2014 SUZUKI V-STROM 1000

Last Year’s Concept Bike Will Soon Enter Production

Despite the fact that adventure touring is presently one of the most popular motorcycle categories, and European manufacturers like BMW and Ducati are selling every ADV bike they build—often with very steep price tags—the big four Japanese OEMs have mostly ignored this segment. When we gathered the latest big-bore adventure bikes to test in the Alps for this month’s cover story, only two were made in Japan, and one, Honda’s Crosstourer, was barely an ADV bike at all.

Adventure-bike enthusiasts will soon have another Japanese option to choose from, this time from Suzuki. At the same time as we were riding the Alps, Suzuki’s test department was having its own Alpine adventure doing what appears to be final validation testing on what will almost certainly be the 2014 V-Strom 1000, Suzuki’s f rst new ADV model since the original DL1000 V-Strom was released way back in 2002.

If it looks familiar, that’s because at last fall’s Intermot Expo, Suzuki showed a V-Strom 1000 “concept bike” that looked essentially identical to this prototype, from the tip of its beak to the tail end of its luggage rack. Suzuki apparently judged that concept as very well received.

Functionally, spare bodywork is in line with the modern ADV bike trends.

The prototype sits taller than the old DL1000, suggesting long-travel suspension, though an under-engine exhaust compromises ground clearance, suggesting this machine is made mostly for on-road adventures. Same for the cast 10-spoke wheels, which appear to be 19-inch front/17-in. rear. Suspension components look up to date with an inverted fork—with compression and rebound adjustment—and a linkage-assisted rear monoshock attached to a long, traction enhancing box-section aluminum swingarm.

Chain f nal drive and a conventional, cable-operated throttle, not ride-by-wire, should keep costs down, though perhaps at the expense of more sophisticated electronic features. Suzuki GSX-R sportbikes have offered switchable power modes for years, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see those here. And what better platform than a premium ADV bike to debut traction-control or other rider aids that Suzuki hasn’t offered?

Considering the refined state of this prototype, it’s almost certain this new model will be released in 2013, as a 2014 model. We’re looking forward to another affordably priced, Japanese-made option to join Yamaha’s Super Tenere and round out an already exciting adventure-bike category.

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