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Discussion Starter #1
I currently have a 2003 Honda VTX 1800 cruiser. I have spent the last 5 years making this bike perfect and enjoying every minute of it. As part of some sort of mid-life crisis I am wanting a change. I want a sport/touring machine that is smooth, powerful, and comfortable.

I have narrowed the search to an FJR 1300 and a V-Strom 1000 with hard bags. Both of them are new.

I have a few questions to help me make up my mind.

1) How does the V-Strom perform in winding 2 lane curvy roads. Is it at all top-heavy and unstable? This is my main concern and the reason that the FJR 1300 is being considered.

2) I am not interested in off-road adventures in the dirt. I am looking for a bike to ride on senic Arkansas backroads and some touring. Does the V-Strom fit the bill?

3) If I get a V-Strom, should I get a center stand? Is it tough to get the bike up on the stand?

4) Should I get Givi hard bags or Suzuki hard bags? The bags won't be on the bike most of the time so unobtrusive mounting brackets are prefered.

5) I am 6'2" tall. Is moving the windscreen up to the top position sufficient to keep wind buffeting from occuring or do I need a bigger shield?

6) Besides obvious oil changes, what maintenance has to be done? How frequent are valve adjustments and can you do it yourself?

7) Are there any known problems with V-Strom's that I need to know about before the purchase?

As you can see, I tend to overthink things. Any advise will be appreciated.

Thanks,

Arkie
 

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FJR vs Wee

Arkie:

I just posted a thread (3/28/09... Wee - 3,000 miles. Here's what I think) regarding my experience with the FJR1300 and the Wee.

The above might be a bit helpful.
 

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1) Above 3-4 mph, the Vee does not feel top heavy at all (just like any other large bike). At slower speeds (like in parking lots), it maneuvers better than the FJR.

2) Yes, it does fit the bill. The Vee loves back roads. I've flogged mine all over Texas Hill Country and loved every minute of it.

3) That's up to you. I've thought about getting one, but I'm going on 5.5 years without it and I really don't feel the loss. If you do add one, it's not difficult to use.

4) Get Givi. The original (2002-2004) OEM bags were made by Givi under the Kappa name and were of very good quality. The current OEM hard bags are utter garbage.

5) Again, this is a very personal thing. There are page after page of solutions for buffeting all over the internet, while some never have an issue with the OEM shield. While it didn't work for me, most love the adjustable Madstad windshield bracket.

6) This is a very low maintenance bike. It is reliable as a stone axe and just runs and runs. All maintenance procedures are well within the ability of any shadetree mechanic.

7) Nope, unless you consider that the gas never stays in the tank. You have to keep refilling it. ;)
 

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1) How does the V-Strom perform in winding 2 lane curvy roads. Is it at all top-heavy and unstable? This is my main concern and the reason that the FJR 1300 is being considered.

I ride all over Pennsylvania Dutch country in SE Pennsylvania. Handles very well on 2 lane country back roads, even quite bumpy ones. I especially like its tight turning radius. I easily out manuver my BMW, cruiser, and sports bike riding friends and family when doing a U turn on a 2 lane road or in tight parking lots, gas stations, etc. It is a tall bike so be ready to slide your tail to one side if your wheels are on a high center and your foot in a rut. And use the clutch unsparingly during slow speed manuvers. You don't want the engine to stall. (don't ask me how I know, but my quick thinking wife saved the day by hiking out on the upside when I was trying to bring the bike back to upright).


2) I am not interested in off-road adventures in the dirt. I am looking for a bike to ride on senic Arkansas backroads and some touring. Does the V-Strom fit the bill?

I would think so. Works here in Pennsylvania and Delaware.


3) If I get a V-Strom, should I get a center stand? Is it tough to get the bike up on the stand?

I got an OEM centerstand. I use it exclusively for chain maintenance. I find it worthwhile. I find the centerstand not hard to use with the correct technique. Don't lift it with your back. Use your weight on the foot pad to lever the bike up (you do have to lift up and back some).


4) Should I get Givi hard bags or Suzuki hard bags? The bags won't be on the bike most of the time so unobtrusive mounting brackets are prefered.

I got the big Givi top case. It's great. Very useful. I have a tank bag for long trips (1 week for me). I have not found the need for side cases.


5) I am 6'2" tall. Is moving the windscreen up to the top position sufficient to keep wind buffeting from occuring or do I need a bigger shield?

I went through 4 windscreens before getting the MP Cycle Design windshield with adjustable spoiler. I don't feel the need to try any other screens, it's great. No buffeting. No ear plugs required.


6) Besides obvious oil changes, what maintenance has to be done? How frequent are valve adjustments and can you do it yourself?

I have had the valves checked about every 16000 miles. So far no changes are necessary. My 48000 check will be coming up in a few months.


7) Are there any known problems with V-Strom's that I need to know about before the purchase?

I have a 2003 (DL1000K3). The engine was rougher than I liked it below 4000 rpm. I got a Power Commander and tried a few maps from the user community here. I found one that I liked, tweaked it just a little bit. And haven't looked back. I had to have the throttle bodies synced when it started backfiring three years ago. I have had to replace the chain, multiple sets of tires, oil, oil filter, and both headlights. Other than that it's gas and go. The longer I ride it the better it is getting. It's a lot smoother shifting and runs better now than when it was new. 46500 miles and climbing...
 

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Taller

A Vee is gonna feeler taller at rest, but not when you're riding it. The wide handlebars make it feel lighter than it is, and the excellent range of steering lock makes it much easier to maneuver at low speeds. Chief gripes tend to be seats and windshields, both very much matters of personal taste. The 4000 RPM engine roughness bothers some folks greatly, others little or not at all and can be greatly minimized with proper throttle body adjustment and fresh rubber dampers in the rear hub. Those still bothered install FI boxes, that smooth out the roughness through richer mixtures, usually impacting mileage somewhat. My personal Vee seems to have some sort of home-avoidance mind-control thing going. Every time I think it is time to head for home, I suddenly get an idea about someplace else I can ride too. Oh, and it thinks it is a sport bike whenever I go on twisty roads, with the torque characteristics of the engine tempting you into going a whole bunch faster than what is legal. A big plus are the model-specific forums, where you can read about just about every possible problem and solution, as well as many, many modifications. And the folks here are generally friendly about questions, with a few exhibiting a 'search first, dammit' fetish.
 

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I currently have a 2003 Honda VTX 1800 cruiser.....
I'm not making recommedations. Set on but never rode the DL1000. I can say however that the throttle spring on the FJR is heavy and will give you a sore wrist after a dozen miles or so....and the bike has a very high freq virbration that will put your hands and feet asleep after 1/2 hour. And I will say nothing of the extra heat. Even the 08 was a very hot bike. But I like a hot bike, even in the Summer time. Keeps me riding fast. AND since I plan on no more kids....super hot gonads was just part of the experience.

Almost bought the 08FJR when it looked like I couldn't get an Wabs. Deal killer was the numb feet and hands from the virbration. ;)
 

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Just an observer, but also consider another V4 like a ST1100 or ST1300. I've been shopping around and a 2001 ST1100 still costs more than a new DL650. (around here at least) Must be the level of refinement and overall quality. I've been trying to replace my 1986 Shadow 1100 since about 2001 and it's not easy. At first I thought I wanted a Valkyrie, but decided it was too heavy and too smooth. I bought a 2000 Nomad new in 2003 and kept it for only one season. Seemed to be an under powered shell of a bike - not as good as the old Shadow. I also considered a Shadow Sabre, VTX1300, Road Star 1600 and now a DL650. I am used to a low revving twin with a lot of chrome, so a 650 I can ride down fire roads will be a big change. Good luck with your decision, at least you can always resell if you haven't found the perfect fit.
 

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Go for the Vee

I've got a 06DL1K and love to ride it up in Arkansas. It handles the twisties with ease then wants more. I've taken different types of bikes through Arkansas, Eureka Springs and all points north of I40 and you can't go wrong with the Vee. You're sad to see the sunset because you have to put it away till the next day. Headed up there again mid April to ride for 4 days. Usually hit it twice a year. Best riding around these parts for sure. The Vee is my bike of choice for Arkansas because I'm not old enough to own a Goldwing, but I hear they ride quite nice also.
 

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I'm not making recommedations. Set on but never rode the DL1000. I can say however that the throttle spring on the FJR is heavy and will give you a sore wrist after a dozen miles or so....and the bike has a very high freq virbration that will put your hands and feet asleep after 1/2 hour. And I will say nothing of the extra heat. Even the 08 was a very hot bike. But I like a hot bike, even in the Summer time. Keeps me riding fast. AND since I plan on no more kids....super hot gonads was just part of the experience.

Almost bought the 08FJR when it looked like I couldn't get an Wabs. Deal killer was the numb feet and hands from the virbration. ;)
Only heat on the 2nd gen fjr (after 2006) is on the left ankle. Anywhere else you are missing air management pieces in the fairing. Vibes can be cured by good throttle body sync And it only effects the right hand. The throttle spring does bother some people so they disconnect one of the 3 springs. FJR great bike but I would first try the vstrom. Cheaper and easier to sell if you don't like it. However you cannot get abs on it and that is huge. To me that would be a deal breaker. Try the 650 with abs. Good luck, ride safe.
 

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Only heat on the 2nd gen fjr (after 2006) is on the left ankle. Anywhere else you are missing air management pieces in the fairing. Vibes can be cured by good throttle body sync And it only effects the right hand. The throttle spring does bother some people so they disconnect one of the 3 springs. FJR great bike but I would first try the vstrom. Cheaper and easier to sell if you don't like it. However you cannot get abs on it and that is huge. To me that would be a deal breaker. Try the 650 with abs. Good luck, ride safe.
It was a used 08. And both hands were numb. The right hand did go first and fast. My gonads did get very hot.

I love the FJR. But I’ll wait to see what comes out next.

…and….

…the FJR has no room.

Take the plastic off and guess what? There is almost NO room under the fairings to mount ANYTHING. Absolutely no room to mount a horn where it wouldn't get roasted or doesn’t have to be disassembled, modified and mounted in two pices OUTSIDE the fairing looking like crap.

Wanna see where FJR owner are mounting their Stebel Horns?


 

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Discussion Starter #11
I appreciate all of the replies. Everyone's thoughts have been taken in. Now I just have to decide if I want to start a stable or sell the VTX. The VTX and the Vee are just two different animals, and gosh darnit I like them both. One more question:

What is the best out the door cash price that I can hope to pay on a new V-Strom 1000? A local dealer will sell me one for $9,000. Should I haggle or just pay what he is asking?

Thanks again for everyone's input,

Arkie
 
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