Hi guys! Been lurking for a long while, now I got a reason to post.
Short story first: Me wanting to get back on a bike was no news to anyone around me. Me getting the bike I got wasn't planned in the least.
After selling my 2008 GSF1250 Touring Bandit in 2012 (due to severe tendinitis in the right arm and a broken big toe during kendo practice), and after realizing the new house did not carry as many expenses as I had thought, my original plan was getting an older bike that had already lost much of its value (read KLR or the like). That failed. Nothing interesting on the market…
That's when I realized what a mistake I had made selling the big Bandit… Anyway, what's done is done.
All wasn't lost as there were some crazy deals on Suzuki's and Kawasaki's in October 2014. So… Second plan was a brand new, yet affordable, bike.
Started looking at bikes more seriously. After hours of reading reviews and owner forums, I had narrowed it down to a couple of smallish bikes:
- Kawasaki ER-6N
- Kawasaki Ninja 650
- Suzuki GSX650F
- Suzuki SFV650
- Yamaha FZ-07
Then I headed for the dealers.
The nearest Kawasaki/Yamaha dealer is owned by a bunch of crooks but I got to sit on the FZ-07 and ER-6N. Very nice little bikes! Unfortunately, the Yamaha was a new 2015 model so no rebates at all. No big deal cause the ER-6N was almost identical.
The nearest Suzuki dealer didn't have de GSX650F in stock and the SFV650 looked a little too feminine for my taste.
Then I went to a Kawa/Suzuki dealer about 50 minutes from home. I knew he had a GSX650F in stock.
First thing I did was sit on the GSX650F. I couldn’t try it but I know that bike. It's identical to the Bandit I had except for displacement and, out of the 4 bikes I was looking at, it had the strongest engine. Then I went to a Ninja 650 demo and we fired it up. That's when I decided I didn't want a parallel twin. Too buzzy! I was pretty much set on the GSX650F. Very good deal too: almost $2000.00 off and 5-year warranty.
The guy that was showing me around was the sales manager. We spent the next 2 hours talking about bikes and rides while I sat on a whole bunch of other bikes, new and used. That guy's been riding for 40+ years and, being sales manager, he tries every used bike in the showroom and every new bike set up as demos. He was a wealth of info! Very nice guy too! Throughout the years, he's also worked for all manufacturer dealers. Name a bike (except maybe choppers) and chances are he's tried it and he can talk about it. He was keen on saying there is no bad bike, only bad choices.
After about an hour, I asked him: "So, then, what do you own?". I never expected his answer. Ever. That guy can get the best of deals on any new bike and he sees all manners of cool used bikes all year 'round. He rides a 2-year old V-Strom 1000!
That's when the discussion drifted mainly to the V-Strom. Now, you should know that I've been looking at that bike (well, the 650, not the 1000) since I started riding 8 years ago.
When I told him the main reason I never pulled the trigger was getting on and off due the height (I'm only 5'-9 1/2"), he took me to a 650.
He asked to get on. I did, like I do any other bike, right leg over the seat. Not very graceful!
Then he told me "Try this: grab the right grip, pull the break, turn the wheel to the right, put your left foot on the peg and lift yourself up and over, bicycle-style". I tried it and I instantly felt like a fool! That was so easy! Once on, I'm not flat-footed but I got the ball of both feet down, so that doesn't scare me too much.
I told him that, in less than a minute, he had changed all my plans about the new bike and that I needed to re-evaluate my options… (He didn't seem too disappointed not to make a sale.)
The same day, I went back to the web and found a 2013 V-Strom 650 ABS Expedition with 20,000 miles on it at a dealer about 40 minutes from work. I called but no answer. I figured being out in a small town, they were closed on Saturdays. Not so… The bike was sold instantly. (It was a very, very good deal…)
Then a week later I found another one. A 2014 demo with 3500 miles (kinda high mileage for a demo so I figure an employee's been riding it most of the summer). That one was an hour and a half away from home. Called them up on Wednesday and dealt the price. Left a deposit on my credit card and was going to see it on Saturday.
…and I bought it...
More expensive than what I had planned to spend at the beginning, but still a good deal ($2,500.00 off msrp).
There I was, finally proud owner of a DL650, the red one.
There are times I'm really glad to be Canadian! For some reason, Suzuki seems to bring better packages to Canada then the US. I definitely think our Expedition package is better value than the Adventure package. The same was true of the Touring package on the Bandit.
So there you have it. I left thinking I was buying a brand new Bandit 650 and instead I got the bike I've spent so long reading about (and drooling over)!
The engine is really nice! Throaty little twin! Requires more footwork than the bandit ever did, but it's fun! That's helped by the best gearbox ever! Smooth as silk. I thought it couldn't get better than my Bandit but it can.
And the cases are just humongous! Some find them too large but I really like 'em! Even though I originally thought I could go naked with a backpack, I'm just too much of a packrat ("just in case").
Now, I do miss the torque of the Big Bandit. That bike was a beast! Downshifting was never, ever mandatory for any maneuver.
My plan is to spend the summer with the Strom and decide then if I can live with the 650 or if I need to go back to the Bandit. I loved that bike, truly... Max torque at 3000 rpm was pure bliss.
Anyway, point of the post, can you guys tell me if the new DL650 shares the same brake and clutch levers as the old one? I'd like to get an adjustable clutch lever.