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So here is another argument/debate......what is a touring motorcycle?


A touring motorcycle is a motorcycle suitable for touring. i.e. going distances - which is NOT a dirtbikes forte.
Then again, if comfort and range were not priorities, you could also tour on a dirt bike - but it would never be as relaxed a ride as if you were on a V-Strom.

And there you have it. The actual capabilities of most motorcycles overlap into different classes of motorcycles. However, bikes designed specifically for a particular scenario will always excel there where others will struggle.
 

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"Hell I don't think the average rider can even ride very well on pavement,"

Oh, you've heard of my dirt exploits, eh? I admit when forced off the road in Utah it didn't go well. But that was in dirt on the side of the road.
Just phooey! I've got to stop admitting to adventures.:wink2:
 

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In the hands of a capable rider, the Vstrom can easily handle all kinds of rough terrain.


Including steep gravely hill climbs....




Deep, sandy water crossings.....




Nasty, sticky mud.....




And even sandy desert washes.....








Hmmm maybe I need a dirtbike....:grin2:
 

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Off pavement is NOT off road.
Adv bike, dual sport, dirt bike....what’s what for what, off pavement can mean many different things, did you specify single track or MX track? I’ve been on many “so called roads” on my Strom, they weren’t pavement or gravel, but at times they did appear to be some kind of road or trail, so that doesn’t mean off road in your opinion? Know a guy/friend here who regularly rides the hell out of his 1000 Strom in Wayne National Forest trails and single track here in Ohio, is that not off road enough? The bikes are plenty capable and I stand by my opinion and observations, most dual purpose machines need smart mods to make them more appropriate and easier going, so the Stroms are no different. Well of course they are a handful off the beaten path, and oh boy when you drop it......but many do it all the time all over the world. So for average rider it’s gonna be a serious handful and likely not sensible, but those with skill and experience can make it look almost easy. One persons sensible, is another persons nightmare. :wink2:
 

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I agree that skill levels can make a huge difference in a V-Strom's off road potential, but one thing that isn't going to be affected by skill level is physics. There's no getting around the fact that it's a 500 pound motorcycle (or more, depending on accessories) with only 6 inches of ground clearance (less, with a skid plate), almost forty pounds of fuel sitting on top to make it top heavy, and only about 6 inches of suspension travel in the front and rear. It's perfectly fine for gravel and dirt fire roads, and even smooth singletrack, but in even marginally sketchy conditions you're going to have to work about 10 times harder to ride it than you would an actual dirt bike. In terrain that you could just power up and "float" a dirt bike, you're going to have to crawl over obstacles and hope those roots and babyheads aren't too much for your skidplate and short travel shocks. And woe unto you if you're out on a trail alone and your V-Strom falls over on an off camber hill. Even a TT250 could be a pain to recover in that sort of situation; imagine trying it with a 500 plus pound bike.

If your idea of off road is rough gravel and dirt roads like you find in a national forest, then the V-Strom will do just fine. Even a dirt, non technical singletrack through the woods wouldn't be off limits. If "off-road" means really off road, with deep mud, sand, slickrock, rocks, logs, etc, and especially if you don't have any off-road experience, then I think you're going to end up hating the V-Strom. It's a terrible bike to learn off road techniques on, because off road riding techniques that actually do work on an actual dirtbike could be disastrous if you tried them on the Suzuki.

I don't doubt for a second that a pro MX rider could take a V-Strom and make it do amazing things on some pretty rough terrain. I'm also fairly certain that, if you asked that rider once he was done whether he'd choose to do the ride again on the V-Strom or a YZ450, his answer wouldn't be "pass me the Suzuki, please".
 

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I disagree with the "harder than a dirt bike" comment. There are SOME situations where a DL outperforms a dirt bike. Climbs where you'd have to wring the neck of a dirt bike are relatively easy on a DL, as are sketchy downhills on the ABS models. Sloppy conditions (NOT sticky mud) are easier on a DL than on a dirt bike. Long miles on relatively good dirt roads are also easier on a DL.

Even ground clearance is less of an issue that you'd expect as I've usually had enough torque and power to be able to pick my way through. Admitted slower than a bike with 10" of clearance but in some ways easier as well. Just using some common sense and slowing down or turning around when it gets really sketchy is a lifesaver.

Where the DL excels is long days on relatively good dirt roads or seal, or long distances to the dirt without the dirt being too nasty. I've ridden riders on real dirt bikes into the ground with long days on unsealed roads.

If you don't have dirt experience, buy a cheap 250cc dirt bike and get that first. And no, bigger is not better there.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Some truly helpful advice.

Can’t thank you all enough for helping reset my expectations.

So while I take from all this that a V-Strom is certainly not a 4x4 replacement, it would allow me to join a really incredible group of likeminded adventure riders. I’m sold - although maybe I should buy a cheaper dirt bike first just to get my skills up.

Looking forward to picking your brains in the future and hopefully helping out myself.

Kindest!
 

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Vstroms are fine offroad. So long as it's not mud. I hate mud.
Major advantage they have over a bmw or a ktm is parts would be usually cheaper if you dropped a suzuki.
My advice would be, get 50/50 tires for sand and deep gravel. I use my sport tires for dirt roads.
 

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Sensible. Remember that word. It is key to the thread.

Replies stating a DL is better at hill climbing, and better going down sketchy downhill sections due to ABS make me cringe. Really? ABS is better going down a rocky, loose dirt downhill section? I wonder why then that off road riders want a switch to turn off ABS? Sloppy conditions are better on a heavy bike? Hmmmmm

This is turned into a "I can do anything on a DL you can do on a DR" thread. Yes, a V Strom can travel single track. I have been on single track that was simply a nice ride, without challenge.

I know you can put a DL in places where dedicated dirt bikes go. Not everyone can do it, but there are those that know the technique to get across a rough patch. But do that all day? You will be worn totally out manhandling the bike. I used to get that way on a dirt bike under 300 lbs. But my definition of off road riding is based on many years of it. Get your buddy to help lift your bike over the fence, no problem. Try that on a DL. Get stuck in a swamp where the tires are half buried? Better have several helpers with the V STroms! Riding the rocky roads around Silverton Colorado comes to mind. Roads they are, but you will NOT keep up with anyone riding a dirt bike in those conditions. Any you will work 3 times as hard trying to keep the bike going without crashing.

If you want to prove that a V Strom can handle rough off road conditions, have at it. But don't pretend they are good at it.
 

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Dirt bike riding is physically demanding on a dirt bike.
Stroms are fine on hard surfaces but I would steer clear of sand and mud and deep gravel. It's a heavy pig. Sure you can pussyfoot through rough stuff but its heavy and too much work for most of us mortals. Too much work = not fun.
 

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G’day,

I’m sure this has been addressed before but I just can’t find your wonderful answers.

I’m days away from pulling the trigger on a VStrom 650xt as my first adventure bike. Ridden road bikes until now.

I’ve always 4x4ed but having moved to a big city I’m now looking for a way to downsize and still get to similar off-road spots.

How much can I achieve safely and sensibly on a VStrom 650? I’ve read reviews where they warn not to stray from well graded dirt roads. That would be a pity if true but understandable. Have also seen owners shy away from the Simpson Desert, Top End etc.

With some decent tyres and a few accessories how far off-road would you go?

Cheers for any advice.
Dirt roads and fire roads only since you asked how far sensibly they can go. The odd person will do crazy things with them but just not what they are intended for. Perhaps you could score a good deal on a left over KLR 650 or if you want even more dirt oriented a KTM 690.
 

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Sensible. Remember that word. It is key to the thread.

Replies stating a DL is better at hill climbing, and better going down sketchy downhill sections due to ABS make me cringe. Really? ABS is better going down a rocky, loose dirt downhill section? I wonder why then that off road riders want a switch to turn off ABS? Sloppy conditions are better on a heavy bike? Hmmmmm

This is turned into a "I can do anything on a DL you can do on a DR" thread. Yes, a V Strom can travel single track. I have been on single track that was simply a nice ride, without challenge.

I know you can put a DL in places where dedicated dirt bikes go. Not everyone can do it, but there are those that know the technique to get across a rough patch. But do that all day? You will be worn totally out manhandling the bike. I used to get that way on a dirt bike under 300 lbs. But my definition of off road riding is based on many years of it. Get your buddy to help lift your bike over the fence, no problem. Try that on a DL. Get stuck in a swamp where the tires are half buried? Better have several helpers with the V STroms! Riding the rocky roads around Silverton Colorado comes to mind. Roads they are, but you will NOT keep up with anyone riding a dirt bike in those conditions. Any you will work 3 times as hard trying to keep the bike going without crashing.

If you want to prove that a V Strom can handle rough off road conditions, have at it. But don't pretend they are good at it.
I've been in fun places with 0 experience. The main reason i couldn't keep up with my friend on his triumph was that he had experience on dirt bikes, drifting in dirt/sand/gravel corners as i had to slow down, worried (such an understatement) about falling.

The ABS thing, i can only speak from little experience, going down some steep hills i was scared shitless but everything worked in my favor in the end. Of course, results may vary because i understood from the start what the bike was, and didn't expect it to outperform a purpose built beast.

One thing is for sure, i much rather slow down in light to average trails on a vstrom than have to ride a dirt bike anywhere on pavement.
 

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Please allow me to state my method of going down very steep grades in off road situations. Note "road, track, trail" were not mentioned. If you are in fact brave enough to go down said grade riding the bike, the technique is still similar to walking the bike down the grade.

Put the bike in first gear. Ignition off ( or kill switch off ). Clutch in. Start out using the front brake and as soon as you can you will be feathering the clutch lever to allow the rear tire to help keep momentum from building. Too much. Hard to modulate a rear brake without locking. ABS will not work, literally won't work in these conditions as it thinks the rear tire needs to be released to regain traction. Clutching the bike in first gear allows the motor to turn over ( easier on two strokes!) and keeps the rear tire from completely locking. Most of the time.

This is usually a controlled near crash. Walking the bike means your legs and feet help keep control of the bikes momentum. Riding the bike down works IF you have a landing area!

Get good at this and you don't have to turn around and find another way across the holler. Do enough riding up places like this and you will have the bike trying to get on top of you. Bikes under 300 lbs are bad enough. V Stroms in these conditions I want NO part of!
 

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The strom is much more capable than many folk say. No, it is not a dirt bike and can't be driven like one.
Paths that a real dirt bike would blaze over, have to be treated as technical routes with the Strom. Low ground clearance, and typically poorer tires, means slow and carefull is often the best plan of attack.
Sensible riding, with the storms shortcomings in mind, you can venture almost anywhere. It is just more challenging on the strom compared to riding a full off road machine.
That is a most simplistic short explanation....and in my opinion the best one I have ever read that describes the Warthog of a strom 'off pavement'.

I have done technical forestry service roads, water crossings, deep sand, single track, steep roads up and down that made my sphincter clinch(tmi???), and yes I have used every single muscle I didn't know I had while at the same time overtaxing my pea brain. In the end, I made it through all and was full of sweat and physically spent, but..... I had a blast. Think of the strom as a tractor...slow steady, pick your line carefully w/loads of torque and grunt & with a 14T front sprocket will seemingly climb a tree.

This debate gets kicked around a lot. The OP has mainly ridden on pavement...nothing wrong with that. But, there is another world out there of 'off pavement' and the beauty of the strom is it will take you there riding in comfort on the slab fo thousands of mile, then allow you to point it up a rough hill that it really was never designed to conquer, but conquer it it can, providing it's rider has the skill or more important the determination(and can pick up a flat pig up with the help of his friends)>:)
 

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I disagree with the "harder than a dirt bike" comment. There are SOME situations where a DL outperforms a dirt bike. Climbs where you'd have to wring the neck of a dirt bike are relatively easy on a DL, I have NEVER seen an unsealed climb that I would rather tackle on a V-Strom than a dirt bike as are sketchy downhills on the ABS models. Physics (i.e. WEIGHT) will overpower a heavier bike in loose conditions long before it will do the same to a lighter bike. Sloppy conditions (NOT sticky mud) are easier on a DL than on a dirt bike. Really? And when you hit a rock or a tree branch hidden in the slop, which bike will be easier to control , or if necessary, to pick up. Long miles on relatively good dirt roads are also easier on a DL. AGREED!

Even ground clearance is less of an issue that you'd expect as I've usually had enough torque and power to be able to pick my way through. Admitted slower than a bike with 10" of clearance but in some ways easier as well. Just using some common sense and slowing down or turning around when it gets really sketchy is a lifesaver. Sorry - you just cannot pick your way through rocks as easily on a wide, heavy bike with 6" clearance as you can on a narrow bike with increased clearance.
I just could not let this one pass.

Brothergilbert, what a storm you have unleased. I'm guessing that you definitely have no intention of trailriding your V-Strom. Some highly skilled riders can definitely do amazing things with their ride but most just want to get off the beaten (and sealed) main roads.
The V-Strom is ideal for this purpose, whether it be the 2,000km trip to Birdsville, or on those roads between Goulburn and the Jenolan Caves.
Happy adventures.
 

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This thread reminds me of a story told by a park ranger about a father and husband who killed his family. The father/husband took his little family on a hike up a mountain wearing nothing but shorts and what they had in the pockets. The family died of exposure when a storm blew in. The ranger blamed the father for not taking the appropriate precautions. His macho bravado killed his family.

One of the V-Strom gatherings years ago included a challenging off road ride. A young rider with a new V-strom decided to participate. The ride was lead by a professional level rider who could do just about anything on his V-Strom that the rest of us could do on a dirt bike and he set a fast pace fr the group. That young rider totalled his V-Strom on that ride. It went home in the back of a truck. At least he lived.
 
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