Earlier this year we showed you photos of a V-Strom 1000 “concept bike” Suzuki introduced at the Intermot Expo in Cologne, Germany. Powered by the same 996cc, liquid-cooled, 90-degree V-twin as the original model released in 2002, this new concept featured a beefed-up twin-spar aluminum frame with an exposed, tubular-steel subframe and more aggressive, beaked bodywork in keeping with the modern adventure-bike trends defined by best-selling models like the BMW R1200GS and Ducati Multistrada.
Now a prototype has been photographed undergoing what appears to be final validation testing in the German Alps, and it appears in every way identical to the concept bike that was displayed at Intermot last fall. Looking closely, we can see even more details that give shape to what will almost certainly be a new model released to the public later this year.
The rugged-looking subframe is quite long, making room for spacious passenger accommodations and what appears to be a cast-aluminum grab rail/luggage rack combination. Saddlebag mounts are clearly visible in the photos, along with what looks to be a trunk base, so expect hard luggage to be an available option. A large-capacity fuel tank arcs over a single, centrally located radiator and terminates in the aforementioned central beak, which looks to incorporate ram-air venting. A stacked headlamp is topped with what looks like a manually adjustable, multi-position windscreen. Hand guards and a skidplate were displayed on the concept but not seen on the prototype, suggesting these might be options.
The prototype sits taller than the previous DL1000, suggesting long-travel suspension, and the componentry looks up-to-date with an inverted fork—complete with compression and rebound adjusters—and a linkage-assisted rear monoshock attached to a long, traction-enhancing box-section aluminum swingarm. Cast ten-spoke wheels appear to be 19-inch front/17-inch rear—again, right in line with class norms—to fit a good selection of intermediate-pattern ADV rubber. The front brakes are radial-mount Tokico four-piston calipers and ABS ring gear is clearly visible on the right side.
Chain final drive and what appears to be a conventional, cable-actuated throttle should keep the cost down for the category, though perhaps at the expense of some more sophisticated electronic features like cruise control. Still, Suzuki has offered switchable power modes on its GSX-R sportbikes for some time now, so it wouldn’t be unusual to find those here. And what better product than a premium ADV bike to debut a traction-control system or other similar rider assists, which Suzuki hasn’t offered on a production bike yet to date?
Given the very high level of refinement visible in these pictures, it’s almost certain this new model will be released sometime in the third or fourth quarter of 2013, to be sold as a 2014 model. And given the current popularity of ADV bikes, especially in America, it’s very likely this new V-Strom will be available stateside from the start. We can’t wait for another affordably priced, Japanese-made option alongside Yamaha’s Super Ténéré to round out what is an already a very exciting and diverse adventure bike class.