For many years I’ve been one of the biggest fans of the Suzuki V-Stroms (1000 and 650 of course) having covered many happy and trouble-free kilometers on both. So I was more than keen to ride this little maroon offering to see if it could carry on that name or hide away in shame.
Well at the end of my two weeks with Slim Strom the only thing in ‘shamesville’ was me, because I thought the 248cc, fuel injected, SOHC, parallel-twin would dissolve my un-paralleled (sorry for the pun), respect for the V-Strom badge. It didn’t.
I enforced my belief many times to interested viewers of the DL250, who all said, ‘Oh, see you’re on the 650’. Now there’s one tick, it does look and feel like a ‘proper’ medium/large motorcycle. Once informed that it’s only the 250 though frowns appeared as they thought it’s too underpowered for its 188kg mass. Now let me just shout out here; DO NOT think of the 250 V-Strom like that, instead think of it as a very good motorcycle with a very, very economical and reliable motor.
Obviously 25hp and 24Nm of torque won’t blow your skirt up but when the initial thrashing has passed and you come to enjoy the smoothness, perfect gearbox and ease of use, it becomes the nicest of companions. Talking of ‘skirt’ if one more person says, ‘nice bike ideal for ladies’, I’ll head butt them like a woodpecker with a dreadful hangover. Why just ladies? I loved it so much I’m actually asking to run one on a long-term basis because on a daily ‘nipping-around-town’ basis it’s hard to beat? What about a withered little teenager/middle-aged business person/ old man/grandmother because they can all ride this with zero intimidation compared too much bigger machines?
If you do happen to be in the autumn years of your life though, like myself, you’ll enjoy how comfortable the DL250 is, maybe I’d change the ‘bars for wider ones but that’s just me and cheap to change. As I was sitting in the thick seat I liked the view to the digital clocks with a sun peak, visor thing to prevent the sun blazing out the screen like many digital clocks on many bikes do, right? Clever that and thoughtful, as are the hefty rack and pannier brackets, 12-volt external socket and metal sump-guard, all usually big bike additions.
Talking of changing things, what about the gearing? 140km/h on the highway, even at our power-sapping altitude, and it hits the rev-limiter in top gear. I would immediately raise the gearing by at least one tooth on the front sprocket, maybe more. The DL250’s party trick, which I revealed like a child to many, is to show them sixth gear on the clocks and pull away with hardly any clutch abuse. Do this easy modification and the Slim Strom will easily pass 150 km/h cruise less frantically and, again, it’s a very cheap to achieve exercise. Still, even with the stock gearing and once you’re up in the higher gears, it’s a soothing place to be and one of the easiest bikes to ride through daily traffic in Jo’burg, which is important for commuter use.
If you hate spending money you’ll adore how frugal the DL250 is. I didn’t record any exact figures from the large 17-litre tank but two weeks later, and after a good few hundred kilometres, I’d spent R150 on petrol. Buy one and leave that big fat 4x4 at home and it’ll more than pay for itself on all counts. You can even have a black, this red maroon or my choice of yellow to match your lifestyle. This all means more money for the pub, holidays and other social gatherings especially when you consider infuriating fuel price increases to inevitably come again.
As for the normal attributes of a motorcycle platform, the DL250 has a superb chassis and well-sorted suspension, better than anything in its class and I’ll leave you to work out what they are for fear of broken windows. The brakes are more than sufficient, even with a passenger, and Bosch take care of the ABS system. In fact everything a V-Strom should have actually and for a mere R73,250 I think it’s terrific value for a bag of rands, not to mention the hyper-low running and service costs.
So if you’re after something that’s fun, good looking, reliable, versatile, economical and which the whole family can enjoy, you’ve just read about it. I’d like one in my garage for sure, the yellow one please so it looks even more like the two bigger brothers, tremendous!
Go to www.suzukimotorcycle.co.za to locate your closest dealer for a ride.