Two years after the unveiling of the Suzuki V-Strom 250, the Baby-Strom is finally here, joining a new baby adventure touring sector for novice riders.
The DL250 ABS ($7190 ride away) joins a burgeoning crop of baby adventurers: Benelli Leoncino Trail ($9590 ride away), BMW R 310 GS ($5790 + ORC), Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 ($11,990 + ORC), Honda CB500XA ($7999 + ORC), Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ($5990 + ORC), 400cc Royal Enfield Himalayan ($5990 + ORC), SWM RS300 ($8290 +ORC) and Honda 190cc Night Hawk, although the latter is yet to be released here.
There is also talk of an adventure version of the KTM Duke 390 coming.
While the adventure touring market is still dominated by big adventure bikes, it seems the “babies” are starting to make inroads in Australia.
In fact, half of the top 10 adventure bikes in Australia are 650cc or below.
And why shouldn’t they?
Adventure tourers are versatile machines. They are light and manoeuvrable in traffic, stable on the highway, and capable enough for some light dirt-road work.
So you can ride to work, head out on the highway at the weekends to your favourite piece of country, then hit the dirt roads for some exploring.
The Suzuki V-Strom 650cc and 1000cc models have long been popular in Australia, so the look-alike Baby-Strom shouldn’t be a hard sell.
And it should appeal to a wide range of riders as the 800mm seat height is quite low for an adventure bike. In fact, it’s only 1cm higher than the low Ducati Scrambler.
The V-Strom 250 is powered by a 248cc parallel-twin engine with only 18kW of power, but Suzuki claims the engine has been optimised to maximise low-to-mid range torque. Plus, it only weighs 178kg.
We also suspect to it gets pretty good fuel economy which should supply more than 300km of touring range from the 15-litre tank.
Stopping power is handled by a 290mm petal-type disc and twin-piston caliper up front, a 240mm petal-type disc with a single-piston caliper on the rear and BOSCH ABS.
Styling is similar to the other models, but the round headlight has a hard anodised finish which Suzuki designed to resemble a flashlight. I’m not sure why they did that or what the advantage is. It actually looks fairly standard to me.
Other design elements include swept 10-spoke wheels, a short V-Strom beak and Dakar-style high-mounted instruments.
The latter is not just about design but practicality as it allows you to see important information without having to divert your eyes from the road.
It should also be visible when standing on the footpegs although it would be even better if it was able to tilt back.
The instrument panel is quite comprehensive for a novice bike with a speedometer, tachometer, odometer, dual trip meters, gear position, fuel range, average consumption, fuel gauge, RPM indicator, oil change timing indicator and a clock.
There is also a handy DC socket right next to the dashboard.
Suzuki says its compact windscreen has been through “extensive wind tunnel testing”. Certainly the updated V-Strom 650 has less buffeting than the previous model which was a shocker.
A feature we love is the dedicated mounting clips on the rear subframe so you can fit Suzuki’s quick-releasepanniers.
The clips are neat and discrete, and there are no ugly racks to fit.
You can also fit a fair bit of luggage on the aluminium rear rack which has a load capacity of 8.5kg and accommodates a quick-release Suzuki top box.
This machine may be a baby in the range, but it has a lot of kit and is well set up to do some serious adventure touring.
It arrives later this month in Champion Yellow or Metallic Triton Blue and Suzuki’s 12-month, unlimited kilometre warranty.
V-STROM 250 SPECIFICATIONS
$7190 RIDE AWAY
PARALLEL TWIN, LIQUID-COOLED, 4-VALVE, SOHC
6-SPEED CONSTANT MESH
TELESCOPIC FORK WITH 115MM TRAVEL
SWINGARM, MONOSHOCK WITH 125MM TRAVEL
DUAL PISTON CALIPER, SINGLE 290MM WAVE DISC WITH ABS
SINGLE PISTON CALIPER, SINGLE 240MM DISC WITH ABS
PEARL BLACK / CHAMPION YELLOW / METALLIC TRITON BLUE