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Long-Termers: Suzuki V-Strom 800DE


Chris Moss reports back on his 5 months so far on the ‘Strom

Life was going well. Riding my V-Strom in lovely weather en route to see my Dad, I couldn’t have been more content. And then the joy was suddenly put on hold. After clocking over 90 miles of the 100-mile journey, I heard a muffled bang and hiss. The tell-tale slewing of the rear end confirmed my suspicions, and sure enough it was a flat tyre that ended the fun right then and there. I’m not new to punctures, but little did I know, getting it sorted would take loads of time and effort.

Suzuki V-Strom 800DE

I’ve always worried about getting a puncture on the V-Strom. Running tubes (to better suit its off-road capability, according to the design team I spoke to at Suzuki’s press launch) means repair is far more involved than it can be with a tubeless set up. And with no kit to sort the problem, I limped to a nearby petrol station.

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With a recent very poor record at sorting my breakdowns, calling the AA wasn’t my first preferred option. I didn’t want to wait for hours and then be taken home if I enrolled the help of the yellow van man, so instead considered a plan B. Requests to store the Suzuki were denied by a neighbouring car repair garage, but luckily the petrol station itself allowed me to park it overnight in its private compound. With a lift sorted to get to see ‘the old man’, at least the pressure problem could be deferred to the following day. With kind offers to have a tube delivered to me, and tools to fit it all sorted for the following day, it would seem I’d be able to get going again under my own steam. But then a call to Suzuki’s HQ resulted in the possibility of a much better offer, and as I really didn’t fancy sorting the job myself, especially without a centre-stand, I waited for news. A local Suzuki dealer declared itself too busy to help, but in the end I got an almost perfect solution. I had to wait for it, but in true ‘factory rider’ style, Suzuki diverted a passing company-branded truck and mechanics to visit me and fit a new wheel. For a wee while I looked quite important as men scurried around helping me get back on the road.

It was great to get going again, though as it had taken around a whole 24 hours to get mobile once more, I really must look into converting the V-Strom’s rims to run tubeless tyres. That way, I’ll be likely to return to action in around just 24 minutes should I get another flat. I really do think Suzuki have made a mistake in fitting tubes, as I’m sure very few 800s will be ridden off-road. Besides, the chances of damaging a rim and breaking the seal in a tubeless tyre are very remote in my opinion. You’d have to be riding very hard on tough terrain to do that, and not many riders are good enough to do that on a big, heavy adventure bike like this one. I know I’m not!


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