Suzuki’s V-Strom 650 has been a prodigious seller for nearly two decades, loved the world over for its versatile and user-friendly nature and reasonable entry price. But while it’s an accessible adventure bike, its limited off-road chops fall short of the current crop of dirt-oriented midweights in the segment.
Enter French manufacturer Greg Loaec, who took an original V-Strom 650 and gave it a few bullets. Yes, a 650 ‘Strom with an off-road ready 21/18 spoke wheelset, upgraded suspension, aggressive damage protection and a good black-on-black appearance. But it’s not just a tailor-made product for the envy. This is a package that Loaec’s company, Trail Découverte Concept, intends to sell as a DIY kit.
Called the Dark EVO 2, it’s not V-Strom’s first alter-ego that Loaec, whose main motorcycle gig leads organized adventure tours in France and Spain, has referred to. The mission began with a similarly styled V-Strom 1050 Dark Rally, a project co-sponsored by Suzuki Moto France, which then sold a limited series of custom Loaec through its dealer network. Next is a V-Strom 650 XT EVO 1, and now the Dark EVO 2 built on the V-Strom 650 base.
The 21-inch custom front / 18-inch rear wheels, which replace the original front / 17-inch set, are shod with Metzeler Karoo Extreme cleats, while a custom cartridge kit for the fork adds 5cm (2 inches). ) travel with adjustment of preload, compression and rebound. The original rear shock is replaced by a custom unit, also fully adjustable, from EMC Suspensions Europe.
One of the most striking features of the Dark EVO 2 is Storm Racing Parts’ oval black stainless steel slider exhaust, swept high via a custom manifold pipe that echoes the line of the aluminum engine skid plate. SW-Motech. SW-Motech also supplied the engine and hand guards for the Dark EVO 2, as well as adjustable EVO footrests and an adjustable foldable gearshift lever.
A flex-absorbing Suzuki Factory ProTaper handlebars have been added, along with a minimal rally-style seat for easy weight changes. To lighten the premium weight, the original V-Strom battery was replaced with a lightweight lithium-ion unit. Finally, the original adjustable windshield has been removed in favor of a dark tinted custom windshield. Loaec also says the weight of the bike after the prescribed modifications is 432 pounds dry.
A Dark EVO 2 DIY bolt-on kit is expected to cost 3,900 euros (roughly $ 4,420), but the timing is not yet known. Some of the parts we see on this initial unit might also change due to availability and to accommodate easier home installation.
The Suzuki V-Strom 650 certainly has steadfast fans who will find these upgrades very appealing, but unless you have a ‘sitting Strom (2020 was the last time a black unit was offered), it’s hard to tell. ‘Imagine spending $ 13,324 (2022 V-Strom 650 plus kit) when you can get right into the 2022 Yamaha T7 for $ 10,299, which is already well-equipped for off-road adventures and weighs about 24 pounds lighter at the exit the door.
What we love about this Dark EVO 2 kit, as well as the Moto France Suzuki V-Strom 1050 Dark Rally project from Trail Découverte Concept, is to see adventure-oriented personalized kits arriving on the market. More options like these, please, for all adventurous bikers who want a bike that not only performs well but also stands out from the crowd.
Photograph by Indiana Anders