I've been riding for close to 10 years now, am on my 2nd bike, and have decided that this spring will be moving on to a Wee-Strom.
The main reason I've chosen the Wee is that, of all the people I've talked to that have owned multiple bikes, of which at least one was a V-Strom, every one of them has said the Wee was, hands-down, the best of the lot. Hard to ignore that kind of praise. Regardless, I test rode a few other bikes in the category, as well as a Wee, and found nothing to change me mind.
Switching to the V-Strom represents a bit of a change for me. My 2 previous bikes, a 1983 Honda Nighthawk 550 and a 1998 Kawasaki Concours, while very different bikes, shared some underlying elements: inline 4 engine, shaft drive, relatively easy to work on for a novice, etc.
Now that I've decided to make the move to a V-twin, chain-drive bike, what can I expect to be different?
Obviously, I'll now have to deal with chain maintenance. For those of you that have made similar moves, are there any other significant changes I should be thinking about in advance?
I own a Concours as well and have owned the 550sc. Both are excellent bikes. The 550 was a wheelie machine!
Strom vs. Concours
Strom vs. 550 Nighthawk
- Better city / parking lot manners, less topheavy
- Better fueling, better efficiency, worse range
- Less vibration
- Less power
- Less comfort
- Far worse wind/weather protection
- Tires will last longer, better tire selection
- Taller, more topheavy
- Better fueling, better efficiency, longer range
- Less power
- More vibration
- About equal comfort
- Better wind/weather protection
- Better tire selection
Some general issues to look out for with the vstrom include:
- Oil use at high speeds, and in general
- Worn out sprocket carrier bearings with weather exposure (and miles)
- Worn out clutch actuator (failure to grease w/moly grease, with miles)
- Clogged fuel filter requiring bypass (surfaces around 40-50k miles, though some bikes go far longer)
- Galling of rear axle threads (torque under spec)
- Headlight cutout switch gets dirty and causes super-dangerous no-headlight situation (2005 and 2006 models)
Chain maintenance is bitch, but chains do have their advantages. Expect 17k out of a chain with marginal maintenance.