Providing the best of both worlds, the 2023 Suzuki V-Strom 1050DE is the perfect combination of a well proven adventure tourer with dirt bike inspired upgrades, giving you endless opportunities to go anywhere.
Well priced, with aggressive body styling and a tall stance, the V-Strom combines a 21-inch front wheel with plenty of tech to ensure you have what you need to take on rough terrain or tarmac traffic.
Featuring Suzuki’s exciting 1037cc 90 degree V-twin engine, producing 79kW of power and 100Nm of torque, the Japanese bike maker claims the power plant is a motor that aims to please, and boy does it do that, and more.
The mid-range torque comes on strong and the engine loves to be revved. It’s such a fun riding experience too, and the 6-speed gearbox just adds to that. With updated gear ratios for 2023, and a new first gear for better acceleration, it’s smooth to ride.
A bi-directional quick shift system allows the rider to complete almost seamless clutch-less gear shifts, and even features auto blip rev matching to ensure tidy down shifts. A slipper clutch helps reduce rider fatigue by delivering a super light clutch lever pull.
The suspension sees a fully adjustable KYB 43mm telescopic fork with 170mm of travel on the front, with a rear link swing arm offering 169mm of travel. It features a preload which can be quickly adjusted by turning a dial by hand.
That makes setting up the suspension for a heavy load of gear or carrying a pillion a breeze. An excellent braking performance starts on the front with Tokico radial mount monobloc four-piston front brake callipers and 310mm floating dual discs.
The rear sees a two-piston pin slide calliper with a 260mm disc. Braking is further enhanced by a combined system which applies both front and rear stopping power, when using the front brake lever.
The 1050DE also comes with wire-spoked wheels that really stand out in anodized blue, with the combination of the larger front wheel and 17-inch rear allowing for superior handling on the dirt.
It comes fitted with Dunlop Trailmax Mixtour tyres as standard, but our tester was optioned with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR rubber. The latter are more dirt oriented and provided plenty of grip and confidence off road.
The 5.0-inch TFT multi-information display is well laid out and easy to read, even in bright sunlight, and the screen will automatically switch between day and night modes (which can also be done manually).
The traction, engine map and ABS settings are clearly displayed on the main screen along with a large gear indicator and tacho. It flashes when the engine revs reach a pre-set speed. The 1050DE is also equipped with the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System.
This comprises a range of electronic control systems designed to support the rider under any conditions, including traction and cruise control, hill hold, Suzuki’s drive mode selector and slope dependent control.
Traction control has three levels of intervention, with the highest really stepping in under hard acceleration to prevent wheelspin and the front-end lifting. You can of course turn it off and cut the wild beast loose too.
A new traction setting called G Mode allows for a good amount of traction loss, making power slides out of corners on dirt feel controlled and stable. Hill hold automatically applies the rear brake for 30 seconds after coming to a stop on an incline, and is a handy feature.
Slope dependent control constantly monitors the angle of the bike and if required controls brake pressure, preventing the rear wheel from lifting. For everything else, there’s ABS, in two levels of strength, as well as the ability to shut it off completely.
In terms of drive modes, each of the three on offer gives the rider different engine mapping settings to match current conditions or rider preferences. Mode A (Active) gives the most aggressive power and torque, with Mode B (Basic) giving a more linear experience.
Mode C (Comfort) has the softest throttle response and gentle torque curve. With a seat height of 880mm shorter riders will struggle to touch the ground and might find the tall stance intimidating, but a 30mm lower seat height is an option.
Specs aside, we headed out in search of dirt to really test this beast out. The V-Strom 1050DE doesn’t disappoint, and feels stable and planted on open terrain. It’s a blast to ride at speed, and you can get some nice controlled power slides happening through corners.
Negotiating the tight rocky tracks takes a bit more skill with the weight of a big capacity bike and tall stance, and it is constantly challenging you, but the real limiting factor here is only rider skill, as it will go anywhere you dare to take it.
The suspension is very good, it soaked up plenty of big hits in the rough stuff at speed without losing control, and allowed us to push it harder than we expected. On the open roads it’s comfortable.
The 190mm ground clearance allowed us to easily cross rivers without getting into grief, and get over big rocks without getting hung up. An aluminium bash plate protects the engine and lower frame from impacts and is great addition to the standard equipment list.
The tapered handlebars are at a comfortable height in both the seated and standing positions, and the foot pegs are nice and wide. This helped with stability and makes the package feel stable.
Overall, the Suzuki V-Strom 1050DE is more than capable on the road and off, the ride is plenty capable and there’s loads of grunt on tap. The seat is comfortable on long stints and the screen helps keep the wind off the rider.
We would like to see the same tool-less adjustability of the screen that’s available on the road version of this bike though, because setting cruise control and just sitting back to enjoy the view is epic.
The LED headlight puts out a good amount of light and LED tail light and turn signals fit in nicely with the rest of the design. The handlebar mounted controls are well placed and easy to use. The USB port allows for easy connection to a phone.
A bar for the windscreen provided us with the perfect location to mount our phone for navigation too, and there’s also a 12v socket under the seat. Standard-fit crash bars provide good protection. There’s a centre stand but at 252kg, it’s hard to get the bike up.
We averaged 4.55-litres/100km over the course of our rides, with a mixture of slow dirt tracks, open country and highways. That makes the 20-litre tank good for about 400km. In case you’re wondering, the 2023 Suzuki V-Strom 1050DE is priced from $24,690 ride away.
Available in three colour schemes, including Champion Yellow/Metallic Matte Sword Silver, Glass Sparkle Black/Metallic Matte Black and Pearl Vigor Blue/Pearl Brilliant White (as tested), it’s offered with a 1-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
Our test bike was supplied by Suzuki Motorcycles Australia. To find out more about the 2023 V-STROM 1050DE, contact your local Suzuki Motorcycles Australia dealer.