Suzuki has revealed a new V-Strom 1050DE, which adds more off-road capability to the firm’s adventure bike range. The DE, which replaces the XT as Suzuki’s flagship adventure bike, gets a series of performance enhancements shared with an updated V-Strom 1050, plus additional features, modifications, and enhancements designed to improve its performance when the highway ends.
The V-Strom 1050DE is designed for wherever your journey takes you – on any terrain, to any horizon, on any adventure – and builds on a proven, robust, and reliable platform that has made the V-Strom a cult motorcycle and the choice for many adventurers.
For 2023 both the new V-Strom 1050DE and the V-Strom 1050 feature a new, full-colour TFT dash and a bi-directional quickshifter, plus a suite of complex electronic features that includes:
The V-Strom 1050DE also boasts a number of additional features, including:
Much like the previous generation, the new V-Strom 1050DE and V-Strom 1050 channel the design ethos of Suzuki’s iconic DR-Z800 off-road racer. While both models embody the DR-Z with a similar silhouette, beak, and obvious design cues, the DE goes further in its homage with a traditional yellow and white livery, complete with gold rims, plus a blue and white colour scheme finished with blue rims. Both are available alongside a classy all-black version.
The V-Strom 1050 will come in black and gold with gold wheels, blue and black, a classy grey with red rims, and a red and black version with the same red wheels.
With the V-Strom 1050DE’s more off-road focus, the most noticeable change is the switch from a 19-inch to a 21-inch front wheel. Providing more control and manoeuvrability on rougher terrain. The DE’s spoked wheels are also shod with Dunlop TRAILMAX MIXTOUR tyres, with a semi-block tread pattern. The V-Strom 1050 continues to roll on 19 and 17-inch cast aluminium wheels with Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A41 tyres.
The DE’s larger front wheel, allied to longer travel suspension – fully-adjustable front forks and rear shock from KYB – increases rake and trail, and also improves ground clearance, boosting it to 190mm, while contributing to improved ergonomics when riding on looser, rougher surfaces. Its wheelbase is also 40mm longer than the V-Strom 1050, thanks to a new aluminium swingarm that retains the same level of vertical and lateral rigidity but improves torsional rigidity by 10%, while tapered aluminium handlebars are 40mm wider for an improved stance off-road.
The twin-spar aluminium frame is updated for 2023, on both the V-Strom 1050DE and the V-Strom 1050, with aluminium castings along with extruded aluminium sections that lend the right amount of suppleness and strength to an overall rigid alloy frame structure. The incorporation of extruded aluminium sections allow for the use of thinner material while maintaining a high level of strength. The result is a lighter, stronger frame.
There are also updated seat rails that better support the input load from unpaved surfaces, with the V-Strom 1050DE using a new seat with a fixed-height design and a new shape that not only reduces weight by 706g (37% lighter than V-Strom 1050’s seat), it also achieves greater rigidity. This durable new seat better stands up to input load when riding on unpaved surfaces, as well as to weight shifts as the rider changes position.
A smaller screen aids visibility, there’s a new, more rugged front fender, engine bars are fitted as standard, along with a sturdy aluminium sump guard. There are also wider, steel footpegs designed to be better suited to off-road riding and better accommodate a rider’s off-road boots.
The V-Strom 1050 retains the height-adjustable stepped seat design, plus the taller, height-adjustable screen, and uses rubber-covered aluminium footpegs that provide comfort when touring for long distances. It replaces the aluminium sump guard with a black lower cowling and sheds the weight of the additional engine bars found on the 1050DE.
It’s not just differences and improvements to the chassis that make the V-Strom 1050DE better equipped to tackle the trails and tracks when the highway ends, but also an enhanced electronics package.
The Suzuki Intelligent Ride System (SIRS) found on the 2023 V-Strom 1050 includes a six-axis IMU used to govern systems such as lean angle-sensitive ABS and linked brakes with slope and load-dependent control, plus hill hold control, while an updated ride-by-wire throttle responds faithfully to the rider’s input and delivers a more natural feel, with a slightly stiffer grip action when opening. Suzuki Drive Mode Selector, with three modes, remains, as does a three-mode traction control system (plus off), cruise control, low RPM assist and Suzuki’s easy-start function.
For 2023 the new V-Strom 1050DE adds an extra G (gravel) mode to its available traction control settings, specifically designed for use off-road. The additional mode retards ignition timing and allows more rear wheel slip. This continues to deliver power to the rear wheel without interruption, and suppressing it only enough to help prevent excessive wheel spin. As a result, the bike remains controllable and the rider still gets the consistent power output they want.
While the V-Strom 1050’s SIRS package includes two ABS modes, allowing riders to choose from different sensitivity settings, the new V-Strom 1050DE adds the ability to disengage the ABS from the rear wheel entirely, giving riders more freedom and control off-road.
A new bi-directional quickshifter is found on both the V-Strom 1050DE and V-Strom 1050, and enables clutchless up and downshifts for smoother gear changes and enhanced performance both on and off road.
On both models, each electronic system is controlled via a simple rocker switch on the left hand handlebar, excluding the cruise control activation button, with all of the information displayed on a new, full-colour TFT screen.
Both the V-Strom 1050DE and V-Strom 1050 use the proven 90° V-twin engine, which remains a perfect fit, with a design that provides perfect primary balance, with each of the two cylinders cancelling out the vibration of the other. This eliminates the need for any balancer shafts, preventing the mechanical loss associated with them, and this connects to improving thermal efficiency for higher power output. The layout of the V-twin engine also allows for a slimmer chassis design with a lower centre of gravity, and this contributes to more agile handling and greater manoeuvrability.
However, the engine benefits from improvements for 2023, including hollow, sodium-filled exhaust valves. The new valves help reduce temperature in the combustion chamber, not only resulting in better loading efficiency and a better feeling, but also contribute to improving durability.
There are also updates to the transmission. New, taller first and sixth gears make shifting into second, and from there through to fifth gear, smoother and deliver greater acceleration performance.
The DE also features a new, stronger drive chain with sturdier links and larger diameter pins, as well as a dedicated new shift lever, better suited to off-road riding.
Despite the differing on and off-road focus of the two V-Strom models, they share many practical touches including a standard-fit centre stand and hand guards, to repel the worst of the weather and protect knuckles from stones and debris.
A USB power socket, located next to the TFT screen, allows for the easy charging of smartphones, while other devices can be powered via a 12V socket located under the seat.
LED lighting is found all round, including headlights, taillights, and indicators.
Owners can further enhance the V-Strom 1050DE and V-Strom 1050’s levels of practicality to suit their own needs, with a comprehensive collection of accessories including items such as full aluminium luggage, heated grips, lower seat options, and fog lamps.
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