In a highly competitive middle weight adventure market, the 2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE is a serious contender, and is second to none in providing serious bang for buck. Now more than ever, it’s a serious, off road capable, adventure tourer.
Powered by a liquid cooled 776cc parallel twin engine, which provides 62kW of power and 78Nm of torque, this new engine has a 270-degree crankshaft which makes it sound more V-twin. It also features the new Suzuki cross balancer.
The constant mesh 6-speed gearbox is paired with a bi-directional quick shift system that allows the rider to do smooth clutch-less gear changes. This comes in handy in tricky off road conditions. It’s designed to work like a slipper clutch, and is light and smooth.
A fully adjustable Showa fork on the front and a Showa rear shock with rebound and a handy dial-controlled preload adjuster, make setting up the suspension both convenient and easy. Suspension travel is a healthy 220mm both front and rear too.
That’s a real bonus on the roughest of tracks, and we never managed to bottom out the suspension during testing. Excellent braking performance starts on the front with lightweight Nissin dual-piston front brake callipers and 310mm floating dual discs.
The rear sees a single piston pin-slide Nissin calliper with a 260mm disc. Dirt inspired 21-inch front and 17-inch rear anodized gold wire-spoked wheels help the overall package provide superior handling on the dirt as well.
These come fitted from the factory with Dunlop Trailmax Mixtour tyres although our test model was fitted with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR rubber. More dirt orientated than the standard fit tyres, they provided plenty of grip and confidence on the rough stuff.
The 5.0-inch TFT multi-information display is well laid out and easy to read, even in bright sunlight. You can also choose between day and night modes, which can also be set to change automatically, dependent on current lighting conditions.
The traction, engine map and ABS settings are clearly displayed on the main screen, along with a large gear indicator and tacho, which flashes when the engine rpm’s reach your chosen pre-set speed. On the fuel front, you should be good for 4.2-litres/100km.
The 800DE is equipped with Suzuki’s intelligent ride system which comprises of a range of electronic control systems designed to support the rider under any conditions. It includes traction control, SDMS, ride-by-wire throttle, easy start and low RPM assist.
Traction control has three levels of intervention, with the highest really stepping in under hard acceleration to prevent wheelspin and front-end lift. You can turn it off should you want to turn the V-Strom into a wild beast.
A new traction setting called G Mode allows for a good amount of grip loss, making power slides out of dusty corners feel controlled and stable. ABS comes with two levels of strength as well. It too can be switched off completely on the rear for improved control on dirt.
Suzuki’s drive mode selector gives the rider a choice of three different engine mapping settings, including Mode A (Active) for the most aggressive power and torque. Mode B (Basic) gives a more linear experience.
Mode C (Comfort) has the softest throttle response and gentle torque curve. During our testing, we hit up some great trails, dirt and tarmac roads to see what the 800DE could offer in a wide range of conditions. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
The engine and throttle response are smooth, with a good amount of torque and power, which can be used to quickly get up to speed without being super aggressive. It makes the bike a lot of fun on the road, and very manageable off road.
Bike ergonomics have been designed with off road use in mind, which is quite evident with the aggressive looking beak and lower fork guards. The one-piece seat is comfortable on long stints and provides a natural upright seating position.
A reasonable seat height of 855mm by adventure standards really helps on tighter dirt tracks too, where you’ll notice all 230kg of this bike. Momentum is easily achieved thanks to the excellent suspension and plenty of ground clearance.
The handlebars are at a comfortable height in both the seated and standing positions, with controls well placed and easy to use. When in the standing position, it feels natural and it’s easy to squeeze your legs and attack corners.
There are some downsides though, and we’d like to see slightly bigger foot pegs to help with stability, especially off road. The hand guards are also flimsy and offer no real protection from anything but the wind. You won’t find cruise control here either.
Standard on the bigger capacity 1050DE, it’s disappointingly not even an option on the 800DE. The windscreen, while great for visibility off road, needs to be taller for use on the tarmac, especially at freeway speeds. Thankfully there’s a 90mm version as an option.
The LED headlight looks small too and is not aesthetically pleasing. It does put out a good amount of light but is annoyingly high, failing to light up the road directly in front you. The rear tail light and turn signals fit in nicely with the rest of the design though.
A well-placed USB port is provided, allowing us to easily charge our phone. There’s also space for a 12v socket under the seat, which can be added at an additional cost. The 2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE comes with a 2-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
You can increase that to 3-years if your bike is serviced by an authorised dealer. Priced from $18,590 ride away, it’s available in three colours schemes, including Glass Matte Mechanical Grey, Glass Sparkle Black, and Champion Yellow No. 2 (as tested).
Our test bike was supplied by Suzuki Motorcycles Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE, contact your local Suzuki Motorcycles dealer.