Suzuki’s V-Strom line has enjoyed enduring popularity since its introduction in 2002. The V-Stroms have traditionally been sport-tourers (among other classifications tacked onto them) but now Suzuki is breaking new ground—and that ground is rough. Enter the 2023 V-Strom 800DE and 800DE Adventure.
The all-new 800DE line places itself between the existing V-Strom 650 and 1050 bikes. But there’s one crucial distinction—the new motorcycles are designed for adventure. Is that really so? Let’s take a closer look.
An Adventurous Design
In general, the 800DE bikes are supposed to offer the same capabilities as the V-Strom 1050DE, just in a smaller displacement. Suzuki says it has listened to rider feedback and performed extensive field optimization testing in an effort to fine-tune the bike package for adventure riding. Looking at the specs, you just might believe that.
Starting with the chassis, the 800DE boasts a new rugged steel frame. The construction aims to enhance stability and rigidity while making the bike easy to handle on bouncy off-road trails. The short frame places the rider’s hips farther forward than your usual V-twin configuration for improved ergonomics and better control. We’ll have to see how comfortable the seating position is in action.
Within the frame sits a brand-spanking-new 776cc parallel-twin engine with a four-valve design and a 270-degree crankshaft configuration (as opposed to the 90-degree V-twins found on the other V-Stroms). The powerplant is tuned to provide torquey performance with strong power output at low speeds. Suzuki’s Cross Balancer technology makes its world-first appearance on a production motorcycle, making the engine lighter for smoother operation.
To suck up those off-roading bumps, the 800DE bikes have the most suspension travel and ground clearance out of any V-Strom motorcycle. In the front, you’ll find an inverted Showa fork with compression and rebound adjustment, while a Showa shock with remote preload adjustment smoothens out the ride in the back. Both components have 8.7 inches of travel. Combined with 8.75 inches of ground clearance, the first rock you find shouldn’t put the 800DE out of commission.
Tire-wise, the bike features aluminum spoked wheels—21 inches in the front and 17 inches on the butt side. The Japanese stallion is shod with Dunlop Trailmax Mixtour tires.
Helping the rider is Suzuki Intelligent Ride System (SIRS) that we should all be familiar with by now. On top of the usual three ride modes, the 800DE adds a Gravel mode for—you guessed it—rough gravel roads. The ABS system has two modes for different road conditions, in addition to a Rear ABS Off mode for loose gravel surfaces. The rider can control the ride modes with a five-inch multifunction TFT instrument panel that displays plenty of information in color.
In design, the 800DE is a V-Strom, alright. Although the angular bodywork is all new, you won’t mistake the bike for anything but a V-Strom (partial thanks to the familiar beak in the front). The 800DE is available in Champion Yellow #2 and Glass Matte Mechanical Gray, while the Adventure variant also offers a Glass Sparkle Black colorway.
Meanwhile on the Asphalt
In addition to the V-Strom 800DE, Suzuki is rolling out the 2023 GSX-8S. This naked, 776cc parallel-twin features the 270-degree crankshaft configuration and Cross Balancer system as the 800DE but brings them to asphalt roads. The GSX-8S promises to be a stable, if somewhat heavy, machine for those who prefer paved surfaces.