Getting Used to the Top-Heavy VStrom - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
Riding Proficiency Tips and suggestions for improving the rider's safety skills and riding techniques

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post #1 of 60 Old 11-23-2015, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Getting Used to the Top-Heavy VStrom

Loving life with my new (to me) '08 Weestrom. However transitioning from an 83 Shadow 750 is a bit of a challenge - this bike is just so top-heavy. I bought it with the intention of exploring Utah's backcountry but I gotta admit I'm still really nervous about tipping over on pavement and in parking lots, let alone on some twisty, rooty trail.

I'm considering lowering links, but does anyone have good advice on simply becoming comfortable with the bike? (And ride, ride ride is already part of the plan - it's a bit cold for that right now, but I still manage to get in a good 30 min ride each week so far).


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post #2 of 60 Old 11-23-2015, 04:12 PM
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To be honest, I felt the same. I was coming from cruisers (and scooters), so I was accustomed to the very low center of gravity.

My first week I swore I would tip the bike over... and there were some damn close times.

However, after getting a few hundred miles in I was pretty comfortable. Some low speed (empty) parking lot riding would probably do you good. I'm at 8,000 miles now and I don't remember the last time "top heavy" crossed my mind.
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post #3 of 60 Old 11-23-2015, 08:10 PM
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It's top heavy especially with a full tank - also the geometry is different.

what is your inseam??

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post #4 of 60 Old 11-23-2015, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by johno_SLC View Post
advice on simply becoming comfortable with the bike?
combine that with the soft long travel suspension, one could have problems. i lowered my bike and started dragging hard parts with out even trying. in the curves, even in the straight aways, if i rode across speed bump. i changed back to stock.

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post #5 of 60 Old 11-23-2015, 08:39 PM
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Installed lowering links an dropped the front forks 8mm. Also lowered the pegs and controls with a kit from this site. Makes it a different bike.
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post #6 of 60 Old 11-23-2015, 10:19 PM
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Hey, Johno -
I'm 6'2", 225 lbs with a 34" inseam and found moving from a '78 CB550 to my '09 Wee to be a challenge initially. Dropped it 2x in my garage, 3x at stop/standstill. Took a half day in a parking lot and got that crap out of my system. Bike is a gem, just takes a bit to learn its manners. Good luck with yours!
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post #7 of 60 Old 11-23-2015, 10:23 PM
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Drop the forks 12mm or however much you have room before making contact with the handlebar. And make sure the rear does have stock length dogbones (no rising links) installed.

Move forward on the seat when you need to get your foot down to have a shorter reach.

Also check if you have a higher than stock height seat. If its stock and you still have a hard time reaching the ground you can remove the rubbers from underneath the seat (maybe temporarily until you are more comfortable) to have less seat height.

I think the trick is to not have the bike lean much to make it easier to balance. That lean angle is probably less then what you are used to. Just try to keep it as vertical as possible as long as it's stable leaned either way if you use just one foot.

Last edited by blaustrom; 11-23-2015 at 10:27 PM.
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post #8 of 60 Old 11-23-2015, 10:26 PM
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You can lower the bike and firm up the springs some to avoid bottoming out. Mine is lowered about 1.5" front and back and have no trouble on pavement that way at all. When I have a passenger aboard, I do watch out for the speed bumps and other higher obstacles. It is a trade-off but a manageable one. You can also lower the seat.

OK, don't take my word for this and if you do it I hereby claim no responsibility for it!
You can use bungee cord to tie down the front or rear of the bike by collapsing the suspension some. It's a rough ride, but could help you get used to the height of the bike and then you can just take it off. I do it at the drag strip to keep the bike as low as possible for coming off the line to reduce wheelies. How do I do it? That you'll have to figure out. Keep it away from the wheels and chain.
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post #9 of 60 Old 11-24-2015, 09:07 AM
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You really need to watch it when coming to a stop where the pavement dips down like the end of a driveway apron, for example. Lots of Vee drops there.
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post #10 of 60 Old 11-24-2015, 09:29 AM
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I bought my 07 DL650 in August and dropped it 3 times parking within the first 3 weeks. I had not ridden a bike for twelve years. Now it does not seem to be a problem but it is top heavy. When at a standstill there is little leeway as to how for I can let it go.
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