RE: Suzuki V-Strom 250: PH2

RE: Suzuki V-Strom 250: PH2

Tuesday 19th September 2017

Suzuki V-Strom 250: PH2

Suzuki's new mini adventurer ends up a bit lost



Seeing the new V-Strom in the flesh left me feeling optimistic. I loved the fact that Suzuki had created what I would call a 'big mini adventure' bike and targeted it at road riders. Physically the V-Strom is a good size bike and doesn't appear insubstantial in any way - you'd never guess it was 250cc (more of that later). It has 17-inch wheels, a huge 17.3-litre tank, built in pannier mounts, a natty metal rack at the back, ABS and an LCD dash with a fuel gauge and gear indicator. A plethora of optional accessories such as heated grips, panniers, a top box, centre stand and brush guards make the already really practical bike even more so. And then there is the price, at £4599 it is the cheapest of the new wave of mini adventure bikes such as the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 and BMW G310GS.

On paper then, the V-Strom 250 has all the elements to make it a resounding success. However there is one element that even on a spec sheet causes a small degree of concern - its motor. The V-Strom 250 has the same parallel twin engine as the GSX250R, which is effectively an Inazuma motor made Euro4-compliant. Why is this a potential problem? The V-Strom may be a lightweight at 188kg, but it makes a weedy 24hp, making it chunky considering its low power. And then you add in a rider. And possibly even a pillion...


Power drain
Within a few miles of riding the V-Strom I was gutted. I really wanted to love this bike, everything about it is so right. The riding position is roomy and comfortable, the handling surprisingly adept and the ride quality actually very good, if a touch squishy. But the motor would struggle to pull the skin off a bowl of custard. Honestly, I rode the GSX-R125 before the V-Strom 250 and my first thought was that I had misread the press pack and the 250 was actually a 125.

I simply don't get it, why did Suzuki think that a SHOC parallel twin with just 24hp would be enough to power an adventure bike? Especially considering A2-laws mean you can go so much higher? To use the motor is perfectly acceptable, it doesn't vibrate, it pulls smoothly and the clutch is lovely and light - but it's just so slow. Getting the V-Strom over 70mph was a hell of a struggle one-up, with a pillion I'd be amazed if it can crack 65mph. And this fact totally ruins the whole bike.

Am I being too critical? Putting myself in the place of the customer I don't think so.

As a young rider wanting a bike to commute, and possibly do a bit of touring, on I'd be very interested in the V-Strom. But with performance that is so limited I reckon the shine would soon start to fade. Kawasaki obviously came to the same conclusion as they increased the capacity of the Ninja 250 to 300 years ago, and KTM's 200 only existed for one year before it was killed off. You don't have to make a stupidly powerful machine, but why didn't Suzuki make it 350cc and give it a mid-30hp figure in the update to Euro4? Especially considering that as a road-orientated adventurer and not an off-roader like the Versys-X, the V-Strom demands the extra grunt.

This is another of my frustrations, I reckon Suzuki has got its targeting bang on by making the V-Strom road-biased, adding even more to my annoyance that they missed the mark with its motor.


Bad old Suzuki
To me the GSX-R125, GSX-S125 and the V-Strom 250 show the two sides of Suzuki - old and new. The GSX-125 models have a brand new motor and chassis, resulting in two excellent machines and pitching Suzuki as a company that is looking to its future. The V-Strom 250 (and the SV650, and GSX-S750 to many degrees) reveals a company stuck in the past.

So come on Suzuki! Give it a refresh and a bit of capacity - the heart of any good bike is its motor. A funky looking SV7650 would be a great middleweight and by the same token if the V-Strom 250 were a V-Strom 350 I'd likely be singing its praises. As it is I'm left frustrated and annoyed, not only with the bike but also with its manufacturer.


2017 SUZUKI V-STROM 250
Engine
: 248cc SOHC parallel twin, water-cooled, 8v
Power (hp): 24@8,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 17.3@6,500rpm
Top speed: 80mph (est)
Weight: 188kg (wet)
MPG: 88 (claimed)
Price: £4,599

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

V8 FOU

Original Poster:

2,572 posts

83 months

Tuesday 19th September 2017
quotequote all
Fab looking bike, but as you say, sooo little power.
Hope Suzuki take note and do a 350/400 version. That I could get on with!

jamiebae

6,245 posts

147 months

Tuesday 19th September 2017
quotequote all
Agreed, I have a Honda CB500X which is a great 'do it all' bike for commuting - 70+MPG, capable of overtaking and keeping up with traffic on the motorway and easy enough to ride in town. With a 250cc engine the V Strom just doesn't quite have enough power, and it doesn't fit into any of the license categories either - it's way under 35KW so will have limited appeal to A2 license holders and anyone without restrictions is going to find it gutless beyond words.

mynameistim

7 posts

93 months

Tuesday 19th September 2017
quotequote all
I bought a similarly gutless Honda CRF250 Rally, but I'm really enjoying it, so far at least. And that's coming straight from a 140 hp Fazer 1000. It's quite a lot lighter at 157 kg, maybe that's partly why.
I suppose it depends what you want to use it for - I think the problem with the Suzuki is that they're marketing it as a BMW GS1200 alternative, which it just isn't. But if you want a forgiving, reasonably priced, good-looking runabout with a bit off off-road potential, it might be worth a look.
Might be worth mentioning that I live in Poland, where the roads are are a bit st, the traffic is heavy, and the drivers are often insane wink

jamiebae

6,245 posts

147 months

Tuesday 19th September 2017
quotequote all
mynameistim said:
I bought a similarly gutless Honda CRF250 Rally, but I'm really enjoying it, so far at least. And that's coming straight from a 140 hp Fazer 1000. It's quite a lot lighter at 157 kg, maybe that's partly why.
I suppose it depends what you want to use it for - I think the problem with the Suzuki is that they're marketing it as a BMW GS1200 alternative, which it just isn't. But if you want a forgiving, reasonably priced, good-looking runabout with a bit off off-road potential, it might be worth a look.
Might be worth mentioning that I live in Poland, where the roads are are a bit st, the traffic is heavy, and the drivers are often insane wink
Isn't the Honda more off road focused? I'm not sure anyone is suggesting the VStrom is a 1200GS competitor, but it's not that much cheaper (or lighter) than a CB500X, Versys 650 or even a Tracer 700.

LuS1fer

34,530 posts

181 months

Tuesday 19th September 2017
quotequote all
Looks ugly too but then so do all adventure bikes.
Advertisement

mynameistim

7 posts

93 months

Tuesday 19th September 2017
quotequote all
jamiebae said:
mynameistim said:
I bought a similarly gutless Honda CRF250 Rally, but I'm really enjoying it, so far at least. And that's coming straight from a 140 hp Fazer 1000. It's quite a lot lighter at 157 kg, maybe that's partly why.
I suppose it depends what you want to use it for - I think the problem with the Suzuki is that they're marketing it as a BMW GS1200 alternative, which it just isn't. But if you want a forgiving, reasonably priced, good-looking runabout with a bit off off-road potential, it might be worth a look.
Might be worth mentioning that I live in Poland, where the roads are are a bit st, the traffic is heavy, and the drivers are often insane wink
Isn't the Honda more off road focused? I'm not sure anyone is suggesting the VStrom is a 1200GS competitor, but it's not that much cheaper (or lighter) than a CB500X, Versys 650 or even a Tracer 700.
That's kind of my point - the Honda has a bit of off-road potential, and is quite light, which is what I like about it, but the Suzuki comes with aspirations as a distance tourer (like the BMW), but that engine isn't really suited to carrying a lot of luggage and travelling two-up. Having said that, I presume some people will love it and travel the world on it smile
Perhaps these bikes will be popular in countries with poor roads - I can see that the Honda is already selling well in Thailand.

And172940

172 posts

84 months

Tuesday 19th September 2017
quotequote all
The yellow bit looks like it's just crashed through some roadworks and collected yellow warning tape

Sergentcolon

1 posts

3 months

Tuesday 18th September
quotequote all
I think most of you are missing the point, the U.K. bike market is irrelevant. So few bikes are sold here it doesn’t matter. The new range of small adventure style bikes is aimed at Asian and South American markets, India has bike sales of more than 20 million! .
I’ve personally test ridden the V-Strom 250, Honda Rally 250 and BMW G310GS and found little to chose between them in performance. top speed achieved on all off them was 86 to 88 mph ( indicated, and the Suzuki did have the Rev warning led flashing at that speed ) however they all did 70 mph easily and without any drama.
I found the V-Strom was the most comfortable and had the best road handling characteristics. It’s also £800 cheaper than the other two! In the countries where most of these bikes will be sold, road conditions in a lot of these countries mean higher speeds would be suicidal. I think any of the above bikes would make a perfectly acceptable steed for anyone who wants a smaller, easier to manage machine with low running costs.

AceOfHearts

5,023 posts

127 months

Tuesday 18th September
quotequote all
I know i keep harping on about this but this isn't the cheapest of the new 'mini adventure' bikes.

The Royal Enfield Himalayan is a 400cc and only £4000 brand new. Still need to go testride one actually. . .

LuS1fer

34,530 posts

181 months

Tuesday 18th September
quotequote all
I think an SV7650 would be over-engined, TBH...

Krikkit

13,519 posts

117 months

Tuesday 18th September
quotequote all
Sergentcolon said:
I think most of you are missing the point, the U.K. bike market is irrelevant. So few bikes are sold here it doesn’t matter. The new range of small adventure style bikes is aimed at Asian and South American markets, India has bike sales of more than 20 million! .
So why are they bothering to sell it here? Considering you could buy a KTM with 70% more power and a bit less weight for the same money, then tart it up with a few accessories to give it better touring credentials it seems like a terrible choice.

supercommuter

1,733 posts

38 months

Tuesday 18th September
quotequote all
jamiebae said:
Agreed, I have a Honda CB500X which is a great 'do it all' bike for commuting - 70+MPG, capable of overtaking and keeping up with traffic on the motorway and easy enough to ride in town. With a 250cc engine the V Strom just doesn't quite have enough power, and it doesn't fit into any of the license categories either - it's way under 35KW so will have limited appeal to A2 license holders and anyone without restrictions is going to find it gutless beyond words.
This...