My Daddy Next V-Strom
Dear Mr. Suzuki
My father loves its V-Strom 650. He has owned two - 2008, 2012 - and he has been very happy with them. He is also very old, like close to 60. He is so old he was born in the previous century. Wao! You see, I'm writing to you to ask a big favor. He has mentioned many things he would like in his next V-Strom, so I'd like to surprise him and I thought since you are the boss, you can make it happen.
My old daddy, (don't say I call him that way, he see himself as young, ja, ja), has owned many motorcycles. He keeps count, like +40 since he was 14 when Granddad bought him a Yamaha TY80, a little trial bike to ruin my Grandma garden. But because he likes to travel, go to work with his bike, uses it as his car, etc, and Mom only allow him one bike, he usually gets those big-trailies. Funny name because they are so big I don't see them on a trail.
So, he had BMW GS (3 of them), KTM 950 (he thought going to Dakar, ja,ja). Old Africa Twin, Tenere, MultiStrada, etc. You get the idea. He also tried sport bikes, big touring rigs, naked ones (aren't all naked?) but they were good for only one thing, and he wanted to do everything. So, that's why he always returned to the GS type. But there is a problem. They were always big, but now they are BIGGER, more complicated and he is not 30 anymore. So, he loves a simple, light bike to take me, or my mom, to travel across Europe.
Your V-Strom 650 is perfect for him. He loves it. But he is always complaining about a few things.
"Damn Chain" is one of preferred phrases when working on the bike. He keeps telling me the "DC" needs to cleaned and oiled every 1,000Kms. Otherwise it wouldn't last much. Actually, that's the only reason he kept going back to the BMW's. He says Germans are smart and don't use chains! He tried chain oilers, graphite bars, you name it. They are a pain...So, Mr. Suzuki, why don't you install a belt instead. The big Harleys go with belts and run for +100,000Kms without problems. My daddy says that if you run a big front sprocket (30), and keep little pebbles from sliding between the belt and the pulleys, they last a long time without ANY effort. And, if you want to go for the best, get the front sprocket coaxial (wao this a complicated word for a child) with the rear fork axle and they wouldn't need a tensor. Some of Dad's friend say they don't look cool - the belts not the friends - but what he always say "I don't look cool greasing the DC"
He also say that the less maintenance, the better, but bikes need more maintenance that cars, why? Why not hydraulic lifter to avoid checking the valves (he paid 335£'s for that). Again his friends say that bikes run higher RPM than cars and HL won't do. He say BS -je, je, he loves to curse - his 91 Honda NightHawk 750 had HL with 10,000 RPM limit! Also, why he needs to take half bike apart to clean the Air filter if this bike supposed to go on dirt roads? Apparently his old Africa twin had a better design for the air filter. Same problem for the gasoline filter at the pump. People change the filter only when the pump breaks. While you are at it, can you make easier to fill the radiator tank? it is under the gas tank. Have you ever tried to get the plastics off the bike? Try once and probably you'd send the engineers to sleep without supper. I guess Dad wants to ride it no work on it.
Apparently with new bikes - like the one you are designing for Dad - people want more stuff in it. More horsepower, more electronic, more, more...but with more comes weight, complexity and $'s. Dad says unless one lives in Germany, with no speed limit Autobahns, cruising at 120-140 km/h is more than enough. So, more power is not the issue. And, trying to sell more V-Stroms based on HP's improvements is a lost battle as many of the new bikes have +150 HP's. Maybe it's better if your next V-Strom becomes even more the "little mule" of the adventure world. Let the others fight with more HP's, electronics and gadgets, and you follow a different route.
The little KISS mule approach.
Less weight, less maintenance, more range - less consumption no bigger tank, better exhaust - under the bike like the Versys so while using panniers one can actually filter traffic as now they are TOO WIDE, more comfortable seat, stronger underbelly protection - don't attach it to the engine cases, please! More electricity for the accessories and the vest. Dad says there is juice only for one vest, so he freezes instead of Mom. And maybe instead of going for a nintendo in the dashboard, you can show the faulty codes so Dad knows what to fix without going to as shop. You can also talk to the tyre guys and ask them to make tires to last 30,000 km. Your are Mr. Suzuki after all, they'd listen.
So, just to be clear, Dad does not want you to abandon the development of this gem to keep the price low, like the Suzuki DR650 in USA. Instead, Dad wants a bike to use only 3lts/100kms, maintain high cruising speed comfortably with Mom, or me, on board. Be simple to maintain, carry different types of accessories, have wonderful luggage, and last a long time. All of the above require effort, but different than the "More, More, More" of other brands. Then, the V-Strom could become the 800GS of this century. So, I can take it around the world when I grow up!
Please, don't tell Dad I told you all of this. He wouldn't like his next bike to be designed by a kid.