2006 Suzuki DL650 V-Strom

The V-Stroms (there is a 1000cc version available also) are Suzuki's entries into the burgeoning "adventure bike" category, currently dominated by the patriarchal BMW GS series. Adventure bikes are mostly designed for comfortable street touring, but provide just enough dirt capability to handle gravel roads, forest service roads, and other non-pavement roads with more aplomb than a pure street bike. The seating position is upright and comfortable with just enough weather protection to make long all-weather rides feasible. The perfect bike for doing the Alcan, I bought this bike in early 2006 and equipped it for a big Alaskan trip planned for that summer. I ended up having to cancel the trip due to scheduling difficulties, but don't regret buying the bike at all. It's a shockingly all-around competent bike that does everything well and does it for a price that makes it the hands-down best value in motorcycling. For 2007, there is an ABS version to further extend its versatility. If I only owned one bike, it would be either this one or a BMW R1200GS.

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