June 26, 2011
After Suzuki mistakenly released information on the 2012 V-Strom 650 ABS last week, we received the official, final press material for the new model. We now have all the details, as well as new photos.
The new styling is apparent from the pictures, but many of the details were not understood last week. We will try to set the record straight.
The new windscreen is adjustable in three positions. As the windscreen is adjusted upward, it moves slightly closer to the rider, and slightly away from the rider when adjusted downward. As we pointed out last week, Suzuki is emphasizing the effort it put into the design of the new windscreen, perhaps because it is aware that this was a customer concern with the older model.
The new seat with its V-Strom embossed logo is 15 mm higher than the current model. Suzuki indicates that optional low seats and high seats (20 mm change from the standard seat) will become available. The higher seat, of course, should improve rider comfort by allowing legs to stretch out a bit more.
Comfort was a big focus in the design of the new model. The slightly smaller fuel tank is more slender at the rider’s knees. According to Suzuki, this enhances the bikes handling, and also allows easier reach to the ground. The air outlets on the side cowlings are claimed to not only improve cooling and wind protection, but enhance styling, as well.
The muffler has a new design, as does the rear luggage rack, which is now made from a resin material, rather than the aluminum used on the current model. The rack is lighter than the current version, and incorporates passenger grab handles.
Aside from the obvious body panel changes, there are subtle changes, including a revised shape to both the front and rear fenders. The front fender is said to improve airflow to the radiator to aid cooling.
Although the new model still features an engine displacing 645cc, it has received many changes. Cam profiles were change to improve low–to–mid range RPM power and torque. The use of single valve springs, rather than double, reduces mechanical losses and therefore slightly increases power and torque. A switch to iridium spark plugs is also said to improve throttle response and fuel economy. A new idle speed control makes the bike easier to start and perform better in cold weather.
The clutch release mechanism was changed to a cam type to improve operation and feel. The clutch also has a thicker cover to reduce mechanical noise.
The old model featured air cooling of the engine oil, but the new model receives a liquid–cooled oil cooler, which should stabilize oil temperatures and improve engine reliability.
Suzuki also redesigned the crankshaft and the primary gear, both of which contribute to improved refinement and lower mechanical noise levels.
All of these changes are said to significantly increase low-to-midrange power delivery, and Suzuki has provided a dyno chart comparison which shows the new engine making equal or better horsepower and torque everywhere from idle to redline. Suzuki also claims that the new engine offers 10% better fuel consumption, which would offset the slightly smaller gas tank.
A new, more sophisticated ABS system performs better and is substantially lighter. The suspension appears to be unchanged from the existing model, which means spring preload adjustment in the fork along with spring preload adjustment in the shock (by a simple knob that can be hand-operated), as well as rebound adjustment in the shock. The V-Strom continues with the same 17 inch rear and 19 inch front wheels.
The instrument cluster is entirely new with several new functions. An analog tachometer sits alongside a large LCD display that can be adjusted for brightness. A gear position indicator accompanies a road freeze warning indicator and ambient temperature indicator that can alert the rider to dangerous road conditions. In addition to a fuel gauge, there is now a fuel consumption meter that can help riders plan refueling stops. All the other, usual indicators and instrument features are available, including dual trip meters.
The redesigned headlights continue to offer dual low beams and dual high beams from H4 bulbs. Finally, Suzuki has incorporated a theft protection system based on the bikes ability to identify a chip embedded in the owner’s key.
One of the pictures features a white V-Strom, but the U.S. market is only scheduled to receive the orange and black models (also pictured). Suzuki has not determined the price it will charge here in the U.S. market at this time, but the bike should be in dealers by mid-November of this year. Note that Suzuki is still working on accessories to offer with this bike, and the photos of the bike with accessories may not represent what is ultimately made available to the customer in this regard.