Clement Salvadori just lately purchased one.

Though the 650 feels and appears smaller than the 1000, seating and luxury are comparable, with vast tubular handlebars, footpegs properly situated beneath the rider and broad, compliant seats which are lots snug from fill-up to fill-up.

Suzuki V-StromProfile photographs of the writer driving the V-Strom 650XT (above) and 1000XT (under) reveal little or no distinction in seating positions, although the 1000XT’s barely larger seat provides it a contact extra legroom, and its taller adjustable windscreen is quieter. Tubular handlebars on normal riser clamps are simply pivoted and raised for stand-up driving.

Suzuki V-StromThe 1000 has a bit extra legroom however its seat is about an inch larger–I can almost plant my ft on the bottom sitting on the 650 however I’m on the balls of my ft on the 1000. Though the 1000’s fairing is ever-so-slightly bigger and its toolless Three-position windscreen does a greater job of redirecting the wind than the 650’s (which additionally adjusts however requires instruments), for probably the most half the 2 bikes present an identical quantity of wind safety. Passenger seating is fairly good, with the nod truly going to the 650 when saddlebags are put in, since its decrease footpegs present extra foot and legroom.

Suzuki V-StromV-Strom 650XT’s windscreen adjusts to 3 positions over a 1.5-inch vary utilizing instruments. Stacked halogen headlight is a bit dim on both beam.

If the V-Strom 1000 didn’t exist, one would discover little or no to complain about on the 650, however it does and lots of riders assume that greater is best now. For starters there’s the
further energy; with 91.eight horsepower at 9,100 rpm and 66.2 lb-ft of torque at Three,900–although redline is a contact decrease at 9,200 rpm vs. 10,000–the 1000 pulls a lot more durable at excessive rpm, and there’s roughly a 3rd extra torque a lot decrease within the powerband.

Although the bike weighs 44 kilos extra, its added engine grunt makes freeway cruising and passing (particularly uphill) rather more relaxed and two-up and absolutely loaded touring a breeze, and the bike squirts from nook to nook faster with quite a bit much less shifting. The 1000 additionally has an assist-and-slipper clutch that eases shifting just a little.

Suzuki V-StromInstrument panel with analog tach and LCD speedo show consists of journey pc, gasoline gauge, gear indicator and clock and is widespread to each the V-Strom 1000XT and 650XT.

Basically, nevertheless, driving solo on the street we discovered that the 1000’s draw is much less its further energy than it’s the bike’s superior suspension and brakes. Rear binders are similar, however instead of the 650’s 2-piston floating calipers up entrance the 1000 will get radial-mount opposed Four-piston clampers, and a stout, 43mm inverted fully-adjustable cartridge fork on the 1000 replaces the 650’s 43mm normal damper-rod unit.

Rear shocks have handy distant preload and rebound damping adjustment and the identical journey, however the 1000’s beefier shock seems as if it ate the 650’s for breakfast. Each the 650’s fast, mild dealing with and the 1000’s smoother, extra impartial really feel in corners have their virtues, however we discovered the 1000 far more secure and planted on bumpy roads and in turns, and its entrance brakes robust sufficient for any stopping activity the place the 650’s are simply satisfactory.

Suzuki V-StromBarely tighter steering geometry and 44 kilos much less weight make the 650XT extra nimble in tight turns, however the 1000XT’s superior suspension and impartial steering give it an edge in quicker bends, particularly when it’s bumpy.

Suzuki Movement Monitor ABS and Mixed Braking can also be commonplace on the 1000, which makes use of a 5-axis IMU to assist the ABS work in corners, and proportions braking pressure entrance and rear beneath sure circumstances when the entrance lever is utilized. In the long term, although the 650 can get by means of tight corners faster and slices up visitors, we most popular the added stability, extra predictable dealing with and braking and higher general experience of the 1000.

Relying upon your private pucker issue and the place you’re driving off-road, climbing on the 650XT after driving the 1000XT within the dust will both really feel like an enormous aid or one thing of a disappointment. Their inventory 90/10 ADV tires are comparable, however the 650 undoubtedly has the benefit of much less weight and a decrease seat peak.

Suzuki V-StromThough they don’t have as a lot floor clearance or suspension journey as a few of the competitors, each the V-Strom 1000XT and “Wee”-Strom 650XT can deal with graded filth roads or average Four×Four byways offered the rider makes use of some restraint. The 650 is lighter; the 1000 has higher brakes and suspension.

Whereas that doesn’t make a lot distinction on graded filth roads, in sand, tight turns and on hills it evokes extra confidence, notably on the decrease speeds most of us mortals might be carrying off-road on these massive bikes. However a talented ADV rider will certainly want the 1000’s extra strong brakes and suspension, and doubtless gained’t be bothered by the extra weight.

Suzuki V-Strom2018 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT.

Jenny’s Gear
Helmet: G-Max GM11
Jacket: Rev’It Twister 2
Pants: Joe Rocket Alter Ego
Boots: Sidi Deep Rain

Switchable traction management methods work properly and identically within the dust on each bikes, with 2 ranges and Off, however ought to the necessity come up (like encountering a steep dust downhill) the one option to flip the ABS off on both is by eradicating the seat and one of many ABS fuses. It solely takes a number of seconds, and the warning mild will remind you to place the fuse again, however switchable ABS ought to be a regular function on an ADV bike. DIY change directions are available on-line.

So, if it boiled right down to proudly owning one in every of these two bikes and nothing else, with no mods allowed, we ended up selecting the 1000, notably if solely a small quantity or no off-road driving is concerned. And even when there have been a good quantity of filth in entrance of us, we’d in all probability stick to the 1000 and simply attempt to get higher at driving it.

Suzuki V-Strom2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT.

Mark’s Gear
Helmet: Shoei Hornet X2
Jacket: Spidi 4Season H2Out
Pants: Olympia Airglide
Boots: Tourmaster Epic Air

A solo rider can simply make a case for the V-Strom 650’s superior gasoline financial system, and utilizing the $Four,000 saved by buying it as an alternative to improve its suspension and brakes and purchase a couple of aftermarket bits (like a superb skid plate) to prepared it for any journey. However the 1000 isn’t that a lot greater, heavier or taller than the 650, and with its additional energy would additionally deal with our two-up touring wants simply wonderful whereas the 650 struggles with a passenger and full load.

There was a time in these fashions’ histories when the hole between them was wider and the V-Strom 650 was clearly the higher selection. Each of those bikes are massively competent and enjoyable, however for 2018 the hole has narrowed, and now we expect that greater is best.

2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT / 650XT

Base Worth: $13,299 / $9,299
Worth as Examined: $15,712 / $11,935 (Prime Case, Aspect Instances, Tankbag, Centerstand, Accent Bar)
Guarantee: 1 yr., unltd. miles
Web site:


Sort: Liquid-cooled, transverse 90-degree V-twin
Displacement: 1,037cc / 645cc
Bore x Stroke: x 66.0mm / x 62.6mm
Compression Ratio: 11.Three:1 / 11.2:1
Valve Practice: DOHC, Four valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 14,500 miles
Gasoline Supply: DFI w/ SDTV & 45 / 39mm throttle our bodies x 2
Lubrication System: Moist sump, Three.7- / 2.7-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically-actuated moist assist-and-slipper clutch / cable-actuated moist clutch
Remaining Drive: O-ring chain


Ignition: Digital transistorized
Charging Output: 490 / 390 watts max.
Battery: 12V 12AH / 10AH


Body: Twin-spar aluminum w/ tubular (or field) metal subframe & forged aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 61.2 / 61.Four in.
Rake/Path: 26.5 levels/Four.Four in. / 25.Four/Four.2
Seat Peak: 33.5 / 32.9 in.
Suspension, Entrance: 43mm USD fork, absolutely adj. w/ 6.Three-in. journey / 43mm stanchions, adj. preload, 5.9-in. journey
Rear: Linked shock, adj. for spring preload (distant) & rebound damping w/ 6.Three-in. journey
Brakes, Entrance: Twin 310mm discs w/ opposed Four-piston radial calipers & ABS / 2-piston pin-slide calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 260mm disc w/ 1-piston pin-slide caliper & ABS
Wheels, Entrance: Forged, 2.5 x 19 in.
Rear: Forged, x 17 in.
Tires, Entrance: 110/80-R19
Rear: 150/70-R17
Moist Weight: 515 / 467 lbs.
Load Capability: 450 / 448 lbs.
GVWR: 965 / 915 lbs.


Gasoline Capability: 5.Three gals., final 1.2 gals. warning mild on
MPG: 91 / 87 PON min. (low/avg/excessive) 40.eight/44.2/47.6 / 47.5/50.5/70.6
Estimated Vary: 234 / 268 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: Three,500 / Four,400

About the author