One Year With My V-Strom
Well, June 14, 2006 was the day my DL1000K6 in Candy Sonoma Red came home to roost.
After 365 days and 16,327 miles, I still think I bought a fantastic bike that has been made into an outstanding bike by some of the minor tweaks and changes I've made from the way Suzuki equipped the bike.
First change was to install a set of Pro-Grip 714's - I think this is the most comfortable grip available and all my bikes have them.
Then the protection thing came along. I'm sorry, but the entire front of the engine needs to have something to protect it from debris tossed up from the roadway. I had a rock take out a sump on one of my previous bikes. Believe me, it's cheaper to include a bashplate and cooler guards than it is to replace a case on a motorcycle! So it has Pat Walsh's engine guards, bash plate and oil cooler guard on it.
I put a Laminar Lip Touring Lip on the bike within a week of ownership. It is still in the same location as installed. The only change I've made was to space the bottom of the bracket out 15 mm. No buffeting at all now.
The forks have been lowered in the triple trees 15 mm and equipped with a KB fork brace. They also have a set of Progressive Suspension springs in them. The bike is super stable on the road and is a blast to ride anywhere.
My stock seat was replaced by a Sargent Products seat. However at a recent Strom gathering, one of the fellows, JRShaw, had a Bill Mayer Seat that he did not like. We have swapped seats. His Bill Mayer Seat is cut for a taller person and it more comfortable. Yes, that is like discussing the merits of various Barcolounger models!
I have long legs and must keep my knees below my hip. To make sure this is always the case, I have installed a set of MotorcycleLarry's Footpeg lowering adaptors and a set of IMS Superstock Footpegs. With the taller seat and the lower footpeg location it is extremely comfortable.
My Garmin Quest resides on the V-Strom exclusively now. I've got it located just to the right and slightly above my left hand grip. That is my speedometer as it is very accurate!
To carry my stuff that is needed, I have equipped the bike with a Givi E52NF truck with stoplight. That is mounted on the Adventure MotoStuff V-Strom Adjustable Topcase Mounting System. I have a lot of lockable storage and also picked up an additional brakelight. There is also a set of Aerostitch Tank Panniers and a Frank Thomas Cargo Magnetic Tankbag. The Tank Panniers give me a place to keep my jacket liner and my rain gear, plus block the wind and provide rain protection for my legs. The Tankbag gives me a lot of room to keep such things as a Slime compressor, tire plugging kit, flashlight, some additional tools and just about all I need to do my job when I get to my destination. Kind of like a traveling office.
My stock tires, which lasted to 8000 miles, have been replaced by a set of Metzeler Tourances. I see the rear is wearing, but still has quite a few miles left in it. There is a new Tourance sitting in the garage waiting to go on when the rear tire wears out. I like the ride and handling of the bike with the Tournace tire. It works well in both wet or dry riding.
The motive force and drive line have been updated on my Strom - I replaced the chain and sprockets at 15,500. The front sprocket is a 16 tooth and the rear is a 43 tooth. The bike now cruises at 4000 rpm and the GPS indicates 64 mph. I find this is ideal for the way I ride. I have not seen any degradation in mileage, but a whole lot of improvement in ridability. I will not go back to the stock 17 / 41 gearing. To me it is geared way too high. If I do make a change it might be to a 17 tooth front sprocket. With 17 and 43 both being prime numbers, there is now way the chain will ever contact the same tooth repeatedly.
Dale Walker of Holeshot Performance provided a TFI box, which once past getting the connectors off the injectors, is a snap to install and adjust. I have not put the bike on the dyno, but the Mark One, Mod C Butt Dyno tells me there is a big jump in the mid range power with the TFI. If you look at Dale's published numbers, it is a huge increase. Almost 10 rwhp, or a 25% increase. Like I said, huge!
Master Mike's spacers are installed on my bike along with my new D.I.D. Gold Chain. My bike shifts extremely easy and very sure. I'm quite impressed with the bike overall. I do a lot of early morning riding on my way to work. The road I do most of this riding on is a two lane country road that runs along the perimeter of the Ocala National Forest. It is very quiet in the morning and all you can hear is the nice quiet breeze going past as that liter v-twin hums a very sweet song as the Strom kind of glides along the road so effortlessly.
Now for the question . . . . . Do I like my V-Strom? Yes, very much so. Matter of fact, I think it is one of the best bikes I have ever owned or ridden. It is very comfortable, competent and reliable. If I want to ride fast, I can. If I want to ride a long distance, I can. This bike will do anything I choose to do with it. Heck, it even handles well in certain off road situations. If the surface is hard-packed, the Strom handles it well. It is NOT a dirt bike and I would never subject it to that kind of riding. However if you are into touring or just riding, the V-Strom is one fantastic motorcycle.
Thank you Suzuki!