The V-Strom is a fantastically complete motorcycle. The seat is all-day comfortable, the power is all you need in the real world and the handling manages to be both nimble and stable. It’s the perfect bike, whether you’re running errands or sitting on the freeway for hours on end.
The Suzuki’s windscreen is incredibly effective at keeping rain and insects from hitting you and, with the aid of an adjustable lip, minimizes buffeting too.
Its panniers are enormous, lock securely shut and to the bike. The left one fits a full-face helmet, but the right is a tad smaller due to its need to fit next to the exhaust canister.
Pairing 40-50 mpg fuel economy with a 5.3 gallon gas tank gives the V-Strom a minimum range of 212 miles between fuel stops.
The CB500X is also stunningly complete. It’s more capable in town than any other motorcycle we can think of, combining a tall, upright riding position with excellent feel, sharp controls and a willing nature.
Its 17-inch wheels are sure footed over rough pavement and through slippery conditions in a manner reminiscent of a supermoto, just one that’s comfortable and practical.
Look at the Honda’s specs, it’s hard to put a finger on what makes it such a great bike. All we can say is, you ride it much faster and in much more confidence than you’d ever expect to, and have an absolute blast while doing so.
The CB500X’s 50 mpg+ fuel economy is great, its seat is comfortable, the bars are at the perfect level for six-foot riders and its little windscreen does a surprisingly good job of wind management. Every time we come back to it after riding something else, we find ourselves wondering, “How is this thing so good?”
Very little bad, on either bike.
The V-Strom’s panniers are extremely wide, making lane splitting stressful at best and simply impossible at worst.
The Honda’s motor gets buzzy at freeway speeds and won’t do such a good job of hauling luggage and passengers, but it’s so smooth that once you adapt to seeing the tachometer rev so close to the redline, there’s no problem cruising for hours on end at 80-85 mph.
As tested here, the 2013 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS Adventure has an MSRP of $9,999; a $1,500 premium of the $8,499 2013 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS. You could spend that extra money more effectively in the aftermarket, so we advise buying the base model.
The 2013 Honda CB500X starts at $5,999, going up to $6,499 for the 2013 Honda CB500X ABS. You will want the ABS.
Both motorcycles are extremely affordable, asking huge question of all the larger, more expensive motorcycles in the ADV class.
We hate to sound like one of those comparison tests in which everyone is declared a winner, but both of these bikes are stunningly capable and extremely affordable. So, deciding which one is better simply comes down to what kind of riding you do.
Is most of your riding in town, with weekends spent on good roads and the occasional long trip thrown in? Sounds like the Honda CB500X is right for you.
Spend most of your riding time doing distance, but also like riding twisty roads and occasionally pop into town? Then you want the Suzuki V-Strom 650.
You can’t go wrong with either bike.