Strangely enough, New Mexico has been really stinking wet this season, so I have gotten a chance to ride in the rain.
Now, bear in mind that the VStrom is my second bike, and the first one was bought back in May of this year. Between the two bikes, I have about 9000 miles of riding. And I've ridden in every kind of weather. (well, that summer will offer anyway...)
Basically, it really stinks to get caught in a storm when you didn't bring any gear. Sloshing through the gears with standing water in your boots is not as fun as it might sound. On my first bike, a '89 Yamaha XT600 (looks like a dirt bike with headlights), I had -very- knobby tires, the Pirelli MT21s. I didn't get to go offroad much with them, but I will say, in the rain, they were.... different. You could feel the bike didn't have as much bite going around a corner. You didn't really slide or anything, just... it didn't seem to track the corners as well as when it was dry. I swapped these tires over to a set of Avon Gripsters, and things changed. But I have yet to try them in the rain...
But on the Strom, with the stock Trailwings, I have never felt that way. I'm always pretty conservative in the rain, giving myself plenty of room to stop and etc, and take it easy around corners, but it has yet to feel any different in the least to me. One of the big challenges in the rain, at least to start with, is gaining cornering confidence. When you go around that first one, your arms will be stiff and you'll have a death grip on the bars, and the bike will feel strange, which gives you a negative feedback. Try to relax, take the corner slower than you would dry, but do lean like normal and don't stiffen up! The saying I've heard is that 'if you have traction to stop, you have traction to corner'. Say that to yourself before you go into a corner.
That said, good rain gear sure makes a difference. The setup I have now allows me to ride in pouring rain, 40 degree temps, and smile the whole way. I've done this a few times now. Get there, all warm and toasty and dry. It is quite fun.
Besides, it's sometimes fun to be the only bike on the road
I'm gonna try to stay riding through the winter, we'll see how that goes. Ice scares me, but then I said that about rain not too long ago as well... although I think the ice might actually be a lot worse :P