suzuki v-strom xt

After the launch of the Suzuki V-Strom, V-Strom XT and Gladius yesterday we were given a chance to sample the three bikes on the Shah Alam Go-kart circuit.

Not the best circuit to test a big bike as it was designed for more agile go-karts but it did give us a sneak peek to what the bikes are all about.


First up was the V-Strom, the seat doesn’t feel too tall for an adventure style bike, at least for this 176cm tall rider.

Handle bar reach is just nice, not too far forward nor too close to the rider with a straight up seating position. At first the bike did feel a bit on the heavy side but generally ok as soon as you get going.

The Europeans with their bigger build love this bike as they throw it around the corners but being smaller, us Asians will find the V-Strom a bit bulky on slow speeds.

As mentioned the track was made for go-karts thus it was only possible to get more than second gear,, but for the shifting that we managed it was smooth with a nice clutch operation.


Power wise the 650 V is lovely, with good low end and mid range torque, just a bit of throttle input and the V-Strom jumps into action and its an easy engine to regulate between slow and medium speeds.

The brakes feels ample for the speeds we were riding it, very grabby but still linear brake feel.

Next was the V-Strom XT, biggest difference was the spoke-wheels with 19” up front and 17” on the rear. Generally this would usually meant sluggish turn ins, it was there, almost unnoticeable but very liveable.

A good compromise between a smaller and more agile 17” wheel or roll over anything but sluggish to turn 21”.

Something did irk us though and it was the ABS, having a 19”spoke wheel meant the V-Strom XT have a more off-road orientation, however it was not possible to switch the ABS off nor did Suzuki say that the ABS is off-road friendly. A question we will answer as soon as Suzuki lend us a unit to be ridden on more familiar roads.


Moving on it was the Gladius’s turn, close one eye and you might be forgiven to think its and Italian bike with those Trellis frame and V configuration engine, just with a bit more organic lines.

Low seat means this bike feels a bit more manageable for smaller riders, slightly forward riding position suits the bike’s characteristics.

It was small and nimble enough that we were able to get a bit more speed into the corners as compared to its to larger brothers, the V-Strom and V-Strom XT.


While it was too soon to tell there was a definite deference in engine response or was it just because it’s a lighter bike.


Quality with material and fitment feels and looks good on all three models, the only thing that we did feel was a bit off was the side mirrors on the V-Strom being slightly shorter to the handlebar.

The three bikes are definitely something you should check out if you are going for that class.

Suzuki Assemblers Malaysia Sdn Bhd further broadens their product line up with three mid-range models this morning with the Gladius 650 ABS, the V-Strom 650 ABS and the V-Strom 650XT ABS.

While all three are 650cc models, each caters to a different segment with its own unique appeal based on the rider’s desires.


Starting with the V-Strom 650, its powered by a liquid-cooled 645cc V-Twin engine said to feature a good low and mid-range power with the dual throttle valve giving quick and linear throttle response.

It is coupled to a 6-speed transmission that have been tailored for active sporty rides with 1st through 5th gear ratios, while keeping highway cruises comfortable with a tall top gear.


Holding things together is a lightweight and rigid twin-spar aluminum-alloy frame and swingarm and suspension wise its equipped with spring-preload-adjustable 43mm-stanchion-tube front forks and link-type rear suspension with rebound stepless damping adjuster as well as a spring preload adjuster.

Stopping power comes from dual 310mm-disc brakes for the front and on the back its 260mm-disc brakes complete with ABS system.

While sharing the same configuration and engine there are enough differences between the two V-Strom versions that it caters to a slightly different type of riders.


The V-Strom 650 ABS can be said to excel at being the “Sport Tourer” while the V-Strom 650XT ABS is the “Sport Adventure” machine.
The V-Strom 650XT ABS has more adventurous styling with a distinctive front beak with integrated air ducts and wire-spoke wheels, 19” up front and 17 on the rear and it takes tubeless tyres.


And then you can make it look more adventure ready with a long list of original accessories starting with top and side cases which are available in plastic and in aluminum. The side cases fit close to the bike’s centre of gravity for rider-friendly handling.

The plastic top and left side cases are each big enough for a full-face helmet. The side-case carriers can be detached using quick-release screws to keep the bike slim.

And thats not all, you also have the accessory bar, an aluminium under guard, a chain guard, LED fog lamps, touring windscreen, knuckle covers and low and high seats, centre stand, a 12-volt accessory socket, an alarm kit, and a handlebar satnav bracket.


Last and not least of the three is the Gladius, the engine is about the same, a liquid-cooled 645cc V-Twin but with slightly different tuning for a more spirited riding experience.

While the V-Strom sits high and mighty, the Gladius seat is just 785mm off the ground but for taller riders they can opt for an optional higher seat that adds 20mm to the seat height.

Front and rear suspension feature adjustable spring pre-load, allowing the rider to adapt the bike to suit them.


The Gladius comes in gray, blue and mat black options, while the V-Strom variants come in white, gray, red and blue.

Basic Sales Price for V-Strom 650XT ABS is RM43,900, V-Strom 650 ABS is RM41,900 and Gladius 650 ABS is RM39,900.

Other bikes already in the Suzuki showroom are the HAYABUSA 1300, GSX1250FA, GSX-R1000 ABS, V-STROM 1000 ABS and the GSR750.


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