Suzuki has augmented its hideous but uber-practical V-Strom range with a 250cc-class parallel-twin to welcome a wider range of riders into the soft-road touring family. The V-Strom 250 ABS has 25 horses, plenty of luggage provisions and a face like a locomotive with a beak.
I've made plenty of merriment over the years about how ugly Suzuki's V-Strom adventure machines are, and I think it's time to clarify things. It's all true. From the moment the big DL1000 lumbered onto the scene in 2002, it had a face like a dropped pie.
Still, I've never met a V-Strom owner that didn't love their bike to bits. I've always said that if I was a sensible man, I'd choose the DL650 Wee-strom as my 'round Australia adventure tourer of choice. It's faultlessly reliable, quick enough, versatile, and probably the comfiest thing I've ever ridden. Mind you, I'm not a sensible man, so if I ever do strike out to ride around the country, I'll probably pick something sillier and just spend the month wishing I took the Wee-strom.
Either way, the DL650 has lost its Wee-strom title, because now there's a 250. Just as difficult on the eye (what were they thinking with that headlight?) but now a little lower, a little lighter and ready to enable the long-range soft-road adventure dreams of a wider range of riders.
The 250's seat is just 800 mm (31.5 inches) high, down from 835 mm (32.9 inches) on the 650, and weight is down significantly as well. But it's still a solid old gal, tipping the scales at 188 kg (414 lbs) with a full tank and ready to roll.
That tank holds 17.3 litres of fuel (4.6 gallons), and thanks to outstanding efficiency, it should take you some serious distance, up to 480km/300 miles if the word on the street is true. The motor is the same 24.7-horse parallel twin that drives the GSX-250R sporty commuter. Wait a minute, a parallel twin? And it's going to keep the V in the name? Should this not be called the II-Strom?
In terms of practicality, it's got a neat digital dash, ABS brakes, and like all the Stroms, provisions for plenty of luggage on the back. That little rack on the back can carry up to 8.5kg, or 18.7 lbs, which is close enough to a full slab of beer if you're heading out camping – or you can pop on an official Suzuki top box accessory.
With 17-inch wheels, basic suspension and road-focused tires, it's not going to compete with the Honda CRF250 rally or even the Kawasaki X-Versys 300 or BMW 310 GS for off-road supremacy – but then, the Stroms were never about outright mud-plugging. They're big-trip tourers with enough dirt capability to open up the dusty dirt roads on the map, and enough all-day comfort to keep you fresh for when you find the pub at the end of the day ... and looks so hideous you'd have to pay somebody to steal them. That's gonna save you on insurance, for sure! Come at me, V-Strom lovers!
The V-Strom 250 ABS has been available in some markets for a couple of years now, but will hit Australian shores in September at a very affordable price of AU$7,190. We've still heard no word on whether Suzuki USA plans to bring it in.
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