2019 Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT Adventure Test
The evolution of the Suzuki V-Strom flagship continues with the 2019 Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT Adventure. Building on the much-loved Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT platform from last year, the Adventure edition adds a few essential features to enhance the capabilities of what Suzuki dubs a Sport Adventure Tourer.
1. Don’t worry—the chassis and motor on the Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT Adventure are unchanged from the 1000XT. We have yet to have a test rider who doesn’t like the various flavors of the latest iteration of the V-Strom 1000. The 1037cc V-twin motor is as sweet as can be, and the chassis is forgiving to less-skilled riders while satisfying those with a heavy throttle hand.
2. The 37-liter aluminum panniers are the most apparent addition that turns the 1000XT into the 1000XT Adventure. Mounted on a stainless-steel frame, these panniers are simply outstanding. They are the most fiddle-free panniers we have tested, with installation and removal taking just seconds. There are a couple of tongue-and-groove pieces that easily line up, and you’re done. The panniers attach securely and confidently with a locked latch. The boxy 37-liter capacity of the cases makes it possible to get the most out of the available cargo space—perfect.
3. Many people consider a centerstand to be mandatory on an ADV motorcycle, and the 2019 Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT Adventure gets one. The centerstand makes it much easier to service the tubeless Bridgestone Battle Wing tires mounted on wire-spoked wheels (the standard V-Strom 1000 has cast wheels). Also, lubing the O-ring chain is easier with the rear wheel spinning freely in the air. I usually have trouble getting full-size ADV bikes on centerstand, and often fail. In the case of the 1000XT Adventure, I was able to lift it off its wheels without drama.
4. Lawyers like to call it a “rugged accessory bar,” but we will go with crash bar. The “accessory bar” is a three-piece unit. Two frame-mounted exterior steel loops primarily protect the radiator and tank plastic. A brace runs between them for rigidity, passing in front of the front-cylinder valve cover. Fortunately, we didn’t test the crashworthiness of the design. However, it looks sturdy and adds to the ADV visual persona.
5. Heated grips heat the grips. We will never turn down heated grips, and the 2019 Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT Adventure gets them as a standard item. A button next to the left handgrip makes it easy to warm up your hands, as needed. The plastic half-handguards—Suzuki calls them knuckle covers—also make your digits happier in cooler conditions.
6. The 1000XT Adventure goodies add $1600 to the price of the standard V-Strom 1000, as well as 56 pounds. If we were buying a V-Strom 1000 and using it for touring, we would spring for the 1000XT Adventure without hesitation.
7. The Adventure features add more to the 1000XT’s touring prowess than off-road capability. Still sporting street-focused Bridgestone Battle Wing tires, you aren’t going to want to tackle anything tougher than decent-quality dirt roads. The 17-/19-inch wheel combo is helpful, and is the spirit of the Adventure name. Still, we would have liked to see Suzuki slip on a pair of Bridgestone Adventurecross AX41 tires, or similarly dirt-worthy rubber, to increase the Adventure’s off-road capabilities.
8. The short-stroke motor puts out plenty of torque, and is tailor-made for sport touring. Instead of relying on different power modes to please everyone, the pleasant V-twin is inherently likable and flexible. You can ride it all day without getting halfway to the 9250 rpm redline and have a relaxing ride, or you can hustle things along by tapping the power it delivers at the top of its broad powerband. The powerplant never fatigues the rider, no matter how it is used, which is precisely what you want for a sport-touring motorcycle.
9. There are two traction control levels, plus off, but they don’t have a significant impact on performance. Off is suitable for the dirt, with Mode 1 being the way to go for most situations. If it’s raining, Mode 2 is more intrusive and might prevent you from being caught out should you make an error.
10. Like the motor, the chassis is as neutral as Switzerland. With not a hint of over- or under-steer, the 2019 1000XT Adventure goes where it is pointed. Its intuitive nature on the road is difficult to exaggerate. Just as the engine doesn’t wear you out, the chassis refuses to fatigue you. This is in line with the sport-touring mission where you are routinely putting on hundreds of miles daily on twisting roads.
11. The suspension is almost fully adjustable, and excellent right off the showroom floor. The standard settings are going to be just about right for most riders, with spring-preload at both ends to compensate for varying loads—cargo and passenger. The KYB fork is fully adjustable, should your riding demands be that of an outlier. The shock lacks compression damping adjustment, though it is hardly an issue. Sure, semi-active electronic suspension would be a welcome feature, but then the 1000XT Adventure is going to cost thousands of dollars more.
12. The Tokico Monoblock front calipers and a Nissin rear caliper are linked together for optimum performance on the V-Strom 1000XT Adventure. The feel and power of the Tokico calipers on the 310mm discs is superb, and the Bridgestone’s do their job in slowing down the V-Strom 1000XT Adventure. The brake linkage feature comes into play when braking hard with the front brake lever. When a factory-set pressure is attained, the rear brake is actuated. This occurs transparently, and the resulting braking tells us that Suzuki’s engineers set it up correctly. It’s not something you feel.
13. Likewise, the IMU-controlled ABS is as transparent as it is sophisticated. The five-axis IMU keeps tabs on the positioning and speed of the motorcycle and adjusts its intrusion level as needed. Although you can feel the ABS working when over-braking, the computer-assisted contribution is not perceptible. While we think we would like to turn the ABS off for off-roading, it worked fine on dirt roads—an impressive feat.
14. The effective windscreen is hand-adjustable for angle, and you can do it with your hand while riding. It’s a simple ratchet design with three positions, one of which should satisfy most riders. If you need further adjustment, the windscreen can be set at any one of three heights over a range of an inch or so—tools are not required, but it is not something you can do while riding. Again, only true outliers won’t be able to find a suitable position. The adjustability is another factor in the comfort the V-Strom 1000XT Adventure offers.
15. The dash is simple and effective. Because the sophisticated electronics are non-adjustable, the dash is minimalist by modern standards. There are a couple of old-style LED panels along with an analog tachometer. The speed is easy to read, with the rest of the readouts fairly small. Navigating through the display does not require reading a manual.
16. There have been many different versions of the Suzuki V-Strom 1000, and this is the best one. With the panniers and other touring details added to the electronic package, friendly motor, and effortless chassis, the 2019 Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT Adventure stands at the apex of the form’s progression. Although it doesn’t have the latest in technology, it remains an appealing classic of the genre.
Photography by Kelly Callan
- Helmet: Arai XD4
- Communications: Sena 10C
- Eyewear: Fatheadz Modello
- Jacket: Tourmaster Transition Series 5
- Back protection: Alpinestars Nucleon KR-Celli
- Gloves: Tourmaster Summer Elite 3
- Pants: Tourmaster Caliber 2.0
- Boots: Cortech Turret WP Urban Adventure
2019 Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT Adventure Specs
- Type: 90-degree V-twin
- Displacement: 1037cc
- Bore x stroke: 100 x 66mm
- Compression ratio: 11.3:1
- Valvetrain: DOHC, 4vpc
- Transmission: 6-speed
- Final Drive: O-ring chain
- Front suspension; travel: Fully adjustable inverted 43mm KYB fork; 6.3 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Linkage-assisted, rebound-damping and spring-preload adjustable shock; 6.3 inches
- Tires f/r: Bridgestone Battle Wing BW-501/BW-502
- Front tire: 110/80 x 19
- Rear tire: 150/70 x 17
- Front brakes: 310mm discs w/ radially mounted 4-piston Tokico Monoblock calipers
- Rear brake: Disc w/ 2-piston Nissin caliper
- ABS: Standard (non-defeatable)
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 61.2 inches
- Rake: 25.3 degrees
- Trail: 4.3 inches
- Seat height: 33.5 inches
- Ground clearance: 6.5 inches
- Fuel tank capacity: 5.3 gallons
- Curb weight: 567 pounds
2019 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 XT Adventure Color:
- Pearl Vigor Blue/Pearl Glacier White
2019 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 XT Adventure Price:
- $14,599 MSRP