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MOTORCYCLE – Suzuki’s DL650, the Versatile V-Strom

December 20, 2004
Filed under Features

It didn’t take long after Suzuki’s release of the SV650 to show company officials they had a great all-arounder in their line-up. After record sales, they introduced a 1000cc model hoping for similar success.
Suzuki then discovered it had a good thing in its V-Strom 1000 sport enduro tourer. But, while the 1000 is proving to be a very popular machine, some customers are finding it too big or a bit too pricey at $8,999. So, like it did with the SV, Suzuki again went one step further to broaden its base of potential buyers by introducing a smaller, lighter, less expensive DL, the 650.
Suzuki told Powersports Business it hopes to attract beginning and female riders to the bike.
The 650 has many of the same characteristics of the 1000, but comes in a scaled down version priced at $6,599. While the 417-pound 650 inherits its larger cousin’s frame, swingarm, front forks, wheels and tires, new to the 650 is a height adjustable windshield that can be moved up or down a maximum distance of two inches; a revamped instrument cluster; and a 32-inch seat, one inch lower than on the 1000 model.
The V-Strom is equipped with a 6-speed transmission, while most of its competitors in the 650cc middleweight category are powered by a 5-speed transmission. The primary ratio and 1st to 6th ratios are the same as the quick and nimble SV650 model, however the final ratio is different from the SV650’s in order to achieve greater versatility.
Along with the 6th gear, the DL650’s DOHC V-twin engine is fuel-injected raising the bar for a middleweight 650cc machine. And the large 5.8-gallon fuel tank can take riders far before between
fill-ups.
The sporty suspension glides over bumps in the road hinting that the 650 could handle gravel surfaces for some distance. The 43mm-diameter-stanchion tube front forks, the same as the V-Strom 1000, provide enough rigidity to smooth out the roughest of pavement surfaces. The rear spring preload is adjustable to accommodate additional weight by turning a knob located just below the right sidecover. The brakes consist of two-piston dual discs up front and a single piston single disc in the rear.
While the DL650 has the adventurous looks and styling of an on-road/off-road machine, the Bridgestone radial tires are meant for the pavement. As Suzuki’s media relations manager, Mark Reese, said, this is “primarily an on-road machine, not an off-road bike.”
The DL650 can be accessorized with hard sidebags, a topcase, and a larger windshield for touring.

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