Review of: 2005 Suzuki DL650 V-Strom
Year, Brand, Model: 2005 Suzuki DL650 V-Strom
Submitted By: BC-Rider
All reviews by BC-Rider
Review Created: Aug 8, 2012
Last Update: Oct 6, 2021
Vehicle Type: Street Bike
Vehicle Subtype(s): Sport Standard, Adventure Touring
Engine Displacement (cc): 650
Ownership: Previously
Evaluation Period: 11 years
Evaluation Distance / Hours: 32000 km
Rider Details
Height: 175 cm
Inseam: 81 cm
Weight: 65 kg
Same Type Vehicles Owned: 6
Years Riding Vehicle Type: 20

The motor, long distance comfort, versatility, reliability

Feels a bit top heavy when fully fueled, tall seat for some, windscreen could be better

[Updated on RoadAndTrail.net] I purchased my V-Strom 650 new in the spring of 2005. I only put about 32000 km on it, which I admit is not much for eleven years of ownership, but there were a few seasons that I didn’t have much opportunity to ride, and lately I’ve been doing more dual sport riding.

The V-Strom 650 (aka Wee-Strom) is a great all around street bike. It handles quite well, although not as well as a true sport bike on good pavement, but it will easily go places that you wouldn’t want to take a sport bike. It makes a good light weight touring bike although it’s not as comfortable as a purpose built touring bike; it makes a good commuter too. You can ride it down a gravel road or an easy trail, but it’s not going to go everywhere a true dual sport can. It’s not the best at any one thing, but it is very versatile.

The bike has been criticized for its appearance, but I think it looks okay. I’ve found the bike reasonably comfortable and have ridden it more than 750 km in a day. Yes, my bum was getting a little sore by the end of the day, but not too bad. I’ve ridden bikes that have had far worse seats. The weather protection is decent, but the windscreen is not the best. I think the problem is that it’s too far forward. When riding in “dirty” air (like when following a large vehicle on a major highway) there is a fair amount of turbulence around your helmet. When riding on a secondary highway with little traffic I find that the windscreen is adequate. I’ve never found the windscreen bad enough that I felt I had to replace it, although many riders do.

The V-Strom really shines when riding on back roads, especially if the pavement is a bit rough (frost heaves, cracks, patches, etc.). The suspension is well suited for less than ideal road conditions. If you ever have to ride through stretches of road construction, you have no need to be concerned because the bike handles gravel and rough roads just fine.

A few features that make this bike a good light weight touring bike are that it has a large fuel tank (22 l), low fuel consumption (23 km/l = 65 mpg), a wide, reasonably comfortable seat, decent weather protection, an upright riding position and a standard luggage rack. There are a number of factory and after-market accessories available like side cases, engine guards, top boxes and seats.

The engine is very smooth (much smoother than the motor in the pre-2015 Kawasaki Versys 650) and has a strong low and mid range with decent power on top. Acceleration is reasonably brisk. At an indicated 100 km/h, the engine is spinning at about 4600 rpm when in 6th gear, so it’s quite relaxed feeling. The bike is fuel injected, and fueling is good for the most part. At a constant low speed with low load on the engine, there can be a bit of surging. At highway speeds it’s not detectable.

The bike has been reliable. I have not had any issues at all except for having to replace the fuel filter at 30,900 km (the fuel pump had started making a high pitched noise). Maintenance requirements are minimal. Basic maintenance is very simple. The valves clearances were checked at 25000 km and only one front exhaust valve was slightly tight (.01 mm less than spec.). Access to the rear valves is easy once the fuel tank is removed. The fuel line at the tank is easy to disconnect. Access to the front valves is quite restricted because of the radiator and radiator shroud. There is barely enough room to use a torque wrench on the valve cover bolts. There is adequate room to measure the valve clearances, though. In order to adjust the valve clearances, the cam chain adjusters need to be removed. Access to the cam chain adjuster mounting and cap bolts is limited. The spark plugs looked okay (minimal wear) at that time, but were replaced anyway during the valve clearance inspection because it's a bit of a hassle to get at them. The original battery was getting weak in the fall of 2013; I had to put in a new one in the spring of 2014.

The original tires worked well on the road. I replaced both tires with Michelin Anakee 2’s at 21,400 km. The rear should have been replaced a bit sooner, but the new tires were on back order. The front showed cupping (uneven wear) at that time, so it was replaced even though it wasn’t worn down to the wear bars yet. The Anakee 2s work well, and I like them. The front seems to have quickened the steering somewhat. Other additions to the bike include the Suzuki centre stand and hand guards. Other than that, I’ve kept the bike stock.

The bike feels a bit top heavy when lifting it off the side stand when fully fueled. Once moving the top heavy feeling goes away. The seat is a bit high for some riders. The seat height is about 32 inches, but the seat is also wide making it more difficult to put your legs straight down. The seat on the newer V-Strom is higher, but the seat is a bit narrower at the front.

All in all the V-Strom is a great all around street bike that is quite comfortable for long distance riding and handles quite well during spirited riding on back roads. It has a great motor that makes more than adequate power for most riding situations. It is very versatile and reliable. It has been one of the better bikes that I have owned. I sold the bike in 2016 with about 32,000 km on it. I may buy a new one for 2017, but I'll see what else is available at that time.