I test drove a '18 DL1000 XT today. I'm still trying to gather my thoughts, so I will post more over the next day. That being said, I came away from the test drive looking forward to getting on my '15 DL650.
- Brakes - front brakes were a big improvement. Tons of bite, and took me off guard at first
- Suspension - front suspension isn't as dive happy, which is needed with upgraded brakes
- Power - solid increase in power, especially torque starting at 3k rpm
- Windscreen - OEM windscreen is an improvement over the stock DL650 windsreen, but not as good as the Givi Airflow I have
- Noisy - I found the engine noisy and unrefined, when compared to the 650. Lots of clakity-clunk going on
- Clutch - assuming it can be adjusted, this point might be moot, but the clutch left something to be desired. There was a distinct lack of mechanical feedback and little to no transition, more of an on or off feeling
- Shifting - shifts ok, but not as smooth as the 650
- Skwirmy - For some reason I found it mildly unstable at 70-80MPH. Could be suspension setup, preload, or the like, not sure. It did not inspire confidence at highway speeds
- Seat - was harder than my 650, or maybe it just needs some miles
- Maneuverability/Agility - I did not feel as comfortable tossing the bike around at low speeds like I do with the 650. Again, this could just be a "getting used to it" thing
There's no doubt that many of the upgrades/addons on my bike may have helped skew my perception. My Givi AF, Augustus Deflectors, Fork Brace, all contribute to a positive riding experience. When I handed the keys back to the sales manager I asked if it was possible to put that power and brakes into my bike. And this was before the drive back to work on my 650 which reinforced my initial perceptions.
All that said, it's important to recognize that the DL650 is a really good bike! I was considering swapping it out for the 1000 before the rally, and that test drive sealed it for me. I would rather drive 5000KM on my 650 than that new 1000.
Take it for what its' worth, but that was my first impressions. I may test drive it again over the next 48 hours for a second taste and I'll report back.
Drove the same bike again today, twice, and some of the points above are no longer relevant. I also have the bike for the weekend due to the dealer replacing the head bearings on my DL650!
: felt just as nimble on the bike this time around as on my 650.
: A longer test drive resulting in getting used to the clutch. It's more sensitive and requires a more delicate touch. That being said, I found it very light, and easy to use.
: Notchy shifting did not stand out this time around. To be fair I'm running 20w50 in the 650, so she shifts like creamy butter, even after 4k miles on the oil.
: Still found it twitchy when playing with the bars at highway speed, but when not, it was dead straight.
Overall, I'm impressed by the bike, specifically the brakes and power. The instant torque is addictive. And after a full weekend of it I'm sure I've sealed my fate.