The Suzuki V-Strom 650 occupies the middleweight niche between lighter dual-sports and larger adventure tourers, and its sheer versatility and low buy-in are hard to beat. When the highway miles stretch out between the unpaved bits, the “Wee-Strom” provides far more comfort than buzzy singles, a lower seat, lightweight handling and enough smooth torque from its 645cc V-twin for brisk passes and steep hills, even loaded up. It can also tackle rough dirt roads provided you account for its weight and slow down. A makeover in 2012 shaved a few pounds and gave the V-Strom 650 more power, tougher styling and revised suspension, and that same year Suzuki introduced an Adventure version that adds aluminum side cases, engine guards and an adjustable touring windscreen.
It’s ready for touring—how about rocky, rutted dirt road adventures? Almost. The exposed oil filter and lack of hand guards and centerstand can be addressed with accessories, but the always-on ABS can only be disabled for dirt downhills by removing a pair of fuses under the seat. The V-Strom 650/Adventure’s tubeless tires are easily plugged in the event of a puncture, but its cast wheels remain a liability—hit a rock or rut hard enough with an aired-down tire and you could be walking.