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WATCH: Here's why Suzuki's new DL250 V-Strom is a bike for any occasion, capable of mixing it with the best out there in SA

2018-08-22 05:00

Dries van der Walt

Image: Dries Van der Walt/Instagram

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in the choices available for those who are in the market for bikes under 500cm³.

Small bike commuters are no longer limited to bland commercial-focused machines, nor to urban commuting only – it is no longer unusual to for a 250 to look very similar to its midsize brethren, and to be able to ride at highway speed with some power left in reserve. 

A perfect mixture

We tested Suzuki’s DL250 V-Strom, which answers all of the above in a package that looks attractive and rugged enough to mix perfectly well with the other adventure-style bikes in your local parking lot.

READ: 2014 Bike of Year the review: Suzuki V-Strom

The wee-est of the Stroms follows the styling cues of its bigger siblings, but if you expect a battle-ready adventure frame under the macho bodywork, you’re looking in the wrong place. Suzuki has simply taken both the engine and frame from their 250 Inazuma to serve as the underpinnings of the VStrom.

The company’s PR machine punts the bike as excelling both “on the urban commute as well as a continental adventure” but the reality is that the little Strom is a simply commuter in combat fatigues.

Tall, narrow and nimble

There’s nothing wrong with that – the potential buyers of this bike are less likely to travel into deepest Africa with it, but rather simply to work and back. And as a commuter it has a lot going for it: it is tall and narrow, and nimble enough to shrug off city traffic.

The LCD dash hosts a fuel gauge, average fuel consumption, gear position indicator, two trip meters, odometer, oil change notification, tacho, speedo, and a clock – basically everything that we’ve gotten used to on bigger bikes.

The seat is comfortable and the seating position pleasantly neutral, which means that being stuck in traffic (a rare event on a small bike) won’t be a huge pain in the proverbial.

If you’re expecting to be blown away by acceleration, you’d be best advised to look elsewhere – the Strom’s acceleration is gentle as best. This bothered me at first, but after a while, you get the hang of the engine, and then the bike starts growing on you.

You get your money's worth

One of the positives of the motor is that it is a smooth as butter: there is very little harshness and vibration, a good thing on any ride regardless of how long or short.

Stopping power is provided by petal-type front and rear disc brakes with Bosch ABS. In typical adventure bike fashion, there is a fair bit of nose-dive before the brakes bite. This is disconcerting at first, but once you get used to it, the brakes do a good job of bringing the bike to a stop.

If you do choose to go adventuring, the bike features dedicated mounting clips for the optional side cases, and a large aluminium rear carrier that is rated to 8.5kg capacity, fitted with hooks for attaching straps and also serves as a mount for the optional top box.

The screen, while looking way too small, does a good job of keeping the wind at bay, although the bike’s modest top speed (136 at the red line) makes this an almost academical observation.

Its mild manners make the VStrom 250 a very good beginners’ bike, although you are likely to outgrow it fairly quickly. The ideal would be to be able to keep it when you upgrade to something bigger because with the ex-Inazuma engine’s proven reliability, it is likely to serve you for many years as a comfortable and economical commuter.

Engine

Type: Four stroke parallel twin
Displacement: 248cm³
Maximum Power: 18.4kW @ 8 000rpm 
Maximum Torque: 23.4Nm @ 6 500rpm
Fuel supply system: Electronic fuel injection
Fuel type: Premium unleaded 95 Octane RON
Fuel consumption: 2.7L/100km (claimed)

Transmission

Type: 6-speed sequential
Final drive: Chain

Dimensions

Overall length x width x height (mm): 2085 X 710 X 1110
Kerb weight: 178kg

Capacities

Passengers: 1+1
Fuel tank: 15 litres

Brakes

Front: Single disc ABS
Rear: Single disc ABS

Suspension

Front: Telescopic forks
Rear: single shock, steel swingarm

Wheels & Tyres

Front: 110 / 80-17
Rear: 140 / 70-17

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Read more on:    suzuki  |  dries van der walt  |  new models

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