Suzuki’s V-Strom 1050 has been one of many stalwarts in the Suzuki family of motorcycles. While it’s not a category-defining adventure bike like the BMW R 1250 GS or KTM 1290 Super Adventure, many people love its versatility, reliability, and affordability.
For 2023, Suzuki has brought several updates to the V-Strom 1050 lineup, including two new models: the V-Strom 1050DE and V-Strom 1050DE Adventure. These replace the well-received V-Strom 1050XT and 1050XT Adventure models.
First, The 2023 Suzuki V-Strom 1050 Updates
Before we get into the DE models, first, let’s highlight the changes to the entire V-Strom 1050 range. The big news is all models now receive a six-axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), which was previously only available on the now-outgoing XT models.
The IMU is paired to Suzuki’s Intelligent Ride System, which is Suzuki’s rider aide suite of electronics that includes ride modes, cornering ABS, traction control, cruise control, and an advanced hill hold control that can adjust brake pressure for hill starts, slopes, and/or load on the motorcycle.
Updated electronics like this require an updated ride-by-wire system, new ABS control unit, new CAN wiring, and a new, more powerful 32-bit Engine Control Module (ECM).
Next, the V-Stroms get a quickshifter for both up- and down-shifts, meaning the clutch is now only used at a stop. There’s a new 5-inch TFT display, adjustable windscreen, 12-volt power adapter, new mirrors, and new LED turn signals and tail lights.
Mechanically, the 1050 V-Twin engine is essentially unchanged except for sodium-filled exhaust valves to help keep temps under control. First and sixth gears are revised inside the transmission for smoother shifting action.
A more durable O-ring chain comes standard, as does an engine bash guard to protect the vital underside of the engine from damage, mainly off-road.
The V-Strom 1050DE
Switching to the DE and DE Adventure models, the first change is to the wheels and tires. The DE versions use wire-spoke wheels (instead of cast wheels on standard V-Stroms), measuring 21 inches in the front and 17 inches in the back. Dunlop supplies the Trailmax Mixtour tires.
There are also physical differences for the DE as well. A new swingarm compared to the standard model adds 10% more torsional rigidity for better off-road control, and at least partially contributes to the DE’s longer wheelbase of 62.8 inches (61.2 inches for the standard model). Other geometry changes include different rake and trail numbers (27.3 degrees vs. 25.4 degree, and 4.96 inches of trail vs 4.33 inches).
Because the DE is focused on adventure riding more than the V-Strom ever has been, suspension settings have also been changed. The 43mm fork and single rear shock now have different spring rates, valving, and even pistons to better suit off-road conditions.
With those changes comes more ground clearance compared to the standard V-Strom 1050 (7.5 inches vs. 6.5) and more suspension travel (6.7 inches of front travel (vs. 6.3) and 6.6 inches of rear travel (vs. 6.3). There’s even a different, wider handlebar by 1.6 inches.
A new Gravel ride mode has been added to the rider aid suite, which presumably allows more rear tire spin-up should you want it. There’s also the ability to turn off rear ABS completely in case you want total control.
Other changes include a three-piece front fender, shorter windscreen, revised side, and center stands, and a fixed 34.6-inch seat height with the seat itself re-shaped to be more comfortable and provide more side grip when standing.
Specific to the DE Adventure version are 37-liter saddlebags made from 1.5mm aluminum for extra toughness, complete with a silver anodized finish. They are keyed with the bike and are said to be completely waterproof, giving your gear shelter should you ride or camp in bad weather.
If history is our guide, the V-Strom 1050 DE and DE Adventure will gain a cult following among die-hard V-Strom fans but will likely be a nice blip on the radar for the overall ADV scene. Nonetheless, Suzuki is dedicating more resources to keeping the aging platform relevant—and capable—in this expanding and competitive ADV market is commendable.
It appears to have the necessary upgrades today’s buyers are looking for, though we wonder if it’ll be enough.
But, as always, its affordable price tag—which, ironically, hasn’t been announced as of this post—will likely keep it relevant in at least a few minds of riders who don’t need all the bells and whistles more expensive European brands have to offer.