The Suzuki V-Strom 650XT ADV motorcycle has been around for quite a while in the Malaysian market, courtesy of its previous importer. But ADV bikes aren’t our forte when it comes for reviews. With Malaysian riders having grown to accept ADV bikes more than ever, we decided to review some of them, starting with the 650XT.
First, let’s talk about the 650XT’s limitations. One of the reasons I have not much interest in adventure motorcycles is their excessive weight. Most of them are heavy, not lightweight. And adventure riding was made popular by BMW Motorrad’s GS-series, a brand that has never made kapchai/moped bikes throughout its history!
Motocross bikes are lightweight, agile and fast – they are made for off-road and muddy trail riding. And never heavy. An adventure bike is designed to go off-road too in addition to touring and leisure. So, the question I am asking, must they be made heavy?
Given there are lighter versions of ADV bikes out there in the market, heavy-versions are just impractical (my opinion) to ride it off-road. There are videos over social media showing how popular makes of ADV bikes got stuck in muddy trails while those on kapchais easily got thru the same passage.
On the Suzuki V-Strom 650XT, it’s not exactly heavy, for an ADV/touring motorcycle. It’s tall, as most ADV bikes do but with placement of the footpegs that are impractical! When the bike comes to a stop or idle, I find both legs to be hindered by these footpegs. I am a 180cm tall rider, and footpegs placement meant, at times even I had to tiptoe-ing instead of stepping into the ground flat-footed.
After getting used to the 650XT, I have learnt to place my leg behind the footpegs instead of beside it. Of course, there’s a reason why Suzuki gives an odd placement for the footpegs – for ultimate comfort when riding the ADV motorcycle. It’s like sitting on a sofa when you are riding it, meaning the hands and legs of the rider won’t get cramped nor numbed even after long distances.
Comfort is the main priority when choosing an ADV motorcycle, and the Suzuki V-Strom 650XT gives me that in its design. Kudos to the engineers for that. Really appreciate this level of comfiness. But pity for shorter riders when they have to stop the bike. But they can always opt for a lower seat height.
The Suzuki V-Strom 650XT comes factory-fitted with Bridgestone Battlax type 110/80-19 (front) and 150-70/17 (rear) adventure trail tyres. Unlike its nearest sibling, the SV650, the V-Strom 650XT has a more refined engine tuning, with a torque that gives a comfortable ride during acceleration and a better balance of comfort when nearing top speeds!
It is equally impressive in its agility on tarmac including canyons and other twisty roads. It must be mentioned that the taller seat height coupled with the 19-inch front wheel enabled me to perform lane splitting ride without interruptions during congestion. The width of the handlebars and sideview mirrors are higher than many inmoving vehicles that are stuck so there’s no worries of these accessories scraping anything. The overall width of the V-Strom 650 enables lane splitting to be carried out superbly as well.