History of V-Strom - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
Go Back   Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums > Popular Forums > General V-Strom Discussion


General V-Strom Discussion Talk about all things V-Strom

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-27-2008, 12:32 PM
garandman's Avatar
$tromtrooper
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 4,252
Default History of V-Strom

Peter on VSRI posted a detailed answer to my request for a history of the V-Strom. Here it is, with a few corrections (English is his 2nd language, he's German) and shortcuts.

#####3
Mr. Michio Suzuki founded 1909 in Hamamatsu a factory for weaving machines.

During WWII the factory was totally destroyed. From 1946 Michio survived by producing many different items of daily need, from springs to seawater de-salting equipment. During a bicycle ride to his favorite angling spot he got tired of pedaling. He thought he needs to do something to help him with it. And if he feels it is useful, then others sure would like it as well. That his how Suzuki brought 1951 a powered bicycle, using a 36 cc 1 hp engine. The little engine could also be attached to any other bike.


Michio's endeavors into the two wheeler business went well. Soon they were so busy with motorized bicycles and small motorbikes that all the other production segments became secondary (until people could afford cars). In Germany the business grew continuously as well. In September 1982 Suzuki Germany was founded. Mr. Bert Poensgen was employed as the sales manager for Germany (on the right):


With the launch of the BMW G/S the adventure tourer segment was founded, and with the launch of the Africa Twin it was cemented as a relevant market segment within several West European countries. In order to compete with the successful Honda AT, Bert Poensgen started pushing Suzuki HQ's to do something in this direction. That is how it came in 1987 to the Suzuki DR 750, or Doctor Big as we called her:


The concept was very good and the machine was a sensational ride. But mediocre workmanship let the sales down. The market decided for the less peppy and heavier but much more solid Honda AT.

In the beginning of the nineties the adventure tourer sales soared up even more. BMW sold the GS like hotcakes, despite their premium prices. Honda continuously improved and refined on the Africa Twin. It got a sister model with more street bias meanwhile, the Transalp. Suzuki should have learned from the what was needed in this market segment. The Dr. Big was taken out from the market instead.

Over the course of the years BMW GS sales continued to grow even more. By end of the 90's the GS was a very powerful force in many Euro-markets. One who went on a weekend ride through the Alps could see the traditional biker greeting every second time from a GS - well almost. Honda had not developed the AT much further, but was able to snatch a respectable share with their new 1000 cc Varadero, launched in 1999.

Suzuki's Gerd Poensgen again started pushing the HQ for a big adventure tourer model. And now even Honda had shown them the way by using a detuned sport V2 motor.

The R 1100 and R1150 went into the wrong direction (too heavy). Engine-wise the technology was meanwhile far behind the times, and the boxer mainly living from it's myths.

Still, Suzuki HQ saw things differently. They argued that they were burned from the DR 750 experience, and that Suzuki's competency is based in the sport segment. After several years of struggle with the persistent Poensgen, they finally agreed something with the German HQ - which is also the European HQ.

The plan said they would take orientation on R 11xx GS with sizes, ergos, etc., but do something significantly sportier in order to stay aligned with the brand image. It had to be a motorcycle with around 1000 cc and two cylinders. The goal was: be better, be lighter, and to be sportier and "younger" than the 1150 GS (with its senior image).

At the same time the SV1000 idea was born, in order to make up for the TL1000 disaster, and to get the V2 engine produced in higher numbers. Now the Mediterranean dealers started complaining, because these markets widely prefer motorcycles smaller than 1000 cc. The Africa Twin and the Transalp are still very famous in Italy, Spain, Greece, France, etc.. That is how the decision was taken to develop two models. Indeed, the DL1000 and the DL650 development started at the same time.

The DL1000 was launched by the very late 2001 as the V-Strom, with the V being the reference to the engine, and Strom just a word that is somehow European and could be interpreted in some way as 'flow' or 'movement'. The character Suzuki choose for the bike was the word monster "Enduro-Sport-Tourer."

I bought one of the first V-Strom K2's. Here in Singapore it was the second unit. The first unit was a yellow one, sold to the shop's person who uncrated it. The dealer was trained by Suzuki. He told me "This is serious, it will beat the GS".

Indeed, over the next 12 months it won almost every comparison test in the German speaking Europe, against the competitors R 1150 GS and Honda Varadero. Until Honda launched the vastly upgraded 2. gen Vara, which was in December 2002. Many considered the Honda to be better than the 1150 GS. Of course both were comfortable but heavy pigs, but Honda had power where the GS just had vibes. Of course BMW was already busy in the background.

The success of the Vara was a thorn in BMW's hide. The GS development was accelerated, and the upgrade model R 12 GS launched too early. Some catastrophic failures are the result. Still its mission was accomplished, since it distracted almost complete the attention from the Varadero when it was launched.

At the same time Suzuki failed to respond to a (comparable small) clutch problem on the DL1000. Plus some other small issues showed up, which plagued the DL1000 in the first 1 1/2 years. They alienated customers by saying the chattering and vibrating clutch is normal, the stalling and farting engine " is due to the fact that, "It is not a 4 cylinder, but the way a V2 runs", and the hydraulic cylinder was called a wear part for which it is normal to leak after 15 - 20,000 km. The V-Strom's reputation in Europe went down the drain - despite the DL1000 actually being very solid construction with outstanding reliability.

By the time the DL650 K4 was launched, Suzuki had actually silently addressed most points. But the damage was done. The market reacted with great hesitation towards the first DL650, the K4. In 2004 DL1000 sales were less than half from the numbers before.

Only nowadays - starting from the mid of 2007 - we can see a change in the perception of interested buyers, who slowly seem to understand the DL650 is a much bigger (and better) motorcycle than the name implies, and see it as a solid and reliable motorcycle. Which is without doubt an attribute that is very important in this market segment.
###
__________________
2005 DL650 (sold) | 2009 DL650A (sold) | 2008 Tiger 1050 ABS | 2012 WR250R | 2008 CRF100F
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2  
Old 08-27-2008, 12:48 PM
Stromthusiast!
Super Trooper!
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Jayess, Mississippi
Posts: 79
Thumbs up Coonass

Pretty good article and very informative. Thanks for the article.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-27-2008, 01:41 PM
stevewz's Avatar
$tromtrooper
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Gresham, Ore. USA
Posts: 882
Default

Garandman, thanks very much for that post! I feel even better about my investment in my 2007 DL-650 now more than ever! (I had originally thought about getting a BMW; I'm glad I didn't)
__________________
2012 Suzuki GSX-R750, "Shoot to Thrill"
2007 Suzuki V-Strom 650, "The Grey Mule"

BLOG "Two-wheeled Astronaut": http://twowheeledastronaut.blogspot.com/
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-27-2008, 02:24 PM
Satch's Avatar
Stromtrooper.com Sponsor
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wasatch Mountains, UT
Posts: 1,453
Default

Interesting info. Thanks to Peter for the original info and Garandman for re-posting here.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-27-2008, 03:03 PM
Scarlett Harlot's Avatar
$tromtrooper
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: The Islamic Republic of Ohio
Posts: 4,243
Default

What was the TL disaster?
__________________
'05 GL1800A-The Banana Hammock

Target fixator extraordinaire.

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” ― George Carlin

Make the world safe for stupid people and you will end up with a world full of stupid people.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-27-2008, 03:55 PM
Surrlibrumm's Avatar
Stromthusiast!
Junior Trooper
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 19
Default

This is a very, very kind article about the V-Strom. :rolleyes:

As a die-hard SUZUKI-Fan it would say, that the V-Strom has one of the grates potential for an excellent Touring Bike. Unfortunately SUZUKI did every thing to prevent the V-Strom to become a success. Early models had the clutch problem and the engine settings were way off (the injection was to lean in lower rpm's). The suspension is still a joke. The fork is sticky and the spring for the rear suspension may or may not suit the 100 lbs test driver from SUZUKI well.
The real scandal is that SUZUKI knew that the rear sprocket was 2 mm (about 1/10 inch) off line with the front pinion gear. And they still build it from 2002 till 2005 with this production error. Result: If you accelerate, the suspension will stiffen because of the production error. Solution: Produce and insert own rear wheel spacers.

If somebody is interested in the story (including pictures) should have a look at the German V-Strom-Forum:

http://www.v-stromforum.de/viewtopic.php?t=527

(Sorry, it's only in German, but the pictures and sketches will give you an idea).

We can discuss about design for hours. But could someone please tell me, what brain dead idiot designed the fairing around the headset? It is huge and bulky. A whole lot of space which is filled with ... you guessing it ... air. Instead making the fuel tank bigger, they just wrapped some silly plastic around a lot of air. If the designer of this big-neck-frog was a Japanese, I would expect that he would make Seppuku or Hara-kiri. As idiotic it is from the point of usefulness, is also is plain ugly. (This is just my opinion). The Strom has a beautiful lamp-mask but the whole design of the front of this bike is not only ugly it is just unfinished.

The engine was never a problem. If you get the settings right, you have one of the best V-engines ever produced. And there are as many V-engines as there are stars.

A few farkel here and a few farkle there and you have an incredible touring bike, a great street bike and if you don't overdo it, a bike that will bring you off road to any place you like (... if you reduce the final transmission).

I did invest a few hours and a few $ and I have now an absolute dream bike.

It has a great engine.
It has a great suspension,
It has great brakes.
It has great ergonomics.

It is an incredible touring bike. Probably the best on the market (and I know the BMW GS 1200 well).

Why couldn't do SUZUKI the job right ? :devil_70:

It will always be mystery to me.
__________________
Proud Member of Switzerlands Secret Society of Yellow Strom Owners (SSSYSO)
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-27-2008, 06:36 PM
Stromthusiast!
Super Trooper!
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Sweden, North..
Posts: 56
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surrlibrumm View Post
The real scandal is that SUZUKI knew that the rear sprocket was 2 mm (about 1/10 inch) off line with the front pinion gear. And they still build it from 2002 till 2005 with this production error.
2002 - 2005 ??
Isnīt that sprocket lining issue on every model? From 2002 to 2008?
Exactly, what has changed in the production from 2005?

The only change in that area i have heard about is a new design of the "rubber cushion" in the back wheel, from model K3 and newer.

(rubber cushion? The thing behind the rear sprocket. Donīt really the proper english word for it.)
__________________
2007 DL1000, flying on Swedish dirt roads...
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-28-2008, 07:44 AM
DBuck12's Avatar
$tromtrooper
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: S.E. Ohio
Posts: 960
Default

Thanks for sharing that, garandman.

Suzuki continues to make huge blunders in the area of styling. I can't imagine what they were thinking in releasing the hideous B-King after botching the V-Strom as they did. Not that I hate my V-Strom's styling, as it has become a beautiful thing in my eyes. But, in all honesty, V-Strom's sales could have easily doubled simply by exercising more care in styling execution. Motorcycle styling is nearly the most critical factor in sales but appears to have been ignored by Suzuki.

In evaluating the reasons for motorcycle sales figures several Japanese companys appear to misinterpret data. When B-King sales fail, and they will, I get the impression that Suzuki will conclude the American market doesn't want a big powerful naked standard. Of course nothing could be futher from the truth. Americans simply don't care for cartoonish styling we see in a wide range of otherwise desirable motorcycles from Rune to B-King.

Denial is not a river in Africa.
__________________
Buck

K3 DL1000

K5 VN1600A
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-28-2008, 11:01 AM
av8or's Avatar
Stromthusiast!
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Central NY
Posts: 716
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DBuck12 View Post
Thanks for sharing that, garandman.

Suzuki continues to make huge blunders in the area of styling. I can't imagine what they were thinking in releasing the hideous B-King after botching the V-Strom as they did. Not that I hate my V-Strom's styling, as it has become a beautiful thing in my eyes. But, in all honesty, V-Strom's sales could have easily doubled simply by exercising more care in styling execution. Motorcycle styling is nearly the most critical factor in sales but appears to have been ignored by Suzuki.

In evaluating the reasons for motorcycle sales figures several Japanese companys appear to misinterpret data. When B-King sales fail, and they will, I get the impression that Suzuki will conclude the American market doesn't want a big powerful naked standard. Of course nothing could be futher from the truth. Americans simply don't care for cartoonish styling we see in a wide range of otherwise desirable motorcycles from Rune to B-King.

Denial is not a river in Africa.
see, i kinda like the way the strom looks, the headlights could be a lil different maybe but otherwise works for me, same for b-king, kinda dig it, but the gsxr and hayabusa are friggin hideous imho
__________________
[COLOR=Blue]'07 Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom[/COLOR]
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-28-2008, 11:57 AM
silverstrom's Avatar
$tromtrooper
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Near Tweed Ontario
Posts: 1,474
Default

Excellent post. Very informative and tells the story well.

av8or has a good point. The unconventional look of the vstrom is what makes it appealing and sets it apart from other bikes.


SS
__________________
DL650K7
1985 RZ500
1986 NS400R HRC
1987 RG250
1987 TZR 250
1988 RGV 250
1989 RZ 350 F2
1990 RZ 350 N2
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:34 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.5.2