Thinking about a V-Strom
Hey everyone! I am a new guy on this forum and thought it would be a good time to throw up a post on what I was considering to get some feedback from all you guys that have experience with V-Strom.
First a little about myself….. I am 38 years old and been riding bikes, both dirt and street, since I was about 7 years old. Not sure how many bikes I have had over the years but it has been more than a few! A handful of years back I had no bike in my life for a few years due to some challenging family changes. A couple of years ago I picked up an older Buell XB9R and really enjoyed having a bike again. I loved the V Twin grunt too but due to comfort issues, I sold the Buell. After that I picked up a sweet 06’ VFR800 that I am still riding and I really enjoy the bike a lot but I am still finding myself having some comfort issues, (which I know most can be cured with money), and I am finding a growing urge to want an adventure bike!
I have ridden and owned plenty of big motored bikes and I always find them fun but also have no real need for huge power so that is where I am really considering the 650 V-Strom to be a good contender.
One little side note about myself is about 4-5 years ago, I blew my lower back out pretty bad and it still bothers me some but overall, not that bad anymore. Guess that is one reason why the sportier bikes don’t feel all that great to me anymore. That and hand/wrist pain. I still really enjoy anything that I sit on that reminds me of a dirt bike.
How I ride now…. Well let’s just say I do enjoy a spirited pace on back roads that I know well but I would say that more than 80% of my riding is at or only slightly above the speed limit. I do find myself wanting to run every dirt road that I find now too. This past month, my wonderful girlfriend and I spent 4 days on the VFR in the NC Mountains and I think the most fun area that we rode was this long un-paved back road that we found. Saw some cool stuff on that one and had a blast. I can promise you though, on a bike like the little V-Strom and knowing myself, I will find the off road limits of the V sooner rather than later. Most of my riding is back roads around my home, commuting to work when the weather permits and once or twice a year, trying to have a long weekend ride somewhere. That ride will almost always include my girlfriend too and related luggage. One thing she likes to do is bring some of her camera equipment, (she is a photographer), and shoot pictures. I have to have a bike that works well for a passenger too because my girlfriend absolutely loves to ride with me! She loves the turns too and I don’t want to lose that for either of us.
So what I am considering is possibly selling my VFR and putting that cash towards an adventure bike. Both the 650 and the new bigger 14’ V-Strom are on the list of possibilities, but the bigger bike is lower on the list due to price of the bike. I glanced at the bigger V and sat on it too. I do have to say that I really like it. I have never ridden a 650 but I have also only sat on a 650 and that was about a year ago.
So lets just say I go after a new bike for the moment…..
I really think the 650 would probably due me okay as far as motor goes because even though I really like the idea of a big motor, I know I don’t need it. My VFR has plenty for the way I ride now. Most of the time I don’t even get it up high enough in the RPM’s to even have the V-Tec transition hit. But will the 650 have enough guts to carry two people and gear? Looking for honest opinions on that one. I am only about 5’-7” and about 165 pounds. My girlfriend is about 5’-2” and only about 115 pounds on a heavy day so we are not big.
Buy the base bike or get the Adventure 650 with the factory luggage? I don’t need hard luggage for most of my riding but I think if I had a bike with hard bags, they would get used a lot more than I think and would probably stay on the bike all the time. I have some soft bags now that get used on the VFR and they could also be used on the 650 I think. But I would prefer to have good lockable hard cases.
In other words, would I be cheaper and or better to buy the base bike, then a little later buy aftermarket hard luggage and a good lower skid plate for the motor or just spend the extra few bucks at the time of purchase and get it all in the adventure bike at one time?
As far as mods that I would do to the bike other than some luggage options….
Certainly a good lower skid plate! 12V plug and a little set up for GPS. Other than that, I don’t think I would really need much else.
I am not very concerned about reliability because I know the bikes are pretty much bullet proof. I am concerned about maybe getting bored on it though. I have had heard a few say that they got bored with the little 650 V even though it was a great bike, they just did not have much fun on it. But in my case, I think the adventure side of it may keep me entertained.
One thing I would hate is to sell my VFR and then later regret it. I know a lot of VFR owners have regretted selling but my funds do not allow me to have more than one bike at a time in my garage.