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Friday Lunch time, i decided to go Springwood Suzuki for a test ride on the 2012 bike.

Rob, the manager called me yesterday to let me know the bike is ready this morning for test rides and i am the first test rider (not accounting dealership employees of course). I was allowed to take the bike for a ride by myself instead following some sales guy. I like that, it allows me to take the route i want and at a pace i like. Obviously they must figure out vstrom riders are not hoons!:thumbup: The one thing which would keep me going back to Springwood to get my next suzuki- it's a family atmosphere there where u are treated with respect.

Anyway, pulling out of the dealers compound, i could feel there's less that top heavy feel of the old bike. Guess the small weight loss matters more than i think. In fact i went back after the test ride to push a stock 2011 bike around to ensure my judgement wasnt affected by my own farkle laden pig. The poise at walking pace is still not as good as Triumph 800, about on par with Super Tenere 1200 in terms of control.- definitely better than old strom. Obviously none of these matter the moment you go past 20km/hr.

Traffic was dense, but i manage to give it which saw me accelerating from 40km/hr to 90km/hr in less than a heart beat - I read somewhere else the gladius engine is suppose to be worse low down, but bum begs to differ. The acceleration feels brisk compare to the old (correction, the pre-2012), very smooth - while it still lacks the turbine sound of Triumph, it doesnt feel it's that far apart. Changing gear was noticeablly smoother than the pre-2012 models.

Red light in front - i decide to give it a handful of brakes.... and it stops very well with well controlled brake dive for my 95kg mass. Two things - they must either change the spring and/or compression damping, because none of the old kamikaze dive remains. The other thing the brake bite is good without being exceptional. This is a stark contrast to when i first tested the vstrom back in 2008. I knew it wasnt going to be the same as sports bike i had before. But the first time i brake on the old vstrom almost gave me a heart attack- no joke:yikes:. I insisted the dealer to change to EBC HH pads before i took delivery. So guess is that they must also change the pad material.

i turned into some local streets where there's a heap of roundabouts and it handle okay - the spring and or damping on the front obviously have been stiffen up, the back felt about the same as the old in stock form. But to be honest i cant really remember that well as my vstrom havent been stock for the last 40,000kms. Damping over small potholes and other obstacles are soft and compliant until the a decent one comes along - the suspension is still basic and unrefined in its response. But at least it is still okay with the desire to do something about it less strong than the old one. tight turn corners still would benefit from a brace.

Spent 5 minutes on the highway - traffic was dense so couldnt really have a good run- but at 105km/hr indicated, no buffeting and the bike seemed steady.

Ergo - now this could be just an issue for me. First, the seat material is better for sure. However, the peg feel a little higher than previous (?) and further to the front (?) Anyway the tank is very much narrower, allowing better gripping by my legs. The critical reach to ground is the same. The reason seem to be the bike frame where your legs are, are still as wide, so the reach to the ground is either still the same as the old bike or slightly worse. The handle-bar is too forward forward for this short arm person. Triumph 800, in contrast was just about right for me in stock form.

I LOVE that instrument - everything is easy to see even in direct sunlight.

I handed the bike back to the dealer after 20 minutes. The verdict, no, it's not enough for me to trade up, but it sure is an improvement. If i was in the market today between and a vstrom and a triumph 800 (non-XC), AND money is no object. I would still choose the vstrom - The power difference doesnt feel that much (which is to say suzuki did a good job), I would spend $2,000 to upgrade the suspension and ergo and you have a better bike than Triumph and still give you good amount of left-over to spend on fuel.
 

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Thanks for the review, it was interesting, I like your comparison to the old Strom and the Tiger 800. Good news that the buffeting and seat are improved, my biggest complaints with the original.
 

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Thanks for the review. When you said there is not enough difference to upgrade you answer my question. Ron
 

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Thanks for the info and your opinion, it's always nice to read from an owner, not a moto journalist. My eye was on the Tiger 800, was planning to wait a year or two to purchase, but that changed a couple months ago when a pickup truck knocked me off the Vee and totaled it. Questions ? What's your take on general fit and finish of the painted/plastic parts, and is all that plastic around the tank and fenders glossy black, or matte flat black? thanks.... I'm thinking of ordering luggage early for install when the bike arrives. a long, long time from now.
 
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