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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for my first bike, and the V-strom is at the top of the list. My budget is quite low, so I'll be looking at older models.
1) Is there a checklist you recommend for inspecting a used bike from a private party?
2) Any input on the 2004 V? I am inquiring about one listed with 33K miles on it. Asking $2k.
I appreciate input and advice. I am taking my time. Taking my Motorcycle training course this weekend. Should have my license to ride in 2-3 weeks. I haven't seen a bike listed this low, so I don't want to miss an opportunity, but don't want a mistake either.
Thanks!
Jon
 

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I've been looking for a V-Strom for a while as well, so I just have some reference for you.

I'm in the Midwest. I had been planning on buying a 2008 V-Strom 650 with 40k miles asking around $2450. It looked like a great deal, but the pre-owned dealer was closed the only day I was available to test ride (Sunday). I was waiting for this coming Friday or Saturday to do so and hopefully buy it. But it got sold this morning.

The next nearest VStrom in my area is around $3500. So you have a slightly older year, slightly less miles, but the price is pretty cheap. I can't help a whole lot as to inspections. Obviously at these prices, theres a lot to look out for and make sure you don't get swindled. Signs of rust, battery condition, tires, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for taking the time to share! There certainly is a lot of information on this site. Everyone seams more than happy to help and share advice via experience. I will try to do the same in return. Best of luck in your search! I am waiting to hear from the seller. He is traveling to/from a conference, so it sounds as though he is perhaps a professional, adult, with money for maintenance. Fingers crossed.
Best,
Jon
 

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Can I also ask what else is on your list of bikes you're looking at? We're both pretty much in the same price range. I've spent weeks researching reddit, this forum, any reviews I could find on general web searches. But I know I'm just scratching the surface.

I had also been looking at the Yamaha FZ6 line of bikes, as well as the Kawasaki Versys (and now I'll be kicked out... haha!).

The MSF course is great. I feel like I learned a lot. And a lot of stuff that people seem to miss when learning on their own. One thing my class didn't do a good job of was having a variable amount of bikes to try. They were all Honda rebel 250s and a couple Suzuki GZ250s, which was unfortunate.


But what about your gear? Gear can add up pretty quick I've found. Got a Scorpion EXO R420 helmet for a very good price, around $150, which comes with both DOT and SNELL2015 certifications. I hear the DOT certification is ancient and absolute crap, even though it's frequently the bare minimum most places state side. Despite better judgement (no longer lifetime guarantee), I also got a Sedici Alonso jacket from Cycle Gear for around $150. Again, this is all reference. I'm cheaping out on gear, but am trying to get as much value as possible. Just curious what you've come up with?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm not really looking at other bikes. I think this one is the right package. not sure I'll have the cash right away, and winter is approaching here in the mountains. I expect that riding the small bikes in the class with give me a feel for how i should start. If not the V-strom 650, then a little general bike for a few months, then the V-strom.
Relative to gear, I have a DOT helmet to start from my son. I would then get a nice jacket with armor, used if necessary. I am going to be using back roads when I finally get to ride, so slower speeds, low traffic and plenty of skill building practice. I'm going to be patient, and don't want bad gear that will sacrifice safety. That said, I'm not going to hit the highway or ride crazy off road obstacles at speed. i'm respecting the situation. I hope my cash flow doesn't hinder the beginning of the hobby. We'll see.
Many people have recommended I (all people) start with a general bike below a 500cc level. I'm not overestimating myself. I can't wait to see what I feel after the course.
 

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JP - do not scrimp on safety gear, especially while inexperienced.

That is when a fall is more likely. Protective boots of some sort, gloves (you always put your hands forward in a fall) a protective jacket and pants. Plus a helmet of course. Jeans will rip apart in a fall - even at moderate speeds.

Buy the best that you can afford. Protective gear needs to be factored into your budget.

And I agree with STcorndog - summing up the owner and his garage/home will tell you much about how the owner cares for his possessions.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Brockie,
I agree with your advice 100%. If necessary I will buy lightly used gear, such as the jacket with armour. I have a DOT approved helmet, but will probably upgrade that. Boots and gloves are on the list. Waiting to get a bike first / at the same time.
All advice on this forum is insightful and honest. I appreciate that very much!
Jon
 

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For a slightly amusing take on some things to look out for have a look at this.
Tires over 4 years old will probably need replacing. Look for a well maintained bike. Chain slack, brake lining left, dings in rad, and dings in the chrome on the front forks. The rad fan probably wont come on on the bike from just idling, but let it idle away as you check over the bike and listen for odd noises.
 

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^
It's amusing, but useful info. One of Ryan's lines in that video has stuck with me since I first saw it: "Capable bikes are owned by capable people." You can get an idea how an owner likely maintained their bike by looking at how well they maintained other aspects of their lives.

Also, here's a less entertaining, but pretty exhaustive list: Used Motorcycle Evaluation Guide
 

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Also know, if you're a new rider jumping on a Vee, you're going to lay it down. Probably in your driveway. It's a tall bike with a high center of gravity.
You'll be able to piece your turn signals back together with Goop. Your pride you can just let go.
 

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So how goes things? How was your class?

I personally got to ride a Wee for the first time this weekend. Newer model, but it was as good as I imagined. Much better than some other bikes I test rode.

Unfortunately, I also tried out a Honda CTX700 and actually really enjoyed it, despite being the first time ever on a cruiser. But the VStrom 650 isn't out of the running yet!


I'm still quite curious what that $1500 2004 Wee is like that you are talking about. One of the bikes this weekend that I checked out turned out to be quite the hack job. Heres to hoping you have better luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Progress- Training Course & a Future Bike

Again, thanks for the input and advice.
To begin with, while in Sacramento (2 hours from home) for my California Motorcycle Training Class, I took the opportunity to look at various bikes at dealers there. I had the opportunity to stand over a 2015 V Strom with all the bells and whistles. It seamed to fit reasonably well and, I really liked the bike. Unfortunately, it is way above my beginning price point. I am going to chat with the seller of the 2004 Wee I had mentioned previously. My instructor at the course gave me the number for a trusted mechanic, so I chatted with him about the used bike I have yet to see (it's 4 hours from home), and asked for approximate pricing for the repairs, tuning, etc. it most likely requires. He ballpark it at $800. I'll keep you informed if this goes further.
Next, the training.
It went very well. I passed, as did everyone else. I have to say, I am very glad I went through the training from an experience and learning standpoint. I'm taking this entry into riding very seriously when it comes to safety. I am actually looking forward to neighborhood training/drills and future higher level courses. My assessment of the course: Solid instructors willing to answer all questions; the curriculum is laid out in a proven structure that seams to work; Overall rushed to fit it all in. I recommend it strongly, especially as a starting point to do our own practice in huge repetition. I'm a believer in learning the skills so well that you can focus on what's around you for safety and enjoyment.
Below images:
1) The first very early morning on the bikes had an apparent good omen.
2) The bike I was provided for the course, a Honda Rebel 250. Easy learner with a wonky clutch and choke issues when cold. Not bad.
3) Impressive that California funds this program and oversees it. One would think the insurance industry would be a big part of the funding and support.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Rehclip,
it sounds like you're making great progress. I posted about the class. Thanks for asking. I wish it was within my practicality/personally imposed budget to look at newer / more expensive bikes. I sat on a 2015 wee, as well as a 2015 BMW 700 and a new Honda 700. I got a bit starry eyed. I love quality gear. I will be taking my selection process slow, which is made easier by the 33 degree temperature this morning. I'd love to ride every afternoon this Fall. We'll see what happens. I will contact the seller of the 2004 wee and see if he has any flexibility in price relative to the work it may require before i drive all the way down there. I would hate to do 8 hours of driving to find it is beaten up and not as described. That is the game though.
I will admit, I was a actually a little intimidated the first morning of actually being on the bikes. That went away quickly. The slow speed maneuvers were challenging, but higher speed was very comfortable. My 25+ years of serious cycling (road & mountain) really do help with handling comfort, awareness of surroundings, balance and anticipating. i look forward to seeing what you end up with.
I'm not opposed to a cheap cruiser for a few months of practice, and then getting what I really want. We'll see.
Take Care,
Jon
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Missed out on the 2004 wee. Sold before I could make the all day journey down there. Fingers crossed I'll find one in the Reno / Sacramento areas within a couple of hours.
 

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If this is your first bike, let me make a recommendation . . . If you buy, don't ride it home. Rent or borrow a trailer and bring a friend knowledgeable about getting bikes on and off trailers. When you get it home, spend the first hundred miles or so practicing in your neighborhood where there is little or no traffic. You'll make mistakes (we all do) and better to make them at low speeds within reach of the garage than in front of a speeding semi.

And then enjoy!

JPTahoe, is that your name or are you in the Tahoe area? I'm planning to semi retire in the Gardnerville area next year. You can tell me about all the good local rides! As a matter of fact I'll be there this weekend looking at properties (in the cage this time).
 

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Discussion Starter #19
iamsmiling,
Thank you for the opinion. Much appreciated and considered.
I do live in South Lake Tahoe. There is a lot of riding in the region! Let me know if you end up in the neighborhood. Hopefully I'll have a ride by then! Best of luck with the impending move.
JP
 

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iamsmiling,
Thank you for the opinion. Much appreciated and considered.
I do live in South Lake Tahoe. There is a lot of riding in the region! Let me know if you end up in the neighborhood. Hopefully I'll have a ride by then! Best of luck with the impending move.
JP
Cool, then you'll just be up the hill from me. About the only ride I know about up there is the Kingsbury Grade . . .

I'd love to live in Tahoe but I think it is a lot like living in Malibu - Only one road around the lake - in summer the streets are full of drunken campers and in winter, drunken skiers . . . Besides, while I like snow I have no intention of shoveling it off my driveway.
 
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