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Discussion Starter #1
I bought my 2002 DL1000 a few years back with the idea being able to do two up riding comfortably and also being able to go on trips. Then I had my first kid and now have a second one on the way. The Strom has been doing a lot of sitting, but I now want to bring it back into service as a commuter. I have no doubt that the Strom will last a very long time, parts are cheap and maintenance intervals are decent. Also, the engine is a beast! Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, I have owned a number of high performance bikes in the past and I find the suspension/handling to be a bit disappointing. I recently did the Nissin brake upgrade and it has improved braking, but I may need to upgrade the pads to see a bigger difference. Poking around the forum, there are a number of upgrades that I could do to improve the handling, and while I enjoy turning a wrench, the costs do add up. So my question is, for those of you who have spent the money on the upgrades and have the Strom as your only bike, have the upgrades made you happy with the overall performance of the bike? I see a lot of guys on here have or came from BMW’s and I’m sure there are guys who have owned Ducati’s, like me. I live in Florida, so the performance aspect is more for safety than for track day type stuff. Let me know your thoughts.
 

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There are a few currently here that came from Euro bikes but also a few that left after buying a Euro or a different brand bikes. Only counting those who are present is not a great barometer for judging how great the DL is at wooing buyers.

Suspension is up to you. If you believe that spending anywhere from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars is worth it to upgrade the suspension then its absolutely worth it. Just go in eyes wide open and knowing if you spend the money it not going to transform the 18 year old DL into a 2020 Multistrada or increase the value. Is going to make the suspension on an 18 year old DL1000 better than it was before.
 

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If you want a commuter bike, who cares if it doesn't ride as nice as a new Duc? If you had a piece of crap Yugo or something that you were going to use as a commuter car, would you throw money at it to make it a slightly nicer Yugo in the hopes of giving it the handling of a Porsche? You're riding (or driving) for a purpose - to get to work with a minimum of drama and as cheaply as possible. Sounds like what you got is exactly what you need.
 

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Even after careful tuning and adjusting, the Vee (first gen DL1000) has a pretty erratic engine at low power settings. It's great for blasting down a quiet highway, loaded up with two people and everything but the kitchen sink, and I love it for that.

But if the primary purpose is for commuting in heavy traffic, lane splitting at slow speeds and such, I would downgrade to something lighter, with a smoother engine at low power/RPM situations, and maybe lower fuel consumption as well. While still maintaining the ability to comfortably exceed the speed limits (a bit). Does that sound like a DL650?

Add heated grips, a pigtail for heated gear, a (waterproof) top box and some aux lights for better visibility at night and you've got a perfect setup.

Oh, and the early models DL1000 did not have ABS. You might want to take that into consideration as well.
 

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Even after careful tuning and adjusting, the Vee (first gen DL1000) has a pretty erratic engine at low power settings. It's great for blasting down a quiet highway, loaded up with two people and everything but the kitchen sink, and I love it for that.

But if the primary purpose is for commuting in heavy traffic, lane splitting at slow speeds and such, I would downgrade to something lighter, with a smoother engine at low power/RPM situations, and maybe lower fuel consumption as well. While still maintaining the ability to comfortably exceed the speed limits (a bit). Does that sound like a DL650?

Add heated grips, a pigtail for heated gear, a (waterproof) top box and some aux lights for better visibility at night and you've got a perfect setup.

Oh, and the early models DL1000 did not have ABS. You might want to take that into consideration as well.
I agree, the '02 DL would not be my first choice for commuting, trickling along in traffic, riding in the city. The engine just isn't happy below about 4k, and as you say, sometimes even above it can be a little glitchy. Not a problem on the open road, generally, but not the best at low speeds.
 

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Every motorcycle out there new or old costs money to maintain. New motorcycles keep you attached to the dealership because of warranty and IP issues. Some manufacturers don't give out its information easily so that the owner can do their own work. Cost for servicing and "you should do this" can add up. Older bikes that you can do the wrenching on yourself don't have to be expensive. An older bike that is well maintained to keep it roadworthy takes a few days a year to keep up. If the engine doesn't use oil, the electrics/electronics are working well ride it until it dies. Bikes get expensive when you start adding extras for personal reasons, the bike as it came from the dealership is inexpensive.

Changing bikes and cars every so often because of the mileage is a mindset that has been instilled in us and should be disregarded. This is unless there is an issue and it's time to let someone else deal with it.

I have older bikes. A 1985 Honda Goldwing GL1200 Limited Edition fuel injected model, 1995 GL1500 Goldwing and a 2012 DL1000 V-Strom. My favorite to ride is the '85. Takes a bit of TLC, and when an issue crops up, can be a challenge to troubleshoot and find parts. It's also my retirement project. My 1500 is my two up touring bike - keep the maintenance done and leave it alone, the Mrs likes the ride. The 1500 has 176,000 Kms on the clock, doesn't use oil and goes from point A to B comfortably, doesn't get any better. The Vee is my fun bike for ease around town and I like the ride. Wanted to understand the adventure style bike attraction, did my research, got the best bang for my dollar with the Vee. Bought it in Toronto, Ontario last fall for a good price, already had the mods done for a tall rider, and rode it across Canada to its new home in Victoria BC. The Vee being some 300 pounds or so lighter than the Goldwings is a treat. Riding the Vee across Canada answered the majority of my questions regarding this segment of the motorcycle industry without breaking the bank. Had an '08 GL1800 Goldwing, but decided I wanted/needed to go in a different direction in my retirement.

All three bikes have had the suspension upgraded and are mechanically sound. I did the suspension on each for me, and after so many years and miles, was needed. Anything extra that is not related to safety is for me. I have kept track of costs, and it is surprising how much you spend on a bike.

Should you keep the 2002, yes. Buying up, unless new, is buying a used bike with maintenance/work issues as well. Unless it starts to give you grief, a couple of hundred dollars now to get it safe for the road is a small cost compared to going through the process of selling the bike, finding one that may fit the bill, ensuring it is safe for the road, and spending more money than you would have.

Long winded answer, but if there are no payments on the bike, it is operating well, safe for the road, and it will do what you want it to, keep it. It's an inexpensive bike to own and ride compared to others, and because of this can keep you in the saddle more.

Congrats on expecting your second. Children will always bring a smile out in us. My daughter is all grown up, but she's still my little girl. She surprised me one day in the car because she was putting on makeup. She was 13 and I had to ask where she learned to do that. Got the Dad look of disgust. When she started dating, I had to remind myself what I was like at that age and the thought wasn't pretty. I knew what those boys were thinking.

I digress, I vote to keep the Vee.
 

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OK you asked, here is my take. I appreciate and understand everyones POF. All great ideas. I guess it depends on money, doesn't it? Well for the most part.

Life is short, was some of the best advise I ever heard. Try and search until you find that machine that ticks off all the boxes. Heck, even look at the Royal Enfield Himalayan.

If you are so inclined, test ride different bikes. I found the 2018 Vstrom 1000, is a far better ride than the previous generation. The older generation is good. But there is no question that the newer version does indeed reflect Suzuki's improvement efforts. As for other makes and models, there is a great deal to consider.

I can not tell you from first hand info if upgrades to your 2002 will give you what you want. I would think riding a 2017 and up, would give you an idea of what your efforts would reward.

In the end, it depends on what you want/ looking for and how much you want to spend. It is only money and you only go-round once...( that i know of anyway).
🏍 😀
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Interesting to see the variety of responses here and how everyone’s experience is a little different. I actually feel like the Vee Engine is fairly smooth and it doesn’t chug at low RPMs nearly as much as my Ducs did, so no issues there. The mileage on these bikes is not great, but as I‘be ridden a Wee and it was just too lethargic for my liking. Getting something that got better mileage would be great, but the cost of a different bike vs keeping one that is paid for negates that. As for the point A to point B, who cares thought process, that’s just not how I think. My car gets 35mpg, so the only reason to ride the bike for commuting is because motorcycles are more fun! In Florida I don’t need heated grips or gear, although I have had them installed for n previous bikes. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t install other gadgets though. I installed an auxiliary fuse box when I made my headlight relay harness, so there’s definitely room for expansion there. The EBC HH would be a small investment and I could definitely see the value there. Lack of ABS is a good point and something that would be good on a commuting bike, but I’ve never had it so I don’t really miss it. As for my commute, it’s about 40-45mins each way and is about half backroads and half Highway with very little city driving. I think I’ll ride the bike a little more to evaluate, keep poking around the forum to see what upgrades I would want to do and see how much it would add up to, compared to selling and buying something else.
 

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Interesting to see the variety of responses here and how everyone’s experience is a little different. I actually feel like the Vee Engine is fairly smooth and it doesn’t chug at low RPMs nearly as much as my Ducs did, so no issues there. The mileage on these bikes is not great, but as I‘be ridden a Wee and it was just too lethargic for my liking. Getting something that got better mileage would be great, but the cost of a different bike vs keeping one that is paid for negates that. As for the point A to point B, who cares thought process, that’s just not how I think. My car gets 35mpg, so the only reason to ride the bike for commuting is because motorcycles are more fun! In Florida I don’t need heated grips or gear, although I have had them installed for n previous bikes. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t install other gadgets though. I installed an auxiliary fuse box when I made my headlight relay harness, so there’s definitely room for expansion there. The EBC HH would be a small investment and I could definitely see the value there. Lack of ABS is a good point and something that would be good on a commuting bike, but I’ve never had it so I don’t really miss it. As for my commute, it’s about 40-45mins each way and is about half backroads and half Highway with very little city driving. I think I’ll ride the bike a little more to evaluate, keep poking around the forum to see what upgrades I would want to do and see how much it would add up to, compared to selling and buying something else.
Sounds to me you are at the beginning of the discerning process.
About ABS, you will never need it until you do. You will never miss it, until you need it. Chances are much MUCH greater that you will need it VS not need it..... on that one fateful day.

If you keep the revs down, gas milage won't be that different. On highway stretches, the 1000 at lower revs gets good enough milage so that the difference is not so important. Speaking of that, most of us ride for fun. FOR the most part owning a M/C is not about saving money on gas or anything else. I used to think it was, but in the long run for me it was not.
 

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Riding the pants off a POS can be far more mentally rewarding than never finding the limits on a more exotic machine.
 

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If mileage is your primary concern, as in the cost of commuting, get a 400cc bike or less. Anything much larger costs the same as a small car when used as a commuter and a litre class bike will cost more. If you want to commute on a bike to duck through slow traffic, the 650 is the pick due to lower weight. Yes, you do need to stir the gearbox more than the 1000 if you want to get energetic, but the Wee will reward that kind of riding with quite spritely performance at commuting speeds where you'll be constantly pulling back on the reins of the 1000. The 1000 of course has longer legs on open roads, so the difference between city and country commuting is significant to your decision.
I also ride a BMW tourer (R1150RT). The Strom doesn't have the refinement in the suspension by any means but handles ugly roads a hell of a lot better thanks to the longer travel. They're adventure bikes, not sports bikes, and are designed to handle a wide range of surfaces adequately rather than glass smooth tracks exceptionally but chopped up road works abysmally. Don't compare it to a Multistrada or S1000XR, if you had the money to buy at that end of the market you wouldn't be considering tweaking a DL1000.
If you REALLY want to use the thousand and upgrade the suspension, a fork brace and Gold Valve Emulators should have you sorted. More than that will cost real money. If you're still keen an upgraded rear shock is good but you're now into the grand+ a unit territory and it's still a 2002 bike. You won't get this money back when/if you sell.
 

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Interesting to see the variety of responses here and how everyone’s experience is a little different. I actually feel like the Vee Engine is fairly smooth and it doesn’t chug at low RPMs nearly as much as my Ducs did, so no issues there. The mileage on these bikes is not great, but as I‘be ridden a Wee and it was just too lethargic for my liking. Getting something that got better mileage would be great, but the cost of a different bike vs keeping one that is paid for negates that. As for the point A to point B, who cares thought process, that’s just not how I think. My car gets 35mpg, so the only reason to ride the bike for commuting is because motorcycles are more fun! In Florida I don’t need heated grips or gear, although I have had them installed for n previous bikes. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t install other gadgets though. I installed an auxiliary fuse box when I made my headlight relay harness, so there’s definitely room for expansion there. The EBC HH would be a small investment and I could definitely see the value there. Lack of ABS is a good point and something that would be good on a commuting bike, but I’ve never had it so I don’t really miss it. As for my commute, it’s about 40-45mins each way and is about half backroads and half Highway with very little city driving. I think I’ll ride the bike a little more to evaluate, keep poking around the forum to see what upgrades I would want to do and see how much it would add up to, compared to selling and buying something else.
Owning a 2003 DL1000 I wouldn't consider spending much money upgrading it to be a wise use of funds. Especially if you're going to pour miles onto it commuting daily. The 1st gen V isn't exactly getting a lot of folks excited even with all the cool kid accessories. On the other side of that argument you aren't going to lose much in depreciation on the bike due to the high miles. I don't find the V to be difficult to maneuver but it's certainly not as easy as my DR. I think I'd be more in line with @Dark Angel on the small bike for commuting. There are a lot more choices now than there used to be like the CB500X, R3, RC390, G310GS, the Himalayan that was mentioned. Come to think of it I'm a bit jealous of you with all these choices since I'm kind of stuck with what I have right now. My regular riding partner commutes from the burbs in SC to uptown Charlotte on a 2008 KLR. He's up 1 tooth on the sprocket and gets about 50mpg. Doesn't ride the interstate like he does when he drives his truck so he ends up with a much better attitude after the ride vs truck. Can afford to park in a deck vs parking the truck and he parks with a bunch of much nicer and more expensive bikes which he reckons distract any thieves so something to be said for old unloved bikes.
 

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Before I did anything I'd make sure I was committed to using the bike for commuting. Its not a great as it sounds nor does it save a lot of money verses a reasonable modern automobile like a Camry.

How far do you commute?
What is general line of work?
Are you at one place all day every day or do yo travel around?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
What I was saying about mileage is that it’s more or less irrelevant to me. When you factor in the cost of motorcycle tires and how quickly they wear,it’s tough to argue that you’re saving money by riding a motorcycle vs a modern economy car. I’ve done a lot of commuting on motorcycles, mostly with a Triumph Daytona 675 (sport bike) some of which was with an 11mi one way commute in Tennessee but then later in the San Francisco Bay Area with a 52mi one way commute. At 56k miles I finally sold that bike because it was starting to give me problems on a frequent basis. Sport bikes are usually wrecked long before they accumulate that kind of mileage so I just don’t think the manufacturers make them to last as long as the adventure, touring or maybe even the cruiser bikes. So here we have the DL1000. A bike that many have just racked up the miles on with only regular maintenance and they are dirt cheap. As several of you have mentioned, there’s not much to lose in terms of resale, but anything spent on the bike would not be recouped. My reasons for keeping and possibly upgrading the Vee would be:
1)no loss of resale, except for accumulated mileage
2) Long term reliability
3) Incredibly cheap insurance, tires (Shinkos) and parts
4) Fun Motor
5) Comfortable when the roads get bumpy

Reasons to sell and get something else (also used) would be:

1) Better handling/suspension
2) Maybe a little more power
3) Maybe increased fuel economy
4) Smaller/lighter bike
5) Fewer quirks from just being an older bike

There’s not a right or wrong answer here guys. I guess what I was looking for is why YOU chose the Strom as your bike and if you chose to have another motorcycle, what purpose does the other bike serve that the Strom didn’t. I appreciate everyone’s commentary. This forum is great!
 

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The bike you already own is cheaper than anything you are likely to buy.

I'd have to say for a round town bike you do NOT want more power. Decide what you'll actually do with the bike, if the answer is everything, may as well keep the 1000.

As for my bad choices, I had a high k's DL650 with around 125,000k's on it and decided I wanted a better bike for touring - mainly on the bad secondary roads around here. My 60th bday coming up probably helped impair my decision making enough there. The lightest bike I could find that was better than my 650 for THAT use was the DL1000 so I picked one up second hand. I was going to flick the 650 but it's so much better around town and so grief free that it's stayed and does the commute. I wouldn't have brought a bike for that, the 1000 can do it, but the 650 is $0 in value, much easier to ride in traffic and pretty much pays for it's insurance and registration in saved fuel. I'm not saying I regret buying the 1000, but I paid quite a lot just for more comfort on the return legs of those long rides.
 

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After researching the adventure style bike for about 1 1/2 years, watching many videos on adventure bike shootouts and adventure bike reviews, the V-Strom was always the dark horse in that it didn't do anything very well, just did everything - some things better than others. I knew I wasn't going ditch banging. Looked at the cost of different bikes, and the Vee was always in there as a reasonable priced adventure style bike. I mentioned I found one that met my requirements, was owned by a fellow of the same stature, and was a price I was willing to pay. I considered the worst case and that was that after the ride across Canada, the bike would not work out, but I felt I would be able to recoup the purchase price when I got home. I still have the Vee. Have done some upgrades as recommended on this forum, Werk's clutch basket, speed healer for the speedometer error, self-cancelling signal lights, a funky light on the back to give more visibility, and the biggest expense, upgraded suspension - Andriani front fork cartridges, now have preload, compression and rebound settings for the front, and Nitron R2 rear shock, has made a significant difference. With all this, I have spent approximately the same amount of money as my friend paid for his 2010 Triumph Tiger before he started his buying spree for extras - mines a 2012. Another riding friend has a new Triumph 1200 Scrambler. I help my friend with the Triumph Tiger do his maintenance/work, my friend with the Scrambler takes his to the dealer. We all go the same distance, get wet when it rains, and have a good time doing all this. The only criteria I have with my three bikes is that when I turn the key to on and push the start button, they start and I enjoy the ride.

Cheers
 

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The bike you already own is cheaper than anything you are likely to buy.

I'd have to say for a round town bike you do NOT want more power. Decide what you'll actually do with the bike, if the answer is everything, may as well keep the 1000.

As for my bad choices, I had a high k's DL650 with around 125,000k's on it and decided I wanted a better bike for touring - mainly on the bad secondary roads around here. My 60th bday coming up probably helped impair my decision making enough there. The lightest bike I could find that was better than my 650 for THAT use was the DL1000 so I picked one up second hand. I was going to flick the 650 but it's so much better around town and so grief free that it's stayed and does the commute. I wouldn't have brought a bike for that, the 1000 can do it, but the 650 is $0 in value, much easier to ride in traffic and pretty much pays for it's insurance and registration in saved fuel. I'm not saying I regret buying the 1000, but I paid quite a lot just for more comfort on the return legs of those long rides.
Are you saying you have a 650 & 1000? Owning two will cost more than only one of either flavor.
 
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