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Why I replaced my RE Desert Storm with a V-Strom 250: Ownership review

My usage type is mostly inclined towards city usage and once in 2 months a day ride on highways.

BHPian Full_Minchingu recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Yes, the story began in mid-April 2022, when Team-BHP posted information about this bike. After more than a year of waiting, after around 9 test rides in multiple Suzuki showrooms in Bengaluru and after renting it for a day, I've finally purchased this bike, increasing my passion and love for motorcycling by many folds. As we go forward, I will explain why I waited so long.

With this short introduction, I would like to welcome you all for the ownership review of – My 2023 Suzuki V-Strom SX 250.

Currently, I have clocked just over 500 km. The engine is still in break-in condition.

Likes:

  • Smooth engine and linear power delivery.
  • Love the looks and styling.
  • Lightweight and easy to handle.
  • Easy maintenance and service costs are not heavily priced.
  • Good pillion comfort.
  • Great mileage.

Dislikes:

  • Priced a bit high. Say 15-20 thousand more.
  • Gears shifting is hard (Hopefully the first service should solve this).
  • Seat height (835 mm), I’m 5’10 and I can flat foot. The issue is while I am on the bike, the foot pegs hit my calves when I pull it behind.
  • Shocks are moderate (not to the level of Xpulse or Himalayan).
  • Cleaning is not an easy task, there are a lot of nooks and corners. Need more time to dust.

Which bike did I own previously?

During my college and engineering days, I was using TVS Scooty and Kinetic Nova. Soon after my graduation, my first motorcycling journey started with Karizma-R, used it till November 2015. Next was my Royal Enfield Classic Desert Storm which was my riding companion till August 2023.

As I write this ownership review, I realize a Storm (Desert Storm) has been replaced by another Strom (Suzuki V-Strom).

If you observe I have downgraded the bike capacity from 500cc to 250cc, however, I have upgraded in terms of safety features, reliability, comfort and so on. So, no regrets here.

Yes, with a heavy heart, I had to bid farewell to my previous bikes. But was happy that the older ones were getting replaced with newer ones.

Picture taken during the Madikeri ride.

How did I select the Suzuki V-Strom SX250 and what other bikes were considered?

During the purchase of my older bikes, I had no specific requirements to purchase, it was just an impact buy, MTV roadies and Hrithik Roshan made me buy Karizma-R. Having a motorcycle with plastic parts constantly rattling and failing made me want to own an all-metal Royal Enfield bike. Initially, I had booked Classic 350 (maroon colour), waiting period was 3 months, I waited for 15 days or so. Later found that Desert Storm was available immediately, so I made the full payment without hesitation.

Booking confirmation form for Classic 350 (Maroon)

However, during the purchase of V-Strom, I made sure I knew why I was buying a new bike and had made a list of requirements and considered many bikes which fell in my condition. This is one of the reasons (reason #1) why I waited for more than a year to buy this bike. I did thorough research, read multiple ownership reviews in Team-BHP, and watched YouTube videos of many bikes to conclude on one bike.

My usage type is mostly inclined towards city usage and once in 2 months a day ride on highways. Percentage wise I’d say 80% city and 20% highway. Never did any off-roading or trails. No plans of doing it in the future as well.

Following were my requirements: if you see the requirements, except for a couple of points rest were all the negative points of RE Desert Strom.

With these details, it was easy for me to sort out the bikes which fell out of my requirements. For example, the tubed tyre ones were clear out of the contention and bikes which are more than 3 lakhs were never considered.

At some point in time, I had some inclination towards Dominar 400 as the specs were looking great on paper, except for the weight rest of the other features are in my range of requirements, so I did give a visit to the Bajaj showroom. I stay near Dr. Rajkumar Road Rajajinagar and every other bike showroom is in my vicinity. The showroom I visited had no Dominar 400 for TD, the showroom’s front desk representative did not respond in the way I’d like. I did visit after a few days, again this time with the same behaviour, luckily there was a senior sales executive and I asked him about this bike, for which he said there are no TD bikes, but he was ready to offer me a bike which had come for service. For which I plainly rejected it and did not even sit on it to have a look and feel. This shoddy behaviour made me think twice. I did not venture for a different showroom, after purchasing, there is a possibility that I must visit the same service centre near my home, which I would not enjoy.

Test drove the Hero Xpulse as well, and though it was for a short duration of time and kilometres, I kind of liked it, such a plush suspension and lightweight. I would have considered this bike if I was fresh out of college (meaning I felt I was a little older for this stylish bike) or if I already had a bigger capacity bike and used this as a second bike for city commuting. I felt a little underpowered compared to other bikes on the list.

Adding to the above, the service feedback in this Hero service centre is pathetic, it was one of the things I struggled with when I used to drop my Karizma-R off for service.

You may be surprised why I have not added the new kid in the block, Triumph Speed 400. Well, by the time this new bike was in the news, my focus had almost narrowed down to V-Strom. Moreover, since this was the new entry of Triumph with Bajaj, I wanted to know the long-term response.

I also did a TD of this bike, as soon as I saw this bike, I felt it was small compared to V-Strom (purely personal experience). The bike’s performance, handling and power were top-notch, no doubt it is a great bike, but somehow as soon as I saw this bike - Dil Mein Guitar Nahi Baji (did not ring the bell in my heart). Eventually, this might be my next bike, assuming all the horror stories about Khivraj and Keerthi Triumph are resolved, if not this, at least another from Triumph.

My love for Suzuki V-Strom started to grow more and my requirements were almost matching with the V-Strom. As I said, I also rented this bike from Royal Brothers in July 2023 and used it for a whole day in the bumper-to-bumper traffic, highways and broken roads. There was never a moment where I disliked this bike, every kilometre I rode was fun and much better compared to my RE Classic days. It was this decision that ultimately led me to purchase V-Strom.

How was the booking and purchasing experience?

There was no booking involved, yes, you read it right, it was directly delivered on the D-day. Let me get into the story, before that much thanks to the bike section sales manager Mr. Manjunath Naidu (henceforth referred to as Naidu sir) from Sapthagiri Suzuki, Rajajinagar.

During the time frame of June 2022, I visited the Sapthagiri Suzuki showroom and met Naidu sir for the first time, to my surprise, he treated me with the utmost respect and kindness. Till then I had never met someone like him in any showroom, one of the best sales executives.

He gave me the TD bike's key, which was new, ideally it was just ~ about 1 month old. Took a photo of me on the bike with the helmet on and with the showroom representative as a pillion. I couldn’t do a long TD, it was less than 5 km. Since it was near my home, I took the bike home and showed it to my family, they were fine. They had no idea how much I loved this bike.

As the days passed, during the month of July 2022, there was small pain in my left knee joint, this started to increase and in a week’s time, the pain was intolerable. Got it checked with an orthopaedic doctor and they diagnosed it as a meniscus tear, for which I had to undergo an arthroscopic surgery. So, I lost nearly 3-4 months in getting back to normal, though I was fine after a month's time, that incision pain and sensitivity were still persistent, and I did not want to venture out for a new bike with this condition. (Reason #2 for waiting more than a year).

In Jan-Feb 2023, I learned that Suzuki V-Strom was coming out with a 2023 version and it will be with new BS-VI norms. Consequently, I kept checking on the status of the latest bikes with Naidu sir on more than one occasion. (Reason #3 for waiting more than a year).

Finally, I got a call during May 2023 that the latest version of V-Strom was available, I visited the showroom to check the same, I noted the VIN number from the display bike and validated it for manufacturing date and indeed it was a 2023 bike.

Having a spiritual bent, I wanted to buy this bike on an auspicious day and got the dates as Aug 18th, 2023 or Sept 21st, 2023. My request for same-day delivery on Aug 18th was met with some hesitation by Naidu sir because he did not want to give me a false promise. He took a day's time, checked the stocks and he confirmed that he could indeed give me the bike on the same day, so the delivery date was fixed as Aug 18th. Same-day delivery was confirmed with the condition that only insurance would be done on that day, but registration would take 2-3 working days, to which I rightly agreed. It was also my understanding that we could not ride the bike on public roads without it being registered. Moreover, the puja date was fixed on Aug 21, 2023. I had enough time to just look at it in my garage and drool over it. The payment was done in cash by noon and by 4.30 PM the delivery happened.

During the PDI, the day before the delivery, there were no major issues to be found, except for a small faded line (~4-inch line) on the front visor, it is something which many may not observe, even the phone camera was not able to capture it, however, it caught my eyes, showed it to Naidu sir and he immediately agreed to change the visor. Got it changed after 4 days.

Overall, I returned home as a happy and satisfied customer with a new riding companion.

The below images are taken during the delivery and puja. It was a very dull and low-key delivery event, throughout that day and the following day, Suzuki's MD and his subordinates visited, so everyone was in a hurry. Naidu sir asked if I could get the delivery from the MD the next day, due to the fact that my date was set for that day, I did not agree to it. So, I was fine with the minimum setup they had. I just wanted my bike that's it!

The following freebies were provided by the dealer and by Naidu sir:

  1. Free insurance for 5 years (~14 thousand INR, 1st year comprehension + 4 years 3rd party).
  2. EOM Crash Guard.
  3. Tank pad sticker.
  4. Full-face helmet (Suzuki brand).

Continue reading BHPian Full_Minchingu's ownership for more insights and information.

 
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