After having spent quality time astride the V-Strom SX riding it from Madurai in Tamil Nadu to Kochi in Kerala, we now put it to the test to see how it fares in the city as an everyday commuter in this detailed road test review.
Story: Azaman Chothia
Photography: Apurva Ambep
The third motorcycle to be launched by under the Gixxer 250 platform was the Suzuki V-Strom SX. This new V-Strom is specific to the Indian market and is aimed at riders who want a machine that can take on long-distance touring. While the V-Strom range is known for its off-road abilities, Suzuki has not intended this for off-road use. Suzuki has followed the iconic V-Strom silhouette when it comes to the design language and has done a good job of replicating its larger siblings. The V-Strom SX surely has a good presence on the road as it grabs attention, especially because of the bright yellow colour unit that we have for this review. The other two options include a black and a red.
Upon close inspection, we can see that the V-Strom SX uses the same LED headlight as the naked Gixxer 250 which is covered by the good-looking ADV fairing that sports a large windscreen to protect a rider from windblast on the highway. The rear end gets a LED taillight, a luggage rack behind the split seat setup, and also sports a sturdy bash plate for when you decide to venture off road. The rectangular digital screen does a good job of displaying basic information and riders can also pair a smartphone with the Suzuki Ride Connect application via Bluetooth. On the left side of the console, Suzuki has also given a USB charging port which is another thing that will come in handy over long rides.
The riding position of the V-Strom SX is very comfortable where the footpegs are set slightly towards the rear and the wide and raised handlebar keeps a rider upright in the saddle. This position is perfect for touring over long distances which is exactly what Suzuki has tried to achieve with this bike. While standing up to tackle some off-road trails, the position is not very natural as my upper body was being pushed over the front end and I had to keep making slight adjustments. Apart from that, the short twin-barrel exhaust unit kept making contact with my heel when I was standing up on the pegs; this is the same exhaust unit that we see on the Gixxer twins, but it is fully blacked out on the X-Strom SX. Another element similar to the Gixxer twins is the 12-litre fuel tank. Considering that this motorcycle has larger dimensions and was built for touring, it would have been nice to get a tank that can hold a few more litres of petrol.
The bike makes use of the same diamond frame which the Gixxer twins use, but the mounting points have been slightly altered to accommodate the new, larger bodywork. The 249-cc, single-cylinder, fuel-injected, oil-cooled motor sitting in this frame puts out 26.5 hp at 9,300 rpm and a peak torque of 22.2 Nm at 7,300 rpm, so the V-Strom SX is in the same exact tune as the Gixxer twins. This one is also mated to the same slick six-speed gearbox with a light clutch action. No changes have been made to the gear ratios or final drive gearing. This motor is smooth through the rev range and paired with the character of this motorcycle, allows you to comfortably cruise through city traffic. On the highway, the bike can comfortably sit at around 110 km/h which will help cover long distances with ease.
While accelerating, you can feel that the power delivery is linear all the way up to the redline. The motor feels the best when it’s kept within the strong mid-range rpm and adding to the overall experience of this motor is a slick six-speed gearbox and clutch. The SOCS (Suzuki Oil Cooling System) works well as it manages engine heat efficiently in city traffic and even when the bike is being ridden hard. The engine also allows the rider to stay in higher gears at low speeds which shows its extremely tractable nature. A simple downshift and a twist of the throttle is all that is needed for swift overtakes.
Suspension duties are handled by a telescopic front fork and a monoshock unit at the rear. This setup is the same as the Gixxer so it gets the same suspension travel. It would have been nice if Suzuki had increased the suspension travel as it would enhance the motorcycle’s off-road abilities. The bike rides on a 19-inch alloy wheel at the front and a 17-inch alloy wheel at the rear wrapped in MRF Meteor dual-purpose tyres. While wading through city traffic, the bike is easy to maneuver and as soon as you hit the twisties, this V-Strom SX gets into its element. It was a blast tackling corners astride this bike as it is a very confidence-inspiring machine to ride. With a kerb weight of 167 kg, the bike feels fairly light; it is easy to flick into a corner and facilitates a quick change in direction. While leaned over, it feels stable and planted, as the rev-happy motor allows you to power out of a corner while the MRF rubber does a good job of providing grip. Braking equipment includes disc brakes at both ends with a dual-channel ABS setup. They work well and are adequate to get the bike to stop once you get used to the feel of the front brake lever.
Priced at Rs 2,11,600, the V-Strom SX is a motorcycle that competes directly against the KTM 250 Adventure. When compared to its siblings, it is around Rs 30,000 more expensive than the naked Gixxer 250 and approximately Rs 20,000 more expensive than the fully-faired Gixxer SF 250. It will appeal to a rider who wants a motorcycle that can be used for daily commuting and the occasional long tour. It is extremely usable thanks to the comfort that it offers paired with the rev-happy and smooth nature of the engine. The only thing that it misses out on is hardcore off-road capabilities, but the Suzuki V-Strom was meant to be on the tarmac and it does a great job of proving its abilities in that respect. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the V-Strom SX and would surely recommend it to someone looking for a motorcycle under the Rs 2.50 lakh mark.