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Old 30th May 2019, 17:47   #1
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Default Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking

Adieu to my long term partner in crime

Somewhere in Tibet
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-001.jpg


Somewhere in Tibet
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-002.jpg


Somewhere in Tibet
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-003.jpg

What you’ll like (V-Strom 650XT)
  • Commanding Position
  • Easy to handle
  • Abuse friendly
  • Frugal
  • Forgiving pickup (Not brutal)
  • Silent calm engines (no worries can start your journey early in the morning and not wake your neighbors)
  • Clear instrument panel even though looks old model everything is just in your left hand with easy to navigate rocker buttons
  • I found the handle of the bike to be smoother than TB500 (less effort to turn)
  • ABS/Traction Controls (2 Stages excluding full switch off)
What you won’t
  • Seats are harder compared to TB500
  • The feel of Pickup is better in Versys 650
  • Lights are just ok, could have been better focused LED
  • The front rims have a channel which is a pain to clean as water/muck gets accumulated. The back rim does not have this channel so it is easier to clean
  • The bash plates and hand guards are just show off items, pure plastic and will break at a small touch.
  • Clunky gears compared to TB500 but always falls in correct slot (Clackty sound but reassuring).

Last edited by kozhissery : 15th August 2019 at 21:39.
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Old 30th May 2019, 17:48   #2
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Default A Foray into the World of Adventure Biking - V-Strom 650XT

Page Index:

My Foray into the world of biking

Booking & Delivery Experience

On Road Price, Discounts

My take on the Vehicle (Review) - Looks/Style

My take on the Vehicle (Review) - Handlebar/Instrument Cluster

My take on the Vehicle (Review) - Tires, Rims, Suspension, Engine

My take on the Vehicle (Review) - Rear, Storage Compartment, Other Nifty features, Closing remarks



Last edited by kozhissery : 11th August 2019 at 22:02.
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Old 30th May 2019, 17:50   #3
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Default A Foray into the World of Adventure Biking - V-Strom 650XT

My Foray into the world of biking


I was never a biker in my life.
My so called two wheeler experience is the hundreds of kilometers (or is it thousand?) that I put in Bajaj M50 during my college days. Other being LML 150 NV, both of which were not mine. Drove many more bikes during college days (total would be less than thousand). Had a rich guy in my group who occasionally took b*** during lunch break. I would take it as a chance for riding and would accompany him to b*** parlor as he never drives after drink nor he gives his vehicles to anyone who even has a sip. Naturally I’m given the keys. Even though the distance was hardly 3 kilometers, I never missed any chances and got to drive Yamaha RX100/Rx135 tiger, yezdi, shogun, samurai. But whenever he used to bring bullet I would opt out (was scared of falling as I fall into Featherweight weight category)


After studies life took an unexpected turn and had to give priority to family. My first vehicle was a two wheeler, Honda Activa which was bought as a necessity. The priority in life was to get roti/kapada/makan.
Fast forward in 2010, I happen to go to Ladakh in car from Trivandrum accompanied by my dear CO brother Ajay (Vasuki) and there happened to see many bikers in bullet. I just said casually that if I had bike even I would do that. This became a debate and Ajay said that he'll get his bullet Thunderbird in running condition if I’m ready to go. This became a challenge which I took it. Ajay got his bike ready in another couple of months and handed that over to me. The funny thing was that I was not confident as I had only once driven it many years ago that too hardly 1 kilometer after which the vehicle stalled and handed it over to its owner. Thanks to Ajay, borrowed another bike from his cousin and give me basic training of how to ride a bullet. As a part of training we did a Thekkady trip and I felt that I can ride, though parking was a nightmare.
To keep my word, very next year (2011) rode TB 350 to Ladakh, 2012 to Bhutan. In 2013 decided to get a bike for myself and bought TB500 with which I did ride to Nepal, Tibet, some other places in North India and many more places in south India like Rameshwaram, Kodai, Kolli hills etc.
In the meantime Ajay upgraded his bike to Z800 and during his evaluation period I got chance to drive many superbikes like Z1000, Triumph Bonneville etc. That’s when I realised that I can ride superbikes. But never felt that I need to upgrade to one as I was quite happy with TB500. After such long usage it felt like a flick-able bike and could take it anywhere (even to buy a pack of milk).
My idea about the usability of Medium class adventure vehicle changed after Ajay started his plans to upgrade his Z800 to some adventure vehicle. Ajay realised that he needed a bike which was enjoyable in the long run, i.e. with power and comfort. The trip that we made to Kolli hills was a turning point for him. He felt quite exhausted in Z800 compared to me in TB500. So he started his upgrade plans and as usual I started to accompany him for test drives. After test driving Versys 650, Ducati Multistrada 1260 etc the devil in me got aggressive and I decided to upgrade my steed too.


Bikes in Contention with feedback based on test Drives


Versys 650: Took a test drive of more than 300 kilometers. I liked the seating position, control in twisties and its pickup. The moment we reached the off-road section I was so scared of dropping the bike that I started to feel frustrated. There were literally 0 grip and with gradient too steep had to literally come down in 1st gear with just the back brake that too for whole 2 to 3 kilometers. On applying front brakes the bike just goes out of control. Same thing happened to Z800. So dropped the idea to buy a new Versys, but was open for pre-loved bargains and started to wait for that.


I would like to thank the Kawasaki, Kochi management especially Mr. Althaf (Branch in charge) for his customer friendly interaction whereby he gave me the bike for the weekend (unlimited kilometers, only condition was not to venture out of Kerala). He even took pains to bring the bike to Ajay's house which is about 90 kilometers from Kochi, showroom. I was pretty surprised by Kawasaki's customer approach, as I had read here that they were not customer friendly whereas all my interactions with Kawasaki have been very positive.

Siblings??
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-058a.jpg



With Versys 650 @Kalvari Mount, Idukki, Kerala
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-004.jpg

Ducati Multistrada 1260S: Did a test drive to Ponmudi (small hill station near Thiruvananthapuram). Vehicle was taken by Ajay for his test drive for the weekend and came to Thiruvananthapuram. Wow what a machine. Except for the weight while parking this was a great machine. On road, no road, off-road, no slipping, no skidding and very comfortable. Except for the price (oh and weight, almost 5 times my weight ) I loved everything of this monster. Great lights, great brake, great pickup, all sorts of driver aids and add to it great suspension. It just glides over pot-holes. In Versys where I had to pray to get grip/control, Ducati just glided over with pomp. I had no plans to buy it, but Ajay (TBHP handle Vasuki) got this.


With Multistrada 1260 @Ponmudi, Trivandrum, Kerala

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-005.jpg

V-Strom 650XT: Took a test drive for more than 100 kilometres. I used the same parameters that were used for the above 2 bikes, City traffic, highway, good hilly roads, off-roads. What I would say that it passed in all parameters, be it highway, hills, off-road but did not excel in any. Whereas Versys felt lively in open roads and twists but failed in off-road. V-Strom did not excel in high way nor in hills nor in off-road but managed to do everything and I was not scary (I did feel the thrill of twisties missing in V-Strom compared to Versys – though Ducati excelled everywhere). But maybe it is wrong to say Versys failed as I think tires of Versys were worn out more than V-Strom and Versys has road biased tires while V-Strom has adventure biased tires (what I meant is that it can go on trail and not true off-roader)


With V-Strom 650XT @Banasura Sagar Dam, Kozhikode
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-006.jpg

Royal Enfield Himalayan: Though I liked the bike for its composure, seating position, off road-ability etc. but felt short of power. I felt my TB500 had more brutal power compared to Himalayan.


Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-014.png


Did not try Benelli 500x as it was still not available for test drive and the spec made me think otherwise (it weighs more than Versys/V-Strom)


Tiger too was costly, but did checkout used markets but could not find a good one in Kerala in my budget range

Last edited by moralfibre : 20th August 2019 at 08:08. Reason: Typo
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Old 30th May 2019, 22:24   #4
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Default A Foray into the World of Adventure Biking - V-Strom 650XT

Booking & Delivery Experience
As Suzuki has just 1 dealer in Kerala and I had just 2 dealers within my reach.
Called up dealer in Coimbatore (NJ SUZUKI). Quite friendly representative. Negotiated over phone for deals and was offered some discounts. He even mentioned that he can help me to register the bike in Tamilnadu thereby saving a lot of money (if I remember correctly the tax rate in TN is 8% whereas in Kerala it is 20%). As I was not interested in saving such an amount and run into trouble in future, decided to get it from Kerala as the total discount received was better in Kerala.


Dealer: APCO Suzuki
Address: Bilathikulam Rd, Opp to brand factory, West Nadakkave, Vandipetta, Chakkorathukulam, Kozhikode, Kerala 673006
Sales Manager: Nandhan


I reside more than 400 kilometers far from the showroom so the test ride was well planned. Took proper appointment and asked them for a long test drive which should meet my criteria. Initially I think they were bit apprehensive to see a short/featherweight guy to turn up to test drive a big vehicle. After some riding I think Nandhan was confident that I can handle the bike and thanks to him he took me to all kinds of roads to test the beast. At one point we had to turn back as the boulders were too large which only dirt bikes would be able to cross (jump over) that.
Once I was satisfied with the vehicle, negotiated the price but not the final price. There were 2 bikes in the showroom apart from TD bike, both were assembled and were kept as showpiece (without battery/fuel).



Newer of the batch in White/Blue combination called as Tafeta White

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-008.jpg


Yellow Dream
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-009.jpg



Yellow Dream
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-010.jpg




White Again

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-011.jpg

This was kept in the first floor of the showroom and was ready for delivery. One bike was already booked but had postponed the taking of the bike and the other was for display/sale. I took the VIN numbers of both the bikes and returned back home. Discussed with family in length regarding pros/cons of buying a big bike and convincing them before writing the final cheque. Still I was not fully convinced whether to take plunge or not, then got a news that there would be a hike of 1% (Kerala specific Cess from April 1) and no pre-owned bikes in sight except Ducati Multistrada which I did not want to take due to probable maintenance cost. Once decided to take the vehicle called up dealer for best deal and bank for loan which was ready in 2 days. As I stay quite far from the showroom, called up Nandhan (sales person) and conveyed the message that I would drop in on Friday 22nd March 2019 will do the PDI and If I’m satisfied with the bike the money will transferred and the insurance will be taken by me. All this will be done before 11am and that I will be taking the bike on the same day itself after temporary registration. He agreed on it but was bit apprehensive of getting the bike registered on the same day.

The D-Day
As planned I could complete the loan formalities by 7pm on Thursday (thanks to the SBI guy who got all papers ready and came down to get the signature as everything was done over phone/mail). SBI person told me that the account will be created once I give the approval which would take about 30/45 minutes for the complete process.
By 8pm was back at home and packed the bags and boarded the bus. Enroute Ajay joined me from Kochi and reached Calicut by 7:00 am. We took the room, freshened up and reached the showroom by 8:30. The sales manager was not present but the office was opened and the bike was still in the first floor for display. As I had called them up we were allowed to do the PDI. With the help of Ajay did thorough PDI and selected the newer bike (based on VIN decoding/tire manufacturing month, 1 month difference) and felt it to be newer too (hairs on tire, less dust on inside of handle – Oh forgot to mention that construction of ground floor for swanky new showroom was going on hence lot of dust were there). By 9:45 we decided on the bike, even though yellow looked glamorous I settled for subtle/newer bike (better half's suggestion )– White with blue rims.
Called up bank to get the ball rolling and insurance person with the details of the actual vehicle (VIN number/engine number/color) all other details like weight/CC etc were already given. By 10:30 or so the money was transferred and well before that the insurance pdf/copy was received and the entire job from my part was over (ID proof/pan proof etc).
By 12pm the bike was rolled out for battery/dusting/polishing/petrol filling etc. After that we went out keeping our fingers crossed. Ajay decided to go back to Kochi and my wait started. By 3:30pm got the information that the temporary registration papers would be ready by 4:00pm the preparation for delivery started. As this was the first V-Strom in Kerala, photo shoot was bit elaborate (later when the Nandhan sent me the copy of the local newspaper with delivery presentation I was surprised).


Ready for the Delivery Process

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-012.jpg


The team at ABCO really did a commendable job of sorting all the papers in correct order and different envelopes (personal, RTO, Bank and Govt Approval for allowing this vehicle to be registered in Kerala) so that I don’t face any problem getting permanent registration in Trivandrum. This being the first bike in Kerala, RTO authority asked for the copy of government approval (that was a life saver else would have to go to Calicut to get that).
The team also explained the features/what petrol to fill etc (Speed/Super is recommended)


By 6pm started my ride to Trivandrum.
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-013.jpg


Was quite tensed/excited and being new could not rev beyond 5000RPM. At Kochi Ajay was waiting for me and we continued our ride back to Ajay’s house. After a good night’s sleep start by 9:30am for home and reach by 12:00 on 23rd March.

Last edited by kozhissery : 15th August 2019 at 21:42.
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Old 3rd June 2019, 22:44   #5
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Default A Foray into the World of Adventure Biking - V-Strom 650XT

On Road Price, Discounts

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Freebies

Nothing per-se, but I think the helmet with the bike is of better quality compared to what you get when you buy other bikes.


Helmet - Front View

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-007.jpg


Helmet - Front View [Hood Opened]
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-007c.jpg



Helmet - Back View
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-007a.jpg


Helmet - Side View
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-007b.jpg


Extended warranties & service packages chosen


None was offered nor enquired.

Engine type & Variant
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Safety, electronic riding aids & related equipment

ABS
2 Stage Traction Control with ability to change on the fly.




Riding gear
Helmet: MT
Jacket: Joe-Rocket (Syndicate Jacket)
Gloves: BBG
Pants: Cramster
Riding Boots: Forma, Adventure



Accessories, Price and procured from
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-016.png




Paint Protection Film from 3M
As I hug the tank, the tank will get scratches from the riding pant. So the first thing that was done is to have PPF on the tank and beak


PPF measuring in action

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-016a.jpg


PPF applying in action
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-016b.jpg

Final outcome - The separation is visible but after ride it is more prominent (thanks to dust)
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-016c.jpg


Visible but just

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-016d.jpg

Future Accessories planned
  • Better Sump Guard
  • Cruise Control


Kilometers as of today: 3000 (which makes about 500 kilometers per month - high as per my standards, in TB500 put about 20k in 6 years)



Usage Pattern: At-least 3 days to office which is about 4 kilometers one way makes a total of 16 kilometers (I come home for lunch)
Sometimes uses bike for weekend small shopping.
Yet to do any long rides other than 1 which I did along with service ride that came to about 1200 kilometers. I did a breakfast ride to hill station to see how easy it will be for me navigate in the hairpins and am very happy and satisfied with performance.


Final Question - Kitne Milta Hai


Minimum: 18.40
Maximum: 29.66
Average: 24.411

Last edited by kozhissery : 18th August 2019 at 22:48.
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Old 3rd June 2019, 23:08   #6
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Default A Foray into the World of Adventure Biking - V-Strom 650XT

Review (Please do note that I don’t have much experience in riding so all the comparison is based on my riding of RE TB350/RE TB500/Activa etc.)



Adventure riding is getting hot these days. In the past few years people have started to look in the area of function rather than just cool bike (Sports Dhoom style). To cater to this new crowd the companies has started to put a better effort. First they catered to the upper bracket (10 Lakh+) segment with the likes of BMW GS/Ducati Multistrada/Triumph Tiger/Versys 1000/V-Strom 1000 etc, then Kawasaki was the first to offer Versys 650 with affordable adventure bikes which was followed by SWM. Then Suzuki also wanted a piece of the pie and decided to launch V-Strom 650 XT (the top of line of the series) which is just shy of 10 lakh on the road price here in Kerala without the accessories. V-Strom 650 has been in market worldwide since last 15 years (launched in 2004) and the current model is from 2017, third generation where enhancement to 2015 model was done by including a host of electronic aids like Traction control system, Easy start system and spoked alloy combination to make it more abuse friendly.
The V-Stroms build quality is excellent and feels quite sturdy. The bike feels solid and the paint job is fantastic. Even at cruising speed there is hardly any noise from the bike as such. It does not bottoms up easily and is abuse friendly. This bike looks smaller compared to Versys and Tiger (don’t know about SWM/Benelli). I’m a shade below 5’8” and this is A TALL bike due to which I cannot properly flat foot without proper (taller shoes) shoes. I feel this would be comfortable for people having more than 5’10”. Once on the move you forget that this is tall bike. After putting couple of kilometres, now a days I don’t have any issue even while taking U-turns at signals. Only places where I’ve to be careful, is at the edge of road where the ground is couple of inches below the road.
The handlebars are bit too far for my taste, would have preferred a couple of inches towards the tank so that I can sit as in my TB500. The seats are harder compared to TB500 (am I nit-picking?) but the shock absorber makes sure that you are comfortable. I did a non-stop 200 odd kilometres and was not dead tired.
Despite the bike being tall which hampers the ease of taking pillion rider, wife prefers this more than TB500 or activa. She says “CLIMBING” is difficult but the ride is very comfortable but at signals she can feel the heat of the vehicle which was never faced in my previous vehicles (just a note, heat does not bother her).
The instrument cluster is easy to read but it takes some time to learn what to toggle to get what you want. I really like the reading of outside ambient temperature as in cars.



Looks
Looks/Beauty is subjective. As far I’m concerned the bike does not look huge compared to Versys, but the beak does give it a distinctive look. At signals if you stand side by side people does not notice it much, but if it is seen from front it is noticeable. When I first reached home, mum said oh this looks huge (compared to my TB500), but when Ajay came in his Ducati Multistrada the comment changed to “it looks puny”.

You there!
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-020.png

Can I call you beaky (Buckbeak of Harry Potter series)?

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-022.png

Looking the other-way!
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-023.jpg


Guns/Muzzle???

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-024.png


Leaning Forward!!!

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-025.png


My puny bike?

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-021.png


Well placed mirrors gives you a good view of whats going on behind you. No craning of head add to it no shivering of stalk even at triple digits speed compared to TB500 which shivers like a naked man in Leh.


Wide Mirrors

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-026.jpg




Wide Mirrors
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-027.jpg

Last edited by kozhissery : 7th July 2019 at 22:48.
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Old 7th July 2019, 23:56   #7
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Default A Foray into the World of Adventure Biking - V-Strom 650XT

Handle Bar/Instrument Cluster



Handlebar has a quite good feel and the width is fine. Only thing that I feel is that it could have been bit closer to the body (say by 6 inches or so - TB500 spoilt me).


Instrument cluster
Instrument cluster is well laid out. Though it feels bit old all the required details are well laid out.

Unlit Console

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-045.jpg

Fully Lit - Without firing up the engine


Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-046.jpg



Toggle Button to iterate through the menus (Gets dirty very quickly and cleaning is a hell lot of job)
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-039.jpg


The down button toggles the markings of the lower level like average, range, battery etc


First Click - Do note the bars on the left side, which indicates the engine temperature. I would have preferred it to be shown in digits (something like toggle between outside temperature and engine temperature)
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-028.jpg

Average Mileage
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-029.jpg

Range
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-030.jpg


Battery Voltage
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-031.jpg


The upper portion of button toggles Trip meter, Brightness of LCD





Odometer

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-032.jpg


Trip Meter

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-033.jpg


LCD Brightness

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-034.jpg




Changing Traction modes. This can be change even while riding, only that there should not be any throttle input.


First Select the "Model" Button - Please do see the Square bracket covering the TC indicator
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-035.jpg


Then use the Up/Down button to scroll through Level 1, 2 or OFF.


Level 2

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-036.jpg


Level 1

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-037.jpg


TC OFF - Completely disabled

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-038.jpg


This happens if the Side stand is down and you try to fire up the vehicle
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-040.jpg


Flasher/High Beam/Low beam switch. Also note that there is no adjustment given for Clutch lever. They should have given that, no point in skimping that. The clutch lever is quite easy to operate - I've never felt any problem even in the cities (in comparison with TB500)
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-041.jpg

Led Indicator when Key is inserted. Also do note that, the bike can be locked with parking lights on (turn the key to the last position while turning the key in anti-clock direction)
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-042.jpg

Turn Indicator Toggle switch and Horn - this completes the left side of the handlebar
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-043.jpg


Engine Kill switch, Hazard Indicator Switch and Starter button lies in the right hand side of the Handlebar
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-044.jpg

Front brake lever has adjuster (1 to 5) for distance. I never felt any need to adjust that. I like the brake feel
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-047.jpg

Brake Lever Adjuster screw

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-048.jpg

Handguard - Barkbuster
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-049.jpg


Handguard - Barkbuster
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-050.jpg


Handguard - Barkbuster (Truly Global, Made in Australia)

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-051.jpg

Brake Oil Reservoir - Oil Specification
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-052.jpg


Brake Manufacturer
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-053.jpg

Wind Deflector - I'm happy with the height of deflector. It took sometime for me to adjust looking through 2 glasses of Helmet then this. Now I'm happy with it as wind buffeting is almost absent. Only problem is that you sweat like hell inside in the jacket, which was not the case in TB500
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-054.jpg



Height Adjustments can be made using screws, but it feels so crude that you have to carry tools to adjust that. Though I've never required to adjust the height I'd have preferred hand operated screws.
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-055.jpg

Head Lamps is NOT LED. Lights are just Ok as throw is fine. I feel Suzuki has skimped on lights and should have given more powerful lights, afterall this is an Adventure bike. Though it is better than Versys 650, I felt that the new breed of Activas/Dominars has better lights. When compared to the lights of Ducati it was comparing a candle with MAGLITE ML150LR
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-056.jpg



Sleek looking turn indicator. It has flexibility so that it can take small hits.
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-057.jpg

Last edited by kozhissery : 15th August 2019 at 22:32.
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Old 13th July 2019, 23:46   #8
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Default A Foray into the World of Adventure Biking - V-Strom 650XT

Power Adapter - Not yet tried, but a nifty feature.


Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-056a.jpg



Tires, Rims, Suspension, Engine



The tires are quite grippy and you can just lean into corners (it is not a sports bike, may be Versys is bit better in this aspect - but I'm very happy with it). I think the tires being different size I am not feeling very confident in leaning the bike. I feel I could lean TB500 more than this, maybe overtime I'll be confident (and the wheelbase also makes the difference)


Size of Tires

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Manufactured by Bridgestone - Battlax A40

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-059.jpg


Manufactured in Japan - Do note the air-hole valve is arrow straight so it is difficult to fill air (not easily available in road side shops). Would have preferred angled one. Also do note the Spokes are fixed on a collar built on the Rim allowing to mount Tubeless tires
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-063.jpg


Looks quite wide - is 150
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-064.jpg

Whole Rear Tire
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-065.jpg


How much Air Pressure?
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-068.jpg


Front RIMS are a chore to Clean - See the channel
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-060.jpg

And the back Rims has Hollow Cylinder with holes - Cleaning is a messy affair??

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-066.jpg

In Kerala's humid weather the rims gets RUST in a day flat (This was taken on Monday after cleaning on Sunday
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-069.jpg


Brakes
The feel of brake is good but nothing great. I would have preferred a bit more better brake, so to be more reassuring. I feel the rear brakes are bit hard (but a lot better than TB500), front brakes are good. Only once I had to do emergency braking as a dog just jumped from behind the wall and the bike stopped on the dot, I don't think this is a good braking test as the speed was below 30 (being residential lane, I always travel below 30 - usually in 2nd gear). YES it is lot better than TB500 but might feel like cribbing, the feel of Ducati is a hell lot reassuring and confidence inspiring.



Full Front brake/ABS system, Double disk, 310 mm Double piston, Floating caliper

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-061.jpg

Front Shock absorber - Telescopic fork (43mm), coil spring, oil damped with 150 MM travel - Preload adjustment. I'm very happy with it. Very supple - may be I can say that any adjustment like in the rear would be fine (at-least could have provided with the price they command for the bike - typical Indian mind) - Yet to fix the Radiator guard (already bought it but need to take it to the dealer)

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-062.jpg




Suspension
The suspension travel is excellent. I really love it. This just glides over small undulations. Now a days I've got new bad behavior where I don't slow on small speed breakers, just stand on the foot peg and glide over it. In comparison, this was impossible in Activa and not very comfortable in TB500.



Rear Shock Absorber - Aluminium, Monoshock, Preload Adjustment with adjustment knob having a travel of 160 mm

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-070.jpg


Rear Shock Absorber
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-071.jpg

Rear Shock Absorber - tension adjuster
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-067.jpg


Seats

The seats are well scooped. But I feel it to be tad firmer compared to TB500. As the tank is slim at the end where it meets the seat, placing the foot on ground is possible though not flatfooted even though the seat height is 835mm. Another advantage of this bike is that it is bottom heavy rather than being top heavy so its very stable.
Suzuki even has an low seat as accessory which can reduce the overall height by 20mm. Till now I've not opted for the same as the seat height is lowered by removing 20mm foam - already the seat is firm for my preference and I don't want it to be more firm. Down the line if I feel that keep both legs flat on ground is necessary may be get that.
In my seating position I would have preferred the foot rest to be bit forward (TB500 has spoiled me), still it is not uncomfortable. The foot pegs are slimmer and shorter compared to TB500. I've no issues riding standing up, but I've not much experience in changing gears while standing up (I can change, but not comfortable). Foot pegs being shorter, I feel that the crash guard will take the first hit which saves the foot peg (i think it even folds back). For wet off-roading i think you need a more coarse metal foot-peg, anyway that is not my cup of tea.

Well contoured seats
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-067a.jpg


Well contoured Seats
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-067c.jpg


Tank is narrow where it meets the seat, which makes it easy to flatfoot.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-067b.jpg


Engine
Engine is very smooth and the noise (NVH) is almost absent except at 5000/5200 rpm where you can feel slight vibration. Once it crosses 5500 again its smooth all the way to 8000 rpm (beyond which I have not tried). Another advantage is I don't have to wake the neighbors with the racket when starting early in the morning like I used to do in TB500.
The engine/vehicle is very smooth that I have increased the time between two stops. The engine actually roars above 4000 rpm, below that it feels docile.






Engine View - Left Side
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-073.jpg


Engine View - Right Side
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-074.jpg

Engine Oil - Check Window (Being on side stand - no oil is seen - You need to prop the vehicle on center stand or Paddock stand)
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-075.jpg

Lateral View of Engine
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-077.jpg

Short Gear Lever - 6 Speed gear box. While going to office my preference is TB500 style gear lever where by you can change the gear by pressing the back of the lever which protects you leather shoes. I do feel TB500's gearbox is bit more smoother but V-Strom has better gear feel, though clunky. May be this is due the previous oil change which was Motul V300 and not Suzuki recommended one (ECSTAR FULL SYNTHETIC ENGINE OIL 10W-40).
The engine and gearbox is made for each other. The engine is very smooth and the gearing ratio is right for my usage. On inclines (while crawling) use 1st gear and bike just chugs on. Here in Trivandrum there is ride widening going on and speed of commute is very slow and when going up the flyover at crawling speed this is very helpful. If the roads are flat 2nd gear will pull with ease. Once you cross 25/30 KMPH use 3rd gear as it can go over triple digits, being in city its always below 60.
I'm loving the low end torque that I get in 3rd gear from very low speed where by change of gear is not required.


Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-076.jpg

The engine is protected with a flimsy but good looking guard. As I don't intend to do off-roading in the near future, not yet thought of replacing this with a metal one. BTW once I happen to scrape while crossing a big hump as I with a pillion and the suspension was set at its lowest tension which is apt for my weight. I had not scraped the same hump while going to pick the guy.
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-078.jpg

I spew out fire through my twin tubes
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-072.jpg

Chain Slack indicator? Do note the rubber piece where the chain will rest once the chain becomes loose, which mean it won't make clickty-click noise while changing gear (reducing speed) as was the case of TB500

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-079.jpg

Last edited by kozhissery : 18th August 2019 at 22:45.
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Old 11th August 2019, 21:55   #9
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Default A Foray into the World of Adventure Biking - V-Strom 650XT

Rear/Storage Compartment/Other Nifty features/Closing remarks


Rear
Rear looks just bland, no drama compared to front. The lamps are LED and that's it.


Brake Lights On. Do note that the turn indicators are close to the body of the vehicle hence the chances of damage is less

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-089.jpg


In broad daylight

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-090.jpg


Rear Carriage, Looks cool BUT is made of Plastic. Can take only 10 Kgs

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-080.jpg


Grab Handle - Very Sturdy

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-081.jpg


Storage Compartment/Under Seat
Storage space is almost Nil. May be you can place a couple of papers (Copies of RC Book/License etc). It contains basic tools and medical kit.


Access to Compartment is using the same Ignition Key
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-082.jpg


Birds View of under seat compartment
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-083.jpg


Toolbox and Medicine kit neatly placed (with Rubber/elastic cord to prevent rattling)
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-084.jpg


Fuse Box
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-085.jpg


Brake? Not Sure
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-086.jpg


Brake oil container of Back Tire
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-087.jpg


No Idea what it is - Relay?
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-088.jpg


Key to Nirvana
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-091.jpg


Quirks
Does this mean, that it is sold in countries where KM is followed or different console for US?

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking-092.jpg

Closing Remark
After riding 3000+ kilometers in 4 months of which 75% was used in city, I feel that this has replaced my TB500 effectively. I am able to use it for daily commute. I hope to do some justice to my Beaky by allowing it to stretch its legs (or wings).

Last edited by kozhissery : 18th August 2019 at 23:04.
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Old 19th August 2019, 07:38   #10
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Default re: Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th August 2019, 09:22   #11
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Default Re: Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking

Its actually a good thing that the clutch isn't adjustable, at the least ensures that you won't be grinding the dogs for a while every time you change settings.

I'd had the opportunity to ride the latest generation D390 which comes with adjustable levers on both sides and let me tell you, transitioning from a fixed clutch lever to an adjustable one wasn't a pleasurable experience, it was really hard when it came to gauging engagement. But then I was right at home when it came to the brake lever.

The relay in question is a DC Blinker Relay.

Congratulations on the ride! I'm from Pothencode and roam around the same places you do but to date I've not spotted your V-Strom in Trivandrum, peculiar because unusual motorcycles really don't skip my gaze.

Cheers and Ride Safe!
A.P.

Last edited by ashwinprakas : 19th August 2019 at 09:47. Reason: Corrected! Thanks RedLiner
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Old 19th August 2019, 09:32   #12
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Default Re: Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
Congratulations on the ride! I'm from Pothencode and roam around the same places you do but to date I've not spotted your Versys in Trivandrum, peculiar because unusual motorcycles really don't skip my gaze.

Cheers and Ride Safe!
A.P.
Thats because it's a vstrom and you were probably looking out for a versys?

Congrats kozhissery. Looks like the golden age of the versys is well and truly over on team bhp.
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Old 19th August 2019, 09:45   #13
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Default Re: Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
Thats because it's a vstrom and you were probably looking out for a versys?
Darn me!

Both motorcycles register the same spot in my brain!
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Old 19th August 2019, 09:47   #14
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Default Re: Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
Darn me!

Both motorcycles register the same spot in my brain!
They should not.

They are as different as chalk and cheese. Apart from the long travel suspension, almost everything else is vastly different.

I understand why they both register the same spot in your brain though I have wet dreams with the new 790 adventure.
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Old 19th August 2019, 09:48   #15
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Default Re: Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - A foray into the world of adventure biking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
Thats because it's a vstrom and you were probably looking out for a versys?

Congrats kozhissery. Looks like the golden age of the versys is well and truly over on team bhp.
Congratulations once again. Thanks for posting this thread. Come on Ashwin, how did you miss this, it's a V-Strom, not Versys.

Let's hope this thread helps me to start my own thread, regarding bikes in my stable.

Even though we have ridden a couple of times together till now has not ridden V-Strom, due to the break-in period. Now needs to ride this gentle beast. One thing for sure, which I love about this machine is its lack of exhaust noise.

Last edited by moralfibre : 20th August 2019 at 08:07. Reason: Typos
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