First impressions - '18 1000 XT from '11 DL650A
So, I picked up my new '18 1000 XT (What are we calling these now? V3?) last Thursday and now that I've put a couple hundred miles on the clock I thought I'd share my initial impressions.
First and foremost, I'm thrilled with the bike. I kept my '11 650 for a long time largely because it was super comfortable and did everything I ever asked it to do. I really like that bike so anything else had to meet a really high bar. I was really afraid I'd regret spending a bunch of money and changing bikes so I'd been thinking about doing this for a couple of years now and only just now decided to do it. While I still love the 650, at this point, I'm happy that I finally made the change.
The things that stand out the most to me right off the bat are of course the power, and then the suspension and brakes, and the seat / ergos.
I put quite a bit into my 650 to upgrade the forks as well as the rear shock and that made a huge difference to the 650. The stock suspension on the 1000 seems to be nearly as good right out of the gate. That was a bit of a surprise to me. I knew the suspension was going to be better than the stock 650, especially up front with the inverted fully adjustable forks, but I didn't expect the rear to be as good as it seems to be. It'll take some more riding to see just how much better the suspension package really is.
The brakes were less of a surprise as I was expecting them to be better and they are. Some of this might be the fact that these are brand new brakes and the pads on my 650 aren't new (they aren't badly worn either) but there seems to be considerably more braking power. I can't comment on the more advanced ABS system as I haven't yet been in a situation where it's been called upon but it was one of the things that I very much wanted, along with the TC system.
And of course I was expecting the bike to be more powerful so that wasn't a surprise either. The 650 is not, in my opinion, under powered but neither is it what you would call a powerful bike. It has enough power to do everything including cruising along the highway at 75-80 mph all day long. To folks used to riding two wheeled rockets the 1000 probably feels mild. To me, it's excellent. There's lots of power on tap in any gear but it never feels unbridled or dangerous. The power delivery is predictable and smooth which I appreciate. On the 650, when passing, you can pin the throttle with no fear because there just isn't that much power. With the 1000, especially in the first four gears, you need to exercise a bit more caution with how much you twist. I haven't pushed it too hard yet but it left me grinning from ear to ear.
Motorcycle seats are one of those things that are totally subjective in terms of what works for one person versus another. That said, I always liked the 650 seat. It was comfortable for me for 500 mile days. The new seat is a lot harder than the stock 650 seat but it seems comfortable so far. It's much narrower towards the front which seems nice. I'm not sure if it's just me or not but my legs seem to be bent more on this bike even though it's bigger. More time in the saddle is needed before I consider lowering the pegs or raising the seat to adjust things.
A couple of other random observations... The new ratcheting windscreen system is kind of cool. I'm 6' and at highway speed I need it in the fully rearward position to avoid most of the buffeting. With it in either of the two forward positions the buffeting isn't as bad as the stock 650 without a MadStad was but it's definitely there. I could probably leave it as is and be happy but we'll see. The space under the seat is virtually non-existent. I think I might be able to cram a pack of chewing gum in there. If someone has mounted a PC-8 or other block in there please post some pics!
Waiting on a hand full of "must haves" including center stand and side case racks. Not sure I'm going to need to add much of anything else this time around. Maybe a fuse block for connections for heated gear, GPS, and battery tender. Might end up with something like the three circuit solution from EB instead due to the aforementioned space concerns.
Anyway, those are my initial thoughts on the new bike.
2018 V-Strom 1000XT
2011 V-Strom 650A (Sold)
"Remember, you don't really own anything you can't carry at a dead run."