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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Guys (and girls), I've just turned 18 and have decided to go for my motorbike licence and am looking for a suitable first bike, I'd like something sporty but comfortable because of erratic long distance trips.

I really like the look of the V-strom 650 and was wondering if anyone could tell me if its suitable or not.

First off, I know alot of people say that you should start on a 125 or 250 but in France (where I live) the standard bike licence is up to 34Hp (The test bike is a 600cc) and I'm wondering if there's any point buying a 125 if I can competently drive a 600 (ie. I pass the test). Also for the first 2 years I can only ride a bike with 34HP or less so I'd have to get it limited anyway.

It will be my first bike ever having never ridden a bike before.

For info I'm 1m80 tall (approx 6ft tall) and weigh 70 kilos (approx 160 lbs) which is the main reason I'm not thinking about a 125 or 250 'cos I might look stupidly big on it.

Obviously I can't do much before I get my licence but I'd love to at least have an idea of what would be suitable.

Also does anyone know how to limit the V-strom? I've seen alot of info of people who've bought bikes that are limited and wanting to remove it but nothing the other way round.

Any help would be greatly appreciated
 

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The small Vstrom...affectionately called the "wee" is a 650.
The big Vstrom...or "vee" is a 1000.
 

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Its possible there may be an aftermarket rev limiter that may work...see who else posts. Most of us want to go the other way and get more HP.

I wonder how they check HP.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info. Any suggestions about the size? I think the limiting has to be done by a garage, so its ''official'' but maybe not.
 

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I can't offer anything but my own experience. I bought a Strom 650 at age 40 and it's my first bike...ever. My only previous experience with two wheels was on a mountain bike. I love the Wee! It seems to me that if you have to take the rider's test on a 600cc then you should be able to ride a Strom 650. Maybe I'm missing something but it's not a hard bike to learn and if I can do it at 40 then you can do it at 18.
 

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Not sure what you mean by size. Most here have 650's. I own a 1000...since its a 650 + 350. So I get another half a motorcycle worth of power.

If you mean are they different in size. No, almost identical except the 650 is a little shorter due to a different seat. The 1000 weighs about 30 pounds more....apparently horsepower is heavier.

Can you ride it...I think so. Is it a good beginner bike.....uhh, thats tougher because I am on bike number 20 or so and an older guy. I started out on dirt bikes and my first street bike was a 350 Honda twin. Both stroms are a little tall and top heavy but I have no problems with it. Some new riders have issues dropping them, but a 250 is easy to drop also.

And finally, no matter if its a 34 Hp bike at 275 pounds or a fire breather at 150 HP, they all will kill you just as dead.

P.S. I am 6-2...my brother is 6-0. We both can ride it fine and flat foot at stop signs. They can be lowered also. I think it would be a dandy first bike.
 

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I agree it's a little too big for a beginner. You might be able to do it, but I think it would be way more fun to start out on a smaller engine (small-engine bikes feel much faster/fun at city speeds, btw, because they are lighter with lower center of gravity) and then upgrade when you've outgrown it. Starting out on a 650 means you start out with a steep learning curve and aren't really comfortable for a while - it's just unnecessarily dangerous. I started on a 650 (like I said, it can be done) but I lost count of the number of close calls I had. I also dropped my (more expensive) bike a couple times due to sheer stupidity, and went flying off it once cuz I froze in fear.

Another good site: Beginnerbikers.org. If I had read that site before getting my first bike, no way I would have started on a 650.
 

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Easy. Just add a skid plate, crash bars, metal panniers, a larger windshield, heated-everything, extra lighting, metal radiator screen, kickstand plate, aluminum chain protector, fork brace, better levers and pedals, highway pegs, a chain oiler, aftermarket rear shock, tank bag and front panniers, and a Givi E52 top case. That oughta slow it down nicely. :thumbup:
 

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I am also fairly new to motorcycling. At age 45 I took the MSF class and bought an old 82' Honda CB650SC, it was relativly inexpensive and with a little cleaning up and a few $$ I had a great bike to learn to ride on. I put about 10K on that bike and just recently purchased my Wee. The Honda 650 has no where near the power the Wee has and is much smaller. Weighs about the same as the Wee, just a little easier to handle.

I would suggest a good used bike, learn to ride, and then by the Wee if that is what you still want.

Good Luck
 

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I'm not well versed in what bikes are available in France so take that into consideration. Are there not any motards available there? Something like a 300-400 cc that meets the hp limit? They are larger than the "beginner" class bikes and can do a bit of traveling if equipped properly.
 

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1st bike

get a ninja 250, older model, dirt cheap, easy to ride, and fun; then get your next bike
 

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Going against the grain here a little bit.

If you are limited to 34hp or so, then the number of cc's displaced is somewhat immaterial. A commercial garage is going to put a limiter on any bike you buy that "naturally" produces over 34 horsepower.

That being the case, as long as you physically can handle a tall 450 - 470 lb bike in corners and at slower speeds then I don't really see the drawback to the Wee being your first bike. Once the limiter is removed you'll have access to it's full power.

HOWEVER, as alluded to by other riders the Wee is a tall bike with a high Center of Gravity. This makes it difficult for newer riders and shorter-legged riders to handle in parking lots, backing up, heavy traffic etc..

But if you are short legged and slighter built, and not used to a manual shift on a motorcycle I would definitely consider a lighter weight bike with a lower center of gravity.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Great, thanks for the help guys.:thumbup:

@greencountry do you mean its too big physically or in terms of power, because I'd have to get it limited anyway. I also want something to last as I don't really want to be changing bikes (ie. 125 then 250 then 600) unless really nesessary.

@Dtalk I think crashbars are definitely going to be needed!:yesnod:

@Kiwi outdoors the 250R is the only 250cc I really like so far, but don't know about the riding position for long distance trips. I've also heard that 250's don't have a great resale value.

@Auburn 80 Sorry newbie coming out in me, could you be more specific than motard? Do you mean like a tourer?

@Banks C Thanks, thats a great help. 'Cos I don't know, is the difference between a 250's and 600's weight really that noticable? Edit: the 250R is 45 kilos lighter than the wee.

As for the price difference, I've found the Wee Strom for 2500€ to 3000€ which is only 500€ more than the 250R's I've been looking at.

Thanks for the beginner sites too :mrgreen:
 

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Great, thanks for the help guys.:thumbup:

@greencountry do you mean its too big physically or in terms of power, because I'd have to get it limited anyway. I also want something to last as I don't really want to be changing bikes (ie. 125 then 250 then 600) unless really nesessary.

@Dtalk I think crashbars are definitely going to be needed!:yesnod:

@Kiwi outdoors the 250R is the only 250cc I really like so far, but don't know about the riding position for long distance trips. I've also heard that 250's don't have a great resale value.

@Auburn 80 Sorry newbie coming out in me, could you be more specific than motard? Do you mean like a tourer?

@Banks C Thanks, thats a great help. 'Cos I don't know, is the difference between a 250's and 600's weight really that noticable? Edit: the 250R is 45 kilos lighter than the wee.

As for the price difference, I've found the Wee Strom for 2500€ to 3000€ which is only 500€ more than the 250R's I've been looking at.

Thanks for the beginner sites too :mrgreen:
Stuntman, sorry to just get back on a reply to your question regarding the weight difference of 45 kilos between a 250R and DL650 being noticeable. I would answer that question 2 different ways.

1. To me a 45 kilos or approximately 100 lbs is definitely noticeable. But, I am considerably older than you are with several parts that have either been repaired or replaced at a hospital. Makes a big difference if your knees and shoulders work properly when picking up a lot of weight. Having said that,

2. Where that 45 kilos is located and how it is distributed on the motorcycle makes a huge difference. Again a high center of gravity makes it harder to handle the weight. When the weight is down low on the motorcycle it is easier to handle (particularly for a beginner) while riding and when picking up.

As an example, my other bike is a Yamaha FJR1300A. I believe it weighs just under 90 kilos (or almost) 200 lbs more than the DL650. When laying on their side, the Wee is just a little bit easier to pick up than the FJR even though the FJR weighs a whole person more (I weigh just under 200lbs) than the Wee. I think that speaks to the COG (Center of Gravity) and weight distribution on the 2 bikes.

Again, having said that if you can pick it up and maneuver it around; and are also tall enough to flatfoot the Wee I would go ahead and buy. Just remember, there are only 3 types of riders. 1. Those that have gone down, 2. Those that will go down, and 3. Those that lie about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks C Banks, Any info is greatly appreciated! concerning the COG do you think its much higher than the 2000 yamaha fazer which a mate is letting me try out tonight - ie is it enormously higher? I am going to check out the wee strom at a suzuki dealership before I buy it anyway -hopefully even test drive it.
 

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Thanks C Banks, Any info is greatly appreciated! concerning the COG do you think its much higher than the 2000 yamaha fazer which a mate is letting me try out tonight - ie is it enormously higher? I am going to check out the wee strom at a suzuki dealership before I buy it anyway -hopefully even test drive it.
SS: That is a question I can't answer directly. I personally haven't ridden a Fazer ( I believe it is an FZ-6) here in the States. Talking to a friend of mine who owns an FZ6, he told me that the Fazer felt lighter to him than the DL does. If memory serves me correctly the "dry weight" on both is approximately 430 lbs (give or take a bit). But the Suzuki DL650 Gas tank is about 1 gallon larger. That might be why it feels ligher to him.

I don't know anyone who doesn't like their FZ6 though, so I can't imagine you'll go wrong on either bike .... assuming you are tall enough to handle the bike.

I hope this is of help.

BTW: France is one of my favorite countries in the world to visit and stay. With a preference for the Bordeaux (wine growing) region. The weather is just fabulous, the food outstanding and the wine excellent and I have always enjoyed the people I have met there. Plus you have the added benefit of taking a short little 1,000 mile or so long weekend and visit 6 countries and experience 6 different cultures. You are blessed to be where you are. Enjoy it whatever motorcycle you get/
 

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Discussion Starter #20
@Banks C Great, I wasn't thinking of buying the fazer, its just the only bike I have to hand to compare with at the mo. I've been looking over reviews of the wee-strom and have yet to find a bad one, awesome! Also have you seen the Kawasaki 1000 KLV? its identical to the 1000 v-strom!:confused:

Ironically enough I'm currently working in a vinyard near Orleans, although I much prefer the Bordeaux area.When was the last time you came over?

We've already been to Italy for a day trip in our motorhome and I would love to go Spain ...maybe on the V-strom?:mrgreen:

@gryphon51 Nah don't like it! good review tho and thanks for the help.
 
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