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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I got a new-to-me 2005 Weestrom 650 about three weeks ago. I decided that the Wee would be perfect to do some back road exploring here on beautiful Vancouver Island. I intended to use the Wee as an "Adventure Touring" platform, all be it for shorter adventures, closer to home, on some of the many logging roads and gravel back roads that cover "Fantasy Island".

The Wee came to me all farkled up as a "Dual Sport", but it had only one small scratch on a side tank protector bar, and no marks at all on the skid plate. So it hadn't seen any "serious" off road / dual sporting yet.

Since then, I've put about 2000 Kms on the Wee, including a very enjoyable tour through the Washington Cascades, hauling all our camping gear [ 50 lbs ], and chasing after a 600 Bandit and a 600 VFR. The Wee did just fine on the ups and downs, and the twisties and sweepers on that trip, often exceeding the speed limits posted, although I found myself in 5th gear about 80% of the time, with 6th used about 10% and 4th used the last 10%.

Which prompted me to swap in a new 14T front sprocket. YEP, the 14 T front sprocket suits my style of riding much better, with more acceleration and stronger roll on at highway speeds in the higher gears.

Then, I ran the Wee on a 100 Km ride with my local BMW club, chasing after all sorts of BMW bikes, up to the 1200 GS. On that tight and twisty road, the Wee did quite well, keeping up with the BMWs at speeds up to 140 KPH. Although, with me riding solo on the Wee, I was getting beat out of the corners by the BMW R1200RT in front of me ... which was being ridden TWO UP.

So the Wee ain't quite in the BMW 1200 class!!
But I didn't embarrass myself too much.
And I had just as much fun as any one else,
and I did it on the least expensive bike in the group.

So, the Wee has proven itself to me as an genuinely capable "Adventure Touring" bike on the highway.

But, to see for myself if the Wee qualifies as a genuine "DUAL SPORT", I needed to investigate the abilities of the Wee in the dirt. So I signed up for an all day Enduro ride. The course was "challenging", with a few 2’ deep water holes, a 2 ½ Km washed out / rock infested very Very VERY steep downhill section, lots of loose “rocks” and blasted shale, some Woop-dee-doos, a bit of highway, some gravel, some dirt, some single track, some “washed out” abandoned logging road sections, and a bit of “horse trail.” Nothing a REAL Enduro rider on a REAL Enduro bike couldn’t handle.

During my short visit to "The dark side aka Enduro Riding", I discovered the limitations of a Wee ridden in serious stuff ... ridden by a 260 lb rider, wearing a full hydration pack, with a top box loaded with 20 lbs of gear. It turns out that THE 4" OF GROUND CLEARANCE UNDER A MOTECH SKID PLATE IS DEFINITELY NOT ENOUGH FOR SERIOUS OFF ROADING!!

I went slow over the bad stuff, and only bottomed the front suspension a few times. But I bottomed the skid plate several times, and eventually that expensive Motech skid plate gave up.




So I have MY answer.

For me, the Wee has proven itself as a low cost and entirely credible "Adventure Touring" bike, suitable for hauling me and my camping gear down [ and up ] any sane and sensible roads that I might want to explore here on Fantasy Island.

As for the single tracks, horse trails, totally washed out decommissioned logging roads, rock infested stream beds, woopdeedoos, etc, I'll leave them for the smaller, taller, more nimble bikes.

This old man is NOT going to fall of any more motorcycles if he can help it, and is going to enjoy growing old gracefully, riding along off into the sunset on his Weestrom.
[;{)
LAZ 1
 

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On my 04 Wee I chased down a 1200RT and he finally pulled over to let me by in the real tight stuff. Once the road opened up he easily passed me although I was doing closer to the ton.
Lots of pictures on this site show Wee riders doing all sorts of things in the dirt and mud I have no intentions of emulating!
It's good bike and should be enjoyed for its merits and not compared to much of anything. Honestly I like it better than my 800ST for highway and back road stuff.
 

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... just this past weekend, I took the bike up to Mt. Cheam in Chilliwack, BC which was an amazing trek for anyone interested.

It was my first time up there, so I was just blown away just how beautiful everything is up there. Steep roads, narrow twists, loose rocks, mud and water bars the entire way up. It's a really slow drive on any vehicle and you DO need a skid plate or you will ding your belly. The road is only accessible by truck and was an old service road which WAS maintained until a few years back. The bike had a tonne of power in every situation which was handy because there were times where you truly needed every ounce. The water bars were the most of my worries because they were deep, steep and full of big rocks, so I had to slow down, but make sure I have to momentum to get out so I never lost traction on those rocks.

I felt the drive up was just slightly under what the 650 is fully capable of - in my opinion. I am a new rider to the vstrom and perhaps I was being to modest however, its a jack of all trades in my books. Though, there were times that I could have gone for something half the size in really loose rocks.
 

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Which prompted me to swap in a new 14T front sprocket. YEP, the 14 T front sprocket suits my style of riding much better, with more acceleration and stronger roll on at highway speeds in the higher gears.






So I have MY answer.



As for the single tracks, horse trails, totally washed out decommissioned logging roads, rock infested stream beds, woopdeedoos, etc, I'll leave them for the smaller, taller, more nimble bikes.


[;{)
LAZ 1

Yes for the 14 tooth and yes for the no single track.
 

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In my opinion, that looks like a poorly designed skidplate. Are those rivets or bolts on the seems? Neither of which is very strong. Was probably designed to keep gravel from dinging off the oil filter and not for direct hits... I have a much more substantial plate on my Wee and on my KLR. In fact my riding buddies call them the "cow catchers"! :thumbup: YMMV
 

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Cycle World article

This month's issue of Cycle World magazine has an article about the new, redesigned 2012 V-Strom 650. They mention that Suzuki's market research indicated that 97% of V-Stroms never leave the pavement. Thus, the improvements to the new model are aimed at making in a better pavement motorcycle. It doesn't appear to be any less of a dirt road adventure motorcycle than previous v-strom models, but it also isn't in the dirt/adventure class of the Triumph Tiger 800 XC or the BMW 800GS. It's still a better bike for dirt roads than a big cruiser or crotch rocket.

I've read articles and books about people putting knobbies on a Gold Wing and riding around the world, or Riding Alaska on a Harley Road King. It's up to the individual. The V-Strom is a great bike for what it is. A true dirt bike, it's not.
 

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That's silly

In reality and espescially other countries MOST ROADS are not paved.

If you told me very few go on real single track trails maybe I would believe him. Maybe its like a political poll where all subscribers live in New York City
 

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It's still a better bike for dirt roads than a big cruiser or crotch rocket. The V-Strom is a great bike for what it is. A true dirt bike, it's not.
This is the main reason I bought mine. But I was pleasantly surprised how capable it is on road. My "crotch-rocket-ish" sport-tourer is now for sale. And a true dirt rider I am not. But that could change too.
 

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If not for the massive bulk, spindly handlebars, lousy suspension, meager ground clearance and lots of breakable pricey plastic bits, it would be a great trail bike.
 

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If not for the massive bulk, spindly handlebars, lousy suspension, meager ground clearance and lots of breakable pricey plastic bits, it would be a great trail bike.
Well said Norm.......
 

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I had the same problem with my SW-Motech plate. I broke all the rivets on one side after sliding into a deep rut at high speed. It is an easy fix however. I just hammered in some new rivets, and it is as good as new... until that is I smash the hell out of it again. I ride a lot of roads with deep ruts and washouts, and the wee is just not up to the task. I see a Triumph Tiger800XC or KTM990 in my future.
 

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I had the same problem with my SW-Motech plate. I broke all the rivets on one side after sliding into a deep rut at high speed. It is an easy fix however. I just hammered in some new rivets, and it is as good as new... until that is I smash the hell out of it again. I ride a lot of roads with deep ruts and washouts, and the wee is just not up to the task. I see a Triumph Tiger800XC or KTM990 in my future.
You already have an XR650r........you don't need anything else for the road conditions you like to ride on.:fineprint:
 

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You already have an XR650r........you don't need anything else for the road conditions you like to ride on.:fineprint:
There... I changed my signature. I only have a wee now. The others are previous rides, but they are all missed, especially the CR500!
 

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How to make it more off road?

So my fellow strom troopers ....

witch mods should be done to make it more off road capable?

tyres
Front fork (spring change or a completely new fork?)
handlebars
rear shock
hand-guards
cut weight (how?)

because I am not changing my wee !!!

:thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
The point of diminishing returns on a Wee?

So my fellow strom troopers ....

witch mods should be done to make it more off road capable?

tyres - YEP!! # 1 improvement option
get a GOOD skid plate ...
welded, heavy duty, not riveted like the SW Motech light duty type
get some GOOD side bars ... ones that go up to over the sides of the tank

[/COLOR][/I][/B]

Front fork (spring change or a completely new fork?)
handlebars
rear shock
hand-guards - Bark Busters take the falls at the handlebar ends nicely
cut weight (how?)

because I am not changing my wee !!!

:thumbup:
as for the suspension mods,
it is probably best to accept the limitations of a suspension system that has only 6" of travel, and a ground clearance of only 4", and learn to ride within these limitations as in VERY SLOWLY!!! Otherwise, upgrades can get VERY expensive very quickly.
Also known as the old cliche,
"Speed costs money,
how fast can you afford to go?"
 

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So my fellow strom troopers ....

witch mods should be done to make it more off road capable?

tyres
Front fork (spring change or a completely new fork?)
handlebars
rear shock
hand-guards
cut weight (how?)

because I am not changing my wee !!!

:thumbup:
I would add a fork brace to that list too. It will improve things on road and off. With the right tires, the bike will handle most things fairly well, especially if you take it easy. But it also depends on your off-road experience ( mine is quite limited, consequently so is my speed off-road). If you are used to the sensation of a bike sliding and squirming around, then no big deal. The problem is, with that much bulk, when things go wrong, they can go wrong very quickly and the extra weight makes it harder to recover.
So smoothness counts, and remember your tires are not magic, they their limits too. Of course there's only one way to find what those limits are.
When in doubt, gas it!:mod2_scooter:
 

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Yup, this is an Adventure Bike and not a dirt bike. I consider my Wee the pickup truck of motorcycles. I wouldn't take my truck on a single track either. :beatnik:
 

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I don't know guys. My bike seems to handle HARD single tracks just fine. It's the really loose shit, especially deep sand or muddy sections that find my bike napping once in a while. Big rocks suck too.
 

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Checkout the skidplates made by Narcosis Junky on here and ADV rider. The shit is indestructible.
 
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