*UPDATED 18/11/22 with official prices (original article dated 5/9/22)
It’s been three years since Suzuki gave its big V-Strom a makeover with styling harking back to the DR Big and a new ‘1050’ name despite the same 1037cc capacity as its V-Strom 1000 predecessor. Now time has come for another revamp and while the styling hasn’t been altered this time there’s a raft of worthwhile revisions and the old XT version is replaced by a more off-road-focused 1050DE model.
Let’s kick off with the changes that both models get for next year. Whether you pick the V-Strom 1050 or the 1050DE in 2023, you’ll get a new full-colour TFT that looks more up-to-date than the old setup and gives access to the carry-over electronics suite that already includes a six-axis IMU, lean sensitive ABS with linked brakes and load and slope-dependent control, hill-hold, cruise control and a trio of power and traction control settings. New for 2023 is a bi-directional quickshifter, something that’s fast becoming the norm across an ever-wider array of models.
Dig a little deeper and both versions of the bike benefit from a revised transmission, with higher ratios for first and sixth gear along with a lower final drive. The result is a closer-ratio box from first to fifth, while the longer sixth offsets the lower final drive to retain the bike’s cruising ability. The result should be a sprightlier feel to the acceleration, even though the engine’s 107hp and 74lb-ft power and torque figures are unchanged.
The engine has been tweaked a fraction, gaining sodium-filled exhaust valves – a first for Suzuki – to improve durability and control combustion chamber temperatures better. Other than that, it’s the same twin-spark, 1037cc V-twin as before. The engine electronics are unchanged, but there’s a revised feel to the ride-by-wire throttle, increasing the resistance as you twist the grip. When you’re not in the mood to use that throttle, the cruise control has been updated and now works over a wider range of speeds – keeping a constant pace anywhere from 15mph to 100mph. The frame, too, is familiar, but the seat rails are mildly revised to make it more resistant to off-road use.
Both versions of the V-Strom also get a revised Bosch ABS unit that’s lighter and more compact than before.
New wheels are the most obvious alteration for the new V-Strom 1050DE, with a 21-inch front instead of 19 inches.
Where things really start to change are with the new V-Strom 1050DE, which replaces the old wire-wheeled 1050XT for 2023.
Although the XT had a tougher look than the standard 1050, it was never a serious off-road proposition. With the 1050DE Suzuki adds more dirt road ability, most notably by swapping the old bike’s 19-in front wheel for a 21-incher, increasing wheel travel and adding wider bars and footpegs. There’s also an alloy sump guard and engine bars, plus a ‘gravel’ mode for the traction control and the ability to switch off the rear brake’s ABS.
Changes to the 1050DE include a longer swingarm than the base model, which along with the larger front wheel alters the chassis geometry – giving increased rake and a longer wheelbase for improved stability off-road.
While the rear wheel is the same size as the old XT’s, with a 150/70R17 Dunlop semi-block pattern Trailmax Mixtour tyre, it’s a different design to the old bike’s – now gaining more stylish edge-mounted spokes while retaining the same gold finish as before. Strangely, the DE’s 21-inch front wheel is completely mismatched – it has conventional spokes, and that means it needs an inner tube inside its 90/90-21 Dunlop, while the rear is tubeless. The different design also extends to the rim, which has a much thicker edge, and to the spokes themselves, with a ‘W’ shaped pattern for the front wheel and an ‘X’ pattern on the rear.
Visually, the base V-Strom 1050 (above) is largely unchanged apart from colours – but it has technical updates
Other visual changes for the 1050DE include a shorter, smoked screen – making it easier to look over the top while riding off-road – and a new front mudguard to suit the larger wheel.
Of course, the side stand and centre stand are also new, as the DE’s taller ride height wouldn’t have worked with the old versions. The 1050DE also gets a tougher drive chain, plus a different shift lever compared to the stock 1050.
The DE’s ‘gravel’ riding mode allows more rear wheel slip than the road-oriented settings before cutting in the traction control, while the suspension – still from KYB and with 43mm forks – has more travel, with 170mm at the front and 169mm at the back.
Both bikes are a fraction heavier than their predecessors, with the base V-Strom 1050 rising from 236kg wet to 242kg, and the 1050DE upped from the old XT’s 247kg to 252kg, again with a tank of fuel included.
Suzuki's new V-Strom 1050 DE will come with an RRP of £13,699 when it arrives in dealerships in spring, 2023. Pricing for the V-Strom 1050 has been confirmed at £12,999. So the bikes haven’t strayed too far from 2022’s tags - £9999 for the 1050 (impressively unchanged since its 2020 debut and less than the old V-Strom 1000 cost in 2019) and £12,399 for the 1050XT – but given the high rate of inflation and the increases in shipping costs that all manufacturers are suffering at the moment, it's no surprise to see some increases across the board in 2023.