2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS Review

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2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS Review

What do you think of when you think, “Suzuki?” Ten years ago, a GSX-R probably popped into your head. It was the sharpest, fastest sportbike out there. Nowadays? Well, if recent successes from the brand are any indication, what you should be thinking is “value.” Read why in this 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS Review.

2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS (side)
2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS (side)

What’s New

It’s tempting to write the new V-Strom off as simply an update of the old model, released way back in 2002. And, despite Suzuki’s insistence that it’s, “all new,” it technically is an update. However, it is a very, very thorough one.

Starting with the 1st generation’s TL-based V-twin, Suzuki has redesigned the cylinders, cylinder heads, pistons, piston rings, piston pins, connecting rods, crankshaft, crankcase, magneto, fly wheel, clutch, transmission and spark plugs. See what we mean by thorough?

Those changes have taken the motor from 996 to 1,037cc, added a slipper clutch (with assist function to reduce lever effort) and new, twin-sparkplug heads. That doesn’t add up to a lot more power — now 99.2 instead of 95.5 — but rather it moves the torque curve down the rev range and makes it fatter. Maximum torque of 76 lb.-ft. now arrives at 4,000 rpm. The old model made 74.5 lb.-ft., but at 6,400 rpm.

2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS (turn)
2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS (turn)

So too, is the new frame visually similar to the old one, even if it is a totally new item with enhanced rigidity, lower weight and new geometry. Now, the swingarm pivot has been moved closer (957 vs 963mm to the front axel) and further from the rear. The swingarm is now 20mm longer. Those changes should make steering faster, while accomplishing the seemingly divergent goal of adding both stability and traction. Rake and trail are a little more aggressive and the steering angle increases considerably from 36 to 40 degrees. All that further speeds steering.

Additionally, curb weight is down 17.5 lbs to just 503 lbs.

For the first time on a Suzuki, the V-Strom 1000 is equipped with traction control. It’s switchable between two levels of intervention and off. The standard ABS is not switchable, but can be disabled by pulling its fuse.

The Ride

We spent two days and 500 miles on the bike in and around the Southern California desert, riding the bike on congested freeways, city surface streets, fun mountain roads, the open highway and even a few miles on a dirt road.

Out of the parking lot on the first morning, the first impression was in how easily controllable the 1000 feels. You can’t detect any additional weight, size or challenge over its uber-popular 650cc little brother. The 1000 is actually slimmer between your legs than the 650 — and feels it. But, also immediately apparent over that bike is a superior quality suspension set up considerably stiffer and sportier. Spring rates are stiffer, but the damping controls it well, leading to a responsive, controlled, capable ride.

2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS (top)
2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS (top)

Stand up on the bike and try and navigate the parking lot at a walking pace and the new, dual-throttle valve (one’s electronic, one’s manual) arrangement still throws some herks and jerks in your way below 3,000rpm. That disappears totally in higher gears and at higher revs.

Suzuki makes much of its new, easily-adjustable windscreen. There’s three height settings (10mm apart) you need an (included) Allen wrench to alter and then — this is the neat part — you push on the screen to move it through three ratcheting locations. Starting in the lowest, you push it up one notch for medium and up another for high. Push it further and it returns to the start. This is the kind of simple, elegant, successful solution that embodies the spirit with which the rest of the bike was designed. Why go through the expense and complication of electric adjustment when a manual system like this works equally well?

That screen is remarkably effective given its size, but ultimately isn’t able to keep the wind fully off your shoulders or helmet, if you’re tall like me.

We weren’t able to try the “Adventure” model which packages a taller “touring screen” and several other accessories like the much-needed lever guards into one cost-efficient upgrade. All 1000s shipped come with a lock-set under the seat, keyed to be the same as the bike’s ignition. Should you later buy hard luggage, you’ll be able to key it easily.

2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS
2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS

Suzuki is eager to push the V-Strom’s new accessory range and has gone so far to include specially designed bags which fit narrower than the handlebars and even looked to the aftermarket — SW Motech in this case — for important protection parts like the available sump guard. That part will be in high demand, the front cylinder’s header and the oil filter are both incredibly exposed.

Even without total wind protection, the 1000 cruises at highway speeds remarkably comfortably. 70 mph in 6th equates to that 4,000rpm torque peak, a point at which the motor is completely smooth and totally capable of urgently passing other vehicles. If it weren’t for the too-hard seat, you could sit there all day as well as you would on any big touring bike.

One of the areas Suzuki targeted for improvement was stability. With Southern California’s Santa Ana winds in full effect, that’s something we tested over each and every one of the 500 miles. And it is; completely and totally stable no matter how strong the cross wind or how significant another vehicle buffets you.

The 33.5-inch seat height is tall, but both higher and lower options are available and the area where the tank meets the seat is so slim that even the short of leg will be able to flat foot the 1000. Yay, V-twins.

2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS (rear)
2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS (rear)

Standing up in order to ride off-road is also refreshingly comfortable. The bars are high, the pegs low and the seat/tank slim enough that you have good control, comfort and plenty of room to move around.

The dirt road we attempted was sandier than first thought, proving an actual challenge for the road-tire-equipped bikes we were on. Three other journalists wiped out in the deep sand. We were actually surprised at what a willing dirt partner this supposedly road-focused bike turned out to be. Its ABS isn’t remarkably effective in the soft stuff, as you’d expect, but is at least capable of keeping the front from washing if you stand on the front brake. The traction control works better, keeping the rear from spinning out of control while (in the lower level 1) allowing you to apply enough power to make progress. Level 2 gets in the way more, but at least there’s no chance you’ll get into trouble with it enabled.

Suspension, which feels stiff and responsive on the road, actually tackles gentle dirt roading better than you’d expect. It’s not dirt bike soft, but it at least gives you good feel to inform your riding and won’t pitch you out of the seat. With Continental TKC80s fitted, the 1000 will actually be a fairly capable dirt road tool.

Continue Reading: 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS Review >>

  • zion

    Nice review. I’m really interested in this bike and am hoping to get a hands on look soon. I think what you’ve described is spot on. A good all around bike that basically solid, with no extra or needed bling, at a good price point. Your average rider who only has the means for a one bike stable could do well with this, in my humble old man opinion.

  • Jai S.

    Thank you for the review. What was the fuel economy?

    For a tourer, that’s pretty important.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      We weren’t able to measure it fill-up to fill-up, but the on board computer reported around 38-40mpg overall.

      • Jai S.

        The on board computer on my ’12 650 is pretty inaccurate. I’ve seen it say 47 MPG when I calculate 52. Suzuki estimates 49 MPG and while I don’t know if that’s English or US gallons, I hope the 1000 gets better than 40.

        • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

          California has horrible quality gas too.

          • Jai S.

            That’s where I’m at as well.

            Oddly enough, when I travel to other states my mileage doesn’t increase or decrease.I always get between 50 and 56 MPG.

            • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

              That is odd. Buddy of mine took his Buell to Milwaukee and said his mpg increased immediately outside of California.

              • IRS4

                Less traffic?

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  With lane splitting i dont think so. This was also mostly highways. I also thought maybe about our “seasonal” gas (more ethanol in winter) but this was last summer.

      • Thierry Vogler

        Hum… 38-40mpg is not very good. The new 1190 adventure for exemple gets 40-42mpg for 150hp. I’m disappointed by that aspect of the new 1000 vstrom

        • Gabe Ets-Hokin

          In real life, the 1190 gets 38-40.

          • Thierry Vogler

            Still disappointing… That would be the same as the vstrom for 33% more power

        • William Connor

          Don’t disagree. The Explorer is getting 47 mpg in mixed riding conditions.

        • Ron Zu

          The KTM requires premium gas; figure a 20% price difference.

  • Justin McClintock

    I really love the idea of this bike and it could be my next bike. Not sure though. I’m a little bit of a power junkie and it’d be replacing a SV1000S. Going from 110 hp at the rear wheel to roughly 97 or so at the crank (while gaining 20 or so pounds) might not that tolerable. Then again, with a torque peak at 4K, I might not care. Guess I need to try to get a ride on one.

    • Jack McLovin

      Bikes can’t get power measured at the crank. And your SV cannot be stock if it puts out 110 to the wheel. Consider also gearing makes a huge effect on acceleration. Am I daydreaming by feeling like you should hold out for a new SV1000S with this motor?

      • Bruce Steever

        Nearly all OEMs use engine outputs as their claimed power figures, not rear wheel. So Justin is correct. Figure the new DL1000 to show mid nineties rwhp at best. But the driveability and grunt makes up for it.

        And don’t count on seeing another SV1000 anytime soon.

        • Jack McLovin

          Yeah, I know. And they’re all theoretical. Because the motor is forever a part of the transmission. There is no way to measure power at the crank on a modern motorcycle. At best you can measure it at the front sprocket/output shaft/countershaft whatever it is you like to call it, then factor for parasitic losses in the tranny. But thanks for defending people on he internet, There should be a medal for that.

          Sir I will dream about whatever it is I like. How dare you :-)

      • Justin McClintock

        OEM’s measure crank HP and publish those numbers. So the DL is going to be MAYBE 90 hp at the rear wheel. Probably more like mid 80′s. As for the SV1K’s RWHP…. http://www.sportrider.com/weights_measurements/146_motorcycle_weights_measurements/suzuki.html Mine’s a 2003. Just like the one Sportrider tested and got 111.2 at the rear wheel with (and backed up with almost the exact same measurement in 2006).

        As for holding out for a new SV1K….nobody’s interested (except maybe me). It’s not a sportbike, but it’s not a touring bike. Suzuki themselves called it a “playbike”. Apparently there’s not much of a market for one in that part of the range. Heck, if we can’t even get a new SV650 (and the Gladius is NOT it), then we’ll never see a new 1000.

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          You can’t actually measure crank HP (bench dynos measure at the gearbox output shaft), it’s a calculation only. We denote crank horsepower with “bhp” and rear wheel horsepower with “rwhp.”

          • Justin McClintock

            We can’t. I see no reason why the factory can’t and I’m pretty sure they do. Remember, car companies used to give HP without so much as an alternator hooked up. Factories can do LOTS of stuff you and I can’t do. The gearbox has an input shaft too. Take the reading there without the guts of the transmission hooked up. Done.

            EDIt: Not that it matters really. The DL still will be far short of what my SV puts down in power. Again, with that torque peak, it may not matter. But it might. I need to ride one.

            • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

              I’m pretty sure they just put some numbers in a computer and call it day.

              • Justin McClintock

                Any chance you can get a tour and find out? It’d be cool to see the inner workings of the Ducati or Suzuki (or any other performance oriented company’s) engine design center. And, of course, do a writeup about it for your wonderful readers…

                Or you could just send me.

                • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

                  I’ve been inside a ton of factories and I’ve never seen anything fancier than a bench dyno. I may be wrong in some instances, but I really do think they’re just calculating crank horsepower after factoring in losses from the gearbox and whatever.

        • Jack McLovin

          Let us hold hands and pray the Recursion is the next SV.

          • Justin McClintock

            I’m not. Not unless they throw a V-twin in there. Some folks want a turbo, inline twin. But likely nobody who owns a large displacement sporting V-twin. If they put that out as the new SV, they’re basically abandoning everybody who’s ever owned a SV.

            • Jack McLovin

              I had an SV650S and currently own a TL1000R. I can’t say I would feel disappointed if the next small SV was a turbo twingle or whatever they have in store. I’m not married to the V-Twin so much in the little bike which is more of a commuter that looks sporty. If the made a new TLR it had better be a V-Twin. There’s no shame in a big inline twin either. I rode an MZ 1000S once and besides the vibes it is a very cool bike.

              • Justin McClintock

                The way you feel about the TLR…that’s how I feel about the SV. For the record, I owned a SV650S prior to my SV1000S. I love me some V-twin. 1200cc’s worth would be extremely appealing.

                You hear that Suzuki?!! PLEASE MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

          • Piglet2010

            No, some motorcycles and scooters are actually practical.

            • Jack McLovin

              Only in a perfect climate up to one passenger and until you get hit. Unless of course you are in Vietnam or India or some such place.

              • socalutilityrider

                I have ridden motorcycles/scooters in both Vietnam and India – I will take Southern CA traffic over the no holds barred f-you total disregard for human life cause they’re bigger than you traffic of those two places while on a motorcycle anytime.

  • Brian Reynolds

    Good review but I too am curious about the mpg numbers? Also, you failed to mention Moto Guzzi’s Stelvio in your list of European competition :)

  • ookla_the_mok

    Good review. Definitely agree that Suzuki is establishing itself as the value brand.

    I’m asking this sincerely: why do we still refer to the engine as being TL-based? Seems like the TL significance should have faded by now? But maybe I’m missing something.

    Will be interested to hear the comparisons in “The Price” section once the US has some new Capo’s to compare, too.

  • runnermatt

    My only question is how many of these changes will be implemented on the V-Strom 650 next year? The 650 is on my shortening list of potential second bike.

    • Bruce Steever

      None of them. They are now significantly different bikes compared to the first gen versions that shared nearly everything. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the styling change on the 650 to batter match the 1000, but the rest of chassis and brake changes likely won’t make it.

      • appliance5000

        They’re styled? {smiley face here}

      • runnermatt

        Yeah, I’m pretty sure the styling will change on the 650 as well and Suzuki seems to have a history of introducing the “new” V-Strom 650 the year after they introduce the “new” V-Strom 1000.

        That said I wonder how much work would be involved to incorporate the traction control system. It may not be possible without doing some of the engine upgrades, namely the “dual-throttle valve” which RideApart said one valve was electronic, the other manual. Also, I would think that the new piston design may make it as well. I imagine some of the changes to the engine were not necessarily to increase power, but to possibly meet future emission standards (if not in the U.S., maybe in Europe or Japan) The rest of the upgrades I don’t know enough to speculate on. I’ll also admit that I have no knowledge of current or future motorcycle emission standards in the U.S. or anywhere else.

        • Bruce Steever

          Not sure about your history comments. The DL series has had no “history” of concurrent upgrades. The original DL1000 came out in 2002. When the DL650 was introduced in 2004, the 1000 gained the same adjustable windscreen. The 1000 also had some very minor electrical tweaks around 06/07.

          The first significant change to the DL line came with the updated 2012 DL650, of which nothing was copied to or from the 1000cc version. The 2014 DL1000 also shares nothing with the 650cc version.

          As for the “dual-throttle valve,” this is not a new technology, having been found on every year and version of the DL-series from inception, and on most every fuel injected Suzuki ever built. Suzuki’s new traction control system could thus, in theory, be fitted to any or all of Suzuki’s bikes, but i’m 99.94949959% certain that Suzuki wouldn’t fit TC to a 65 hp middleweight, unless the system could be added without altering the cost or price in any way (unlikely). To fit TC on to a future DL650, you’d need, at the very least, an updated ECM and likely a new servo package for the EFI. Suzuki will likely add TC to Busa first, followed up by either a new tourer or a GSX-R.

          Pistons are not a new tech either, still forged as before, but now running lighter tension on the rings. (The 650 runs cast pistons, which could probably benefit from the updated ring style easily enough.) You are correct on the emissions regs; both DLs run catalytic converters and twin plugs per cylinder.

          • runnermatt

            Your knowledge far surpasses mine. Thanks for the info!

            • Bruce Steever

              Sorry to be that way, i’ve just worked with Suzukis for so long that i kinda memorized…everything.

              • runnermatt

                No sweat. It is good to have people around that have the information readily available. I’m sure you get frustrated when people who think they know state things that are incorrect. As a said before thanks for correcting me.

  • markbvt

    Great write up. One of the things that made the V-Strom 650 so much more popular than the older V-Strom 1000 was that it reportedly handled significantly better. How does the handling of the new 1000 compare with the 650, or with the old 1000 for that matter?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      The new 1k is superior to both. Higher quality suspension, more aggressive geometry.

  • Stuki

    Exactly where does the ostensible “awesomeness” of the 1190 come from compared to he Zuk? Is it the suspension? The electronically adjustable one just sound chintzy to me, particularly given the cursing coming from many longtime KTM fans over what they claim is a marked drop in suspension standards on the newer non race bikes, compared to earlier generations. Laced wheels are obviously better, but 170/17 rears……. That’s sportbike tires. Per magazine tests, the abs and tc systems fitted to the bike, is as state of the art as state of the art gets, though.

    The 1190R i obviously more dirt focused, but still heavier than the Zuk, and notably taller, to the point you really need the chops to be confident you never need to put a foot down in the tricky bits.

    • Bruce Steever

      Go ride the 1190 Adventure. It’s immediately apparent where the extra money goes. 50% more horsepower with equally good driveability, the best TC in the game and better dirt ability. That being said, i’d still probably buy the Suzuki, because it’ll likely be easier to buy, maintain and sell.

  • Randy S

    Good review. Thank you. Any chance someone in your group had a chance to test it out 2 up? I’m thinking about a tourer for trips with my wife and luggage.

    Thanks!

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      We’ll put a passenger on it when we get one in for an extended test in a month or so. Initial signs are very positive — the passenger seat is large and flat, the hand rails are huge and well positioned, and the pegs are low. Add a top box and she’ll be comfy and secure.

      • Randy S

        Thanks. Sounds promising. I look forward to the extended test write up.

  • William Connor

    No cruise control is a little goofy in this group. Event the 2014 Tenere will have it. Heated grips are easy enough to get from the aftermarket. I beg to differ that it will match the performance of the Tiger Explorer 1200 however. It is certainly the value leader and from what I saw in person it is a really well done motorcycle. The Adventure version of the bike has to be hands down the best deal in motorcycling.

    • Bruce Steever

      You basically need ride-by-wire to add cruise control. Suzuki’s not there yet.

      • William Connor

        You do not need ride by wire for cruise control. There has been mechanical cruise control way before ride by wire was used. In 1985 Honda introduced it on the Gold Wing which was not electronic.

        • Bruce Steever

          Understood, but do you think modern consumers would be happy with a mechanical system? Doubtful, considering how clunky they were.

          • William Connor

            Let me redo my comment above. I said mechanical but it should have been electronic, which is done with sensors and servos but is not based off of a ride by wire system. It utilizes a cable operated throttle, but uses sensors and a servo attached to the butterflies and is used on many motorcycles offering the same features as bikes with the ride by wire cruise control. Yamaha has an electronic cruise control option on the Royal Star, which still uses carburetors, heck even HD managed to have a system without ride by wire.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      The Triumph weighs 573 lbs and feels like it’s heavier. Its handling is also way behind that of the Suzuki. You can apply the same criticisms to the SuperTen.

      • William Connor

        Based on the review of low speed fueling issues, harsh fork dive under initial braking and less features it may handle better but those are some issues that are going to take money to fix.

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          A lot less money than it would take to get 75lbs or more off the Triumph or SuperTen.

  • Rameses the 2nd

    Being a noob to a morotcycle industry, why do people buy adventure bike? What does it really provide that a normal tourer (cruiser) or a sports tourer wouldn’t provide? Is it mainly a style thing? Clearly, no one is going to do real off-road riding with a 500 lbs motorcycle.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      They’re super comfy, offer great vision and they’re slimmer and more manageable than an equivalent tourer. Long travel suspension is also appreciated on today’s “roads.”

      • Rameses the 2nd

        Thanks Wes.

    • Christopher Murdock

      They really come into their own in places like Colorado where a highway will abruptly change to a dirt road with 9% grades. I did this once on my Z750S, never again.

  • Nemosufu Namecheck

    Solid review – this bike sounds like a best buy for 2014.

  • Guest

    Great review and pics. How about getting some of those awesome photos that you took available in wallpaper sizes!

    • PAIR STROMS

      oops, sorry for the huge pic, thought I was adding an avatar! Please delete

  • PAIR STROMS

    Great review and pics. How about getting some of those awesome photos that you took available in wallpaper sizes!

  • Mike

    I’m curious about the service intervals (oil changes) and the valve check/adjustment intervals.

  • BillW

    Wes, you wrote “the new, dual-throttle valve (one’s electronic, one’s manual) arrangement…”

    I’m wondering what exactly is new about it, since my ’02 V-Strom 1000 had the same setup.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Fuel injectors are up from 4 holes to 10, the engine now meets Euro 3 (instead of 2) and is something like 13 percent more fuel efficient.

  • Mariofz1

    I never liked the top heavy feeling of the old V-strom 1000…..the 650 was/is so much better.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Well, this is a new motorcycle that you haven’t ridden.

  • Chris

    So this competes with the BMW GS wouldn’t it be cool if they made a version using this same engine to compete with the RT

  • Arno

    My brother has a V-Strom 650, awesome bike, this one is so much better in every way, I’m glad they updated the styling, the older models are hideous, I might just have to go take a look at this bike

  • Rob M

    The common man’s Multistrada… and I want.

  • William Connor

    I got to sit on this bike and take a good long look at it. (I have no riding impression yet.) Here are some of my initial takes on it. It fits the price. The finish of the overall bike is cheap. Compared to the GS, Explorer, Multistrada, and KTM it is not in the same league. There are exposed cables, lines, seat materials are cheap. There are several easily snagged and damageable cables, and an exposed rear master cylinder that are protected and packaged out of the way on other ADV bikes this will compete against. The front wheel has the ABS cable mounted outboard of the fork leg making it a very weak part of the motorcycle. The Tiger 800 and GS800 offer significantly better bargains with comparable power, more amenities and a better fit and finish. The motorcycle sits really far over on the side stand compared to the other ADV bikes, so while it might be lighter on paper it is harder to lift off of the side stand. This condition will only get worse as you load it down. The seat to peg relationship is roomy, however the peg location is right where you want to drop your feet at a light. This makes it harder for a shorter rider to reach the ground comfortably even with a low seat height. My wife who is 5’6 is significantly more comfortable sitting on the GS or Explorer compared to the V-Strom. These all add up to a bike that falls short in too many places to be a top notch category buster. It is simply a less expensive ADV styled bike that cuts some corners to get there. Let’s be honest lot’s of people are going to like this bike, it has some glaring ADV flaws that many have glossed over in their reviews for whatever reason.