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ADV NewsSuzuki V-Strom 650 Gets Serious Off-Road Boost With Custom Kit

Suzuki V-Strom 650 Gets Serious Off-Road Boost With Custom Kit

The middleweight ‘Strom gets dirt upgrades plus tougher looks.

Published on 12.30.2021

Suzuki’s V-Strom 650 has been a prodigious seller for nearly two decades, beloved around the globe for its versatile, friendly nature and reasonable entry price. But while it is an approachable adventure bike, its limited off-road chops are no match for the current crop of dirt-oriented middleweights in the segment. 

Enter French builder Greg Loaec, who took a stock V-Strom 650 and gave it some balls. Yup, a 650 ‘Strom with an off-road ready 21/18 spoked wheelset, improved suspension, aggressive damage protection and absolute kick-ass, black-on-black good looks. But this isn’t just some custom built for envy. This is a package Loaec’s company, Trail Découverte Concept, intends to sell as a DIY kit. 

Called the Dark EVO 2, this isn’t the first V-Strom alter-ego Loaec, whose main moto gig is leading organized adventure trips in France and Spain, has conjured. The mission began with a similarly styled V-Strom 1050 Dark Rally, a project co-sponsored by Suzuki Moto France, which went on to sell a limited run of Loaec’s customs through its dealer network. Next came a V-Strom 650 XT EVO 1, and now the Dark EVO 2 built on the base V-Strom 650. 

Suzuki V-strom 650 offroad kit

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The bike’s custom, dirt-friendly 21-inch front/18-inch rear wheels, which replace the stock 19-inch front/17-inch set, are shod with Metzeler Karoo Extreme knobbies, while a custom cartridge kit for the fork adds 5 cm ( 2 inches) of travel with preload, compression and rebound adjustability. The stock rear shock is replaced by a custom, likewise fully-adjustable unit from EMC Suspensions Europe. 

One of the most striking features of the Dark EVO 2 is the Oval Black Stainless Steel slip-on exhaust from Storm Racing Parts, swept high via a custom header pipe that echoes the line of the SW-Motech Aluminum Engine Guard skid plate. SW-Motech also supplied the Dark EVO 2’s engine and hand guards, plus EVO adjustable footpegs and an adjustable folding gear shift lever.

Suzuki V-strom 650 offroad kit

A flex absorbing Suzuki Factory ProTaper handlebar was added, along with a minimal rally-style seat for easy bodyweight shifts. To lighten top-end weight the V-Strom’s stock battery was swapped with a lightweight lithium-ion unit. Finally, the adjustable stock windscreen was nixed in favor of a dark tinted, custom fly screen. Loaec also says the bike’s weight after the prescribed modifications is 432 pounds dry.

Suzuki V-strom 650 offroad kit
Suzuki V-strom 650 offroad kit

A Dark EVO 2 DIY bolt-on kit is expected to cost 3,900 Euros (around $4,420), but there is no word yet on timing. Some of the parts we see on this initial unit could also change due to availability and to suit easier at-home installation. 

The Suzuki V-Strom 650 certainly has some steadfast fans who will find these upgrades very appealing, though unless you have a ‘Strom sitting around (2020 was the last time a black unit was offered) it’s tough to imagine spending $13,324 (2022 V-Strom 650 plus kit) when you can step straight into the likes of 2022 Yamaha’s T7 for $10,299, which is already well-equipped for off-road adventures and weighs about 24 pounds less coming out of the gate.

What we do like about this Dark EVO 2 kit, as well as Trail Découverte Concept’s Moto France Suzuki V-Strom 1050 Dark Rally project, is seeing adventure-oriented custom kits come to market. More options like these, please, for all the adventure riders who want a bike that not only performs, but also stands out from the crowd.

Photography by Indiana Anders

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
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9 thoughts on “Suzuki V-Strom 650 Gets Serious Off-Road Boost With Custom Kit

  1. Just more of the same farckles and do-dads. Needs to loose another 100#, real off road suspension. If you really want an off road bike, buy one off the show room floor.

  2. Pingback: Off-Road : Suzuki V-Strom 650 Gets Serious Off-Road Boost With Custom Kit - ADV Pulse - K레이서97

  3. Yeah ! More of this please , most stock bikes look terrible.
    Like Paul Tarres’s T7 aver the re build, like the dark version v-storm 1000.
    Fully kitted r1250gs etc
    A new ktm 790 needs a rebel x windscreen to look good , you get the idea !!

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