Please tell us about the targets of the new V-Strom Engine.
V-Strom has a “V” in its name; therefore we focused on emphasizing the character of the V-twin engine.
With their unique low rpm rumble and strong high rpm, V-twins are very unique. However, they can be tricky to ride at low speeds due to their increased combustion shock.
Therefore, our development theme was to make it smoother at low-to-mid range rpm for touring while maintaining the free-revving nature at high rpm. As the engine was originally designed as a sports bike engine, it naturally has a free-revving character at high rpm. So our focus was on how to develop the engine character to make it easier to control at low-to-mid range which the rider will use on a regular daily basis.
We have refined the fuel injection settings, increased inertia, added twin spark plugs, and redesigned the magneto. In fact, nearly all internal parts have been extensively redesigned; it will feel like a totally new engine to anyone familiar with the previous model.
In addition, the engine design must also contribute to comfort as well as being fun-to-ride. There is another development team who are working on designing the engine sound; they have worked hard on producing a comfortable, deep sound while reducing uncomfortable engine noise and vibration.
We have also developed Suzuki’s first traction control system to provide a comfortable ride. Our test riders and engineers spent a considerable amount of time testing and adjusting the fine settings of the traction control system.
Were there any difficult areas during the development?
Developing the exhaust pipe was the most difficult part. In a V-twin engine layout, the most difficult thing is designing the length and layout of exhaust pipes. To increase low-to-mid range torque, a longer exhaust pipe is better. However, there is not much space left when you consider the rear suspension layout and ground clearance.
Therefore, the exhaust pipe has a very complicated shape. We have also changed from a double-sided to single-sided exhaust silencer to minimize the influence on handling.