The adventure bike market is still going strong, even without Ewan and Charley going the long way somewhere, and Suzuki may be about to re-introduce the DR to its line up.
According to American publication Asphalt and Rubber, Suzuki have been planning to bring a big DR model to market, and now images have surfaced from Italy, appearing to show two Suzuki adventure bikes undergoing testing.
Now, as adventure bikes of the ’80s go, the DR was a pretty capable off-road machine. Wire-spoked wheels, 21 inch front wheel, and a long, single-piece seat unit meant it could handle the rough stuff.
The bikes in the spy shots? Perhaps not so much. The wheels are cast items, and although it’s difficult to tell, the front doesn’t look big enough to be 21 inches. The front wheel also has a close fit mudguard, which you might struggle to fit aggressive off-road tyres underneath. There’s no bashplate. Instead, the downpipe from the front cylinder of the now well-used 1037cc V-twin (as first used in the legendary TL series), is exposed to whatever rocks you may come up against.
The faux vents on the front of the tank look very similar to those on the current V-Strom 1000, and the huge screens look to be geared towards high mileage. The headlight, does look very reminiscent of the DR Big, though.
Perhaps, if Suzuki are going to re-introduce the DR name, this could be a way to streamline Suzuki’s big adventure bike offerings. You might assume it’s pretty streamlined already, you know, since they only have the V-Strom 1000, but a quick look on the Suzuki UK website reveals no less than four different V-Strom 1000s, all with a different combination of letters attached to the end of the name, like they went to university or something.
Or perhaps they don’t intend to use the DR moniker at all, and the bikes potted in Italy are just updated V-Stroms, which is less exciting but much more realistic.
Am I excited about this? Should you be? Yes and no.
Yes, because it could mean Suzuki are going to have a real go at producing a good, large capacity adventure bike. The current V-Strom 1000 (as well as the 650 and 250 versions), are a bit… meh. They’re OK, but they’re nowhere near the top dogs such as the Honda Africa Twin, BMW R1250GS, and KTM Adventure family. If the new DR Big – or whatever it’s going to be called – can take it to the big guns, then that’s great.
And no because, well, when was the last time Suzuki released a great bike?
The new Katana? That’s just a GSX-S1000 with 8-bit bodywork, and the GS EXCESS1000 wasn’t great to start with.
The current GSX-R1000R? It can’t hold a candle to the 1000cc superbikes from the likes of Honda, Yamaha, Aprilia, BMW and Ducati. Basically, everyone else.
I’m gunna say it. Suzuki’s last great motorcycle was released when I was still in school. When George W. Bush was US President. When you could still buy a Freddo for 10p. I am, of course, talking about the 2005 GSX-R1000, a bike which BMW referred to extensively during the design and development of the first S1000RR.
Come on, Suzuki, give us a cracking adventure bike.