Innovation hasn’t been Suzuki’s forte over the past few years. Sure, the House of Hamamatsu released updated versions of its V-Strom 1050, Hayabusa, GSX-S1000, and GSX-S1000 GT, but those revisions simply raised the brand’s styling and electronics up to today’s standards. Throughout that period, Suzuki depended on its existing engine platforms to get the job done.
They can’t apply that same practice to the ultra-competitive middleweight segment, though. As most competing constructors moved to parallel twin engines in the name of mechanical simplicity and compact footprints, Suzuki stuck to its guns, championing a 645cc 90-degree V-twin in the SV650 and V-Strom 650. That could all change in 2023, as the firm prepares for its 700cc parallel twin to finally hit the market.
We’ve seen several variations of Suzuki’s middleweight mill so far. At the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, the company debuted the Recursion concept with a turbocharged, 588cc parallel twin at its core. Suzuki evolved the engine for 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, with the XE7 concept showcasing the turbocharged, DOHC, 700cc twin. The company published patents for both turbocharged and naturally-aspirated versions in the following years, but the latest spy shots of the upcoming V-Strom suggest that the non-turbocharged variant will hit the market first.
Spotted on Italy’s Stelvio Pass, the V-Strom prototype bears boxy, ‘80s-styled headlights and bodywork similar to the 2020 V-Strom 1050 range. With the new parallel twin powering Suzuki’s test mule, the engineers adapted the chassis with a redesigned frame, USD front end, and a shapely swingarm.
Without a V-twin wedged into that refreshed chassis, we question whether Suzuki will hold onto the V-Strom moniker. On the other hand, the V-Strom family's name recognition would benefit from continuity. Especially with stiff competition from the Kawasaki Versys 650 and Triumph Tiger Sport 660, that branding decision could prove impactful.
Outside of the sport-touring category, we also anticipate Suzuki leveraging the 700cc platform for a renewed SV650 (without the V?). If Suzuki does roll out a turbocharged twin, we could also envision the engine in a GSX-R600 or GSX-R750 replacement. Before any of that happens, though, we’ll have to wait for Suzuki to officially roll out its first 700cc parallel-twin-powered model.
Sources: Bennetts, VisorDown, Motociclismo