ON THE ROAD: SUZUKI DL650 XT V-STORM

BY TUMELO MAKETEKETE

 

Introduction

Having mounted the Suzuki DL650XT V-Storm for the first time, I almost flipped it over the other side, considering that my previous test bike was the Hayabusa. Yes, it is much lighter (216kg), even compared to its predecessor. A whole one kilogram lighter. I was however, already grinning, looking forward to the engine rumbling between my thighs and groin, and the much more comfortable seating position associated with adventure bikes.

The DL was launched in 2004 and has become very popular in its class, especially with riders seeking to play over weekends, then complying with the rest of civilization during the week, or going to work in the concrete jungle. Very much like fat cakes in the townships, this recipe was never changed until 2011.

The 2018 model is enhanced with traction control and ABS and the 645 cubic centimetre powerplant has boosted torque and power, making this pony an absolute pleasure to ride.

Appearance

Styling of the DL is inspired by DR-Z and DR-BIG and comes in the following colours: Champion Yellow, Pearl Glacier White and Glass Sparkle Black. From a visibility point of view, considering the number of associated bike accidents, I am personally not a fan of black bikes. A vertically-mounted headlight (borrowed from the big brother DL 1000) is prominent in the front and above it is a 3-way adjustable screen that is very efficient in making sure that I do not get to swallow any flying insects – such happens when you enjoy riding with the helmet visor open like me and having the cool morning breeze massage the rest of the face. The screen also happens to be 9mm taller than the previous model.

Below the headlight Suzuki’s beak design catches the eye and gives the V-Storm that sharp and sporty image. It sets the tone that the bike means business, whether it is climbing steep mountain passes over the weekend or grinding the daily nine to five work routine. I know of people that will lose weight because they are getting married, I also know that the DL’s fuel tank is thinner than before giving even the shorter rider an advantage. Tank capacity remains at 20 litres though and combine this to an efficient engine, results in a perfect combination like “magwinya and atchaar”, you have one of the best ranges in this class. This, also considering that the price of petrol is not going down any time soon.

The display is friendly to the user and easily readable at night. On either end of the handle bar are knuckle covers that help with added protection and also keeping out the elements to a certain extend. Heated grips come optional. Two-millimetre extra padding on the seat makes for a much more comfortable ride, even on longer distances – in case you have the urge to conquer wild Africa. The exhaust is designed much more cleverly, and its position allows for more space for side boxes. Humble sweet tones of the eager V-twin engine are let out here.  The tail light is LED and though the bike comes standard with halogen indicators, these can be upgraded to LED too. Both side boxes can carry 35 litres, and the top box, an additional 55L.

Performance

The soul of the V-Storm is humble but very capable, thanks to the 645 cc, DOHC 90-degree V-twin engine that delivers 52kW at 8 800 rpm and a decent torque of 62Nm at 6 500 revolutions per minute. Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve system ensures that this bike delivers enough torque throughout the revolutions range, especially at lower to medium revolutions. Rider aids includes traction control which has 3 different settings and ABS.

 

Final Thoughts

There are a few things that will be with us for many more years to come. Go to any township, you will get fat cakes, bunnychow (or sphatlho/ kota in some circles) despite how loud health fanatics may howl. While their recipes may be revised but their existence is sure to be a true resemblance of any township vibe. In the adventure circles, the Suzuki DL650XT V-Storm is also still to remain a best-seller in its class, especially because of its agility, efficiency and manoeuvrability whether in peak Jozi traffic, or somewhere in the bundus in Pontoffelfontein.

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