Down the rabbit hole, or not? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
DL650A - 2017+ DL650A - 2017 (L7) and later

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post #1 of 34 Old 08-20-2019, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Down the rabbit hole, or not?

With my closed circuit test coming up shortly, I'm pretty much at the point of making my first bike purchase. I've been pretty set on the path of a Wee, although my 6'3, 215lb frame would also necessitate some after-market upgrades to make it more suited to a) my size, and b) my intended use - comfortable commuting on a twisty country road with weekend raids on some dirt tracks for camping and fishing. The recent mention of a possible Africa Twin 850 in the coming years had made me consider going to something dirt cheap like an old KLR for a year or so, as has my affinity for the Tiger 800 XC, but the DL650 has a pretty strong pull on me too.

Setting up my Wee, from all I've gleaned from the forums and reviews, would entail:

Shock upgrades (Daugherty seems to be able to do what I'd need on both ends of the bike for a good price)
Travel riser (not a big issue or big price)
Bar risers and lower pegs
Seat upgrade

The obvious stuff like tires, bars, plates, and panniers I would be adding anyway. I guess my question for those who have gone down this route, am I setting myself on a path towards investing a fortune into a Vstrom trying to make it something it's not? I don't see any insane offroading in the picture (but I make no promises ;-). My riding will be 80 on asphalt and gravel / 20% off the beaten path. Given I plan to buy a new 650XT if I go the Wee route, these upgrades can be done over time, and at around $2k it will still bring me in for considerably less money than buying a new Tiger or AT. I'm thinking it's worth a go - I just want to be sure if I'm going to be making such significant changes to the set-up of the bike that I'm still going to have an enjoyable commuter.

Last edited by B-Nads; 08-20-2019 at 11:00 AM.
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post #2 of 34 Old 08-20-2019, 11:18 AM
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The things that cost a LOT on Adventure bikes can often be transferred to another bike should you get a different one. Side cases/panniers, tank bags for instance. Stuff like peg lowering kits, fork braces, auxiliary lighting can be removed and sold easily.

Suspension upgrades won't bring much in selling the bike....

Which makes some bikes look not so expensive as they come with really good suspension and brakes.

If you are really going to ride off-road, and not just off pavement, the DL 650 is going to be a handful compared to some other bikes. But be honest with yourself. Dirt roads with a few ruts are a lot different from muddy ruts on a path in the middle of nowhere! Decide what you are actually going to do and that will help with a bike decision. It is hard to beat the DL 650 on pavement compared to anything in that size range.
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post #3 of 34 Old 08-20-2019, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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If I'm very honest, I don't see muddy single trails in the middle of nowhere - should I get there, I'd set up a smaller machine specifically for that. Quad trails and fire-roads are probably the best description of the off-roading I'd be doing.
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post #4 of 34 Old 08-20-2019, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-Nads View Post
... I'm pretty much at the point of making my first bike purchase. I've been pretty set on the path of a Wee, although my 6'3, 215lb frame would also necessitate some after-market upgrades to make it more suited to a) my size, and b) my intended use - comfortable commuting on a twisty country road with weekend raids on some dirt tracks for camping and fishing. The recent mention of a possible Africa Twin 850 in the coming years had made me consider going to something dirt cheap like an old KLR for a year or so, as has my affinity for the Tiger 800 XC, but the DL650 has a pretty strong pull on me too.
...

First bike and you want to ride it off-road = don't buy new!

Really you will beat up your first bike off-road. Even with crash bars, skid plate, handguards, etc. you will scuff and break stuff on a Strom (or a Tiger) they are Adventure bikes not dual sports. The difference being that they are significantly heavier and have less ground clearance.

You're a big guy but trust me you won't like picking up a 500lb+ bike out in the dirt!


My advice go with an older KLR and learn to ride on it. You won't mind so much when it's laying on it's side!
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post #5 of 34 Old 08-20-2019, 11:55 AM
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The realities of what we envision can be quite far from what we romanticize about. Heading across Canada now to pick up a 2012 DL1000 sight unseen except in pictures. Used bike, and a buyer beware, but as long as it is mechanically sound, all will be well. Have 2 Honda Goldwings, but wanted something different. All my research led me to this bike. Already have a shopping list for the new bike.

Lived on a 40 foot boat for five years. Had the vision that we'd be out every weekend, and take long trips. The reality was it spent more time alongside as life, work and family took precedence quite often.

There will always be something new/newer around the corner, but this only leads to not doing what you had planned. From my research, the 650 is a good bike, but I ride two up quite often. My 1000 will allow me to play at being an off road adventure biker on roads that are a lot tamer.

The saying he who has the most toys wins is a misnomer. He/she who has the least number of regrets at the end of the game wins. Coulda, woulda, shoulda is too late.

Buy the 650, take stock of your riding habits over the next few years. You can go a long way on the money savings between a used and new bike, and have just as much fun. Since a new or used bike is a depreciating asset, you can always sell the 650 later.

Just my thoughts, YMMV. Cheers
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post #6 of 34 Old 08-20-2019, 11:57 AM
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Or a used DR650!!!
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post #7 of 34 Old 08-20-2019, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys.

I think my response to RealShelby may have been missed - I'm not trying to chase Ryan F9 around on it ;-). By offroading, I mean decent trails - some bumps and ruts, but no deserts, swamps or rock quarries ;-). I should have also pointed out, I have a fair bit of offroading under my belt, but I've never had a permit, thus have never ridden onroad.

The KLR and DR options are things I've considered, but I want my main goal of comfortable commuter to be respected, with enough mods to bring some of the KLR/DR to it. Also, since I enjoy working on my ski-doo anyway, so I like the idea of the hobby/obsession of working on and learning more about bikes.
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Last edited by B-Nads; 08-20-2019 at 12:08 PM.
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post #8 of 34 Old 08-20-2019, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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A couple points I forgot to add are that I'm confident enough in my dirt-bike experience that I don't feel intimidated by going "off-pavement", as Shelby pretty accurately put it. I get the point of going used vs new, but I'll be financing the purchase either way, and I want something reliable to do the 120kms of daily commuting I have without worries, necessitating either a new or relatively young used bike, which puts the payments of the used in the same range anyway without the incentives the dealerships offer on the new. I have a steady and decent income, so I'm not worried about that. More importantly, if the upgrades I want to do effectively achieve my desired goals, it may well negate any GAS the AT or Tiger induce.
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post #9 of 34 Old 08-20-2019, 06:00 PM
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First bike ...Klr 650 with an upgraded seat would fit you better and handle the off pavement better and cost less.

If your commute is 100 kph or less...the KLR is fine for 60 km - you aren't ever going to get a tire selection that handles the twists at speed and the off pavement competently and with a dirt background the Strom will feel like a pig.

Get a couple of years on the KLR and then decide ....and I'd not buy new.
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post #10 of 34 Old 08-20-2019, 09:09 PM
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I've had 5 KLRs and and am on my third Wee.

I'd second the vote for the KLR (used). Cheap, indestructible, easy to work on, loads of aftermarket farkles, good (not great) both onroad and off.

I think it's easier to make the KLR a more comfortable highway bike vs. making the Strom a more capable dirt bike.
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