How things change with time. When I first climbed aboard the new, and very good-looking, DL1050TX, I was a bit so-so but, after a few weeks living with it, everything changed. So much so that in fact I now believe this is quite possibly the ‘nicest’ motorcycle I’ve ever ridden. Sure some of the ‘others’ make more power and have more ‘stuff’ but riding the new V-Strom on a daily basis enforces my belief that you couldn’t be on a better saddle.
Now, that’s some statement coming from me, as I seem to moan about everything and find fault with just about anything, except this new updated V-Strom that is. Look, the chassis is basically the same with revised and superb KYB suspension but, somehow, Suzuki has made it feel like a brand new model.One reason is the new look, resembling the old DR-Z range with a prominent beak that a toucan would be proud of. I think it’s a clever idea to make the DL1050XT different, timeless and memorable from the current mass of large and more modern looking adventure bikes, if you know what I mean?I think most of my Oscar winning nominations are down to their 20 year-old engine, well sort of. Obviously the 90-degree, DOHC, V-twin has a wealth of modifications this year and initially coming from the TL, SV and original V-Strom in 2002 it’s even more reliable, if that’s possible. I’ve seen V-Stroms with over 500,000km that still run and start perfectly. Suzuki even claim that their new 1050 has been designed to be more reliable, so I’m not going to argue, except for saying that the DL1050 could be the most reliable big adventure bike on the planet.A good reason alone to buy one and, after two weeks together, I believe if you buy one you’d keep it for life, or until yours runs out and hand it over to the kids. It just oozes that sort of confidence in not only the engine strength but in the way it’s built, a bit like those unbreakable Tonka steel toy trucks, remember those?Inside the historical 1,037cc engine are new throttle bodies (45mm to 49mm), new cams, pistons, cylinder liners, etc. They now claim 106hp so with a quick dyno run we found it makes 10hp more than the previous bike with a peak of 95hp and 90Nm. But just look at the torque curve, it’s so close to perfection with no dips and an equally impressive smooth power curve. Suzuki even says it’s more fuel efficient, and with 16.7km/litre showing on the new clocks (riding briskly), which aren’t full colour TFT I’m afraid, but commendable figures again. Now that’s superb economy from 1,000cc+ and with 20-litres to play with the ‘Strom will go far.This leads to why the DL1050XT is sooo ‘nice’, the comfort levels. No bike in this class has a better seat and it does make one wonder why ‘others’ seem to forget about the human arse, right? In fact the riding position puts the rider in a lazy stance, ideal for short or long journeys, and the pillion too. Interestingly, or not, the rear seat has a centralised and pronounced V-Strom badge going from front to back, which some ladies might enjoy more than they should, if you catch my drift?Exciting seats aside the DL1050XT just eats the miles with its slothful motor. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, it’s just low revving and full of torque and wafts along with little strain, if any. Again, to me, the prefect touring engine, and that’s where the 1050 fits best. Sure it’s not a hard-core off-road bike but more than capable of eating up a rough dirt lane. The updated KYB suspension takes care of that nicely as does the bag full of new electronics. Always a bit of a boring subject to me, so just go Suzuki’s website and they’ll explain more in a clinical manner. However, I did enjoy the hill control, low rpm assist (anti-stall), cruise control and surprisingly good wheelie potential when the traction control is turned off. All so easy to access when Honda’s Africa Twin for example, most certainly is not.
I also prefer the 19-inch front wheel for roadwork as the Honda can feel a bit vague on the front end when pushed hard with its 21-inch variant, but that’s personal taste. And the DL1050’s Tokico monobloc callipers are ample to bring the 247kg (kerb weight) to a halt. What I’m getting to is it can be ridden quite hard and rewarding when required and get to around 230km/h if you fancy, behind the 11-way adjustable and highly efficient screen.Now this XT version also comes with parts you don’t need to add (spend), like the ‘others’ tend to. Full crash bars, hand guards and a very handy main stand are all included in the R221,950 price with the matching pannier set as an option. That price is great value in this competitive market. To be honest I wouldn’t add anything to this variation, not even a loud pipe, because the new induction noise is quite addictive when you find its sweet spot. I mean, do you really want a loud note from the exhaust on a 1,000km hike, some do, but I don’t!What I do like is this colour option, that’s orange and not red as it can look in the images, and its stance and style. There’s the historic yellow one as well, and black, but I think I’d choose this option. To be honest I’d choose the new DL1050XT over anything at the moment as a bike for South Africa and I can’t say more than that, besides, nice, nice, baby. Visit: www.suzukimotorcycle.co.za for technical details and dealer location.
Images by 2ft-Stu