It's been a month since I traded my 2008 Honda VFR in Hong Kong:
For one of THESE!!!!
So far so good and everything I expected of the difference between the sportier VFR vs the comforts of a liter bike with standard riding position AND MORE!
I do Sunday group rides with a bunch of Ducs and KTMs and Japanese sport bikes and no problem at all keeping up even with my huge panniers (though we go only 7 or 8 tenths and one guy complained my huge panniers were blocking him from passing me LOL). On the VFR I had to keep it on boil past Vtech (when it changes from 2valves to 4 valve mode) in order to keep up and not to have vtech cut in and out (especially mid corner). On the Vstrom, I was like "what was that? we need more power captain? Ok, here you go *wack the throttle in high gear from any rpm*" It brings a grin to my face still every time I whack the throttle and feel like I'm in this big comfy chair that's suddenly accelerating through space really fast!
Comfort wise, there's no comparison. Of course the VFR was sportouring so it would already be an improvement from say a GSXR1000 but the big room for the legs with no folding up and not having that much weight on the wrists or shoulders is a big change. I primarily made the switch because I'm starting a new job with a daily 1.5 hour commute so wanted something more comfortable.
The big bonus I like with the trade is that my wife now can go with me on rides (she rode a total 4 times with me on the VFR in 4 years compared to 5 times already on the Vstrom). Where the VFR had grab rails, she just sits back on the top case now and no longer afraid she'll fall off the back. If you have a significant other that you want to bring along, the Vstrom is more than up to the task.
The previous owners (I'm the 4th) had put on 2 bros exhaust and upgraded brembo brakes and power commander so I can't judge the difference between a stock Vstrom and the VFR. Some said the Vstrom's brakes were wanting but with the Brembo I didn't see that as the case.
Another major thing I had to adjust to is the NON-ABS and NON-linked brakes; on the VFR I used almost 40% back brake cause it's linked to the front anyway (back brake activates 2 of 3 pads or piston on back and 1 of 4 in the front, front brake activates all of front and 1 pad/piston on the back I think). On my first 2 days I fishtailed almost at every stop light when I used the back brake to stop. But then after I added all my pack rat junk panniers, the back end is more stable under braking.
The VFR served me well 365 days rain or shine though before I traded it, sometimes it'd have problems starting (cranks more than usual; happened before in 2010 but fixed with a new battery). Time will tell how the Vstrom goes! :mrgreen:
OH! and the thing I LOVVVVEEEE with the vstrom is the heat or lack there of! On the VFR in the 34 degree C and 98% humidity summers here in Hong Kong, the water temp regularly goes to 112-118 degrees C and I literally had scalded thighs from riding more than 45mins in traffic. On the Vstrom, I smile and enjoy the breeze! Probably something to do with the radiators mounted on the side close to your legs and gas tank on the VFR.