REVIEW RIDE: Suzuki V-Strom 1050DE Adventure

There’s no denying that Suzuki’s line-up for its V-Strom series of ADV motorcycles is a pleasure to ride as they are quite comfortable, very stable, fast with excellent braking power. For 2023, Suzuki has introduced 2 new Adventure models to the line-up, the V-Strom 800DE and V-Strom 1050DE. 

For this review, we are looking at V-Strom 1050DE, while the 800DE will be featured in another review. The 2023 V-Strom 1050DE is Engineered for the Unexpected. Suzuki further enhanced this Adventure motorcycle to enable riders to conquer the unexpected. Continuing the V-Strom's reputation as a reliable sports adventure tourer, the 1050DE delivers a stronger connection between rider and machine. Thanks to an updated Suzuki Intelligent Ride System (S.I.R.S.), it gives the V-Strom 1050 riders even more comfort and control over varied terrain and conditions. 

The V-Strom 1050DE’s ADV-themed styling retains Suzuki’s original rally-beak look, paying homage to past Suzuki Dakar Rally bikes and the DR-Big large-displacement DualSport. 

Versatile for any ride, the V-Strom’s 1037cc, V-twin engine produces more horsepower than ever before, retaining its strong pull in the lower-rpm range and good fuel economy while complying with worldwide emissions standards. Ready to go off-pavement, the S.I.R.S. now includes a bi-directional quick shift system, a new Gravel (G) mode to the Suzuki Traction Control System and the ability to switch off the rear ABS, both of which are welcomed by riders. 

An all-new, 5-inch color TFT LCD multi-function instrument panel features a display that is clearly legible at nighttime or in bright sun. A USB port to the side of the instrument panel supplies power for smartphones or other accessories like a GPS – which I didn’t get to try as my phone has plenty of battery power left by the end of each riding day. 

The V-Strom’s narrow and nimble chassis legacy continues with a durable, twin-spar aluminum frame coupled to a new, longer more rigid swingarm that supports the new longer suspension resulting in more ground clearance. 

The longer, fully adjustable, inverted fork holds radially mounted four-piston brake calipers that grasp dual brake rotors mounted to a 21-inch spoke-style front wheel carrying an aggressive Dunlop TRAILMAX MIXTOUR Adventure tire. 

The 2023 V-STROM 1050DE has an updated version of the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System (S.I.R.S.) that includes the Motion Track Anti-lock & Combination Brake System, Hill Hold Control System, Slope Dependent Control System, and Load Dependent Control System that assists braking performance in a variety of conditions. 

The cruise control system maintains the selected road speed without the rider having to hold the throttle open – a welcome feature that can reduce rider fatigue. More advanced than the system used on the 2022 V-Strom 1050XT, cruising speed can be set when riding in second gear or higher at engine speed of 2,000 to 7,000 RPM or when riding between 30 MPH to 100 MPH in fourth gear or higher. This translates to cruising speed range options of approximately 25 to 160km/h. 

Any limitation of the V-Strom 1050DE? There’s some but I wouldn’t really address them as “limitations” as they might be operational glitches on the review unit. One of those “glitches” is the bike being stuck in Neutral gear, won’t go into 1st or even 2nd when the V-Strom comes into a halt/stop. When this happens, I need to rev the throttle a bit before the system kicks back. The other glitch is something to do with the Bi-Direction Quickshifter – it isn’t that smooth where gear shifting is concerned. Gear changes are hardly smooth, each upshift, and downshift comes with a tight, cranky sound. Using the traditional clutch lever is way smoother than Quickshifter! 

The Traction Control System continuously monitors front and rear wheel speeds, throttle opening, engine speed, and transmission gear. It quickly reduces engine output when it detects wheel spin by adjusting ignition timing and air delivery. 

The rider can select one of five modes (1, 2, 3, G and OFF). The four active modes differ in terms of rear wheel spin sensitivity. 

Mode 1 is the lowest sensitivity – it allows a certain degree of rear wheel spin and is best suited for good road conditions. 

Mode 2 is a moderate sensitivity level – the system engages traction control sooner than Mode 1 and is for average road conditions. 

Mode 3 is the highest sensitivity level – the system engages traction control sooner than the other modes to virtually eliminate wheel spin, and is for poor or slippery road conditions, like wet and cold gravel surfaces. 

Gravel mode (G) is a new, additional traction control setting that retards ignition timing to help the rider better negotiate gravel roads by allowing some slip when riding on unpaved surfaces. 

OFF disengages all traction control features – the rider has sole control of the engine’s throttle and any resulting rear wheel spin. When set to OFF, the system will reset to previous TC Setting if ignition has been switched off and restarted. 

Just like the V-Strom 1050XT, the new 1050DE is tall and heavy, featuring a seat height of 880mm and a curb weight of 252kg. For sure, it isn’t designed for short riders in mind but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t ride one. Once the V-Strom gets going, its height is no longer a hassle. Since it is an Adventure motorcycle, the V-Strom 1050DE will be used for long journeys, off-road and far, far away from city roads and busy streets where riders with short legs won’t have to deal with crazy traffic situations. 

Suzuki Malaysia has priced the new V-Strom 1050DE with RRP of RM88,800. 

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