It is no secret that I am a fan of small-capacity bikes. Congested roads, potholes and urban sprawl cured me of my constant need for speed. I also got over the old ego thing years ago when it comes to the bikes that I ride. Don’t get me wrong, I still get my jollies wringing the neck of a big horsepower bike, but I have always appreciated the virtues of small-capacity bikes for urban mobility, functionality, and even a bit of Tiddler Touring. It doesn’t make too much sense to use your 300K bike in a typical commuting environment. Service costs, tyres and depreciation don’t make it particularly viable. If you can buy a small-capacity bike that ticks all the urban mobility boxes and then some, for not too much money, then it makes total sense. Enter Suzuki’s new 250 SX V-Strom.
Suzuki’s 250 V-Strom underwent a total remake in 2023. The parallel-twin became a single, it lost 249 cc air/oil cooled single. There are no fins on the head and barrel because there is a huge oil cooler which adorns the left side of the bike in the same place as a radiator. Even at a standstill, the oil leaves the motor to make the journey through the oil cooler which lowers engine temperature significantly. I love the simplicity of it all.
You also save on the complexity of a water-cooled bike with the weight penalty which comes with it. The motor is up on power over the old twin, and only slightly down on torque. The fuel-injected single makes the torque at lower rpm so it feels much more grunty. It produces 26.1 hp @ 9,300 rpm and 22.2 Nm of torque @ 7300 rpm. It feeds this power through a 6-speed box. The little Strom weighs in at 167 kg wet.
The suspension is supple, with preload adjustment through seven settings on the rear shock. Travel is a modest 120 mm, but well controlled. The front wheel is a 110/90×19 and the rear a 140/70×17. The original equipment tyres are MRF 70/30’s which work really well for the intended purpose of the bike which is, as the SX in the name indicates, as a Sports Crossover. There is 205 mm of ground clearance which allows you to traverse some gnarly ground if done with some care and restraint.
Fact is, the Strom will take you wherever you want to go if you apply some common sense, which I do concede is no longer common! The tyres are fitted to sturdy mags which give the benefit of tubeless tyres for quick puncture fixes. Mags on these small and light Adventure bikes make total sense. The seat height is 835 mm which sounds high, however, the slim girth of the bike makes it accessible to most riders.
The 250 is built in Suzuki’s Indian factory and the fit and finish is good. The rear brake, gear lever and footpegs are metal, which is great because they can be bent straight without breaking in the event of a mishap. The bike feels like a quality piece of kit to ride. Everything is taught and controlled, with impeccable road handling. Light, nimble bikes are a joy to ride, requiring no effort at all. Only when you ride a good responsive bike like this do you realise how unwieldy big bikes are by comparison.
Despite its tidy dimensions the little Strom looks and feels bigger than it is. It is really comfortable, with a good seat and a comfy rider’s triangle. The bars are perfect when seated but are a bit low for taller riders when standing. Bar risers would fix this easily. The windscreen is quite upright, almost in a rally bike position, and is very effective. It takes all the windblast from the rider’s chest, leaving your helmet in clean air. There are wind-deflecting handguards on the bars.
A perfectly located USB socket just left of the instruments is really handy for phone charging or powering a GPS. A USB socket is much preferable to a traditional ‘cigarette lighter socket’ in that it does not rattle the USB connection out over rough roads as the traditional chargers tend to do. Instrumentation is by LCD which can be a bit dull in poor light. All the vital info is displayed or accessible. Speedo, odo, two trips, instant and average fuel consumption, fuel gauge, clock, voltmeter and idiot lights for indicators, high beam and ABS. OK, that’s cool, but how does it ride you may ask?
Frikken’ great, that’s how! The motor is smooth right throughout the rev range. It is punchy enough to drop all but the most persistent traffic in the stoplight GP’s without wringing its neck. Redline is at 10,000 and I have never found it necessary to rev it much over 7000. I fitted a one-tooth larger front sprocket for more relaxed cruising ability as I intend to do some long trips. It can now do 120 kph at 7,500 rpm, still 2,500 revs from the redline. With the torque peak at 7,300 rpm, it pulls decently up hills, with downshifts only required on really long and steep ascents. The fuel economy is next level.
My last tank was used around Pretoria with two Jo’burg trips thrown in. I rode with some restraint, not trying to overtake everything in sight but not hanging around either. I did 519,2 km on a paltry 11.34 litres. That equates to a staggering 45,78 km on a litre. 550 km on a 12-litre tank! Go figure! This halves your current fuel bill on your big bike. The V-Strom literally pays for itself!
Riding the 250 is just so effortless and fun. It chills me out and relaxes me in a way I just never believed possible. I must confess, it becomes a bit of a game seeing how high I can get the k’s per litre average readout. It thrills in a way that is hard to explain. I love giving those oil barons a thumb in the eye! In the urban environment, it is damn near as quick as your crotch rocket or big adventure bike point-to-point. You filter through traffic with much more ease and your lower speed builds in a far greater safety factor. Offroad you are piloting 100 kgs less bike, so it is way less intimidating, and as a result just plain fun. This is the bike I would choose for an around-the-world trip. Simple in every way and incredibly frugal to run.
The relatively low weight and power means that chains, tyres and the like last much longer, and are much less expensive to replace. Watching Norally, the Dutch girl of the popular YouTube channel ‘Itchy Boots’ fame, makes you realise that speed is the last attribute you look for in a travel bike. Reliability, lightweight, comfort, fuel range and simplicity are far more essential attributes. The Suzuki ticks all these boxes superbly.
The brakes are Bybre units and totally up to the task, with a 310 mm disc with a twin piston calliper up front, and a 240 mm disc and single pot calliper at the back. The lights are LED with a decent headlight providing spread and penetration. A rack allows easy top box fitment. There is even a steel engine guard protecting the front of the motor from road detritus. The Suzuki 250 SX V-Strom is available in three colours, Pearl Blaze Orange, Suzuki Champion Yellow and Black. To my eye, it is a handsome little beastie and looks good in all those colours. Mine is black.
There is no easier way of sneaking around the city and surrounds. It is also just so cool to plan an epic trip that some would think impossible on a small displacement bike. Just watch this space, my little Strom and I are going to write some sweet stories. At a purchase price of under R60,000, it offers incredible value and represents the most affordable entry point into a world of adventure. It has the power to cruise at speeds which smaller cc rivals cannot match. Fun never cost so little! I am sure Suzuki will sell every one of these little beauties that they can bring in.
Suzuki V-Strom 250SX
For more information on the bike featured in this article, click on the link below…