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Suzuki V-Strom SX 10,000km: Long-Term Review

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Pratheek Kunder

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Introduction

Suzuki V-Strom SX Right Side View

The V-Strom SX is the second motorcycle that has crossed 10,000km during my long-term use. The first one was the Royal Enfield Meteor 350, and it took me almost a year with this cruiser. But the V-Strom SX has taken less than six months. Now to give you a perspective, I have commuted on it. My one-day commute is 130km roundtrip, which involves peak-hour traffic.

It also became my motorcycle of choice to go to the gym. I made three long trips – one to Goa, one to Mangalore, and one to Bangalore. I also went off-roading with it, which was a bad call, and I’ll detail that in the later part of this review. In short, I have tested this Suzuki in every possible way, which allowed me to judge this bike much better.

Comfort & Ergonomics

Suzuki V-Strom SX Bike Seat

The first thing you will notice is that the SX is a tall motorcycle; as a result, the seat height is on the higher side – 835mm. It is not the highest because the KTM 390 Adventure takes that crown, but it is 35mm more than the Himalayan. It is a little tricky for shorter riders to get on the motorcycle, which was still fine, but balancing the bike in traffic conditions could fatigue these riders. For me, it wasn’t a problem. I loved every bit of that seat height and that seat. I don’t remember the last motorcycle I rode that didn’t require me to adjust my backside on long rides. The cushioning on the SX was just apt. The longest time I spent on the bike was about 13 hours, and that seat offered excellent comfort and support – and to give you an idea, I weigh close to 90kg.

Engine & Performance

Suzuki V-Strom SX Right Side View

The engine on this bike is a 250cc single-cylinder air-cooled motor with no fins that shells out 26bhp and 22Nm. But it is equipped with Suzuki’s innovative oil cooling system, which is why I greatly enjoyed this motorcycle. A couple of things that I loved about this engine. It is smooth, refined, and churns out excellent performance. Also, the tractability of this motor is quite good, which makes my city commute easy and comfortable. The vibes are controlled and will only bother you when the rpm needle is about to touch 7,000rpm. Honestly, you will reach such high rpms rarely because this motorcycle is all about that mid-range. It is super strong. The torque delivery is linear, but as it reaches 5,000rpm, the bike is already doing some good high speed. This is also where the overtakes become effortless. Be in the city or on the highway. The other best aspect of this engine is its overall NVH and cooling efficiency. There have been days when I started my ride at 4 am and ended at 6 pm that day, and the engine felt precisely the same throughout. There’s no harshness. The engine doesn’t feel stressed, and there were no breakdowns. Now that we have given enough credit to the engine, it is time to share it with something else – the chassis.

The V-Strom and the Gixxer have the same frame, but the V-Strom gets a different subframe and also a different swingarm. And as a result of these changes, the VStrom behaves excellently in almost every situation. Whether filtering through traffic or having fun on the twisties – the V-Strom SX churns out an awe-inspiring riding experience. It almost feels like you just have to think about where you want to go, and the bike does it for you.

Luggage holding abilities

Suzuki V-Strom SX Pillion Seat

The V-Strom SX is meant to hold a lot of luggage, and it did. I used the Rynox Navigator 50 litres tail bag for all my trips along with the Rynox Navigator 15 litres tank bag. For the tail bag, Suzuki has given it a tail rack which is of excellent quality. Here, you can use the loops in many ways. I found such a provision perfect for my trips. On the other hand, these large luggage hooks can also be used for bungee cords. Since the Rynox Navigator has been my luggage of choice, I always kept the mounting strap on for quick installation. The Navigator tank also held well throughout my rides. The space above the tank was good enough to hold a 15-litres tank bag. Overall, I’m pretty happy with V-Strom’s luggage-carrying abilities.

Fuel Efficiency

One of the other reasons I fell in love with the V-Strom SX was its fuel efficiency. It churned out excellent numbers during city runs and 1,000km rides. For a touring motorcycle, the V-Strom has a small 12-litre fuel tank capacity, and honestly, I didn’t expect this motorcycle to churn out good numbers, but I was proven wrong. During my city commutes, where I’m mainly sitting in the mid-range and do not have to open the throttle fully – the bike returned between 43kmpl-45kmpl, and that’s close to 500km range in a tank full. During long-distance runs where I was riding at 110-120kmph most of the time, the bike churned out 35-38kmpl, which is suitable for a motorcycle this size. Going on long tours means you spend a lot of money on fuel, accommodation, and food. But with such good fuel efficiency, the V-strom SX will reduce your overall trip expenses.

Suzuki V-Strom SX Right Side View

Things I didn't like

Suzuki V-Strom SX Right Side View

You must be wondering, I’m head-over-heels in love with this motorcycle, and you aren’t wrong about it. But there are a few things that I don’t like about this V-Strom SX. The first one is this instrument cluster. This bike costs Rs 2.5 lakh, but this cluster feels like it belongs to a 150cc or a 200cc motorcycle. While it does show some ride information, it misses out on LCD or semi-colour instrumentation. Now, these aspects are usually seen on motorcycles at this price point.

Suzuki V-Strom SX TFT / Instrument Cluster

And then there is the space on the left side of the cluster when Bluetooth features aren’t on; it makes me feel that Suzuki didn’t attempt to provide a perfect cluster. The front brake on the bike needs some work too. There’s barely any feel and feedback. I had to engage the lever quickly to slow down the motorcycle. The front brake pads were almost gone in just 6000km during the service. The V-Strom shares a lot of cycle parts with the Gixxer 250, including the brake pads. But it seems the grade of the V-Strom pads wasn’t upgraded, and because it is a touring bike, the bike’s average speed is much higher than the Gixxer, so the brake has to work harder to slow down the bike. The V-Strom SX isn’t an off-road-friendly motorcycle. It doesn’t have a 21-inch front wheel. The standing-up ergonomics are pretty poor, so the road to off-road body transition doesn’t feel natural. But more importantly, some of the cycle parts developed for the bike haven’t been developed while considering hard off-road usage. During one of my off-road excursions, the left footpeg just broke off when I landed from a jump. I almost crashed out. That day I realised why the folks at Suzuki India refuse to associate this bike with any off-road activity. This bike could have come across as a great off-road one as that engine has lots of torque, and the tyre offers an excellent dirt grip.

Conclusion

The V-Strom SX checks a lot of the right boxes. It is packed with performance that can be used fully in the city and on the highway. It gets a styling that makes the motorcycle look big and also aspirational. Plus, it has some decent and useable features. Being a Japanese motorcycle, the V-Strom offers excellent refinement and fuel efficiency that keeps the overall ride expense in check. Sadly, the bike doesn’t feel natural in off-road conditions, and as a result, the versatility of the bike goes for a toss. But as a product, the V-Strom SX may not necessarily be a value-for-money bike due to its Rs 2.5 lakh price tag, but it is definitely a superior motorcycle and can be a great everyday motorcycle.

Photography by Kapil Angane

Bike Stats

Total distance covered: 10,200km

Avg fuel efficiency: 36kmpl

Gallery

Suzuki V-Strom SX Right Side View
Suzuki V-Strom SX Right Side View
Suzuki V-Strom SX Right Side View
Suzuki V-Strom SX Right Side View
Suzuki V-Strom SX Pillion Seat
Suzuki V-Strom SX TFT / Instrument Cluster
Suzuki V-Strom SX Front View
Suzuki V-Strom SX Bike Seat

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