An Arenacross take on … a V-Strom 650?

Looking most delicious in that yellow paint! Much more flashy than the one we built a decade back. Photo: Suzuki

Long-time CMG readers should recall that about a decade ago, we got our hands on a second-gen Suzuki V-Strom 650 and changed it from a kinda-sorta adventure bike to a full-on dirt machine. Uh, sort of. Editor ‘Arris put a set of spoked 21-18 wheels on the machine and we did some other tweaks that made it into a much better adventure bike, which Rob used for scouting the first Fundy Adventure Rally routes. He was quite happy with the results; we ran the machine for various projects over two years, and he was sad to see it go. However, he always said it was just a tad too heavy for what he was using it for.

Our 2012-2013 project machine. Much fun was had on this bike! Photo: CMG

So, this alternate take on the Strom formula is most interesting, then! It’s put together by SR75 World Team Suzuki, which is Suzuki’s factory Arenacross team in Europe. As such, they’ve got access to Suzuki’s parts bin as well as considerable in-house know-how, which was all put to good use for this custom build, based off a current-generation V-Strom 650XT.

A much more aggressive machine that what we built. Photo: Suzuki

For instance: SR75 built custom headers mated to this one-off titanium FMF muffler. SR75 also tweaked the suspension to match the new 21-18 wheels (with Envy hubs and Pirelli tires, which replace the original 19-17 wheels). The bodywork was customized in-house (and it looks pretty good!). The handlebars, handguards and footpegs are all Suzuki parts, and that also looks like an OEM skid plate on there (not the beefiest arrangement, but certainly better than nothing). There’s a new lightweight battery installed, and you can see there’s been plenty of plastic bodywork and other crap cut off the bike to reduce weight further (although they don’t list a new wet weight).

The saddle comes from Motoseat, and the graphics kit was custom-designed for this project by GP Grafix.

A one-off graphics kit, outsourced from GP Grafix. Photo: Suzuki
Suspension upgrades, new wheels and new tires. Photo: Suzuki
A titanium exhaust on a custom header, built in-house. Photo: Suzuki

That low front fender is still not ideal for down-and-dirty off-roading, but the overall stripped-down silhouette is much more aggressive and contemporary than the standard Strom.

Will we see a machine like this put into production? It’d be nice, especially as the DR650 seems to be on its last legs (Australia will only sell the bike for a few more months, cutting out one of its strongest remaining markets). An easy-to-ride middleweight ADV would be just the ticket for Suzuki, but while other OEMs lean heavily on their Euro partners to develop interesting new machines, Suzuki doesn’t have a reputation for working with custom builders on projects. But, if there’s enough interest, maybe we’ll at least see some enterprising European custom shop offer these parts as an upgrade?


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