Returning Rider On The DL650A
Sometime during the month of December 2011, after much thought and careful consideration I determined it was time to ride again. My first bike was a Montgomery Ward Riverside 250 mostly ridden on the steep streets of San Francisco. Later I purchased a slightly used 1983 BMW R65LS. I put close to 50,000 miles on that bike mostly in California and on tours. When I stopped riding the beamer I spent 18 years not thinking much about riding until last Dec. Which brings me to the Vstrom and this forum. I spent some time reading the many posts and gathering info and I would now like to give my impressions of riding again as well as some of the additions to the bike.
On riding again: I am happy to be riding again.
What I added to the bike:
Fork brace: Turned the bike into a slow handler, but more stable as a result.
Seat Modification: I really didn't like the stock seat. I cut the rubber mounts under the seat in half except for the mounts around the locking mechanism. Made reaching the ground a little easier. I wondered what to do about the seat for a while and found my answer at the local bike show a few months ago. A couple working the event talked me into adding the memory foam to the seat, but first he cut the existing foam a couple of times until it felt comfortable for me to sit on it. Then they placed a one inch thick pad over the cut foam and stapled the cover back to the seat. After having just completed a 4000 thousand mile road trip I can say that the seat never gave me any issues. My longest day was 730 miles. It works for me.
Additional Lighting: I went with the Hyperlights 3 way set up on the rear using their license plate bracket. I was pleased with the effect, but wanted more running lights so I purchased two more 16 led modules and added them to the existing set up. Really stands out and I believe the stock lights are simply not adequate for the road. Now I wondered what to do in front, but I could not find a suitable location until I installed the OEM handguards. I placed two amber modules under each hand guard, one running light and one turn signal. I now have 8 led modules on the bike and I feel they are worth the money as long as they hold up.
I made a few more modifications such as a tool bag bracket and a one liter cup holder, but I will wait until I post the pictures to show them.
My 4th of July Road Trip: I travelled from San Antonio to Rico, Co. From there I camped one night at Maple Grove campground in Utah. The next night I stayed in Austin, NV. on highway 50 on my way to San Francisco, CA. I spent a few days there visiting friends before heading to Santa Barbara for a night. From there it was highway 101 to Interstate 10. The bike ran very well and never complained. The stock trailwings now have over 6000 miles on them and they look like they could go another 6000. My only rain experience with them was on 10 when I ran into a storm. I could see the water cascading across the highway ahead of me. About all I could do was slow down, put on the flashers, and ride the shoulder. It lasted only ten minutes or so and then turned into a light, but steady rain. I approached 70 miles an hour in the rain keeping her steady and feeling pretty confident.
My only real complaint so far is with the way the bike handles in the wind. I was pushed around a lot and it made the ride uncomfortable. It also seemed to be windy everywhere. The wind became my latest obsession. At one point in California, facing strong cross winds on 680 and feeling stuck, I decided to remove the wind screen and attached deflector. I rode the next two thousand miles without them and really did not miss them. Not sure if the wind is the deal killer or not with this bike, but time will tell.