Riding The New V-Strom 1000

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Riding The New V-Strom 1000

Unread post by totalmotorcycle » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:29 pm

Riding The New Suzuki V-Strom 1000

With the V-Strom 1000 launched to the world’s motorcycling press this month, factory test rider Shogo Sato talks about riding and developing the new adventure machine from Suzuki, and the key characteristics of the new bike.

sato__65C240c85fYp2mLShogo Sato joined Suzuki in 2008 and is in charge of test riding the Japanese firm’s larger capacity road machines, refining everything from the riding position to working on the bike’s features.

“Before V-Strom 1000, I was previously in charge of the test riding team for the V-Strom 650 and gained many insights during that process,” Sato-san explained. “This experience was very useful when developing our new adventure model.

“We have two tasks as test riders. One is to check the functionality and quality of our motorcycles; we want to uncover and rectify issues during testing so that our customers benefit from the best possible durability and functionality from every component. The other is to make refinements to the handling and fuel injection with the technicians. We conduct many kinds of tests to check these areas. We have to exceed Suzuki’s high standards in every test and follow the model design concepts. We carry out these tests without any compromises to satisfy our customers.”

“At the clay model stage, we refined the riding position and conducted wind tunnel experiments. I was determined to produce a high level of performance for our flagship adventure model. We also test the motorcycles using all of the facilities in our proving ground to ensure the maximum performance of a machine. We concentrate on setting straight line stability using the two kilometer straight on our test course, and we also ensure the maximum cornering performance, both in stability and agility on the handling courses with tight corners.

“After these tests, we move to the roads and highways of Europe and the US to make minor adjustments to every part such as the setting of suspension and braking. The conditions on our proving ground and public roads overseas are different and the feeling between them may change. So, as we work towards the final settings, we involve local test riders who know the area’s road conditions very well.”

As a test rider, Sato had several aims and responsibilities when it came to finalising the new V-Strom 1000 model, including tweaks to aspects such as the instrument panel as well as bigger areas such as the bike’s handling capabilities, while always constantly aware of the competition they would be going up against.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 16.51.13“There are many models to choose from in this very competitive category,” Sato continued. “I knew that to compete against them we would need a high level of performance in order to make customers select Suzuki’s new model. Therefore, I requested that our technical people considerably improve the engine and chassis compared with the previous model. I was very strict in my evaluation of the early prototypes.

“Our technical people showed us their passion and persistence. As such, I now believe that the machine is even better than they initially imagined. For example, when testing the prototype, I requested 30 modifications for just one small part of the speedometer to improve visibility and ease of use.

“From all of our testing however, I think that the strongest weapon of this model is its handling. We chose to conduct testing on both the high speed test course and the handling courses when we were focusing on stability. Testing on multiple winding courses is a feature in the development of this test model. The reason was to match the design concept of riding quickly and comfortably on these types of roads.

“It was very difficult to satisfy the requirements of both the high speed stability and quick handling at low speed. Driving on both courses had synergistic effects. For example, a small problem at high speed which was difficult to identify and rectify here, was often clearer on the handling course. Resolving it at low speed on the handling course improved high speed stability back on the fast test course.

“We further refined the handling by riding both on snowy cold days and sunny hot days. We have worked out the settings not only for riding stability, but also for engine characteristics and traction control together with our technical people. After making a lot of tests in various situations, we’ve succeeded in making a highly controllable engine with very efficient traction control.

“We were so successful, that our overseas test riders rated these settings highly and were fully satisfied with them. The characteristics of V-Strom is that riding on winding roads is superb, being both comfortable and highly stable. Testing both on a high speed test course and handling courses was effective in defining the character of the V-Strom.”

Forming part of the V-Strom 1000′s DNA is, according to Sato, the essence of Suzuki’s sportier machines, such as the GSX-R range, Hayabusa and RM-Z models.

“This model has the tradition of Suzuki Sports bikes. For example, the brake calipers are adopted from the GSX-R series and the seat skin adopted from the RM-Z motocross bikes. However, the important things are the invisible details you cannot find simply by looking. When you ride it for the first time, you will instantly appreciate how easy it is to handle. For example, the performance of the Hayabusa and GSX-R are incredible. But, they are also very friendly in low speed and when riding in town.

“We can realise this feeling as we have the philosophy to build our bikes through our customer’s eyes. The styling may be different from the Hayabusa’s and the GSX-R’s. But the attitude and passion to develop them are same. Light chassis. Easy engine control. Neutral handling. You can feel our philosophy as soon as you start the engine and start riding. That’s the reason why this machine has the tradition of Suzuki sports bikes.”
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