Scissors unfold. Suzuki introduced the V-Strom 1050DE with a large front wheel

Suzuki probably had no idea how much it would hit the customer’s taste with the V-Strom model introduced exactly 20 years ago. The first liter machine with this name was introduced for the year 2002, until two years later came the 650, which eventually overtook its larger sibling in popularity. Even to the extent that after 50,000 units of the first generation were sold, the liter V-Strom was withdrawn from the European market. However, the change in customer tastes required its return, the second generation came in the 2014 model year and you recognized it by the new design with a small horn under the light, to which Suzuki makes a historical claim, because the legendary DR Big used to have this solution long before it BMW arrived in its GS. This second generation already had an enlarged engine from 996 to 1037 cm3, nice electronic equipment and, above all, the quality of its predecessor, i.e. it was a very easy-to-maneuver travel machine, capable of transporting you even over worse surfaces. Also, 35,000 of these new Trees were sold within a few years.

The first V-Strom 1000 (2002) and the second version of the V-Strom 1000 (2014)

The third generation, that was the year 2020 and what we already remembered in the introduction, that is, for the first time ever, the big V-Strom appeared in two versions. Although the engine volume has not changed, the name has changed from V-Strom 1000 to V-Strom 1050, but it is not surprising that Suzuki wanted to differentiate the new product somehow. The reference to the DR Biga here was in the overall design, not just in the beak, electronically Suzuki moved higher again and especially the new XT version was significantly different in terms of equipment than was the case with the small six hundred and fifties, where the alloy wheels were only replaced with braided ones . Admittedly, the price difference between the two versions was greater than the smaller models, but the extra 10% for the XT was nothing when you considered what you were getting for it. And from the financial point of view, the V-Strom was a big attraction that 15,000 customers heard about in those three years. It’s just that the true believers of DR Bigs and adventurers often going outside of civilization let themselves be told that the XT is simply still very roady. It would need something more in the field…

The third generation offered the standard V-Strom 1050 and the 1050XT version (2020)

And so Suzuki listened to them and for 2023 the new one is here, already fourth generation. In terms of external appearance, you won’t recognize anything at first glance, the new V-Strom looks the same as before, but under the hood is the standard variant improved by a few elements and the V-Strom 1050DE version is completely new. This is what we wanted the XT to look like three years ago. You can find the ones already mentioned here large front wheeldifferent geometry, suspension with larger strokes and overall, the motorcycle is taller and better equipped for off-road driving, including in terms of electronics. So let’s discuss it in detail.

Development and testing of the new V-Strom 1050 DE model

First, let’s look at what both models have in common. Parameters of a 90° fork twin cylinder with a volume of 1037 cm3 they haven’t changed, it’s still here 107 horses and 100 Newton meters, and actually from a mechanical point of view, everything is the same except for the sodium-filled exhaust valves, which help maintain a lower temperature in the combustion chamber. But if we look at the gearbox, there are already bigger changes there. One and six are more “up to speed” for a smoother transition from one to two and from five to the last qualt. But she also rear rosette enlarged from the original 41 to 45 teeth, and if you look at the old and new gear ratios, both changed gears are just a bit faster than before, but on the second to fifth gears the engine will have a better pull than before, and between the first two gears it won’t be as rebound. The customer will certainly appreciate that, but I think he will be even more happy that both V-Stroms receive standard two-way quickshift!

This brings us to the next area, and that is electronics. Again, both versions of the V-Strom 1050 will receive a comprehensive package at Suzuki known as SIRS (Suzuki Intelligent Riding System), which includes a lot of individual elements, some of which have been here before and some of which have not. The six-axis inertial unit is now the same for both versions, which is definitely great news for the standard one, which also received cruise control, until this year reserved only for the XT version. It will work from two higher and in the range from 25 to 160 km/h. The electronic throttle has been given a slightly stiffer action, especially at the start of opening, which should bring better control and a more “wired” feel. They are still here three engine maps (Active, Basic, Comfort), Easy Start (just tap the starter button) or Low RPM Assist (the idling speed is raised when first gear is engaged), as well as switchable three-stage traction control. But beware, it still has a position in the DE model G for Gravelwhich really only prevents excessive slippage of the rear wheel, but should allow some drifting in the terrain.

And the change is also in the opposite action, i.e. braking, where until now you could choose from two levels of tilting ABS intervention, but the DE variant brings the desired option turning off the anti-lock brake at least on the rear wheel. In addition, the brake electronics are also equipped with a system for downhill descent (Slope Dependent Control System) and for braking when standing uphill (Hill Hold Control System), in addition, it can detect whether you are driving solo or loaded according to the behavior of the machine, and adjust its operation accordingly , mainly the distribution of braking force between the front and rear wheels.

But you will notice the biggest electronic change after you get on it, and that’s it new TFT display. Eureka! The V-Strom really needed this, the old LCD display with the font from the 80s was just tragic. This year’s GSX-S1000GT road racer showed that Suzuki does know how to make a nice instrument panel, and what the Japanese have installed on the new Stromek will be really nice to look at. With a 5″ diagonal, it is not a mega TV, but it will certainly be a sufficient size for an adventure game. Plus, there’s a day and night view, and warnings will pop up at you in big squares. Control is classically from the left handlebar, and it must be remembered that Suzuki has never been a fan of complexity, so it should be pretty intuitive. No mention of connectivity in the press release, so it looks like this alarm clock won’t be as smart as a smartwatch, but still – thanks Suzuki!

Finally a TFT display

The only change to the chassis that is common to both versions is that the aluminum double spine frame is lighter and stiffer at the same time thanks to different production methods. And then it’s about those unfolding scissors. We’ll stick with the chassis, that’s where it’s most visible. While standard V-Strom 1050 has alloy wheels with diameters of 19″ in front and 17” rear, V-Strom 1050DE will offer braided rims and the front o large off-road diameter 21“. It’s a bit of a shame that the 17th was left behind, but the V-Strom wasn’t supposed to turn into a wreck anyway, so it probably won’t be a problem. The KYB suspension strokes (fully adjustable at the front, preload and hydraulic rebound at the rear) are indeed longer, but not extremely so when we go from the standard 160/160 mm to a combination 170/168 mm.

The aluminum double spine frame is lighter and stiffer at the same time

However, the DE version also gets another rear swingarm, which is longer while maintaining the same stiffness (it’s actually 10% better torsionally), which should go well with the larger front wheel. The wheelbase has thus been lengthened by 40 mm, the geometry of the front fork is also different, of course significantly blunter – the angle is almost two degrees, the pinion is longer by 16 mm. And speaking of numbers, the ground clearance has been raised by 25mm – the lifts will do something, the bigger wheel and longer swingarm will do something. Importantly, the bottom of the DE version protects the sturdy aluminum shell and on the sides of the engine you will find tubular parachutes.

DE version with 21-inch front wheel (top) versus standard and 19-inch (bottom)

Of course, the rider will recognize the higher clearance as soon as they get on it, the V-Strom 1050DE is 25 mm higher than the standard version. However, this is where the cards are turned for us compared to the existing versions, because with the standard you will be able to move the seat 20 mm higher, while on the DE it remains fixed at 880 mm and also has a different shape. Even the ergonomics are a little different, both because of the geometry and the larger front wheel (the whole bike has turned a little backwards), and because DE got significantly wider handlebars (by 20mm on each side) which are made of softer aluminum and thicker material, which is nice for shock absorption, and the footpegs here are wide toothed with removable rubber inserts. Compared to the standard with narrower handlebars and purely rubber footpegs, here your hands are 21.3 mm higher and 9 mm closer to each other, your legs are then 5.6 mm higher and 15.5 mm more in front, of course in relation to the saddle position.

We are left to discuss the differences in equipment. Previously, the standard and XT were quite different there, but now the standard version has improved quite a bit, when in addition to the bonuses mentioned above (cruise control, multi-axis electronics, adjustable seat) it also got handle protectors. It remains to be seen how it will be with the central stand, it is in all the photos, but not in the list of equipment. Both versions have full LED lighting, another bonus for the standard, which until now had to make do with bulb indicators, in the cockpit you will find USB socket, then a 12V socket under the seat. It’s also a big win for the standard plexiglasswhich until now was only adjusted using an Allen key to three positions, while now here is the solution known from the XT version, i.e. setting with quick release in the front part, up to 11 positions within 50 mm. With the DE version, you will then recognize that it is intended more for off-road use. Its smoked Plexiglas is a considerable 8 cm lower and a little narrower, and it can be adjusted exactly as with the standard until now – allen in three positions.

Plexiglas equipment and settings

It doesn’t work for me and I have to use the expression again: the scissors open. And while previously the standard version was bought by those who wanted to save, and the XT was for those who wanted full equipment, and at the same time the focus of both bikes was, despite the different appearance given the colors (standard sedate, XT wild) actually the same, so the V-Strom The 1050 from the 2023 model year is completely different.

Alone or in pairs?

Standard it will offer a lot of similar comfort equipment as the XT used to have, but remains on alloy wheels emphasizing rather the road direction, and against it DE version it aims for much more on gravel. Of course, with its strokes and weight exceeding a quarter ton, it’s still no Africa Twin or Super Adventure R, but it’s certainly much closer to the original DR Big than before. It remains to be seen how these personality changes will affect the prices. What we do know is that the standard will be in four, “dé-éčko” in three color combinations, Suzuki has already prepared a lot of accessories for both of them, and we should probably see the new V-Stroms in stores already at the beginning of next year. Although in today’s uncertain times plan something…

Standard V-Strom 1050

V-Strom 1050 DE

Official video

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Jan Rames – (Subscribe to the author’s articles)


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