Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS | DOIN’ TIME

Long-Term Update: Bar and riser options for the new Suzuki ADV.

WRIST: Marc Cook
MSRP (2014): $12,699
MILES: 4,075
MPG: 42
MODS: Handlebar and bar risers

This month, mods to the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS focus on ergonomics and style. I have been pretty hard on the V-Strom's stock steel handlebar. It's puny, pretty tall, and I've read numerous accounts of minor falls turning it all pretzel-like.

Fortunately, the stock bars ride in bolt-on clamps. Also fortunately, I had a set of Spiegler Z127-X080 risers to fit a 1-1/8-inch handlebar ( ; $110) left over from a previous project and mounted a Renthal 819 aluminum handlebar ( ; $90), also a leftover. (Note that there are other ways to replace the stock risers with items that will accept a "fat" handlebar, and that Suzuki uses 10mm bolts, not the more common 12mm riser bolts.)

The Renthal 819 has 4.1 inches of rise and 3.4 inches of sweep—the amount the ends are behind the part of the bar that goes through the clamps. That’s a lot less rise but a bit more sweep than stock. Overall, I liked this arrangement, though the bar felt a bit too low and/or far forward for the personality of the V-Strom, especially when you consider the mid-mount footpegs. Ergonomically, the configuration was sportier but still not right because it felt a little too “clamshell” for me.

The solution turned out to be Rox Speed FX risers ( ; $95). These fit between the handlebar and the main clamps and are free to rotate around the clamp axis. As such, you can raise the bar up as much as 1.8 inches or rotate the risers to bring the bar closer to or farther away from you. After a week of experimenting, I landed on a configuration that brought the bar back to a position just slightly lower and closer than stock.

For the street, this is a great layout. For riding off road, which I’ll do after I’ve burned through these Michelin Pilot Road 4 Trails, all you have to do is loosen four bolts to rotate first the clamps and then the bar to a higher position that’s better for posting. I love that aspect of this mod.

About the Michelins: They’re wearing acceptably well so far. The rear is showing early signs of flattening, and both become noticeably greasy when you rush the pace on a hot day. I’m putting that down to all the silica these tires contain for the purpose of improving wet traction. Surely it’ll rain again in California…

Next up is the 4,000-mile maintenance and the installation of some Suzuki accessories that just arrived.