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post #1 of 12 Old 05-30-2019, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Help with dilemma.

Please excuse the lengthy post. At I'm at a dilemma. I currently own a 2007 Honda VTX1300R. Windshield, floorboards, Mustang seats, etc. I'm 5'8", 143lbs, 55 years old and not getting younger. My wife likes to ride (but only as a pillion passenger). You know how it goes, you don't ask their weight, and hers varies because of hypothyroidism. She's 5'2" and I would guess she varies from 120 lbs to 160 lbs. The VTX (in my opinion) is not a light bike. That being said, I seem to handle it ok when riding by myself but have dropped it twice, once offloading from a utility trailer into grass, and once just slipped from grass to asphalt (locked front wheel and slid it down onto crash bar at 1 mph, "driveway"). I've come close a few times when coming to a stop on uneven ground with her on the back to dropping the bike as I lost balance with it (maybe looked down or just stopped too quick on uneven concrete, gravel, etc.) So far I haven't dropped it with her on it, but it's a struggle to keep it from going down once it starts.

She like the power the VTX has. Even though she has a Mustang pillion seat, she uses a gel pad as well and can't ride for too long before complaining that she needs a break. She really likes the pillions on the Goldwing, the Ultra Classic, the Can Am Spyder RT. She really would like for us to get a Spyder RT so she has comfort and I don't have to worry about dropping it. I like the thought and the RT's, but I want to stay on two wheels if possible and we can't afford to get an RT.

So, I've been thinking about a 650 Vstrom. I like them. Haven't ridden or sat on one yet, but I see a lot of people say they are easy to maneuver at slow speed (maybe unlike the VTX?). When I was younger, one of my first bikes was an '84 Honda 650 Nighthawk. Loved that bike. Never had a problem with riding it, but then I didn't carry a pillion rider either. Had to leave it when I got sent overseas.

I know the Vstrom 650 is about 200 lbs lighter than my VTX, so I like that. But what I'm concerned about is if it has enough power for riding both of us two up. We live in the mountains of SW Virginia and ride a lot of curvy backroads and the occasional 4-lane jaunt to a larger town or different backroads.

I'm concerned about the power, the height of the bike (if that would be a problem with her added weight), and if the rear seat would be comfy enough for her, even if I had to get a Corbin seat for it.

My main worries would be slow speed maneuvering with her on the bike, and coming to stops on slanted surfaces etc. I have a 32" inseam.

I'm wanting something lighter and more fun to ride with less vibration, but have enough power to ride her as well.

That's another thing she complains about is the bumps on the VTX. I've changed the rear spring stiffness on the VTX several times and none of the settings seem soft enough or cushioning enough for her. I have them set on 5 now I think. Anyway, I read that the VStrom is a nice soft ride.

The only thing about a VStrom that I'm not in love with though is the chain final drive. I've always had shaft drives and love the no maintenance aspect, but it is what it is. I don't reckon there's an extensive amount of maintenance on a chain. Keep it lubed, adjusted, and replace it and the sprockets when needed.

Any answers or thoughts or opinions? or questions?

Thanks,

Tracy
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-30-2019, 05:43 PM
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I don't think you have sat on a dl650 and held it up. I am 5' 10" and would not want to be any shorter just to ride my dl650 by my self. I would really not want to be any shorter and hold it up while a passenger climbs on and off. and the passenger would have to be somewhat athletic. It might just be taller than you realize.

I will be burned at the stake for saying this but I think you should go ride a honda 600cc motorscooter. not the suzuki 650 scooter as the suzuki is a lot heavier and clumsier in comparison. I had the suzuki 650 scooter for 3 years and rode friends honda 600's. the honda big scooter will outpower the suzuki big scooter and both will walk away from a full dress harley going down the interstate. that is with 2 people on the harley and 2 people on the big motorscooter.

go ride everything you can and learn as much as you can firsthand.
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-30-2019, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your opinion. I've had the VTX1300 and we've been riding it since 2012. We even did 4 days and 3 nights of riding the whole NC section of the Blue Ridge Parkway last fall with no issues. I know the DL650 is tall and you're right, as I said, I haven't ridden or even sat on one.

One of my other considerations I've been looking at are the Triumph Bonnevilles. Lower seat, lighter weight, rear seat at pretty much same level as front seat so she is not up "above" me.

I need to get on a couple of these for myself I realize that.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-30-2019, 06:08 PM
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Some of your circumstances sound familiar. I'm 55, 155 lbs, 6', skinny but athletic. My girlfriend is about 140 lbs and likes to go with me. We often take the bike on ferries in the San Juan islands and from Vancouver to Vancouver Island. Steel decks don't make for a very sure footing. We do fine and she thinks the bike is quite comfy with the stock seat and a homemade backrest.
Many will say the 650 is not up to two-up touring. I disagree and do it often. Would a 1000 be better? I suppose it would be for the occasional pass on a climb. But I ride pretty aggressively and never think about getting a different bike, mostly because of the weight.
The Stroms are a little tall, definitely taller than a Nighthawk or VTX. If gravel or off-road use isn't a goal, they can be easily lowered a fair bit. I have a WR250R that I also find a little tall. I lowered it internally 2.5" and now I LOVE that bike. It cost about $40, is reversible, and I just don't need 11" of travel. Might take it on a 3000 mile mostly road tour this summer (solo) just to see how it does. But lowering it made all the difference.
To your other points, suspension can be tuned. The longer legs of a Strom will be cushier than the 4" travel of a VTX.
The engine is smooth like butter, and chains are pretty simple.
My 2.
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-30-2019, 06:59 PM
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Use the following computer program to help you better understand how well you would fit the 650 V Strom. It will allows you to compare and contrast the V Strom to your old bike.

Motorcycle Ergonomics


Good Luck

"There comes a time in the affairs of men, when we must take the bull by the tail and face the situation."
W. C. Fields
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-30-2019, 08:04 PM
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I think the vstrom could be a good bike for you with "managed expectations". My 140-ish pound friend used to ride with me all the time. I'm about 155 so we're close to the same combined weight. I also have a 32" inseam, but I'm a couple of inches taller than you. I've never had a problem managing her weight at a stop, and the bike makes plenty of power unless you want to cruise above 75 on the highway. More power would quickly overwhelm the crappy suspension anyway, and on rough road you'll want to take it easy. Comfort will depend mostly on saddle time and speed of travel. Don't expect comfort for fast, big mile days. It is a pretty cramped riding position without much space to move around, especially with two. For day or weekend trips, it's fine.

Cycle ergo is a great suggestion. You might want to consider bar risers if you find the reach uncomfortable.
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-30-2019, 10:47 PM
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My suggestion would be to ride one and see.

I ride one up on a K6 Wee, but when traveling do have side cases, top case, pillion bag, tank bag, etc. which adds about 120 to 170 pounds on top of my 200 lbs geared up (6' tall and 32" inseam). Never an issue with slow speed maneuvers. Have I had a slow speed dump, yep. I think most of us have, and probably more than once. It will cruise all day at 70 or 75 mph and even 80 or 85, though I prefer the more relaxed 65-70 mph. I have done 500-600 mile days, though, again, prefer the 250-350 miles per day. An upgrade to a Russell Day Long seat makes the high miles easier too. My long trips cover 3,000 to 4,500 miles each and last 2 to 4 weeks. The V-Strom does great.


YMMV

2020 Eastern V-Strom Rally (website) - May 14 - 17, 2020
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-30-2019, 11:00 PM
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"Many will say the 650 is not up to two-up touring"

Spoiled riders. When wife and I started touring we had a '78 80/7 BMW with 50 HP and a single disk brake in the front. We put a scad of miles on it and them mounted a sidecar and towed a tent trailer.
It did fine. The Wee allegedly has 70 hp and dual disk in the front. Typically though American always have to have more and more.
They all should have gotten the Triumph Triple with 140 ft lb of torque and 140 hp. But no, it wasn't sexy enough for them. Fickle ninny's.
People who want to can and do tour on the 650's.
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-30-2019, 11:28 PM
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There are a few choices when it comes to lowering Stroms. You can make them up to 2" lower in the seat by lowering the suspension and taking the rubber bumpers out from under the seat. And then there's preload adjustment. I'm 5'81/2", 31" inseam, 163 pounds, 74 years old and I ride two-up on my 1000 regularly. Lowering the suspension an inch and removing the bumpers was a game-changer. The Wee is a hair lower to start with and about 20 pounds lighter. If you put aftermarket exhaust on a 1000, they weigh about the same as a 650 that's stock. And you get 30-40 more HP for your financial efforts. 2-up, the DL 1000 is quicker than the VTX 1800. I've not ridden with a 1300 but I suspect it's a little slower than the 1800. My 2 cents worth. This is not to say that the 650s are not up to the task. They are, and with a smoother engine and a little more gas mileage. If your gal likes power, then the 1000 is for you.

Last edited by bobbyvstrom; 05-30-2019 at 11:30 PM. Reason: Forgot last sentence.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-31-2019, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info.
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