Church of MO: 1997 Suzuki XF650 Freewind


What’s that? You desire a easy, light-weight journey bike with LCD devices and no cruise management that received’t break the financial institution? One thing Japanese, with an enormous supplier community so that you received’t be afraid to depart the neighborhood? Nicely you may’t have it now, and also you couldn’t have it 25 years in the past both, trigger I’m fairly certain Suzuki by no means imported the XF650 Freewind to the US did they? You may most likely blame the Freemasons or whoever it was that additionally quashed the 200-mpg Rochester Quadrajet. However Yossef obtained to journey it in Europe or someplace, and 5 years later the wind theme continued with the primary V-Strom.

“Hey! What’s occurring right here?” I shout to myself whereas the appropriate footpeg leaves a path of rubber on the asphalt of my favourite canyon highway. “That is purported to be a funds priced, do-it-all newbie’s bike? What’s occurring right here?” However first issues first.Suzuki’s engineers all the time appeared to have a eager hand for crafting good worth bikes. It’s stunning {that a} do-everything kind of bike was lacking from their line-up. Enter the brand new Suzuki XF650 Freewind for 1997, a real all-’rounder. Naturally, this is determined by your definition of the proper do-it-all bike. We’re not speaking about simply road using, so the brand new crop of bare “normal” mounts, equivalent to Suzuki’s personal Bandit, simply received’t do.

Additionally, the bike needs to be loads able to touring highway work whereas nonetheless with the ability to deal with the occasional hearth highway or path, in order that guidelines out most twin goal machines as nicely.

For a lot of Individuals and Europeans the reply has been BMW’s F650, a motorcycle that’s topped European gross sales charts the previous few years and would possibly do the identical within the U.S..

The Japanese have been sluggish to meet up with this development, however now Suzuki is enjoying alongside. And with a price ticket that blows away the BMW.Suzuki constructed their Beemer-beater merely: they took the engine from their profitable DR650 dual-purpose mount, slotted it in a lowered body and outfitted it with an abundance of road-oriented options equivalent to large physique work, a helpful fairing and 19-inch entrance wheel.

End result?

Probably the most European-looking Japanese bike made in the previous few years. With its understated Suzuki brand the Freewind seems extra just like the spawn of a elaborate Italian producer and movie star designer than a committee-designed big-four machine.

On the road many onlookers refused to imagine that these sensuous curves belonged to “simply one other Suzuki.” You received’t see a lot of its styling from the saddle, proper?

So let’s get transferring. Taking the Freewind off its stand takes little or no effort. Certainly, it’s no heavyweight at 360 kilos. The primary shocker comes gazing upon the instrument panel, or ought to I say instrument display, because it’s 100% LCD. After placing LCD odometers of their newest sportbikes, Suzuki outfitted the Freewind with an entire LCD panel, displaying pace with digital numbers and revs with a graphic bar. It has a pleasant gasoline gauge in addition. And what? It really works higher than anticipated.

“Even in sturdy sunshine the whole lot is well learn, and its rev bar and speedo are enjoyable to observe, too.”

Begin the Freewind and also you’ll hear a really muted and un-thumper-like sound. This could come as no shock, with noise rules being what they’re nowadays. What’s stunning was its lack of stomp from idle when in comparison with its livelier cousin, the DR650.

Suzuki’s Freewind will nonetheless pull a wheelie if actively persuaded, however a less-experienced rider shouldn’t worry the bike ever doing an unwelcome rear wheel stand.

A fast get away from a full cease requires loads of revs, however from then on the Freewind will get into its stride and accelerates well. The overall really feel is smooth.

With an affordable seat peak of 32.5 inches that sags rather a lot with rider weight, you get a superb newbie’s mount. It needs to be famous that just like the DR650, the Freewind might be made even decrease by readjusting its suspension.

The huge off-road sort bars permit for loads of leverage in tight conditions, and all different controls are extraordinarily mild. The seating place does really feel a bit odd at first, with a deeply curved seat locking the rider into a set place, however after a very long time within the saddle this proved to be a somewhat snug compromise.

Good metropolis manners are anticipated from a twin goal hybrid. Much less anticipated is the superb freeway conduct. Attempt cruising at greater than 70 mph on most large trailies and also you’ll get loads of handlebar wag.

Because of its 19-inch entrance wheel and low mounted aerodynamic fender, the Freewind exhibits none of this misbehavior, monitoring straight and true at elevated speeds.

Its single lung engine enjoys stretching these gear modifications too, and what you get is seamless acceleration.

“Much more spectacular is the entire lack of vibration from its engine in any respect revs.”

You’ll be laborious pressed to discover a smoother working single. When you think about that Suzuki achieved this smoothness by utilizing only one steadiness shaft (to save lots of weight) as a substitute of the same old two present in most singles, you may respect what a fantastic design this mill actually is. Its smoothness permits for lengthy durations of high-speed mile consuming. Additionally, the Freewind’s fairing does a very good job defending the rider’s chest from windblast. I’m a reasonably tall rider, so shorter riders ought to discover much more peace behind the display.

“…Suzuki’s Freewind gives a real, rounded and sorted bundle…”

All this would possibly sound a bit too sedate and correct, and the Freewind certainly has that person pleasant persona that prompted Suzuki-Europe to focus on ladies riders, however the XF650 seems to have a powerful liking for kinks and sick lean angles. Sure, everyone knows that D-P bikes can run circles round sportbikes within the tight twisties, however actually the Freewind is in a league of its personal.

Because of its lowered and stiffened DR suspension, the XF stays agency and regular at lean angles and speeds of which most D-P bikes can solely dream. No much less vital within the traction equation are the superb Pirelli MT80 tires. They’re completely highway oriented and appear to be created from a monitor compound that permits footpeg scraping in a motorcycle with supposedly limitless floor clearance.

Nicely, you say, my Bandit 600 can do all of the above with ease and energy to spare. However what do you do when the highway ends? I do know I wasn’t purported to, however the temptation to strive the Freewind on a path was too nice. In a phrase, the Suzuki can cope, and somewhat nicely at that.

Fireplace roads are totally inside its scope, and solely its costly wanting plastic and shortened suspension persuade you to not tackle too large a problem. With a very good rider aboard and correct tires, the Freewind may deal with any hard-packed flat path. It’s good to know that off-road means is there.

This new phase of sunshine, single-cylinder do-it-all bikes is now alive and kicking. Till now, BMW just about owned the market, however not any extra. With a price ticket in some markets round 15 p.c cheaper than the F650, Suzuki’s  Freewind gives a real, rounded and sorted bundle that may take a rider in consolation to nearly wherever, each on- and off-road.

For a starting rider who doesn’t know what their most well-liked kick may be, the XF650 can provide a guided tour by most motorcycling actions. And subsequent time you assume these road-going pseudo trailies are boring and boring, exit and test your native canyon highway. You may be in for a shock.

Specs:
Producer: Suzuki Mannequin: XF650 Freewind Engine: 4-valve single-cylinder, air-oil cooled Bore and Stroke: 100 x 82mm Displacement: 644cc Carburetion: Twin 32mm Mikuni Claimed energy: 47 hp @ 7000 rpm Transmission: 5-speed Wheelbase: 58.3 in (1465mm); 57.3 in (1455mm) lowered place Seat peak: 32.6 in (830mm); 31.5 in (800mm) lowered place Gas Capability: 4.9 gal (18.5 liters) Weight: 355 lbs (162 kg)

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