Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Ok, I will bite... I know I am going to regret this... Let the flame wars begin.
WARNING: Keep in mind it all depends on what kind of bikes you have ridden in the past as to how much weight you put on anything I am about to say. If all you have ridden is naked dirt bikes most of this won't make a lot of sense to you. If you come from a luxury touring bike some of it might ring some bells. If your coming from a sport bike, or sport tourer then again different things might also ring some bells. YMMV, But that mumbo jumbo aside:
Both 650/1000: This bike is very tall and this creates aero and handling challenges. The bike has poor aero properties and turbulence and poor weather protection are part of the package as this isn't meant to be a touring bike or something that offers the protection of say a sport touring rig either. Windshield is useless for most people even with the adjustability built in. The tall profile of the bike means it catches a lot of air and if that air is dirty or turbulent the bike gets tossed around pretty good. The bikes overall weight is pretty low so it does mean the bike gets pushed around a fair bit on the road by winds and turbulence. So it seems to be a combo of tall and light weight that affects some of it's road manners. Seems that most complain about the seat on both bikes.
650 specific: The 650 is turning some pretty high rpms at highway/interstate speeds(bothers some folks like myself).
1000 specific: The 1000 is setup very poorly out of the box and will need a visit to a good dealer who knows what is going on for the first service to address the issues that are present out of the crate with the TBS and TPS.
Of course I will probably be chastised by the faithful here for pointing out the warts. Some of this can be addressed by mods, but some of it you will have to live with if you buy a Vstrom. All bikes have their issues, and the Vstrom is no different.
For the money I think you will find a hard time finding a better value for a good all around motorcycle. Some here will try to tell you that Jesus, Budda, Allah, or name your diety rode a <insert the Vstrom model here>, but it just isn't so... It is just a good motorcycle.