Johannesburg - Suzuki SA has introduced a rugged new adventure tourer with serious off-road credentials to its range - but there's a twist.
Much as the boxy little Suzuki Jimny is living proof that it doesn’t take a five-litre V8 to crush a few beetles, the new V-Strom XT demonstrates that you don’t need 1200cc and a quarter-ton of raw grunt to venture off the tar on two wheels.
The twist is that this dirt-road demon is based on the smaller of Suzuki's two V-Strom dual-purpose machines, the DL650, weighing in at 214kg ready to go.
The new DL650XT shares the same 645cc L-twin engine (49kW at 8800rpm, 60Nm at 6400) and twin-spar aluminium frame as its more street-orientated sibling, but runs long-travel suspension with 19-inch front and 17-inch rear spoked wheels.
Specially designed DID aluminium rims provide greater resilience to knocks and reduce unsprung weight, while allowing the bike to run on tubeless tyres.
Suspension preload is adjustable at both ends - remotely, without tools, at the rear by means of a knob under the right side-cover - and ABS is standard.
The German and Austrian off-road autocracy may have hijacked the look, but it's worth remembering that the first off-roader to integrate its front mudguard into a 'beak' on the front fairing was Gaston Rahier's 1988 works DR-Z Dakar Rally machine.
And the new XT goes straight back to its roots with distinctive front-end styling, including built-in intake ducts to channel cool air to the radiator.
Above that are dual halogen headlights (both on all the time, whether on dip or bright - thank you, Suzuki!), a three-way manually adjustable screen with a 42mm height range, and a digital instrument pod displaying speed, distance, time, gear position, fuel level, consumption, coolant temperature and ambient temperature, scrollable via a rocker in the left switchgear, so you don't have to take your hand off the 'bars.
The upper section of the bodywork is finished in a range of metallic paints - red, silver, blue and grey - while the lower section and the engine room wear a tough textured coating in black.
The DL650XT is available now at your local Suzuki dealer for R94 950.
Suzuki DL650XT V-Strom
Engine: 645cc liquid-cooled 90-degree L-twin.
Bore x stroke: 81 x 62.6mm.
Valvegear: DOHC with four overhead valves per cylinder.
Compression Ratio: 11.2:1.
Power: 49kW at 8800rpm.
Torque: 64Nm at 6400rpm.
Induction: Multipoint electronic fuel-injection with two throttle bodies.
Ignition: Digital electronic.
Clutch: Cable-operated multiplate wet clutch.
Transmission: Six-speed constant-mesh gearbox with final drive by chain.
Front Suspension: 43mm conventional cartridge with five-way adjustment for preload and ABS.
Rear Suspension: Monoshock with remotely adjustable preload.
Front brakes: Dual 310mm discs with dual-piston floating callipers and ABS.
Rear brake: 260mm disc with single-piston floating calliper and ABS.
Front tyre: 110/80 - 19 tubeless.
Rear tyre: 150/70 - 17 tubeless.
Seat height: 835 mm.
Kerb weight: 214kg.
Fuel tank: 20 litres.
Price: R94 950.