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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone. As per a suggestion from the intro section, I'm posting a hello in here as well. I'm in the process of finishing my permit, and will be buying a VStrom 650 XT as soon as I'm done.

Looking forward to picking up as much input as possible on the bike and riding.

Have a great one, all.

Brent
 

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Discussion Starter #3
C'est le plan. There are some pretty good deal on right now for 2018's - I was looking at one in St. Jerome with aluminum side bags and some other accessories for $9k.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I know common wisdom probably leans more towards a used bike as a starter, but I've done a bit of dirt-biking in my youth growing up on the Bas Cote Nord, and I have a 120km round-trip commute I want to use the bike on, so I'd feel more comfortable with a new machine and warranty that comes with...not to mention I prefer the look of the newer models ;-)
 

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Welcome to the forum. I'll second the advice above.

A used bike (even if just for 1 summer ) is best to learn on. Many will drop their 1st bike several times. The vstrom having a tall seat and with a high center of gravity , this tends to make things worst. The plastic is fragile and expensive.

Unless of course if you have lots of experience on motocross.


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Discussion Starter #6
I don't want to seem arrogant and over-state my experience. I've put a good bit of time in, all off-road, but all many years ago, so I won't dismiss the advice. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow - an edit option would be nice so as not to run up pointless posts ;-) - sorry about that

I'll get a pretty good first-hand experience where this choice is concerned - I'm doing my courses with Renan at Montreal Motor Pro. When signing up, I informed him of my plan to get a Strom - he said they have one there and that's what they'll put me on for the practical training.
 

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Welcome to the forum. I'll second the advice above.

A used bike (even if just for 1 summer ) is best to learn on. Many will drop their 1st bike several times. The vstrom having a tall seat and with a high center of gravity , this tends to make things worst. The plastic is fragile and expensive.

Unless of course if you have lots of experience on motocross.


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Well if the funds are available I don’t know that I would follow this advise. Crash bars can take care of the plastics (as can insurance if needed) and not having to worry about the quality and trustworthiness of the bike while one is trying to (re-)learn would be worth it to me to risk a few scratches. Having said this, for me at 5’6” this would not have been the best beginner bike. But if you are taller and confident enough go for it.
 

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Wow - an edit option would be nice so as not to run up pointless posts ;-) - sorry about that

I'll get a pretty good first-hand experience where this choice is concerned - I'm doing my courses with Renan at Montreal Motor Pro. When signing up, I informed him of my plan to get a Strom - he said they have one there and that's what they'll put me on for the practical training.
Welcome to the Canadian section!!

I think editing messages kicks in after you have written a few, I am not sure of the number, perhaps 10. Also after a while the option of editing disappears (except for moderators.)

..Tom
 

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I know common wisdom probably leans more towards a used bike as a starter, but I've done a bit of dirt-biking in my youth growing up on the Bas Cote Nord, and I have a 120km round-trip commute I want to use the bike on, so I'd feel more comfortable with a new machine and warranty that comes with...not to mention I prefer the look of the newer models ;-)
Nah, my first ever bike was new. The current one was new also.

The only reason my second bike tasted dirt is because of vandalism.


Suzuki offers 5 years warranty now, that's worth a lot more than saving a couple hundred bucks :wink2:
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
First, where the size of the bike is concerned, having mounted several bikes the most naturally comfortable bike I've sat upon is the Africa Twin (I'm 6'3, 215lbs and I flat-foot the Twin no prob, but would not look at it as a sensible first ride). I'm not overly concerned about the size or weight of a Vstrom 650 (I know sitting on one in the shop is not riding one, but this is worth noting). Furthermore, as I have every intention of riding this bike off-road as well (my brother in-law just upgraded from the Dakar 650 to an Africa Twin, and we have plans to do more trail riding, camping/fishing trips, as well as a haul back to my home town via the north Labrador route). All this to say, I will be installing TRex protection on the bike shortly after getting it - crash bars and skid plate, with a real set of hand/lever guards, proper tires, and probably a Scott dampener. Off-roading with it, I expect it will get dropped at some point anyway, although my focus sill be not doing so on asphalt. I've worked at ski-doos most of my life, so I look forward to setting up my garage and working on the bike.
 

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So, you're tall and have loads of experience off road. That changes things.

I'm 5 10 and had to modify the 650 extensively to get comfy and have a safe standing position. The pegs are close to the seat and the handle bars are low in relation to the pegs. My knees would cramp up while seated and I could not stand on the pegs without bending down to hold the handlebars comfortably. Just for comparison, the 1200GS has a taller seat but the standing position is very good.

I dropped the pegs, raised the bars (had to extend a brake line). It's now perfect while seated but still the bars are a little low for standing.

Of all the adv bikes, the 650 has one if the lowest ground clearances and the most street oriented suspension.

My advice : get the bike that fits you the best right out of the shop.

There's also the ktm 790 due out in December; it will be lighter, more powerful, better suspension... But you wouldn't be able to ride it till next year. Cornering abs, electronic cruise control, etc... Lots of features under 14 000.

The ktm 790 or bmw 800/850 gs would probably serve you better in the long run, especially off road.

I'm at a point where im considering re valving and springing the 650, at a cost of over 1500. The other issue with the 650 is the front fender (even when raised) easily fills with mud and you'll hear gravel eating away at the plastic when riding on secondary roads.

Check out this site :

http://cycle-ergo.com

My advice would be to get a taller fitting bike and one with better suspension.

Find a shop that had a used 650, dl1000, bmw 800gs, AT and take them for a test ride...

The 650 is a great bike for what it is. It is not a good bike for off roads or a tall person. For that, there are better options.

My 2 cents, YMMV.


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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thanks, Marcham. I won't lie - the BMW850 has caught my eye - if money were equal, I'd probably be leaning towards it or a Tiger800, but the 850 is crazy expensive unless my kids can survive off of the bugs I kill with my helmet. I've also looked into a riser and lower pegs for the Strom. The thought has crossed my mind to just get the AT - some good deals out there - I really like the idea of setting up and learning on the Strom. Also, keep in mind - my offroad experience is there, but very dated - I haven't ridden in over 20 years now.

Again - I will get to try a Vstrom 650 since the school where I'm doing my course has one. I'll use that as a gauge.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I did look at the adjustments I'd need to make the Wee a better fit (the 1000 sits much more comfortably for me height and size wise, but the tank makes it look enormous - looks like you're driving the USS Enterprise ;-). Lowering the pegs, raising the bars, and maybe a 1" rear lift would be in the works for the 650. At a certain point, it feels like spending as much money to mod the V-Strom into a bike that fits and suits me as just buying an Africa Twin in the first place :-/. I tried sitting on a CB500X thinking the lower power would be a better place to start, but it feels tiny.

I finished my first theory class last night and the instructor was generous enough with his time to shoot the breeze with me a little while after. This decision was the key point in the discussion, and his response was very simple and sensible - my size and experience lead him to little concerns over starting on a DL650, and since he has one at the school he would be more comfortable making suggestions after he's seen how I handle it first. Being a professional educator myself, it'd be somewhat hypocritical of me to not follow that advice ;-). One of the other points that really stood out in the conversation is my commute - a fairly well-known and loved stretch of road by local riders, and not necessarily the right venue to cut your teeth as a noob (lots of twists, drops and rises, wildlife, debris, and locals who straighten turns in their trucks). He seemed to put at least as much focus on developing my skills on more suitable beginner-oriented roads as on the size of the bike I chose. This may sway my decision in the direction of a pre-loved ride for the first year. With summers off I'll have lots of time to practice, and with a mid-sized Africa Twin rumored in the not too distant future, maybe it is the best move. I start my practical training in two weeks, and expect to do my closed-circuit test in 5 weeks, so I'll know soon.
 

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I think your awareness of where you are in the learning curve speaks volumes and you will make a great decision whichever way you go! Many new riders don't know that they don't know and as a result don't get proper advice and/or don't act on good advice they get.

In many ways the 650 is a great learner bike as the motor is super flexible, it is easy to ride, it handles great and is a bike you never need to grow out of. The downside it that it is tall which will make it harder to recover from things like stalling at takeoff, etc. where getting a solid footing is critical. Your size may make that academic.


Having said that you are almost guaranteed to drop the bike at one point or another. It is just a fact of life that bikes fall over. I have dropped all my bikes and with over 500,000 km on my three Stroms I still managed to drop my 2015 DL1000 last month while moving it around at work (I'm 6'2" and over 230 lbs [just!])

..Tom
 

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my size and experience lead him to little concerns over starting on a DL650
What did he say, though.

Too many "instructors" and so-called experienced riders tend to give horrid advice. I had one that told me a small displacement bike is only good for beginners over a couple weeks... the idiot.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
He said what I wrote in the last message, Null - given my size, strength, and my prior experience he didn't see a VStrom 650 being too much bike for me to handle as a starter, but that he'd give me more detailed feedback after my closed circuit and road runs when he's seen me on it and other bikes.

As for the quality of feedback, I'm not one to play Russian Roulet based on positive internet reviews, but they are the reason I opted to drive the extra distance to go with Moto Pro vs. one of the bigger schools, and the instructor goes out of his was to scare the crap out of everyone in every second sentence, so I don't get the impression that he'd be one to suggest anything dangerous.

I have found an interesting option that may put me back in the used camp - a very nice condtition 2008 Wee with bars and skid plate and low mileage. I'm checking it out this week and will probably get it inspected by the school's mechanic if I like it - for the price, if mechanics are solid, I'd put a year or two in on it, then once I'm happier with my level of competence I'll turn sights on something a little bigger...or just a newer Strom. The only big question then becomes if I'd not be better served as a beginner having not only the warranty and free oil changes with the new bike, but also the rider aids that the older bike doesn't have (ABS.Traction Control)...
 
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