Suzuki is rolling out a new mid-sized Adventure bike, basically because the existing V-Strom 650 has been around since 2004. That makes it 49 in dog years. And aside from a refreshingly affordable $7499 sticker price-$7999 with ABS-the longsuffering `Strom is short of just about everything it takes to run with the likes of BMW's F800GS and Triumph's Tiger 800 here in 2011; shorter if you're planning actual off-road work.
Changes are mostly external, but these photos reveal a V-Strom 650 with more fresh paint and graphics.
We expected something bigger than the current 645cc 90-degree 8-valve Wee-Strom V-twin, but no such luck. Stylized side cases dress things up a bit, the first five cogs in this latest six-speed transmission are closer together and a new radiator keeps things cool. Compression dips to 11.2:1. Beyond that, essential engine dimensions-including those over-square 81 x 62.6mm cylinders-remain from the current SV650-derived lump.
ABS-assisted Tokico calipers and 310mm floating rotors look familiar. Aside from a slightly longer 61.4-inch wheelbase, the twin-spar aluminum frame appears status quo as well. Listed at 472 lbs, complete with 5.3 gallons of fuel and anti-lock brakes, the new 650 is 13-pounds lighter than a current comparable U.S.-spec 'Strom despite cast wheels and street-biased rubber better suited to Paris than Dakar
The old `Strom's angular science-fiction styling gives way to a more graceful aesthetic, with better wind protection from a three-position adjustable windscreen and more efficient engine-heat management. Is this Suzuki's answer to your accountant wearing the Eddie Bauer catalog? Stay tuned. Maybe they'll even let us ride one. Stay tuned.