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Ready for Dirt: Suzuki’s 2023 V-Strom 1050DE/Adventure

I am always surprised when my moto racing friend Deana Kelley says she regularly takes to the difficult parts of BDRs on her V-Strom. There are few adventures the Suzuki-made motorcycle can’t handle, but baby heads on a steep gravel cliff aren’t exactly what I envision when thinking about this nimble bike. I had always considered the V-Strom an excellent touring bike after listening to the adventures of other friends who scraped the pegs as they cornered through winding roads at high speeds.

As few as two years ago, fellow riders (with the exception of Deana) said they likely wouldn’t take their V-Stroms on any serious off-road adventures, and with good reason. Now Suzuki is pushing the bar further, announcing that their 2023 V-Strom 1050 line will be updated to rival liter-class adventure bikes that regularly tackle the dirt.

The V-Strom 1050DE/Adventure

Say hello to the V-Strom 1050DE/Adventure, featuring V-Strom’s powerful 1,037-cc V-twin dual-spark engine. For the transition, Suzuki made changes to the chassis, increasing the wheelbase by 1.6 inches, adding 17-inch rear and 21-inch front spoke wheels for more ground clearance, and shoeing it with Dunlop’s Trailmax Mixtour adventure tires (featuring a semi-block pattern and an internal structure designed exclusively for V-STROM 1050DE/Adventure models). They also revised the forks and added a link-type rear shock and rebound-damping force adjustment. Suffice it to say this bike’s longer suspension means smoother rides on the tarmac and better handling on rough terrain.

The new seat height sits 1.1 inches higher than the comparative V-Strom 1050XT and the added wide steel foot pegs and tapered aluminum handlebar mean this bike is ready to meet the dirt. A new mode in the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System includes a G Mode (gravel) to the bike’s traction control system. Riders also can switch off the rear ABS for needed traction-breaking.

More upgrades

The bike also offers an updated six-speed transmission improved with a new Bi-Directional Quick Shift System and an updated Ride-By Wire Throttle to assist throttle valves with more finely tuned settings that better balance throttle action and engine output. The bike also comes equipped with a stronger drive chain with larger pins and sturdier links, a model-specific center stand, a shorter windscreen designed to reduce wind buffeting and maximize visibility for off-road riding, and a USB accessory port.

The announcement comes on the heels of the V-Strom’s 20th anniversary. The bike has long been popular as a versatile adventure tourer and loved for its sporting features. In fact, the V-Strom is so popular Suzuki has benefitted from worldwide sales of more than 50,000 models since its inception.

The 2023 V-Strom now allows riders to comfortably enjoy those long distances of never-ending paved roads coupled with the confidence needed to take on dirt trails, county roads, and BLM lands. The bike also comes ready with standard-equipped Suzuki aluminum side cases, an aluminum engine protector, and a standard LED fog lamp.

Marianne Todd has been a professional photojournalist and writer since 1987. Her career began in newspapers and rapidly spread into national news magazines. Her work has been featured on the pages of Time, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal, where she was nominated for Photographer of the Year International. Todd became a publisher in 2009, creating titles reflecting the music, arts, and tourism industries of the South (she still sports the accent), and her work as the official photographer for Governor Haley Barbour led her to photograph everything from Hurricane Katrina to presidential visits. Since moving to New Mexico four years ago, she has left hard news coverage to travel on her trusty BMW F 750 GS, journeying the roads of America and beyond.