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Discussion Starter #1
My mechanic insists a dual-sport is the most nimble bike for commuting in a large urban area and the literature describes the "Weestrom" as suitable for touring. His son (races SuperMoto) agrees.

I'm 5'11" with a 30" inseam and sat on a V-Strom 650 for the first time last night, whole different posture from my Honda cruiser and my feet barely sit flat on the ground. While you can't tell much sitting on a bike in a showroom, I have some questions for V-Strom riders.

1. I'm 55 and can barely swing a leg over without brushing the tail. How would you get on one of these with a tail bag in place?

2. Daily commute is 32 miles freeway each way with speeds into the 80s in the mornings and lane splitting (Calif you know) for the last 15 miles home at night.

3. I'd want to take short (~ 3 day) trips on this by myself with perhaps 25lbs of luggage. How well do the tail bag and hard bags work on this?

4. What are the common mods people do to this after purchase . . . or what is weak from the factory?

Bought the cruiser (Honda Shadow 750 Spirit) as an inexpensive learner as I didn't want to spend my commute in the sport bike crouch or a twitchy throttle. While a cruiser is nice, I want something a bit more nimble for splitting lanes yet capable of weekend rides as well. So far the V-Strom sounds like the way to go.
 

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1. I'm 55 and can barely swing a leg over without brushing the tail. How would you get on one of these with a tail bag in place?

You'll have to use the old "lift and stab" method. Raise up your leg, perform a graceful karate kick directly over the seat, and settle in.:D I have a 29" inseam, so I can relate. You'll get used to it very quickly.

The Strom will do everything you're asking with enthusiasm. Once you try one, you'll never look back at the cruiser.
 

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I've seen some of the local guys here step on the left peg before swinging the leg over to get on. Seems to work quite well (and I think they just have a side stand).

The Strom will do great for what you say you are looking for. Bags work great.

Lots of things to change and lots of opinions on what to do first. My first mods were new handlebars, handguards, a Stebel horn, a Madstad windshield bracket, gps, JCW hard top case, tank bag, soft saddlebags, and getting the seat rebuilt this week. I think that covers most of what I've done so far. But the list continues.
 

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I can do the left peg mount, and I'm no lightweight. The trick is to lean over the bike a little, so you don't pull it over towards you off the side stand.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The horn for sure. If "Weestrom" horns are anything like my Honda one . . . I can't even hear it at freeway speeds - first they cut you off then they laugh at you . . .

I'm about 225 so the left peg mount methodology may not work for too long if rjwinz is correct. I wonder if the mount can be strengthened to allow this.

I also understand the OEM gelseat lowers the seat height about an inch.

Thanks everyone for all the helpful advice. The Honda Spirit is a nice cruiser but I'd rather go around corners fast than polish chrome and drill out my exhausts and it is looking like I'll be shopping for a Suzuki soon.

What would I expect to pay for a used one about 2 years old in the So Cal market ans where is the best place to shop for used, Cycle Trader or what?
 

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I'm 5'11" and a 31" inseam. I have a Vee with a Corbin seat, which makes it pretty tall. At stop lights I can get the balls of my feet firmly on the ground when standing. I also have a Givi 52. To mount I used to step on the peg, then up and over. Lately I find it's easier to do the kick thing. You get used to it.

I also find that it's a good idea to slide your butt over when you stop, makes getting the foot firmly planted easier. This is especially important when the road is slanted to one side, or you find your foot in a natural rut. This was a problem at first. Now I don't even think about it.

I can't think of a bike I would rather have. What a sweet chunk of machinery. I have heard the 650 is easily in the same league. Get it and enjoy.

I'm 58, so it goes...
 

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1. I'm 55 and can barely swing a leg over without brushing the tail. How would you get on one of these with a tail bag in place?

2. Daily commute is 32 miles freeway each way with speeds into the 80s in the mornings and lane splitting (Calif you know) for the last 15 miles home at night.

3. I'd want to take short (~ 3 day) trips on this by myself with perhaps 25lbs of luggage. How well do the tail bag and hard bags work on this?

4. What are the common mods people do to this after purchase . . . or what is weak from the factory?

Bought the cruiser (Honda Shadow 750 Spirit) as an inexpensive learner as I didn't want to spend my commute in the sport bike crouch or a twitchy throttle. While a cruiser is nice, I want something a bit more nimble for splitting lanes yet capable of weekend rides as well. So far the V-Strom sounds like the way to go.
1. I also often use the left peg mounting technique - I'll add that I always make sure I'm grabbing the front brake to ensure no forward motion when I'm getting on. I also bend my right leg quite a bit at the knee, which seems to help. I started this technique when carrying a duffle bag on the pillion when camping, and it let me get on without having to use the kung-fu technique described by sock puppet. Now I just do it out of habit.

2. You shouldn't have any probs with speeds in the 80s unless mid-high revs bug you - then you may want to consider a different sprocket (relatively cheap mod) as many others here have done.

3. The luggage systems are great. I've got the GIVI E52 top case, which holds a lot of stuff, has an auxiliary brake/tail light option (admorelighting.com), and is very easy to put on/take off. I was using Cortech Sport saddlebags, which worked pretty well, 'though I had to add a couple of tie-down spots to secure them to the bike. I've since upgraded to Pelican 1550 cases attached to SW-Motech quick-release side racks. Holds more, offers some crash protection, and the cases come off quickly. Look around in the forum, you'll see lots of case options, both hard and soft. While mileage suffered when loaded up (both trips also had lots of wind), I noticed very little difference in handling - but I don't push it.

4. Probably the biggest single 'must-do' mod is wind management - with either an alteration to the stock setup, addition of a Madstad adjustable bracket, or an aftermarket windshield (or both of the latter). Handguards are popular for wind/particle protection, and everything else is pretty much as desired - heated grips, different pegs, crash guards, skid plate, etc.

I came from a Honda VT500C Shadow, and the 'Strom is much more nimble, more comfortable for me, and much more enjoyable to ride.

Good luck with your decision - hope to see you as a fellow 'trooper soon!
 
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