Which bike to get or keep? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
General V-Strom Discussion Talk about all things V-Strom not limited to just one of the above models

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post #1 of 39 Old 12-18-2017, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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Which bike to get or keep?

I was considering selling my vee and buying the KLR650 for reasons I'll explain:

The original plan when I bought my vee was to retire and ride it to the Grand Canyon as a retirement present to myself. After the Grand Canyon ride, I'd use it for other shorter trips in my general area of SE Georgia such as Key West, the north GA mountains and countless other places of interest within a couple day's ride.

After retiring I started having family issues; an aging mother and other minor issues including my own health problems. I do love to ride, and as some of these issues persist, the idea of me being several days away from home is out of the question, so I was thinking of buying the KLR and riding locally within just a few hours of home on the many county paved and dirt roads in this area.

However, I am starting to have second thoughts about the lighter-weight KLR. I'm sort of sure that the KLR is a much better dirt road bike--these roads being sandy in some places, and slick red clay in other places--simply because of its weight, but is the vee that much more of a pig in the dirt? I live about a mile down a dirt road which has a clay hill that can get slippery when wet, and a sandy stretch that is prone to washboarding. I have ridden my vee in and out of this road a thousand times with the factory Bridgestone Trail Wing tires and now a set of Dunlop TrailMax tires. They are OK on the dirt road, but not very confidence inspiring above 25 MPH because in the sand or on the washboard the front wheel wants to wash out.

I do own an old KLR250 and it does great on the dirt roads with knobby tires, but it's not something you want to run around on paved roads with (especially in traffic), and definitely not something you want to spend all day on. I am not an inexperienced rider; I have owned motorcycles since I was 12 years old, I'm 57 now. I currently own the vee, the KLR250, a Honda XR200R dirt bike and a Yamaha Road Star. I have ridden in just about every kind of terrain within 200 miles of Canoochee, Georgia. What I haven't done is what I'm now thinking of doing, and that is instead of selling my vee and buying a KLR650 (a bike which I have never ridden), I would outfit my vee with some Shinko 804/805 tires and ride my vee as if it were just as good in the dirt as the KLR650.

The question I'd like input on from riders with some experience on a vee with aggressive dirt tread like the Shinko 804/805 tires, and the KLR650, is can the vee compare to the KLR? Ground clearance won't be a factor on the roads I intend to ride on, and pavement to dirt ratio will be about 50/50.

I look forward to input from vee riders using aggressive tires like the Shinkos, and if you also have KLR650 experience I'd consider that a bonus.
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post #2 of 39 Old 12-18-2017, 10:38 AM
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Klr/Strom
Length 90.4, 89.6
Width 37.8, 35.8
Weight 432, 476
Seat 35, 32.7
Clearance 8.3, 6.7
Wheelbase 58 3, 61.4
Fuel 6.1, 5.3

I went from 15klr to 17 strom and am now making it much more offroad worthy and the last part of that is clearance trying to get close to 8. Unless you live in the dirt and only ride dirt imho stay with the strom. Remember most of adventure riding is 95% riding slab to the adventure and there is no comparison on slab...klr is better offoad as we both know but strom with mods can get to maybe 90% of klr capability. Put mites e-07 tires on the vee and call it a day. I'm reading an old thread now because I'm interested in riding the TAT and this guy did it on a v https://goo.gl/XvNspQ
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Last edited by slipstream; 12-18-2017 at 10:44 AM.
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post #3 of 39 Old 12-18-2017, 10:40 AM
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If you haven't already, check out the Versys X300 thread on this forum. It sounds pretty enticing.
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post #4 of 39 Old 12-18-2017, 10:47 AM
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Having owned a DL 1000, a KLR 650, and the KLR 250 I think I can help.

The KLR 250 is actually about as good on the road as the 650! Yes, it is way down on power so speeds over 60 are a struggle. But the too weak brakes, the fork twist under harder braking, and the numb highway feel are exactly the same. The KLR 650 is still a pig off highway, making the 250 seem like it weighs half as much. Both are MUCH better off pavement than the Vee. The one variable that you have to consider is tires. Put real knobby tires on the Vee and you might just be surprised how well it handles the softer stuff where you mention traveling. It is simply not fair to compare knobbies to ANY other tire in soft terrain. You can do some things to a Vee to make it better off highway, like the Shinko 804/805 knobbies. But you really cannot do much to make the KLR's better on the highway. Their long travel suspension, weak brakes, even seating are designed to be used at lower speeds and not for extended pavement travel.

In my opinion, if you plan to ride further than 25 miles at a time on pavement, the Vee is the bike you will ride more. Especially if you have and can keep the KLR 250.
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post #5 of 39 Old 12-18-2017, 11:35 AM
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Consider a Honda CB500X with shinkos,also.
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post #6 of 39 Old 12-18-2017, 11:37 AM
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I've had both. Many times. With knobby tires the V-Strom is STILL about a hundred lbs heavier than the KLR650. You can put Mickey Thompson Super Grappler tires on your Cadillac , but it still aint no Jeep. I sold my most recent KLR and am about to buy a Suzuki DR650 mostly because it's about 60 lbs. lighter than the KLR. Weight is weight and I'm getting older. (I'm keeping my DL1000 but have no desire to go off road with it) A 20 year old Norwegian hulkster would probably think differently.

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post #7 of 39 Old 12-18-2017, 11:48 AM
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I had both a '14 DL1000 and a 2009 DR650. The DL is so much better on tar than the DR, but, the DR is still a very good commuter. The DR is so much better off road than the DL, but, the DL is fine with good knobblies.

I wouldn't have a hope of picking up the DL by myself, I can just about manage the DR. I am a small 5'8", 57 years old.

In the end I kept the DR and sold the DL, because the off road capabilities won, even though I only do one big trip a year. However, riding on tar for 200km to get to the dirt is a real pain.

I use the DR every day to work and back, it's great on tar for short distances.

I'm sure the KLR will be similar
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post #8 of 39 Old 12-18-2017, 12:02 PM
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I wouldn't enjoy my (650) strom in deep gravel, sandy surfaces or mud. My DR 650 can make riding these surfaces fun (with reservations). DR 650 is fun on twisty stuff and back roads. DR 650 is easier to pick up.


never owned a KLR or vee.


14 tooth for me
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post #9 of 39 Old 12-18-2017, 01:37 PM
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I sold my 2009 KLR 650 to buy my 2012 Vee, and have no regrets. The Vee is adequate for the light off roading I do, and is MUCH better on the highway. Where the KLR ran out of speed, the Vee still has plenty. Its also a bunch more comfortable for longer distance. I rode the KLR to Romney, WV from Fayetteville, NC in 2015. Rode over 1100 miles round trip, and my rear end suffered for several days. Same trip on the Vee was much more comfortable in 2015.
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post #10 of 39 Old 12-18-2017, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strom Monkey View Post
I was considering selling my vee and buying the KLR650 for reasons I'll explain:

The original plan when I bought my vee was to retire and ride it to the Grand Canyon as a retirement present to myself. After the Grand Canyon ride, I'd use it for other shorter trips in my general area of SE Georgia such as Key West, the north GA mountains and countless other places of interest within a couple day's ride.

After retiring I started having family issues; an aging mother and other minor issues including my own health problems. I do love to ride, and as some of these issues persist, the idea of me being several days away from home is out of the question, so I was thinking of buying the KLR and riding locally within just a few hours of home on the many county paved and dirt roads in this area.

I look forward to input from vee riders using aggressive tires like the Shinkos, and if you also have KLR650 experience I'd consider that a bonus.
Both will handle this riding easily, especially with more aggressive tyres on the DL1000 .... but my consideration for WHEN I fall on that clay would be the extra 100 lbs or so to lift up.

I have a DR650 for more gnarly stuff and will go places I just decide not to go on the Vstrom 1000 (since I'll most often do it alone). You may not to want to do it right now, but a lighter bike gives you the opportunity to do so more confidently if you want to go exploring
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