2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Touring:
One For the Road
Suzuki has taken the adventure-minded V-Strom 650XT (read the full test here) and added a few travel accouterments, and the result is the new 2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Touring. We are long-time fans of the V-Strom 650 platform, and the V-Strom 650XT Touring adds another dimension to Suzuki’s moderate displacement V-twin ADV motorcycle.
- To make the 650XT into a 650XT Touring, Suzuki added three useful accessories. The 650XT Touring gets Suzuki hard side cases, a centerstand, and an “accessory bar” that Suzuki doesn’t want to be called a crash bar. Together, these items add just $700 to the price of the 650XT—a great deal.
- The side cases work exceptionally well. While they aren’t the huge aluminum boxes found on the Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT Adventure, the relatively compact hard plastic side cases on the 650XT Touring get the job done nicely. Importantly, they can be removed and installed in seconds. They hold enough for a weekend (or weeklong) trip. As they’re plastic, they will be durable until they break. Fortunately, we never dropped the 650XT Touring on our various off-road excursions.
- The V-Strom 650XT Touring’s centerstand can come in handy. It is great for maintenance, especially as the 650XT Touring is chain driven and flats can happen when on adventures. Plus, it also provides a stable platform for loading the motorcycle for a trip.
- The accessory bar does double duty as a mounting point and protection. Indeed, the accessory bar can be used to mount additional lighting, so it does fulfill that function. Given its position and rugged build, it also protects the bodywork and fuel tank in a fall, and the engine to a lesser extent. Even if you don’t truly need it, the accessory bar gives the 2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Touring a more purposeful look. It goes along nicely with the angular plastic and beak-style front end.
- The standard 650XT is a great platform for touring, so the 2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Touring fulfills that promise. Comfort and ease-of-use are the hallmarks of the 650XT, and that allows a rider to eat up the miles on the 650XT Touring. From the friendly, torquey 645cc V-twin to the perfectly neutral ergonomics and supportive seat to the protective bodywork and manually adjustable windshield, there’s nothing on the 650XT Touring that gets in the way of a great trip.
- With the exception of the remotely adjustable spring-preload on the shock, the suspension is “what you see is what you get.” Fortunately, the Suzuki engineers did their job well, giving the 650XT Touring fine all-around settings. The suspension is compliant on rough roads, and willing to let you ride reasonably aggressively in the twisties when conditions allow it.
- In addition to gobbling up the miles on the pavement, the 650XT Touring is happy to munch away at miles on dirt roads. Running down a good-quality dirt road at 60 mph is not a problem, if you’re an experienced off-roader. Although, the wire-spoked-wheel mounted Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A40 tires are street-oriented—19-/17-inch combo—they hold their own in the dirt thanks to the light weight of the 650XT Touring and its accommodating power delivery. We did take it on some dirt roads rough enough that you wouldn’t want to take a street bike on, and it did not complain. If you put real knobs on it, the 650XT Touring has the capability of even more challenging off-road excursions as long as you don’t tax the limited suspension.
- Traction control can be disabled for off-pavement excursions, but ABS is full-time. This isn’t a huge issue, as the ABS works transparently for the most part. The 310mm discs have plenty of stopping power at speed, yet nice modulation when poking along or in the dirt.
- The 2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Touring is a tremendous deal, and a great way to go sport-adventure touring for under $10k. Running just $1200 more than the plain-vanilla standard V-Strom 650, the 650XT Touring is ready for everything from daily commuting to extended trips, on- and off-pavement. Pack your bags, and the 2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Touring makes the rest of the trip as pleasant as possible.
Photography by Kelly Callan
Helmet: Arai XD4
Communications: Sena 10C
Jacket: Alpinestars Valparaiso 2 Drystar
Body armor: Alpinestars Nucleon KR-Celli
Gloves: Alpinestars SMX-1
Pants: Alpinestars Bryce Gore-Tex
Boots: Sidi Tour Air
2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Touring Specs
- Type: 90-degree V-twin
- Displacement: 645cc
- Bore x stroke: 81 x 62.6mm
- Compression ratio: 11.2:1
- Valvetrain: DOHC, 4vpc
- Fueling system: EFI w/ Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve and 32-bit ECU
- Cooling: Liquid-cooled
- Lubrication: Wet sump
- Transmission: 6-speed
- Final drive: RK chain
- Front suspension: Non-adjustable 43mm fork
- Rear suspension: Linkage-assisted, spring-preload adjustable shock
- Tires: Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A40
- Front tire: 110/80-19
- Rear tire: 150/70-17
- Front brakes: Twin 310mm discs w/ 2-piston Tokico calipers
- Rear brake: Single 260mm disc w/ single-piston Nissin caliper
- ABS: Standard
- Wheelbase: 61.4 inches
- Seat height: 32.9 inches
- Ground clearance: 6.7 inches
- Curb weight: 514 pounds (approx.)
- Fuel capacity: 5.3 gallons
- Color: Candy Daring Red
2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Touring Price: $9999 MSRP