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Discussion Starter #1
hello everyone,
I have been lurking here for a little while reading and trying to learn as much as I can. I am at the purchase stage now but just want to get some other opinions and thoughts from other owners.

First off my background.

I am 27 and took the MSF safety class in July of this year. I bought a 2007 Yamaha Vstar 650 a few weeks later just so I could start to get some experience on a bike. I got a great deal on a very well maintained bike and I know the two previous owners.

I didn't really know what kind of riding I wanted to do but after riding around for the last couple of months I have determined that my favorite type of riding is solo riding and just picking a spot on a map and going there. I live in central arkansas and I am lucky enough to have some beautiful areas to go to but one thing I have come across is gravel and dirt roads. I don't really want to ride my cruiser on dirt and gravel roads for any length of time especially solo an hour to an hour and a half from home.

Before I got the bike I also was doing some reading of ride reports on ADVrider as well as other sites and I thought that sounded like a blast. I would love to eventually ride the TAT, as well as go up to Alaska on a bike. I have no off road experience so it will be a lot of learning for me to get there but I think it will be worth it.

Anyway back to my thoughts on the v strom. I am strongly considering a purchase of a new 2016 vstrom 650 xt. I like the 650 engine size, I am not going to be riding 2 up at all. ever. My fiance has no interest in motorcycles and tolerates me having them. She doesn't even know how to ride a bicycle.

I am considering a new vstrom for a couple of reasons. 1. I like knowing the history of vehicles I own, it is just a personal thing. 2. I am considering the 2016 because it is cheaper than the 2015 which cheaper is always better. In shopping for this bike I have created a relationship with my local dealership which is a family owned dealership that has been around in my area for 40+ years so I would like to support them as well. I know it will need some upgrades in order to go off road and I am prepared to make those upgrades, and again that is part of the history thing. 3. I also think that going forward into doing some trips learning on the same bike as well as having experience maintaining it and knowing the mods I've added would be very positive.

My biggest concern with the vstrom is it is tall. I am about 5'9 with a 30 inch inseam. I sat on the 2015 650 and I was on the balls of my feet. As a newer rider that is a little nervracking. I'm sure I would get used to it but a lower seat is a must for me. Possibly lowering links. I think I would start with the spencer seat mod and go from there. Lowering links are going to be a last resort for me because I would like to add a center stand and it is my understanding that lowering links interfere with a center stand.

Anyway sorry for the long post I just want to get some other opinions on am I going in the right direction? Am I crazy for wanting to look at a new bike so soon after getting started riding?(I have really been bit by the bug. I have put around 1,000 miles on the vstar in a couple of months) Thanks for any opinions and input you can offer.
 

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I have an XT - Best bike I have owned, and I have had about 40 of the things
 

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Don't worry about the height, just get it

I just bought a 2015 650 ABS Adventure about two weeks ago and I love it.

The versatility of the bike amazes me! The nimble handling is incredible. The saddlebags will hold nearly anything short of a washer and dryer. I have ridden it on dirt, gravel, grass, and 2 track roads, probably at least 30 miles worth so far, over roads that I wouldn't have even gone near on my previous bikes. (I come from cruisers too.)

I have a 40 mile commute to work. 22 miles of it Interstate. It boggles my mind that on the very same bike that I was riding on rutted gravel and dirt roads the day before I can cruise at 80 mph, with virtually no vibration, a comfortable seat, and excellent wind protection!

I could go on and on, but bottom line I love the bike, the fuel economy and the price. It is truly the Swiss Army Knife of bikes.

Now as far as the height of the bike is concerned...don't worry about it. I think you will be fine. I am about your size, I used to be 5'10 but that was many decades ago. I'm probably closer to 5'9 now and I also have a 30 inseam. I am also on the balls of my feet at a stop. But the bike is so much lighter than what I am used to, (my last 3 bikes were all dressers that weighed close to 900 lbs) that even though the seat is almost 3 inches higher it is much easier to handle at slow speeds and to come to a stop. The seat is narrow enough that your legs go almost straight down and that makes a big difference. If you move forward a little on the seat there is a sweet spot where you will find that you stand a little taller.

I would just try to get used to the height first before you do any mods. You probably won't even need them once you a comfortable on the bike.

There are also a lot of guys on this forum that are much shorter and older than you who love the heck out of these bikes.

I would pull the trigger. You can hardly go wrong. It's not like you're spending 25 grand on a new Harley.

You live in a great area for riding. I have ridden through Arkansas on 3 different road trips in the last few years and have done over 1000 miles in the Ozarks and Ouachitas...the Pig Trail several times and a bunch of other great motorcycle roads. Like Deals Gap without the crowds.

Ride Safe!
 

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You can always lower the bike. See
Kouba Link
 

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I have an XT and love the hell out of it. I bought a new DL1000 as well, but keep getting back on the XT because of how much more relaxing it is to ride. No bike has ever brought a smile to my face as big as the XT has. I also rode the XT like a sportbike a few times when riding on some great country roads and it just about performed like one. Obviously it's not the fastest bike out there but you can definitely keep up with a lot of the bigger bikes. A few weeks ago I was almost convinced I was going to keep my 1000 and trade the DL650 in for a DR650, but each time I get on it I have a hard time letting go and to be honest with you, I probably won't. There's a few aftermarket parts everyone puts on according to their preferences (get a new seat or Air Hawk!), but it doesn't require much to make it an Iron Butt adventure bike.
 

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Seems like the first thing uh... shorter people mention about a V-Strom is getting both feet down at a stop. Honestly I don't know why you would want to do that unless you are paddling the bike off-road or something.

At stops my left foot is down right foot on the brake. The bike is leaned slightly to the left and my foot is flat on the ground. I have to stop for a gate guard on my commute so need the bike in neutral and then have my right foot down. Both feet down? Can't remember the last time I needed to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone for the advice, this just confirms my thoughts that the vstrom is the right bike for me. I will be getting one in the next little bit!
 

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gravel and dirt roads.
Buy tires that suit the worst conditions you expect to ride in. The standard tires are not very good off pavement, especially for the rider just learning this aspect of the sport. The Shinko 705 are one example of a tire that is better in dirt, very reasonably priced, and currently on sale at Motorcycle Superstore...get 2 rears to one front, especially at this price. Shinko 805 or Kenda Big Block are knobbier--better in dirt, not as good on pavement. None of these are the longest lasting tires, but the price is right, especially for someone still discovering exactly what they like.

the vstrom is it is tall. I am about 5'9
You can lower the rear with lowering links. You can lower the front by raising the forks. You can lower the seat by removing the rubber blocks under the seat and by carving down the foam.

Here's a tip for any tall bike like ours--when coming to a stop, concentrate on getting stopped and one or two feet down. Then look around at traffic. Looking at traffic and coming to a stop can get noisy....crunch.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Buy tires that suit the worst conditions you expect to ride in. The standard tires are not very good off pavement, especially for the rider just learning this aspect of the sport. The Shinko 705 are one example of a tire that is better in dirt, very reasonably priced, and currently on sale at Motorcycle Superstore...get 2 rears to one front, especially at this price. Shinko 805 or Kenda Big Block are knobbier--better in dirt, not as good on pavement. None of these are the longest lasting tires, but the price is right, especially for someone still discovering exactly what they like.

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Thank you for the advice on the tires. That is what I was going to start researching first. When I'm getting used to the bike it will probably be more gravel roads/hard packed dirt roads than true off road dirt. I was strongly considering a tire such as the one you recommended, sort of an 80/20 tire I guess they call it. I have decided to hold off on purchasing the bike until early next year so I can get some of these kinds of thinks like tires/crash bars and get them installed once I get the bike.

Crashbars/skidplate. I have looked around online not too much here on the site but I am probably going to go with Givi crash bars and I am looking at the enduro guardian plate. Is a skid plate neccessary for first learning off road riding? I'm leaning more towards yes because more protection the better, plus with some of the exposed parts I think it would be good, but just wanted to confirm.

Thanks!
 

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Coming from cuisers myself I noticed the height of my 2012 V rather quickly. I am a 29.5" inseem. I am much more comfotable and confident with the 3/4" lowering links. I put on the Kouba links. I am not a novice rider, but coming from cuisers, this thing is very tall and top heavy in comparison.

Don't get me wrong... I have owned my last cruiser. Just know where you are coming from. Try out the lowering links. They are cheap, and worst cast scenario you can throw the originals back on. Swapping them and doing the front forks was about a 30 min job with a center stand.
 

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Experienced riders can ride anything, the height goes away once you build skills. I would recommend getting a thumper, maybe a used DRZ400, DR650 or even a lower Sherpa and honing your skills a bit. Then go up in bike weight. Need to build your strength to handle loaded bike weight with one leg down.

Dropping a new DL650 would suck especially with the luggage on, better off on gaining confidence using a beater, something with minimal plastic. Low cruisers are heavy, but they feel totally different than a Jap standard up right seating position. Lowing an ADV bike neuters it, the Strom already doesn't have a lot of travel, don't make it worse.

I'm a tall guy, but I mainly only put my left foot down when stopping. Both feet down is not good practice. I had a short guy at work ride my KTM 950 set up tall, he had to lean to one side to get a foot down. Good rider though. When I'm on a tall enduro I have to lean over, I only have a 34" inseam. I've had bikes with 38" and 39" seat heights and custom suspension that sagged very little...

Always learn on a cheap tall bike, lighter the better and your confidence will increase quickly. Sliding around on a gravel road builds skill quick, but it does take practice. Choose a bike thats easy to pick up with minimal damage potential. Or at least get a $3,000 beat up DL650 and learn on it before you jump on a new shiny bike. It sucks when you damage a new bike. I learned the hard way, parked my shiny new bike and bought a thumper. Amazed me how quick my skills improved when I wasn't afraid of dropping the little bike, never actually crashed it either. It was easy to throw around on a dirt road, fun too. Then I got taller and heavier more powerful bikes.
 

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Is there a difference in height between the 2016 650xt and the 2005 wee? I'm 5'8 1/2 with a 30" inseam and can just flatfoot with my riding boots on. Maybe I'm built weird or the spring has lost its tension?
 

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Coming from cuisers myself I noticed the height of my 2012 V rather quickly. ... I have owned my last cruiser. Just know where you are coming from. .
This feeling is exactly what I'm going through. Had a big Intruder 1500 for 10 years and while it was great, it didnt have the versatility or fun factor I was looking for. Been without a bike for over 4 years and have the itch.

great tire advice here...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Wonder what the OP decided on it's been two months.
Yea, it's always nice when the OP follows up.
I decided to go with a new to me vstrom instead of a new one. I was able to find the color that I really wanted at a great deal. Has a bit more miles than I was hoping for but it helped the price. I will spend a bit at a mechanic and make sure everything is good to go, and then I plan on doing the oil changes and basic maintenance myself but I want to make sure everything is good with the bike first.

One of the other reasons I decided to go new to me instead of new was cost of mods, I'll be able to build this bike exactly how I want it for much less than the cost of a new one alone.

I cant post a link to the thread since I don't have enough posts yet but I made a thread with a picture of the new bike in the DL650 pre 2011 forum.
 
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