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Suzuki V-Strom 1000 (2002-2008): Review & Buying Guide

Massively experienced road tester



Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom 2002 Review Used Price Spec_11


Price: £1500-£4000 | Power: 98bhp | Weight: 230kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 4/5


The Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom, or V-Strom 1000 as everyone calls it, is a bike designed very much in the no-frills school of motoring. Launched in 2002, its name derives from the German word for stream (it’s not a miss-translation into Japanese as happened with the FireBlade...) and when you ride one you do get the feeling that there has been quite a lot of Germanic influence in its design. Not the most exciting of machines to ride, and a bit challenged when it comes to its looks, the V-Strom is functional, effective and hard to fault in terms of hitting its brief - but there is a definite lack of spirit or thrills to be discovered. Is this a bad thing? Not at all, if you are after a solid workhorse the V-Strom 1000 will certainly appeal and with prices starting at under £2000, it represents great value for money. Are there better adventure options out there in the used market? Honestly, not really for what its target audience demand when you consider comfort, reliability and price. Aside from the Kawasaki KLV1000 – but the fact this runs the V-Strom so close shouldn’t come as much of a surprise...


Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom (2002-2008) Price

The V-Strom was always (and continues to be...) targeted at the lower end of the adventure bike price bracket and back in 2002 it cost just £7299. Nowadays the original generation tends to be found mainly in private sales with prices for bikes that have covered over 50,000 miles starting at £1500. Ideally, you want to go for one that hasn’t travelled quite as far as parts tend to wear, negating the saving, out so aim to pay between £2000 and £3000 and you should be able to secure a tidy example with full luggage and about 20-30,000 miles on its clocks. You might be able to get one with under 20,000 miles but it will probably be lacking panniers, which are handy to have. There are a few later (2005-onwards) bikes in dealers and these tend to be sub-20,000-mile examples priced between £3000 and £3500, which is absolutely top-dollar for this generation of V-Strom.


  • Very comfortable

  • Great mile-muncher

  • Solid reliability

  • Finish is a bit poor

  • The look isn’t great

  • Standard suspension soggy in bends


Engine and Performance

A (very distant!) relative of the TL1000’s engine, the V-Strom is powered by the same 90-degree V-twin as used in the SV1000 (and KLV1000) and as such you kind of know what to expect when it comes to its performance. Mechanically very robust, its produces a fairly low 98bhp but backs it up with a reasonable 74.5ft-lb of torque – and this is what counts.

Smooth on the throttle and with a decent dollop of mid-range grunt, the V-Strom’s twin is nice and relaxed and makes for an easy-going mile-muncher. A touch lumpy below 2500rpm, which is to be expected on a big twin, once above this figure it smooths off and is hard to really fault. And it is generally very reliable.

Lots of used V-Stroms have gone over 50,000 miles, which is pretty reassuring, but there are a few things to be wary of when buying used. The first involves the fuelling and is linked to how regularly the bike is serviced. Every 7500 miles the throttle bodies should be balanced, which if not done can lead to poor fuelling and a jerky throttle response. Fairly easy to sort, it’s not a major worry. Next up is the C24 error, which is quite common. Like the SV650, the DL1000’s front cylinder gets hammered by road crud and that can lead to the front coil packing up due to corrosion on its connectors. A new coil is £100 but often a bit of careful cleaning of the connectors can sort the issue and fitting a fender extender to help reduce the amount of crap flung at it is always a good idea. Next up is the reg/rec, which again is a fairly common failure on higher-mileage bikes. A new unit is £276 from Suzuki but pattern items are closer to £100 and just as good. It is worth checking the voltage across the battery with the engine running, if it isn’t 14V area then the reg/rec or even the generator may be on their way out. And if it is the generator you need to be warry...

There are reports of the magnets becoming detached on the stator as their glue deteriorates, which can lead to major engine damage. A new stator is £590 from Suzuki with a pattern item around £200. It is worth checking the state of it on a used bike just to be safe... At tickover the V-Strom’s clutch basket tends to rumble, they all do that, and it generally doesn’t lead to failure. There are a few fixes to stop it, go on one of the many V-Strom forums if it bothers you that much. Other than ensuring the 15,000-mile valve clearance check has been completed and seeing that the clutch slave cylinder isn’t leaking, the rest is down to the used bike basics. Check the condition of the chain and sprockets, radiator, etc and always take a bike out for a test ride to see if any hidden faults arise.



Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom (2002-2008) Handling & Suspension

It is quite hard to criticise the V-Strom’s handling too much because this is a bike aimed at mile-munching and a focus on comfort will always have a detrimental effect on agility. So let’s just say the V-Strom is quite a big, heavy, bike and with 22 litres of fuel onboard and soft suspension, not to mention quite skinny tyres, it isn’t that good on B-road bends. Top-heavy and with a bit of a tendency to flop on its side, there are more assured adventure bike offerings when it comes to corners. And also brakes as the two-piston sliding calipers aren’t great when it comes to either performance or build quality.

A lot it made of the quality of the V-Strom’s finish and while it has to be said some areas are a bit lacking (paint on the wheels, fork legs and tank), a lot of it is visually disappointing rather than harming the bike’s performance. The brake discs, for example, show rust very quickly on non-swept areas and that is a shame as it makes the whole bike look shabby. When buying used, don’t worry about surface rush, instead check the thickness of the discs isn’t near the minimum level and that the two-piston calipers aren’t sticking on their sliders. If they are, a rebuild kit is about £30 a side. Again, a bit of a build quality issue is the rear sub-frame, which is made from steel and tends to rust in areas that can trap water so give it a good check over. It’s unlikely to fail but getting rid of any rust with a bit of anti-rust paint is a good idea. The V-Strom’s standard suspension is soft and by now you are probably looking at a fork rebuild and maybe even a new shock, which will set you back about £600. If the shock looks ok, check the preload adjuster still turns as they like to seize up.

Overall, much like the engine, the V-Strom’s chassis suffers from age and use rather than known faults so look for worn out bearings, rust, etc.



Comfort & Economy

There are two sides to the V-Strom when it comes to fuel economy. Work the engine hard and it will record a slightly disappointing 40mpg, which isn’t great. Take it easy, however, and on a steady motorway you can expect to see 50mpg (or even more) at 70mph, which is much more respectable. And considering it has a 22-litre tank, that equates to over 200 miles between stops. Can you travel that far on one before stopping? 100% you can.

Very relaxed in its attitude, although the standard screen is a touch short that’s the only real grumble levelled about a V-Strom in terms of comfort levels. It’s a proper all-day tourer and makes for a great commuter if you want to arrive at your destination feeling fresh and ready to go. Also, thanks to its huge seat, pillion tend to find the V-Strom very relaxed and accommodating. Winner!



Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom (2002-2008) Equipment

The first generation of V-Strom 1000 never had the option of ABS and in terms of original equipment, the standard V-Strom was quite limited aside from a fuel gauge! In 2005 Suzuki did add a V-Strom Grand Touring to the model range, which was basically a V-Strom with dealer-fitted official Suzuki full luggage as standard as well as heated grips and a centre stand, and if you are buying with the thought of taking one touring, this is the variant to go for. As well as the one-key luggage, the additional centre stand makes lubing the chain far easier and heated grips are always a welcome addition.

When it comes to owner-fitted extras, V-Stroms generally get long-distance comfort-related accessories such as a taller screen, heated grips, brush guards and luggage (if it’s not already fitted). Very few owners really push the boat out, it’s just not that kind of bike, and therefore non-standard exhausts are rare and to be treated with a degree of suspicion if encountered.



Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom (2002-2008) Rivals

The V-Strom is generally bought either by tourers or longer distance commuters, so its natural rivals are other budget-conscious adventure bikes.


Triumph Tiger 955i (2001-2006) | Approx Price: £1500-£3000

Power/Torque: 104bhp/67lb-ft | Weight: 240kg


Honda Varadero 1000 (2001-2010) | Approx Price: £1300-£3000

Power/Torque: 93bhp/72lb-ft | Weight: 241kg


BMW R 1150 GS (2000-2003) | Approx Price: £2000-£4500

Power/Torque: 85bhp/71lb-ft | Weight: 249kg



Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom (2002-2008) Verdict

If you speak to a V-Strom 1000 owner they will sing the praises of the big Suzuki. And rightly so. As a no-frills commuter or solid tourer the V-Strom is a great option that will happily plough through a long ride with minimal effort. But, as effective as it is at this role, there is no denying the V-Strom lacks a bit of kerb appeal. A hard bike to really get excited about, it is a workhorse that offers good reliability, a low used price tag and lots of comfort. If you are in the market for a bike that needs to tick these boxes, then the V-Strom won’t let you down.


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Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom (2002-2008) – Technical Specification

Original price


Current price range




Bore x Stroke

98mm x 66mm

Engine layout


Engine details

Liquid-cooled, 8v, DOHC


98bhp (72kW) @ 7600rpm


74.5lb-ft (10Nm) @ 6400rpm

Top speed



Six-speed, chain final drive

Average fuel consumption


Tank size

22 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)

230 miles

Reserve capacity

35 miles

Rider aids



Aluminium twin spar

Front suspension

43mm conventional forks

Front suspension adjustment


Rear suspension


Rear suspension adjustment

Adjustable preload and rebound damping

Front brake

2 x 310mm discs, two-piston calipers.

Rear brake

260mm disc, one-piston caliper.

Front tyre

110/80 - 19

Rear tyre

150/70 - 17


26.5°/ 111mm

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2295mm x 910mm x 1395mm



Ground clearance


Seat height


Kerb weight

230Kg Wet


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