Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Northern Michigan
2012 V-Strom 1000 Review
2012 V-Strom 1000 Review
First, let me say that I'm coming from a 2004 KLR. Just recently I completed a 9,300 mile trip to Alaska and back from Michigan. I very much liked that KLR and it was the perfect bike for the Alaska trip. However, for the type of riding I normally do, I needed a lower bike (my KLR set up was 37” seat), tubeless tires (although I never had to do it, I always dreaded changing a flat with the tubed tires along the road) and more weight for those windy days.
I flew to Milwaukee and bought my 2012 V-Strom 1000 from BSSTROM. The bike had 9,300 miles and was in like-new condition. It now (3 weeks later) has 10,500 miles and I'm sure this will be the bike I'll have for many a-year.
I've added Aventure-Tech peg and control kit and 1” up 1” back GenMar risers. I'll soon be adding highway pegs and a larger windshield. The bike came with Madstad bracket with the stock Suzuki windscreen. I plan on replacing the Suzuki windscreen with an aftermarket.
On the 500 mile ride home, I experienced minor pain in both knees and more annoying pain across both thighs. This is pretty normal for me and every bike I've had needed modifications to erase this problem. After adding the foot peg and control lowering kit the pain in my knees went away entirely and the pain across my right thigh also went away. I still have some pain in my left thigh after, about 25 miles. I'm sure I'll be able to deal with that when I add highway pegs. (Just waiting for Rick – Adventure Tech to get his offering) I often stand up as this is the most effective way to deal with the pain. My past experience tells me the highway pegs will make all the difference in the world.
I often had a rough time in very windy conditions with the KLR. Although I haven't experienced the 40mph+ winds that I experienced on may way across the plains getting to Alaska, so far the V-Strom has been much more stable in winds.
I also like the seat height on the V-Strom. I know it's considered a tall bike. But after my KLR with raising links at a seat height of 37”, the V-Strom is a breeze to get on and off.
I've found the set up I have to be pretty good. What little air I get around my helmet is clean air. However, I get a lot of air and a bit of buffeting around my chest and shoulders. I've got mirror extenders on the bike with a bit more adjustability to put the mirrors out more. I don't think that will fix everything, so I'll be experimenting with different, larger windshields.
I've read all the reports about “Snatchy” clutch control. I don't think I would call it “snatchy,” but it is sensitive. As I've learned to use it, I like it the way it is. It's a little harder to coordinate the clutch and throttle. That can give me a lot of acceleration when I want it. Sometimes I hear a “clunk” going from 1st to 2nd as it seems like there is a longer throw between those two gears. I also had a testing experience while trying to park in an uphill situation. I was coming to a parking spot that was both up hill and slanted to my left. I had the clutch in as I rolled to a stop. I didn't quite roll far enough so I let the clutch out to go a bit further. I thought I was in 1st gear but was in neutral. I braked, stepped on the shifter, let go of the brake, but the bike remained in neutral. I finally got it in 1st and parked without incident. At one point, when I thought it was in gear I ended up revving the engine quite a bit. I was next to a couple of Harley's and I sure they thought I was a bit out of their/my league.
I've not experienced what I've read is “chudder.” Maybe after a few more miles I'll notice that, but it looks like, with an improved clutch basket, this problem can be easily fixed.
I do most of my riding on paved two lane around 55-60 mph. I've read where the bike likes to go faster than that in 6th. I would agree. It seems very comfortable at these speeds in 5th gear. I thought this would not be good for mileage. However, I've been averaging 47 mpg on both interstate and two lane. I did a lot of interstate and on my way home from Milwaukee 75-85 mph and got 49 mpg on one tank. I may have had a bit of a downwind. The last two tanks I've intentionally kept my speed at a steady 60 mph (indicated) never going to 6th gear and I got 47 mpg both times. The bike was very smooth in 5th at these speeds and that's what I'll be doing from now on, on two lanes.
By the way, 85-90mph on the interstate is a breeze on this bike.
This is a great bike. I have a couple of comfort issues that I'll be dealing with, but the V-Strom 1000 is a hoot to ride. I'm taking a ride up to Canada in a week or two and I'm really looking forward to it. I can't think of anything bad about the bike. Although, coming from a Gen1 KLR, I may be spoiled by the V-Strom.
V-Stroms have a great forum also.
And lastly, my wife's imprssion – “Opa! This is a machine.” (She's Greek)