2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800 DE - Technical Review

Additional reporting by Ben Purvis


Price: £10,655 otr | Power: 83.1bhp | Weight: 230kg | Rating: 4/5


The V-Strom name has been in Suzuki’s lexicon for 20 years but the latest bike to get the title has all the ingredients to be the best adventure middleweight that the company has ever made. It’s the V-Strom 800DE and it’s the second of two bikes – alongside the 2023 Suzuki GSX-8S roadster – to get Suzuki’s brand new 776cc parallel twin engine.

Although the ‘V’ might suggest a V-shaped cylinder layout, that hasn’t always been the case. The V-Strom 250, for instance, had a parallel twin, and the same applies to the new V-Strom 800DE. In recent years, parallel twins have started to become the dominant layout, particularly for adventure bikes, as they combine the torque of a V-twin with the ease of packaging of a single-cylinder. From the Yamaha’s Ténéré 700 to Aprilia’s Tuareg 660 and the forthcoming Honda Transalp, the engine format has proved itself again and again. Suzuki might be a latecomer to the idea, having long persisted with the V-twin layout of the V-Strom 1000 and V-Strom 650, but can the new V-Strom 800DE measure up to the competition in this new breed of mid-sized, lightweight adventure bikes?

Simon Hargreaves finds out at the launch of the 800DE in Sardinia, with 200 miles on- and off-road.


Pros & Cons
  • Great off-road/on-road middleweight compromise, slightly weighted (sic) towards road use
  • Quality Showa suspension is best in class; excellent ride quality and bike control
  • Good level of spec as standard, as well as the best clocks
  • Engine vibration at cruising speed may be an issue for some owners
  • Unusually for Suzuki, it’s the most expensive bike in its class (but, arguably, justifiably so)
  • It’s 25kg heavier than its rivals and that counts against it off-road (although it’s in its favour on road)
2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE: REVIEW
New 2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE brings all-new parallel twin power, so we put it to the test at the international press launch on-and-off road


Review – In Detail

Price & PCP
For and against
Engine & Performance
Handling & Suspension (inc. weight & brakes)
Comfort & Economy
Owner Reviews


2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE price and colours

At £10,655 on the road, the V-Strom 800DE is the most expensive bike in its immediate class – it’s over £1100 more expensive than Honda’s forthcoming Transalp launch price, over £500 more than Yamaha’s Ténéré 700, Aprilia’s Tuareg is available with some massive discounts (Colchester Kawasaki have them at under £9000 at time of writing), and KTM’s re-issued 790 Adventure, assembled by CFMoto in China, will be £9999.

However, it’s important to look past those simple price comparisons to understand exactly what you’re getting for your money.

PCP example





36 months


Final payment






Miles per year


The DE comes in three colours: classic yellow and blue (Champion Yellow) with gold rims; a sexy-looking grey and yellow (Glass Mat Mechanical Gray) with black rims, and blue/black (Glass Sparkle Black) with gold rims.



2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE cc Engine & Performance

It’s not often we get a completely new Suzuki engine to obsess about (the last one was probably the Hayabusa in 1999!). Shared with the new GSX-8S (and potentially coming to more models in the future, although Suzuki won’t be drawn on the question), it’s a 776cc, 270° crank parallel twin with dual balancer shafts to keep things smooth – one balancer below the crank balancing primary vibration from one piston, and one at 90° in front of the crank to balance primary vibration in the other, with the patented 90° angle reducing torsional vibration common to 270° cranks – it’s worth noting only the Honda Transalp, in this class, also has twin balancers; the Ténéré, Tuareg and KTM make do with one.

The theory is a 270° crank mimics the character and feel of a 90° V-twin (like the V-Strom 1000 and 650), but with added smoothness and all the advantages of better packaging in the chassis – Suzuki say the 800DE engine is so much shorter it can have a longer swingarm than either the 650 or 1050 V-Stroms, bringing benefits to suspension control and ride quality. I also thought Suzuki might use this as a reason for continuing to call the 800DE a V-Strom instead of, say, a P-Strom – but it turns out the V in V-Strom actually meant ‘Versatile’ all along, they just forgot to mention it.



Otherwise, the DOHC, four-valve-per-cylinder twin is relatively conventional. It has a thermally-controlled water-cooling valve to get the engine up to temperature more efficiently from cold (you can see it on the right side of the engine), and the airbox is located behind the engine (like the old days!) instead of feeding the throttle bodies from just behind the headstock – Suzuki say this is because, in terms of packaging, it’s better there – they can hit their power and torque targets, and free-up space for a larger fuel tank (which it does and is; see later).

The engine makes a peak of 83.1bhp (62kW) at 8500rpm, with 57.5lb-ft of torque (78Nm) at 6800rpm. It’s actually a fraction more powerful than the same engine in the GSX-8S, due entirely to a more efficient exhaust design – the 800DE has a conventional rear exhaust can; the GSX-8S has an under-belly exhaust system.

Compared it rivals, the relatively large-capacity 800DE is 10 bhp up on the Ténéré 700, a few bhp up on the Tuareg (both with smaller engines) but 8bhp down on Honda’s Transalp (with a 750cc engine). But, importantly, the Suzuki makes peak power at lower rpm. This, says Suzuki, is intentional – they could easily have tuned the 800DE for more peak power, but that’s not the character they wanted the bike to have, choosing instead a smoother torque delivery and better performance at lower rpm.

In terms of electronics, the 800DE is well spec’d. It comes with the same (slightly smaller) TFT dash as the 1050DE and GSX-S1000 – bright, crisp, nicely coloured and easy to read – and the same switchgear, with a rocker and mode button handling most of the inputs. As with the Transalp and Ténéré there’s no cruise control (the Tuareg has got it), but the 800DE comes with an up/down quickshifter as standard – none of the others do.

The DE also gets five levels of traction control (3 levels, off, and a G-mode for off-road riding that permits a specific amount of wheelspin before controlling tyre slip), and three levels of throttle response.



Riding impressions

Suzuki have pitched the 800DE motor straight down the middle of the on-road/off-road axis. On the road, the DE’s low-down and midrange performance is chunky and responsive, pulling smoothly from almost no revs, picking up in any gear without a hesitation. It’s a very quiet motor (possibly because airbox and exhaust are so far behind the rider) – it doesn’t make a fuss about its forward progress, and neither does it leap off with quite the enthusiasm of the Ténéré, Tuareg or (if the similarly engined Hornet is anything to go by) the Transalp. And it feels a bit flatter at the top end, too. But it’s not slow – there’s just more of a gentle urgency to the motor rather than a free-revving stomping, which makes it far more suited to an easy-going, level-headed momentum-style of riding rather than harum-scarum point-and-squirt. Although of course it can do that too if required, it’s just not its default setting, and hasn’t been tuned for it.

Off-road, the DE’s motor has an uncanny ability not to stall or get any kind of transmission judder if the revs drop too low in a given gear for the corner speed. Navigating waking-pace hairpins with the clutch out in second gear needs only a dab of rear brake, dropping revs below tickover, but without either stalling the engine or introducing chain lash. That’s an impressive, useful quality for occasional off-roaders dipping their toes (instead of their clutch, ho hum).

The 800DE’s electronics are excellent – quickshifter is entirely seamless and, for my feet, foolproof. The different throttle response modes actually make a difference – A is noticeably more aggressive than B, and C is very soft. None are snatchy – A feels better on the road, B mode is better off-road. Thankfully it doesn’t rain (or snow) during the launch, so C mode remains untested.

There is, however, one potential fly in the 800DE’s mechanical ointment. A tingling, high-frequency engine vibration is apparent, mostly through the pegs but also at the bars, from 5000rpm upwards. Sensitivity to higher frequency vibration is subjective – some riders won’t notice it; others will suffer terribly. But I can quite clearly feel it, especially at the speed many people will wish to cruise on the motorway, around 5500rpm. Whether it’s something that will affect you personally or not, only a test-ride will answer. I would be inclined to try a smaller rear sprocket to move cruising revs lower by a few hundred rpm.

The source of the vibration is an odd one; it’s not low frequency enough to be primary vibes, and feels more like secondary vibration. But 270° parallel twins shouldn’t suffer from secondary vibration – and the balancers are both turning at engine speed, not twice engine speed. It’s also pretty localised at the pegs – the mirrors are pin sharp.

But, overall, it’s a good motor – not the loose-revving of other parallel twins, but useable, useful (especially at low speed off-road), and with plenty of short-shifting go in it.



2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE Handling, weight and suspension

The 800DE’s chassis spec is good: steel frame (better flex than aluminium, cheaper, takes up less space for equivalent strength) mated to a long ally swingarm, with fully adjustable Showa forks, adjustable Showa shock, 21in front and 17in rear spoked, tubed rims, non-radial calipers (seems like a strange omission). Tyres are Dunlop Trailmax Mixtour. The 800DE’s rear subframe is detachable, which is unique in the class and crucially important if you’re in the habit of throwing your Ténéré, Tuareg or Transalp at the scenery but don’t want to write it off just because you bent the subframe.

The DE’s tank is a class-leading 20 litres, partly because (as stated) the airbox no longer takes up tank space – it’s good for around 160-180 miles of riding before refuelling, at the test figure of around 45mpg.

The tank size makes a significant contribution to the 800DE’s 230kg kerb weight, over 20kg more than the Ténéré, Tuareg or Transalp. It’s not just the weight of the fuel, but also the added weight of the steel tank to contain it.

On the road, the extra weight isn’t noticeable other than to add to a reassuring sense of mass – the 800DE feels like a proper long distance-capable machine. It has a lovely bend-swinging style, neither overly agile at the front or bum-squattingly soggy at the rear. Weight transfer between throttle and brakes is managed perfectly by the Showa suspension, and feels more classy and controlled than either the Ténéré or Tuareg (check back here in a few weeks for a verdict on Honda’s Transalp). Ride quality is superb, managing bumps and ridges with a progressive resistance – the Showa kit feels like it’s the place most of the £1000 price differential over the Honda may well have gone. Overall, the V-Strom 800DE is a pretty flawless handler on twisty roads – measured, calm, confident and viceless. And it feels a lot more confident and born-that-way secure on its 21in front than, say, the 1050DE on its 21in front.

Off-road, the Strom’s weight inevitably makes it more tiring for an average off-road rider hanging onto to chasing the front end (hero riders look good on anything; it takes a nervous nellie to really split the difference. That’s my excuse). Either way, the DE hasn’t got the natural enthusiasm for off-road of the Ténéré  or Tuareg (check back etc for the Honda Transalp verdict), whose loose, jangling, chuck-it-and-tuck-it vibe is more readily apparent – but the DE is way more capable than either the 650 or 1050 V-Strom, and is probably more akin to the off-road chops of Honda’s base Africa Twin (which, incidentally, weighs a few kilograms less than the DE). As a DE owner, I’d be confident of a positive off-road outcome on a steady firetrail – being stuck waist-deep in a Peak District bog might be another matter (and that’s assuming water doesn’t back-fill the low air-box).



2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800 DE Comfort & Economy

As stated, the DE’s 20-litre steel tank is good for around 160-180 miles of riding before refuelling, at the test figure of around 45mpg. The dash has a fuel range calculator as well as a fuel gauge.

The DE’s comfort is exemplary (with a proviso about the vibes). The 855mm seat is right, right away – wide and supportive at the back, and cupping my bum in all the right places, it didn’t offer a moment’s complaint. I’m pretty sure I could ride the DE a long way without a hint of arseache – it’s definitely better than the V-Strom 1050’s seat.

The riding position is roomy, too – lots of legroom (despite the 220mm ride height), wide tapered bars with grips at just the right angle (no feeling as though your hands are at just the wrong position), and with the seat narrowing at the tank so when you stand up off-road, the bike feels slim and controllable (not as slim as the Ténéré, though).

The DE’s screen is piddling. It can be adjusted through three heights with an Allen key – but the range isn’t huge and makes no practical difference. The amount of wind noise is almost like a riding a naked bike and serious tourers will want to fit Suzuki’s accessory screen (much taller and wider), and possibly and MRA flip-up on top of that.

Hand guards, a radiator guard and a plastic bash plate are all standard, and the DE also has a USB port on the left side of the clocks.


2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE Review Features Price Spec_20


2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE brakes

Nothing too special on the braking front – and specifically no radial calipers (a bit of a styling faux pas rather than being detrimental to brake performance): a pair of 310mm, petal-style discs and four-pot Nissin calipers at the front, and a 260mm rear disc and single-piston caliper at the back.

ABS has three levels – two levels of intervention, plus an off-road mode that cuts ABS to the rear; it defaults to level 1 when ignition is turned off and on again).



2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE Rivals

Suzuki hasn’t chosen a soft target market for the V-Strom 800 DE. It’s up against some of the most accomplished machines on the market and in the near future the class will become even more competitive with the addition of the long-anticipated Honda Transalp, based around the same parallel twin engine that debuted earlier this year in the new CB750 Hornet.


Yamaha Ténéré 700 | Price: £9900

A runaway hit since its launch in 2019, the Ténéré has a smaller engine, less power, revs harder, has less controlled suspension, less equipment, and is slimmer and lighter than the DE. It’s marginally easier to manage off-road, but less solid, less comfortable and with a worse tank range on the road.

Power/Torque: 72bhp/50 lb-ft | Weight: 205kg | 16 litre tank | 875mm seat


Aprilia Tuareg| Price: £9850

The Aprilia has a smaller, more highly tuned engine than the Suzuki, is slimmer and lighter, and has a similar long-legged, gangly off-road vibe as the Yamaha. It’s well-equipped, with rider aids and cruise control.

Power/Torque: 80bhp/52 lb-ft | Weight: 204kg | 18 litre tank | 860mm seat


Honda Transalp | Price: £9499

Will be tested soon – but has the same engine as the Hornet 750, so we know it’ll be a funky, high-revving but smooth and powerful motor. From looks and spec, expect a capable off-road performance, but not its natural environment.

Power/Torque: 83bhp/58 lb-ft | Weight: 208kg | 17 litre tank | 850mm seat


2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE Review Features Price Spec_24


2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE Verdict

It’s been a long time since Suzuki built a new motorcycle, but they haven’t forgotten how to do it. The V-Strom 800DE isn’t a direct rival to Yamaha’s Ténéré 700 – that bike still has lightweight, off-road chuckability nailed – but instead aims for a calmer, more considered road expertise that makes it a better prospect for life on tarmac, especially where distance is concerned. If you asked me which I’d rather ride to Scotland, it’s the Suzuki.

But although the 800DE is certainly the most off-road capable V-Strom yet, and will happily tackle most green lanes, if you ask which I’d rather be pulling out of a bog in the Peak District in December, then in that case it’s the Yamaha – the one that weighs 25kgs less.

And we have yet to ride Honda’s Transalp, which is also aiming to sit somewhere on the road/off-road axis for middleweight parallel twins.

The Suzuki’s best features are the quality of its suspension, the seat and riding position, its clocks and its ride comfort on the road. Its worst aspect is a potentially troublesome mid-revs vibration. I’m loath to make too much of it, in case it turns out I’m being over-sensitive; but it’s there.

And then there’s the price. We’re used to Suzuki making price-conscious bikes, so any deviation from that comes with a loaded expectation – and when the 800DE costs over £1000 more than the Honda Transalp, that’s a perception problem unless the DE is conspicuously spec’d-up. In truth, the suspension and standard quickshifter are probably £1000’s worth themselves – but the rest of the Suzuki, while not looking cheap (apart from the brakes), certainly isn’t as neatly designed as the Honda or Yamaha – it looks messy. You’d want a bit more class for your £10,655.

But, overall, the DE is a good effort and just scrapes four stars on the grounds it’s been so long since Suzuki built a new bike, the last thing we want to do is put them off building another one. So good effort with the 800DE, let’s keep up the work, and go again.


2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE Technical Specification

New price

£10,655 otr



Bore x Stroke

84 x 70mm

Engine layout

Parallel twin

Engine details

DOHC, four-valve, twin balancer shafts, 270° crankshaft


83.1bhp (62KW) @ 8500rpm


57.5lb-ft (78Nm) @ 6800rpm


6 speed, up/down quickshifter, assist-and-slipper clutch

Average fuel consumption

64.12mpg claimed

Tank size

20 litres

Theoretical max range to empty

282 miles

Actual mpg

46mpg miles

Actual range to reserve

160-180 miles

Rider aids

Quickshifter, ABS (switchable), three riding modes, four traction control settings, low RPM assist, Suzuki Easy Start System


Tubular steel

Front suspension

Showa inverted forks

Front suspension adjustment

Fully adjustable preload, compression and rebound

Rear suspension

Piggyback remote reservoir Showa monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

Fully adjustable preload, compression and rebound

Front brake

2 x 310mm discs, two-piston Nissin calipers

Rear brake

260mm disc, single-piston caliper

Front wheel / tyre

Wire wheel / 90/90-21M/C 54H tubed Dunlop TRAILMAX MIXTOUR

Rear wheel / tyre

Wire wheel / 150/70R17M/C 69H tubed Dunlop TRAILMAX MIXTOUR

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2345mm x 975mm x 1310mm



Seat height



230kg (kerb)


2 years / unlimited miles


600 miles, then 7500. Valves at 15,000

MCIA Secured Rating

Not yet rated




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2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE Review Features Price Spec_01


What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars (three stars for bikes of 125cc or less), based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.