The 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 further tweaks its list of rider-assist features that have been growing since the V-Strom 1000 had a major redesign in 2014. Also new for 2018 is the V-Strom 1000XT variant with a partial nod to off-road riders who prefer spoked wheels and tapered larger diameter handlebars.
Suzuki has been building big V-Strom 1000 adventure motorcycles since 2002. Also referred to as dual-sport bikes, large adventure motorcycles are built to serve double- duty for long-distance touring and off-road exploration.
Both V-Strom 1000 versions ride on identical telltale giveaways that their primary and preferred surface is a hardtop. The 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels and Bridgestone radial tires set you up for a better ride on the highway that you would experience with the knobbier rubber on bigger wheels that are handy in extreme off-road conditions.
The major differences between the 1000 and the 1000XT are the wheels and handlebars. The XT adds wire wheels and a fatter, more tapered handlebar, both more desirable for off-road use, the former for strength and the latter for control.
The 1,037cc liquid-cooled V-Twin engine is tuned for identical power characteristics with both models, 92 horsepower and 69 foot-pounds of torque at 3,100 rpm — so you get ample power and nice, low-end grunt. The V-Strom 1000 starts at $13,000 and the V-Strom 1000XT starts at $13,300.
The most significant changes in the 2018 V-Strom 1000 — other than adding the XT version — are in braking. The big V-Stroms have a five-axis IMU (inertial measurement unit) called a Motion Track Braking System. This system adds new information about lean angles to work with the standard anti-lock braking system to help keep the bike and rider upright.
Combined Brake System is the second braking improvement. When you grab onto the front brakes, the CBS automatically adds rear braking, again in the interest of stability.
A new Low RPM Assist feature helps prevent stalling by monitoring the rotations per minute and raising it a bit, if necessary, when you are idle or just starting out.
The 2018 V-Strom 1000s have added a new seat and the 5.3-gallon gas tank is slimmer just before the seat so riders have an easier time of reaching the ground with both feet when stopped. The seat height is 33.5 inches for the 511-pound curb weight bike.
All in all, the 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and 1000XT are relatively light and inexpensive-for-their-size-class road centric touring and adventure bikes that continue to add driver assist and comfort and control features.