2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 First Look Review
Although word leaked out weeks ago when Suzuki Japan went live with a website for the all-new 2014 V-Strom 1000 ABS, Suzuki Motor of America waited until its annual dealer meeting this week, held in Orlando, Florida, during the inaugural American International Motorcycle (AIM) Expo, to disclose details about the bike, which we’re told will arrive in the U.S. in March or April 2014.
Introduced for 2002, the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 has seen few changes over the past 11 years. Its popular sibling, the V-Strom 650 (aka Wee Strom), was introduced for 2004 and has since outsold the 1000 3-to-1 (according to Suzuki, nearly 195,000 V-Stroms have been sold worldwide, 149,000 of which have been 650s). As the best seller, the V-Strom 650 got a major overhaul first, for 2012. Two years later, Suzuki is rolling out an all-new V-Strom 1000.
After extensive research among V-Strom 1000 owners–a very loyal, vocal group if there ever was one–Suzuki focused on several key areas: improving low-to-midrange power/torque, reducing bulkiness/weight, improving high-speed stability, updating the styling, and expanding the range of factory accessories, including hard luggage.
Although the prominent beak on the new V-Strom 1000 may seem like a me-too styling feature that is shared by many of today’s adventure bikes, Suzuki says it drew influence from its own 1988 Paris-Dakar rally racer, the DR-Z. Two production models with pointy proboscises, the 1988 DR-BIG and 1990 DR-800S, looked very similar to Suzuki’s red-and-white, Marlboro-liveried DR-Z. Overall, the new V-Strom 1000 looks more slender and angular, right in line with its big-bore dualie competitors. And its vertically stacked headlights share a family resemblance with Suzuki’s GSX-R and Hayabusa sportbikes.
Suzuki has made many changes to the V-Strom’s liquid-cooled, 90-degree V-twin. It has a 2mm larger bore, up from 98mm to 100mm, bumping displacement from 996cc to 1,037cc. Claimed output has increased from 95.5 horsepower to 99.2 horsepower and from 74.5 lb-ft of torque to 76 lb-ft. Not huge increases in peak output, but Suzuki says the revised engine puts out more horsepower and torque in the low to midrange (peak torque, for example, now arrives at 4,000 rpm rather than 6,400)–exactly where adventure touring riders need it the most.
The engine retains a DOHC, 4-valve layout and a 11.3:1 compression ratio, but the cylinder heads now have dual spark plugs and the fuel injection system uses Suzuki’s Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) with more efficient 10-hole injectors. The flywheel magneto’s inertia has increased by 15 percent for smoother on/off throttle response, especially at low speeds. Like the GSX-R and Hayabusa sportbikes, the V-Strom 1000 gets the Suzuki Clutch Assist System, which employs an assist function to reduce clutch effort and a slipper function for smoother downshifts. A larger, more efficient radiator has eliminated the need for an oil cooler, saving 2.8 pounds in the process. Replacing the previous dual mufflers is a single muffler with a new Suzuki Exhaust Tuning valve that saves another 9.7 pounds. At 502 pounds, total curb weight is said be 18 pounds less than the previous model. Fuel capacity remains 5.3 gallons.
The V-Strom 1000 is the first Suzuki motorcycle ever to be equipped with traction control, which is standard along with ABS (which can’t be turned off). A toggle on the left cluster allows the rider to select among two TC modes, or turn the system off. Mode 1 has less sensitivity and allows some rear wheel spin, while Mode 2 has more sensitivity and allows little to no slip.
More weight was saved in the cast aluminum twin-spar frame, which is 13 percent lighter yet has 33 percent greater torsional rigidity. The distance between the front axle and the swingarm pivot was shortened but the swingarm was made longer, resulting in a slightly longer wheelbase (61.2 inches vs 60.4 inches) for better high-speed stability. Replacing the Showa fork on the previous model is a new KYB male-slider fork that’s fully adjustable; the rear shock gets revised settings and a remote preload adjuster. Radial-mount, four-piston Tokico front calipers provide more stopping power than the previous two-piston pin-slide calipers. The cast-aluminum 10-spoke wheels are also new.
Ergonomics and wind protection have been improved. The windscreen has three angle settings that can be adjusted by hand, as well as three height settings that can be changed with an Allen wrench. The handlebar and footpegs have been moved back, the passenger pegs have been repositioned, the tank is narrower between the knees, and the seat has more padding but is narrower in front to make it easier to reach the ground (seat height is slightly taller at 33.5 inches; an accessory low seat will be available). A new heavy-duty aluminum luggage rack and large passenger grab handles add to the look and functionality of the new V-Strom.
A new instrument panel pairs an analog tach with a multifunction LCD display that can be adjusted for brightness and includes new functions such as a gear position indicator, fuel consumption/range, ambient temperature, a freeze warning indicator and a voltage meter.
Accessory luggage–a top case and saddlebags–was designed along with the bike. The cases are no wider than the handlebars, and the locks can be keyed to the ignition. A black-only Adventure model will also be available with special pricing on an accessory package that includes hand guards, a touring windscreen, engine guards, a skid plate and saddlebags with mounts (top case sold separately). Many other factory accessories will be available, such as heated grips, low/high seats, a tankbag, lower cowling and fog lights.
The 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS will be available in Candy Daring Red, Glass Desert Khaki or Glass Sparkle Black. Price is TBD.