Went for a good all -day ride on the new 1000’s yesterday, down the south coast of NSW to a town called Ulladulla.
Although we had gone for a smaller ride the weekend before, that was more to get the feel for the new bikes. The ride yesterday was the first real day fun ride, so to speak.
Was a beautiful day out, weather was great and traffic was moderate. All up we covered around 500+km’s of riding roads. After this ride I feel I am more qualified to give a first assessment of the new 1000.
Having gotten into the adventure riding two years ago with the purchase of the 650’s, it was time to compare how the new 1000 stacks up.
One word: unbelievable! 🙂
HOW THE 1000 IMPROVED THE RIDE:
REASON 1 – ENGINE/POWER
The new 1000 is fantastic. Even though the bikes are not fully run in yet, the power is awesome. It’s always there, on tap when you need it. The punch when needed is awesome, whether it is overtaking a car (or 3!) or using it to have some fun out of corners, it always seems to be there, and is more than enough to get you where you want to go. We hit the freeway for awhile, to avoid some tourist towns that we know get very busy on weekends, and the 1000’s love it. Whereas we used to avoid freeways and motorways on the 650, as they never felt comfortable at the 110+km/h speeds. Sure they did it, but they always felt they were having a hard time maintaining it.
Not so on the new 1000, they love sitting on the freeway, and have so much power on hand to make passing other traffic much, much easier. On the tighter country roads, the power is also really nice, and we found ourselves overtaking cars, trucks, buses etc, with just a roll on in 6th gear. Easy!
The new 1000 engine is also very characteristic . One minute it feels as smooth as, and other times it comes alive with a rough, beefy v-twin feel. On hard acceleration the engine makes you tingle, the gear drive makes it sound like a supercharger, and the big pistons hammer like a powerful industrial machine. Love it!
REASON 2 – BRAKES
The brakes on the new 1000 are amazing. No problems bringing the bike down to a slower speed or a stop. Really nice feel with just a very light finger pressure on the lever. In fact I will have to get used to going back to one-finger braking, something I haven’t done since I was on my ZX9R with 6-Piston calipers 🙂
But we had plenty of opportunities to be on the brakes, as we rode down the coast via Kangaroo Valley and it’s downhill mountain road. Even the back brake feels ok, given that these are usually pretty ordinary on most modern bikes. The front brakes though, these are phenomenal!!
REASON 3 – HANDLING/SUSPENSION
I am going to open up here with these bikes do not have “sportbike handling” I hate reading that comment, it is utter nonsense and anyone who says this has not ridden a modern sportbike!
But for a big chook-chaser, these things handle bloody well 🙂
The bike feels solid as a rock, the suspension is taut and stills soaks up most bumps and road imperfections. The frame feel nice and stiff, but the whole bike also feels light, and not a handful. Hard acceleration and heavy braking does nothing to upset the bike. Because the suspension is set up firmer, it doesn’t absorb bumps as nicely as the 650 used to, but it also doesn’t wallow through bumpy corners like the 650 did.
REASON 4 – ERGONOMICS
Now this is a personal thing, and what works for some does not work for others. We are all different heights, weight etc, and each have a preferred level of comfort that we expect.
But I find the new 1000 ergos to be very good. Would I say the bike is more comfortable than the 650 it replaced, no. The 650 was a damn nice set up, and was a great place to put yourself for a day in the saddle. In some ways the 650 excels over the 1000. The new 1000, to me feels more like a big dirtbike, you feel like you sit on the seat (rather than in it), the seat is narrower and firmer and the bars feel flatter. This does not mean the new 1000 is uncomfortable, it easily allows you to rack up the miles like the 650 did. I must admit, that I do prefer the feel of the 1000, as I feel higher and more connected to the bike. It feels like I am riding a dirt bike on the road.
REASON 5 – TRACTION CONTROL
I only used this once (or should I say the bike did) and that was worth it.
Coming around a slow corner, I was forced to cut across some painted white lines on the road, as the car next to me cut into my lane. I gave the bike a handful of throttle, and felt the back end let go and slip on the painted surface, but it immediately corrected itself and pulled me back into line, allowing me to get the hell outta there. I saw the TCS light flash up on the dash, letting me know all was good 🙂
Even if I never have to use TC again, that alone saved my bacon and was so worth having!!
Very happy with this new bike. It is an improvement in every way. Had a blast riding it and appreciating what it offers. I had planned on keeping the 650 for many years, the old V-Strom 1000 never appealed to me, it was too dated. But when Suzuki released the new 1000 late last year, I knew then that I would be upgrading. It ticks all the right boxes – power, brakes, suspension, handling, features, quality and styling.
SHOCKSTROM’s (formerly Zedex9r) White V-Strom 1000
FoxOrange’s Desert Khaki V-Strom 1000