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Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 / DL650 Info and Accessories

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Suzuki VStrom 1000 Suzuki VStrom 650

The '05 VStroms have blacked out frames and new graphics, as shown above. The 1000 is available in blue or black; the 650 in blue or red. Red VStrom picture by Rodger Buddle.

For a new 2004 DL 1000, expect to pay about $7900 + license + sales tax, about $8600 OTD in CA. A few riders have paid a bit less.

For a new 2004 DL 650, expect to pay about $5950 + license + sales tax, about $6500 OTD in CA. I paid $6525 OTD for mine in CA. Dealer cost is $5350 + setup.

Warning: Suzuki does not honor warranties!

I have bought cha new Suzukis, which you might think would make me a good customer of theirs. Here's my story:

  1. 1st Suzuki I bought, brakes went out at 3000 miles. I was coming down a mountain road, and trashed my rotors from metal to metal contact. The calipers didn't release and the brakes were always dragging. The warranty guys told me, "Brakes aren't covered. That's normal wear and tear."

  2. 3rd Suzuki I bought, 2000 miles, at 72mph on straight level concrete would go into tank slappers (that's a front end wobble where your handlebars are slamming from full left stop to full right stop and back about three times per second). The dealer's head mechanic rode the bike and came back with a white face. He called Suzuki for permission to work on the bike, and was told by the factory "The state speed limit is 55. Keep the bike over the weekend, don't do anything to it, and tell him it's fixed."

  3. 12th Suzuki, DL650, delivered with triple clamps (front fork attachment, these keep the front wheel on) and rear brake calipers loose, never tightly attached to the bike.

  4. 13th Suzuki, DR200 for son #2, at 1000 miles the tail light and rear turn signals fell off the bike, it seems they don't remember how to tighten screws.

  5. 14th Suzuki, DR200 for son #1, at 1000 miles the tail light and rear turn signals fell off the bike. At 3000 miles the front brakes wore out, the calipers never released. Suzuki factory told me "Normal wear and tear, brakes aren't covered." At 4400 miles the cam chain broke stranding my son on the way home from school. The front brakes are also worn out again.

Ask anyone in the industry, they'll be happy to tell you that Suzuki is famous for trying to save money on warranty claims. Suzukis are fun bikes to ride, but heaven help you if you get one of the 20% that needs warranty work.

V-Strom Known Mechanical Issues

For street use, your front tire should be at 37-40psi. Although the bike will feel just fine with 32psi in the front, modern tires will develop a strange wear pattern at these air pressures, particularly if you ride for long distances on hot days at freeway speeds. For off- pavement, 15 to 20 psi will improve your handling and traction immensely, but you must have a small compressor with you to re-inflate the tires when you get back to the pavement.

The spark plug gaps (.024-.028") called out in the 650 owners manual are incorrect. Suzuki confirms that the gaps (.028-.031") listed in the service manual are the correct ones. Thanks to Steve Pochynok for tracking this down.

Some DL650s have a problem with their wire harness being incorrectly routed. Details and the fix are here. Dealers have apparently been instructed to look for this and correct it at your first service. If you do your own servicing, you'd best download the pictures and check your bike.

Many VStrom riders are complaining about their side stands being untrustworthy. You can grind a small amount off the stop on the side stand, which will allow it to go forwards a bit more and have a more positive stop. This problem is most pronounced when parking on a hill.

A fair number of riders are reporting coolant leaks, fixed by tightening up the hose clamps on all water pipe fittings.

Some riders are experiencing surging and rough running after filling up their bikes. This can be due to gas sloshing into your evaporative emissions canister, then getting sucked from there directly into the airbox. See How To Remove your Charcoal Canister below.

The stock Bridgestone Trailwing tires are gathering quite a reputation for lousy performance in the mud. It seems everyone who's ridden in mud has tipped over, yours truly included. You've been warned.

You're likely to break the front turn signals the first time you tip over. I did, and I'm not the only one. I replaced my front signals with flush mounts. See Electric below.

The VStrom electric system is designed with all grounds returned via wires to the battery ground. The frame should never be used as a ground return path on these bikes. Due to the fact that the frame is a mix of aluminum and steel, running current through these parts will result in an electrolytic reaction which will eat away at the frame. All added electrical accessories should have their ground current running through wires to the battery. Thanks to R.Cairns of Oz for pointing out this important fact.

Like most all Japanese motorcycles, the V-Strom speedometer reads high. I measured the following with my GPS: (these numbers were independently verified by a different rider, different bike, different GPS, same results)


V-Strom DL1000 Road Tests

V-Strom DL650 Road Tests

Dual Sport Trip Pics

V-Strom Links


Instructions for synchronizing your throttle bodies (410Kb)
Thanks to R.Cairns of Oz for this.

The V-Stroms use 525 chains. The 1000 uses 112 links; the 650 uses 118 links. You can expect the stock chain to need replacing at roughly 12,000 miles. Mine did. The DID VM XRing is recommended.

Oneida Suzuki has Suzuki parts at decent discounts.

Ron has Suzuki parts at so-so discounts. You must have part numbers. has Suzuki parts at so-so discounts. You must have part numbers.

Mr Cycles has Suzuki parts at so-so discounts. On-line fiche.

On Line DL1000 Service Manual

PDF files by Frank Filips, web space by Mike Schinkel
PDF files by Eric Williams.

Gas Mileage

I rode my DL650 'till it ran out of gas. When it runs out of gas, it stops quite suddenly with almost no warning and that's it, you're pushing. It took 5.65 gallons on the side stand, filled as per the manual, not topped off. I then stood the bike up straight and topped it off until you couldn't spit into it. 5.94 gallons.

On my DL650, riding in the People's Republic of California and burning the horse urine that they sell here as gasoline, I get about 46-48 mpg just riding around. My best tank to date is 52mpg, my worst was 36mpg. In my travels, I have definitely noticed that I get better gas mileage east of Utah than I do in the west. Update: Well, sorry, now most of the country is burning some varient of gasohol, and we're all getting crummy gas mileage.

At high speeds the drag on a motorcycle is primarily from the velocity2 aerodynamic term. Below about 30 mph the drag is dominated by internal bike friction, not wind. Around town a lot of your gas goes into braking and acceleration.

Anyway, my observation for constant speed cruising in the PR of CA is:

VStrom 650 Gas mileage and Range
Indicated speedMPGRange in miles

There's a rider in LA with a 17 tooth countershaft sprocket and Metzeler ME880 tires running at the maximum allowed pressure (55psi), who claims he regularly gets 52-55 mph cruising on the freeway at 75-90 mph indicated. If you're interested in best gas mileage, this is the way to go.

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