Actually it was a bit more simple than that - I'd wanted to ride a V-strom for a while as I've heard great things about them and pottering around on back roads, paved or unpaved really appeals to me - my lucky day.
The guys had the bike warming up for me so all I had to do was throw a leg over and get rocking. The seating position felt very familiar as it is not far off what I've experienced on Bandits and the Connie - a nice upright riding position with plenty of leg room. The handle bars are also in a nice comfortable position with all the usual controls easy to get at. The bars could perhaps be rolled a bit further forward to put them in an even more natural position - probably something very easy to do.
Pulling away I noticed that I wasn't on a 1400 anymore but the little twin was very impressive in it's performance and the clutch action was very light (especially compared to the VTR). Commuting to work was great fun: that nice high riding position giving a good view, the engine quite happy to sit on 3,000 rpm in fourth to bring up around 50-60km/h and the nimble handling making it a breeze to flick around corners. Around town 4,500 to 5,000 rpm was plenty between gears to get the bike accelerating at a reasonable rate and the brakes while not startling were well up to their job and backed up by ABS.
Suzuki claim a curb weight of 220kg and while this may sound quite heavy it certainly didn't feel that way when under way (and even when manoeuvring in and out of parks etc). The handling did feel like a trail bike in that you could just throw the bike into a corner but the front end felt far more planted than a trailee - probably that 220kg and less aggressive adventure tyres on the bike.
A ride of about 6km is hardly a test so I managed to sneak out of work a bit earlier and take the bike for a quick squirt out on the open road but unfortunately not enough time to go in search of some corners or maybe a gravel road. Out on the open road I gave her the odd squirt up to around 7,000 rpm and this gave plenty of acceleration and also a nice little growl out of the two into one exhaust.
At 100 km/h the motor is pulling around 4,500 rpm and another 500 rpm adds another 10 km/h and puts the motor in quite a sweet spot. The engine is very smooth here but you do still know you're on a V-twin - quite nice actually. Getting stuck behind a car at about 90 km/h the DL surprised me by accelerating very cleanly without the need for a downchange - no bogging down at all. It really is a sweet little mill that perhaps does punch above it's weight - certainly the 600 Hornet I rode a while go would prefer to be ridden harder to give similar performance.
As mentioned previously I did not get the chance to ride through some more challenging corners but the handling on the open road was absolutely fine. It's hard to say how great the screen is as it was a very warm day and any cooling from the wind was welcome. There was a bit of noise from the screen but I did not notice any nasty buffeting that I have heard talk of although once again it was a very nice day with no wind.
Overall, the littlest DL was a lovely little bike and I'm going to try to get another decent ride on it at some stage - and perhaps sample a 1,000 as well. Currently giving the idea of an adventure bike a bit of thought so who knows what might happen in the future...