Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT (2015-2016): Review & Buying Guide


Price: £3500-£5000 | Power: 66.6bhp | Weight: 215kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 4/5


It’s not often that a bike launched from a major Japanese manufacturer totally escapes most rider’s memories – but I guarantee that is the case with the very first V-Strom 650 XT model. Yep, 12 years after the V-Strom series was launched, in 2015 Suzuki gave their middleweight V-twin adventure bike a touch more attitude through spoke wheels, a beak added to its nose and, err, we can stop there because that’s about all that the XT model gained over the standard bike aside from a sump guard, hand guards and crash bars, all of which were already available as official accessories. So why is this model worth considering in the used market? Well, for starters the V-Strom 650 makes for a brilliant do-it-all but also the original XT only lasted two years before the whole V-Strom 650 was redesigned (which was the last visual upgrade it got) so it’s actually quite a cool, and fairly exclusive, V-Strom 650 model. Is it any better than the standard bike? No, it’s basically identical, but if you are in the market for a V-Strom 650, why not buy one that is a bit different?


Pros & Cons

  • A less common V-Strom 650 model
  • Effortlessly practical and comfortable
  • Decent value for money
  • You need to keep on top of any corrosion issues
  • Two-up it can struggle a bit
  • Spokes rust where cast wheels don’t!


Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT (2015-2016) Price

In 2015, opting for the XT would have cost you £600 more than the standard V-Strom at £7499. As you would expect, that was a price that not a great deal of riders were prepared to stump up simply for a set of spoke wheels and dealers often reduced this financial gap quite considerably in an effort to shift stock. Nowadays the gap has all but been eliminated and there is very little, if any, used price difference between the base and XT models. But that only takes into account bikes built in 2015 and 2016, the two years the first XT was on sale. If you want to save cash, this ‘facelift’ generation of stock V-Strom was launched in 2011 (its first update after the original V-Strom 650 was released in 2004) so you can get one for far cheaper if you want. So how much do you need to pay for a V-Strom 650 XT?  Armed with a budget of between £3500 and £4500, you should be able to pick up a nice example and if you pay upwards of £4000 it may well also come with luggage fitted, which is good value for money.



Engine and Performance

The XT has exactly the same V-twin as the base V-Strom, which is no bad thing at all because it is a brilliant motor that is a major reason why the V-Strom was the UK’s best-selling bike and a regular entry into Europe’s best-sellers list. In fact, in 2007 it sold nearly 18,000 units worldwide – which is remarkable when you discover none of its rivals sold over 10,000 units.

Incredibly reliable, the 645cc V-twin may only make a claimed 66.6bhp but thanks to its of torque it never feels that under-powered. More than happy to zip up to motorway speeds and sit there merrily all day long, the V-Strom 650 may be a middleweight in name but it is just as capable as a far bigger capacity bike when it comes to commuting. True, taking a pillion can be a bit of a struggle but that’s only to be expected with less than 70bhp on tap.

Easy-going and with a slick gearbox, there is very little to find fault with when it comes to Suzuki’s V-twin motor and it is also reliable enough to be a fairly safe used buy. There are a few things to be a bit wary of, mainly due to its V-twin format, but once you know what they are and how to spot them you can buy with confidence. So here’s what to look out for.

The only real issue with the V-Strom (and all V-twin models) is the front cylinder, which sits in direct line of fire of road grime and water thrown up from the front wheel. This constant attack leads to seized exhaust stud nuts, which can be a disaster when it comes to changing the exhaust system, and also miss-fires from the front cylinder. Trapped water has a habit of corroding electrical connectors as well as the spark plugs and their caps so you need to keep an eye on this area. Pull the cap off and look at not only the condition of the plug but also if there is water trapped in its recess. And then do the same for the second plug (far less likely to be corroded) as it is a twin-spark head remember! Excessive corrosion can make the cap fail and even the coil. It’s not an expensive fix with complete used units about £60 and new ones closer to £150 but it can be annoying. To prevent it happening again, ensure the drain hole from the plug area is clear (shove wire up it) and ideally fit a fender extender to reduce the amount of crap flung its direction. If this area is good, inspect the radiator for rot and after ensuring the bike is cold, listen for a rattle from a worn cam chain tensioner on start-up that doesn’t quieten down and look for any signs of smoke. Although the engine generally doesn’t burn oil, as the V-Strom holds less than three litres of engine oil (2.7L) , it’s not that hard to run them low and that can lead to bottom end wear (service intervals are every 3500 miles, which is easy to miss). If it is a pig to start, check the last time its valve clearances were done – it should be every 14,500 miles and tight clearances (they usually close up) leads to poor starting and quickly afterwards a broken engine!



Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT (2015-2016) Handling & Suspension

In terms of its chassis, the XT is just about identical in every way to the stock V-Strom. Yes, it has spoke wheels where the base bike has cast items but they are the same size (110/80-19 front, 150/70-17 rear) and the XT also runs tubeless tyres, which is good. Suzuki never released weights for the two designs of wheels but to ride you would have no idea if you are on cast or spoke wheels as the bike behaves and feels absolutely identically. Which, just like the engine, is actually great news!

An incredibly practical machine that has a roomy ‘big-bike’ feel about its riding position (which is also the same), the XT is everything the base V-strom is to ride – just a touch more stylish. On the go the suspension has a slight feeling of budget about it (the forks will probably need refreshing now and the shock possibly requiring replacing, so check its damping) but it does its job well enough and you have a degree of adjustability (check the shock’s preload adjuster turns) to either firm up or further soften the ride if you want.

Pleasingly for a bike built in 2015, the V-Strom comes with ABS as standard. As always with any ABS-equipped bike, check for ABS warning lights on the dash, ensure the fluid looks nice and clean and inspect the sensor rings for damage or excessive corrosion. Although they may look a bit basic, the V-Strom’s two-piston sliding calipers are actually fairly responsive and a clean, maybe set of braided lines and new pads is more than enough to restore all their bite. If they are sticky at all (not uncommon) rebuilt kits are less than £40 a side and it’s a fairly easy DIY job to do for a competent home mechanic. Finally, give the spoke wheels a good check over for rust, dings and damaged/loose spokes.



Comfort & Economy

More than happy to slog out a wet commute, the V-Strom is a really comfortable bike to ride and it has handy features such as a 3-stage adjustable screen and low seat height. For commuters the XT model’s extra crash protection and hand guards are very welcome additions, especially when combined with heated grips, and there isn’t much to complain about when it comes to its seat’s comfort levels either. And you can certainly take it on longer tours too, despite its small capacity. Although loading it up with luggage will see its fuel economy drop from over 50mpg (which equates to a tank range of over 200 miles), it is still fairly economical. Owners report that if you take it easy, 65mpg is even on the cards, which is very impressive indeed. The beak, which is unique to the XT model, is purely a styling feature and has no extra aerodynamic or weather-protecting ability...



Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT (2015-2016) Equipment

As standard the V-Strom gets ABS but that’s it, traction control only arrived in 2017 when the bike was updated. The dash does contains a gear indicator and fuel gauge, which is good, and the XT’s additional brush guards and crash protection is always welcome.

A lot of owners fit a centre stand to the Strom, which is worth doing, and luggage is both sensible and popular additions alongside heated grips, a fender extender, 12v output and often a taller screen. Aside from this, the V-Strom doesn’t really need anything added to it.



Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT (2015-2016) Rivals

Generally, the V-Strom is bought by commuters as it makes for an excellent daily rider. It is also a very competent lightweight tourer but not really suited to any off-road use – it’s an off-road adventure bike in style only.


BMW F800GS (2008-2018)| Approx Price: £4000-£8000

Power/Torque: 85bhp/60lb-ft | Weight: 185kg


Yamaha XT660Z Ténéré (2008-2016) | Approx Price: £3500-£6500

Power/Torque: 46bhp/43lb-ft | Weight: 183kg


Kawasaki Versys 650 (2015-2021) | Approx Price: £4000-£6999

Power/Torque: 68bhp/47lb-ft | Weight: 214kg



Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT (2015-2016) Verdict

We have said it before and we will say it again – the V-Strom 650 is a brilliant bike that is far more capable than many give it credit for. A wonderful commuter it also makes for a great lightweight tourer, it is a fantastic do-it-all with solid reliability. The XT version is all of the above, just with cool spoke wheels and a slightly odd beak! If you can get one for the same price as a base bike, the extra crash protection and brush guards are welcome additions and its spoke wheels do look quite cool. If it is substantially more, just buy the base bike.


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Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT (2015-2016) – Technical Specification

Original price


Current price range




Bore x Stroke

81mm x 62.6mm

Engine layout


Engine details

Liquid-cooled, 8v, dohc


66.6bhp (49kW) @ 8800rpm


44.3lb-ft (60Nm) @ 6400rpm

Top speed



Six-speed, chain final drive

Average fuel consumption


Tank size

20 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)


Reserve capacity

35 miles

Rider aids



Aluminium twin-spar

Front suspension

43mm conventional forks

Front suspension adjustment

Spring preload

Rear suspension


Rear suspension adjustment

Spring preload and rebound damping

Front brake

2 x 310mm discs, two-piston calipers. ABS

Rear brake

260mm disc, one-piston caliper. ABS

Front tyre

110/80 - 19

Rear tyre

150/70 - 17


26°/ 110mm

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2290mm x 835mm x 1045mm



Ground clearance


Seat height


Kerb weight

215Kg Wet


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