By Troy Siahaan
I’ll be honest: I’d never heard of the Suzuki XF650 Freewind before. But as I was digging through the archives, looking for this week’s post, when I came across this beauty I knew it was the one. A Suzuki V-Strom before there ever was one, the 1997 Suzuki XF650 Freewind could easily make the case as being the V-Strom’s predecessor. Off-road-ish styling, psuedo knobby tires, street and dirt intentions – all of those are traits the V-Strom carries. Heck, both even have 650(ish)cc engines! How is it like to ride? Here’s our man Yossef Schvetz with the answer.
First Impression: 1997 Suzuki XF650 Freewind
Suzuki’s Euro All-Arounder
By Yossef Schvetz Mar. 19, 1997
Photos by Ziv Koren and Suzuki-Europe
“Hey! What’s going on here?” I shout to myself while the right footpeg leaves a trail of rubber on the asphalt of my favorite canyon road. “This is supposed to be a budget priced, do-it-all beginner’s bike? What’s going on here?” But first things first.
Suzuki’s engineers always seemed to have a keen hand for crafting good value bikes. It’s surprising that a do-everything sort of bike was missing from their line-up. Enter the new Suzuki XF650 Freewind for 1997, a true all-’rounder. Naturally, this depends on your definition of the perfect do-it-all bike. We’re not talking about just street riding, so the new crop of naked “standard” mounts, such as Suzuki’s own Bandit, just won’t do.
Also, the bike should be plenty capable of touring road work while still being able to tackle the occasional fire road or trail, so that rules out most dual purpose machines as well.
For many Americans and Europeans the answer has been BMW’s F650, a bike that’s topped European sales charts the last few years and might do the same in the U.S..
The Japanese …read more