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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
With my closed circuit test coming up shortly, I'm pretty much at the point of making my first bike purchase. I've been pretty set on the path of a Wee, although my 6'3, 215lb frame would also necessitate some after-market upgrades to make it more suited to a) my size, and b) my intended use - comfortable commuting on a twisty country road with weekend raids on some dirt tracks for camping and fishing. The recent mention of a possible Africa Twin 850 in the coming years had made me consider going to something dirt cheap like an old KLR for a year or so, as has my affinity for the Tiger 800 XC, but the DL650 has a pretty strong pull on me too.

Setting up my Wee, from all I've gleaned from the forums and reviews, would entail:

Shock upgrades (Daugherty seems to be able to do what I'd need on both ends of the bike for a good price)
Travel riser (not a big issue or big price)
Bar risers and lower pegs
Seat upgrade

The obvious stuff like tires, bars, plates, and panniers I would be adding anyway. I guess my question for those who have gone down this route, am I setting myself on a path towards investing a fortune into a Vstrom trying to make it something it's not? I don't see any insane offroading in the picture (but I make no promises ;-). My riding will be 80 on asphalt and gravel / 20% off the beaten path. Given I plan to buy a new 650XT if I go the Wee route, these upgrades can be done over time, and at around $2k it will still bring me in for considerably less money than buying a new Tiger or AT. I'm thinking it's worth a go - I just want to be sure if I'm going to be making such significant changes to the set-up of the bike that I'm still going to have an enjoyable commuter.
 

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The things that cost a LOT on Adventure bikes can often be transferred to another bike should you get a different one. Side cases/panniers, tank bags for instance. Stuff like peg lowering kits, fork braces, auxiliary lighting can be removed and sold easily.

Suspension upgrades won't bring much in selling the bike....

Which makes some bikes look not so expensive as they come with really good suspension and brakes.

If you are really going to ride off-road, and not just off pavement, the DL 650 is going to be a handful compared to some other bikes. But be honest with yourself. Dirt roads with a few ruts are a lot different from muddy ruts on a path in the middle of nowhere! Decide what you are actually going to do and that will help with a bike decision. It is hard to beat the DL 650 on pavement compared to anything in that size range.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If I'm very honest, I don't see muddy single trails in the middle of nowhere - should I get there, I'd set up a smaller machine specifically for that. Quad trails and fire-roads are probably the best description of the off-roading I'd be doing.
 

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... I'm pretty much at the point of making my first bike purchase. I've been pretty set on the path of a Wee, although my 6'3, 215lb frame would also necessitate some after-market upgrades to make it more suited to a) my size, and b) my intended use - comfortable commuting on a twisty country road with weekend raids on some dirt tracks for camping and fishing. The recent mention of a possible Africa Twin 850 in the coming years had made me consider going to something dirt cheap like an old KLR for a year or so, as has my affinity for the Tiger 800 XC, but the DL650 has a pretty strong pull on me too.
...

First bike and you want to ride it off-road = don't buy new!

Really you will beat up your first bike off-road. Even with crash bars, skid plate, handguards, etc. you will scuff and break stuff on a Strom (or a Tiger) they are Adventure bikes not dual sports. The difference being that they are significantly heavier and have less ground clearance.

You're a big guy but trust me you won't like picking up a 500lb+ bike out in the dirt!


My advice go with an older KLR and learn to ride on it. You won't mind so much when it's laying on it's side! :grin2:
 

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The realities of what we envision can be quite far from what we romanticize about. Heading across Canada now to pick up a 2012 DL1000 sight unseen except in pictures. Used bike, and a buyer beware, but as long as it is mechanically sound, all will be well. Have 2 Honda Goldwings, but wanted something different. All my research led me to this bike. Already have a shopping list for the new bike.

Lived on a 40 foot boat for five years. Had the vision that we'd be out every weekend, and take long trips. The reality was it spent more time alongside as life, work and family took precedence quite often.

There will always be something new/newer around the corner, but this only leads to not doing what you had planned. From my research, the 650 is a good bike, but I ride two up quite often. My 1000 will allow me to play at being an off road adventure biker on roads that are a lot tamer.

The saying he who has the most toys wins is a misnomer. He/she who has the least number of regrets at the end of the game wins. Coulda, woulda, shoulda is too late.

Buy the 650, take stock of your riding habits over the next few years. You can go a long way on the money savings between a used and new bike, and have just as much fun. Since a new or used bike is a depreciating asset, you can always sell the 650 later.

Just my thoughts, YMMV. Cheers
 
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks, guys.

I think my response to RealShelby may have been missed - I'm not trying to chase Ryan F9 around on it ;-). By offroading, I mean decent trails - some bumps and ruts, but no deserts, swamps or rock quarries ;-). I should have also pointed out, I have a fair bit of offroading under my belt, but I've never had a permit, thus have never ridden onroad.

The KLR and DR options are things I've considered, but I want my main goal of comfortable commuter to be respected, with enough mods to bring some of the KLR/DR to it. Also, since I enjoy working on my ski-doo anyway, so I like the idea of the hobby/obsession of working on and learning more about bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A couple points I forgot to add are that I'm confident enough in my dirt-bike experience that I don't feel intimidated by going "off-pavement", as Shelby pretty accurately put it. I get the point of going used vs new, but I'll be financing the purchase either way, and I want something reliable to do the 120kms of daily commuting I have without worries, necessitating either a new or relatively young used bike, which puts the payments of the used in the same range anyway without the incentives the dealerships offer on the new. I have a steady and decent income, so I'm not worried about that. More importantly, if the upgrades I want to do effectively achieve my desired goals, it may well negate any GAS the AT or Tiger induce.
 

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First bike ...Klr 650 with an upgraded seat would fit you better and handle the off pavement better and cost less.

If your commute is 100 kph or less...the KLR is fine for 60 km - you aren't ever going to get a tire selection that handles the twists at speed and the off pavement competently and with a dirt background the Strom will feel like a pig.

Get a couple of years on the KLR and then decide ....and I'd not buy new.
 
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I've had 5 KLRs and and am on my third Wee.

I'd second the vote for the KLR (used). Cheap, indestructible, easy to work on, loads of aftermarket farkles, good (not great) both onroad and off.

I think it's easier to make the KLR a more comfortable highway bike vs. making the Strom a more capable dirt bike.
 

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One thing I've adopted is not making an upgrade or purchase unless I actually NEED it.

For example, my wee came well setup. But I'd ride the seat that came with it until I knew for sure it was the limiting factor. Then I'd upgrade. Or I'd use the stock footpegs until I knew my legs wouldn't adjust, THEN I'd get a new setup.
 
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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Mac and Crumb - thank you both. Mac, that tire point is particularly valid and valuable - that's where my inexperience really shows - I hadn't considered it, and my commute is very much a mix of paved 70 and 90 km/h twisties with lots of drops.

Alexi - that makes perfect sense, of course, but I'm a hopeless nut when it comes to modding stuff - I do it with everything...usually at great cost ;-)

A new contender has just jumped in the mix that may be of more interest - I have a dealership close to my house that carries Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda - I stopped in for a quick visit on the way home after starting this thread to check out a used KLR they have in stock. 15 minutes before I arrived they took back on a trade-in for a smaller machine a 2017 Honda CB500X with 6000kms on it. A lady bought it new there last year, put about 2 grand in farkles on it (panniers, crash bars and plates - all Givi, and a Scotts damper), and it's like new. They did all of the maintenance on it there (whetever it has needed over 6000 kms - lol) and it has one year of extended warranty left on it. They'll be posting it at 53 hundred by the end of the week, but the sales rep told me if I want to put a deposit on it for until my exam is done they'll put it away for me, and that there's room for negotiation given the time of season it is. This may be an interesting alternative.
 

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I was fortunate to get a bike where the PO was my height and just a bit heavier. He already lowered the foot pegs, added the side mirror extenders, changed the windshield, changed the seat to an All Day and added different side bags. The bike has the centre stand as well. There are other items, and a good perusal of the pictures confirmed what he had put in his add. I intend to get the Holeshot EFI Supertune Tuning Box, a 16 tooth front sprocket (juries out on this one), and the speedometer calibration box. Suspension may be on the horizon as well. The RR recall has been done and a new stator been installed. The upgrades for his size were the most important for me.

A good bit of perusing and viewing pics will get you what you want/need, as well as a good read of this and other forums regarding the VStrom.

Good luck. Cheers
 

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A couple points I forgot to add are that I'm confident enough in my dirt-bike experience that I don't feel intimidated by going "off-pavement", as Shelby pretty accurately put it. I get the point of going used vs new, but I'll be financing the purchase either way, and I want something reliable to do the 120kms of daily commuting I have without worries.
I too am quite confident and comfortable in off highway/off road/off trail riding. Which is why I know the DL 650 is not the bike for a newer owner on anything that isn't more or less a road. Stabbing your foot down to catch the bike......doesn't work the same as it does with an old motocross or enduro bike! Now if you just wanted a weekend bike and were willing to install skid plates, block type tires, and so on, then the DL 650 can be flogged up some rather rough terrain.

The CB 500X you mentioned might be a really good choice for what you want. You are commuting far enough that I personally would not consider a KLR (owned one, commuted on it a few times....) or DR650 as they just suck on pavement at speed. The DL 650 is a GREAT commuter bike. I have no experience on the CB 500 X but know owners of them and they seem to be a really good bike for what you are asking.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I too am quite confident and comfortable in off highway/off road/off trail riding. Which is why I know the DL 650 is not the bike for a newer owner on anything that isn't more or less a road. Stabbing your foot down to catch the bike......doesn't work the same as it does with an old motocross or enduro bike! Now if you just wanted a weekend bike and were willing to install skid plates, block type tires, and so on, then the DL 650 can be flogged up some rather rough terrain.

The CB 500X you mentioned might be a really good choice for what you want. You are commuting far enough that I personally would not consider a KLR (owned one, commuted on it a few times....) or DR650 as they just suck on pavement at speed. The DL 650 is a GREAT commuter bike. I have no experience on the CB 500 X but know owners of them and they seem to be a really good bike for what you are asking.
Appreciated - and I hope when I quoted it you it didn't come across as being smug - I literally mean your assessment of my off-roading being more off asphalt on reasonable trails than on truly demanding and technical OR was dead-on - for that I would set up a dedicated rig.

Yup - assessing my needs and wants, I'm pretty firmly set on one of the DL or the CB - the CB is even more interesting considering the RR kit that can be added if I decide in a year or two I'm ok with the power (or lack thereof), and the more I look at it, the 120km of twisties I do every day vs the fact that I will probably avoid the highway on bike anyway (too many idiots) makes the smaller, more flickable CB seem like a pretty good choice for starting out.
 

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Not smug at all! I am sometimes a bit too blunt, but sometimes that cuts through the BS that these threads evolve into on occasion. Highways vs twisties....well that depends. Highways with divided lanes, interstates are the safer roads to ride in my opinion. Rural two lanes have a lot of driveways and intersections. Both can be hard on motorcycle riders......

The fact that the Honda has so many of the things you want to add to your bike makes it hard to pass up. Sound like you are not worried about running 80 mph all the time either. I think the Honda would be hard to beat....unless you found a DL 650 with ABS and some accessories at a good price.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If I look into the used market, the two contenders are the fore-mentioned CB500X (I called, and it's actually a 2017 ABS model with the farkles and 6000 kms) for right around $5k

Option 2 is a 2014 V-Strom ABS with plastic side opening panniers, 26,000 kms, oil changes and extended warranty for $6.5k - both Canadian dollars.

In V-Stroms, the other reason I lean towards the newer model is the traction control and the fact that I much prefer the look - I'm not fond of the looks of the older Stroms.
 

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If you wait a bit, you might be able to pick up a new 2018 Vstrom for $7500 Cdn. That is what I paid last year for my 2017 in September from Newmarket Suzuki.No dealer prep charges or PDI. You also get a 5 year warranty with a new Suzuki. I bought mine early in Sept.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm keeping a weather eye on the prices - I've found a dealer not too far away who is down to $8200, but that's with a choice of the 5 year warranty or the pannier set. I don't see how they can not offer the 5 year warranty, but I'm more interested in what Motoplex will do since they have a sweet incentive plan beyond the warranty itself.
 

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2017 Honda CB500X with 6000kms on it. A lady bought it new there last year, put about 2 grand in farkles on it (panniers, crash bars and plates - all Givi, and a Scotts damper), and it's like new. They did all of the maintenance on it there (whetever it has needed over 6000 kms - lol) and it has one year of extended warranty left on it. They'll be posting it at 53 hundred by the end of the week, but the sales rep told me if I want to put a deposit on it for until my exam is done they'll put it away for me, and that there's room for negotiation given the time of season it is. This may be an interesting alternative.
That's a great deal if you fit the bike. I worry that it's a bit small for you. FWIW it will commute at 80 mph hour after hour. But it's a solo bike. The Rally Raid gear is pretty popular but not so cheap to add.
https://www.advpulse.com/adv-bikes/rally-raid-cb500x-review/

here's almost 900 pages of posts on the CB500x
https://advrider.com/f/threads/honda-cb500x.840842/
 
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