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Discussion Starter #1
I'm nearly positive my next be will be a vstrom 650.

I currently have an s40 (savage 650) and while it's a good enough bike, I'm really looking for more range, capability, and versatility. The s40 can't carry a whole lot, it's rapped out on the freeway, etc. It's a beginner bike, and I'm outgrowing it quite fast.

So....... I don't want a lean-over crotch rocket.
Not sure I want another/bigger cruiser.....I scrape the pegs too often for that I think.

I rode with some guys on vstroms that loved the comfort of the thing.
The luggage capability looks awesome. This seems like the way to go to me.

So the questions:

Fuel economy.
What are people actually getting with mixed driving? And actual tank range?

Off-pavement. What are the realistic capabilities of a vstrom off the paved roads? I realize it's not a dirt bike, nor am I thinking it will act as one at 500 plus pounds. But is it actually capable on forestry roads, and dirt trails? Does it have the dampening and travel to not beat the hell outta you on a rutted gravel road? And is it not-too-peaky in the power delivery to dump you off sideways on light accel?

And lastly:

Reliability. Are there any specific problems with the 650's (either model) that I need to be aware of looking at used bikes ( if I don't end up with a brand new bike )?
Sorry for the long winded post and thanks in advance for any answers.
 

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650 gets in the 50's for mpg. Top speed matters. The wind resistance at 80+ increases dramatically and takes more gas.

Off pavement depends on both the rider's capabilities and the tires you choose. Just like you wouldn't put all-season tires on a truck you intend as a rock-crawler, you'll prefer a tire with a more open tread for deep loose stuff. A firm dirt road is no problem with the standard type 80% paved/20% unpaved tires that most stroms use. The suspension is OK, and can be improved easily.

No problems. I think ABS is important (ABS is always subject to debate), and that was an option since '07 and standard since '12 on the 650s. The bikes from '04 to '14 are all reliable with normal maintenance.

The strom is much taller than the S40, of course, and feels top heavy when stopped. It feels sweet when moving. A tip I learned the hard way--when coming to a stop, concentrate on stopping and getting both feet on the ground, then look around at traffic. After a while we've learned to come to a momentary stop with feet up, then roll away, but not at first.
 

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Can't go wrong with a V-Strom

Fuel economy.
What are people actually getting with mixed driving? And actual tank range?

I get 49-53 mpg consistently, on- and off-road, loaded down or empty. I rarely go more than 200 miles on a tank, but I rarely have less than 1.5 gallons of fuel in my tank when I fill up, either.

Off-pavement. What are the realistic capabilities of a vstrom off the paved roads?

This depends a lot on the rider's ability, and it doesn't take but a little bit of good instruction and a moderate amount of practice to get adequate for most conditions. Get some high-mileage knobbies like the Heidenau K60's and your ability to go off road will surprise you.

Reliability. Are there any specific problems with the 650's (either model) that I need to be aware of looking at used bikes ( if I don't end up with a brand new bike )?
I would venture to guess that the DL650 V-Strom is one of the most reliable motorcycles out there, and when it's not, it's relatively easy and inexpensive to fix. BMW owners can't say that. I've put 60,000 miles on my 2007 V-Strom 650 and the -only- thing on it that's needed to be replaced was a TPS sensor. That's twice around the planet with only a $15 electronic part going bad.

One final note. The V-Strom doesn't excel at any one aspect or type of motorcycling. But it is arguably one of the most versatile motorcycles available today and offers HUGE bang for the buck both up front and ongoing in terms of farkles and maintenance, both scheduled and reactive (see reliability comments above).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Versatility is the major factor for me.
The s40 does 43ish in town, (has a couple minor mods that didn't help economy at all) the big single isn't the most economical design. especially with a carb. LOL
I've never read anything particularly bad about the strom or the sv650, quite the opposite.

So I guess now I just have to see what I can do financially.....
 

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I've had mine for a little over 2 years and about 18,000 miles. I've only had one problem, and that was a few weeks ago the headlights went out. There's a connection under the tank that gets loose and shorts out. It's a known problem (according to the dealer) and I assume it's preventable. Other than that, it's been bullet proof. I get about 45 mpg loaded down (I mostly use it for commuting and camping trips) and can top 50 with it empty and not pushing it too hard. There's a few farkles that you can add to improve it (this site is filled with ideas, my favorite has been the fork brace). The downside as others have mentioned is it can be top-heavy and not for severely vertically challenged individuals. I'm 5'10" and it's fine but I pay extra attention when coming to a stop. Lots of people replace the seat, I have beads on mine which help a lot but also adds to the height a smidge. I load it up pretty good on my trips, and that makes it pretty susceptible to crosswinds. All that said it's been a very good friendship but not a love affair. :) Attached is picture of it packed on the way to Cooperstown, NY last week.
 

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Nice.
I'm also 5-10.
Guess I should see if I can go test ride one.
I am 5' 10" and have a 32" inseam. I can't flat foot both feet at the same time, but I have more than enough contact with my boots to hold the bike steady and controlled at a stop.
 

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Yep, that is about how I felt upon riding mine home from Centralia to Seattle on Friday. I never want to get off of it.
 

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Oh dear sweet Kentucky fried jeebus.
That was pretty much my reaction as soon as I left the parking lot on my test ride. Told myself that I was NOT GOING TO BUY a bike that day.....

Yeah, I didn't listen.
 
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