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So, I'm not a brand new rider, put a few thousand miles in on a mid-sized Japanese cruiser, now want something for touring, on a small budget, looking at used V-Stroms in my area. I'm reading all the 650 vs. 1000 threads and such, so let's put that aside for now. Key question: If I'm looking at a Craigslist ad or similar for a 200X V-Strom with YY,000 miles/km on it, what specific "trouble spots" or other key factors should I be looking at?

My riding background:

  • Started riding 6 years ago at the ripe old age of 45 (I'm 51 now).
  • Put a few thousand miles on a 1994 Yamaha Virago 535, all broke down and dead now.
  • Want to get into touring, thought of moving up to something like its big-brother touring counterpart (like a V-Star 950), but then thought "I'm going to want to leave the pavement occasionally."
  • Can't afford a Super Tenere or a 1200GS.
  • Noticed there are a few used V-Stroms in the area (Vancouver BC) that might meet my budget (probably need to keep it to under C$5000, or not much more).
  • (I'm also looking at Kawasaki Concours, not that it's a great gravel lover, but it's got its own good rep and there are also some used ones in my price range here.)
  • I'm 6'1" and down to 270 lb., I know the 535 sometimes struggled with passing on freeways etc., and the not-so-skinny-herself missus might come along, so I think I'd prefer the extra power of the 1000, but let's not have that debate here, I'm reading all the other threads on that topic. :)
So I guess what I'd like to see is stuff like "Oh, if it's a 1000 between 200A and 200B, you'd want to check the flibbertigibbet, 'cause they often need replacing after ZZ,000 miles," or "Of the 650s between 200M and 200N, avoid this one particular year 'cause the QC that year sucked," or whatever. For reference, looking on Vancouver Craigslist today, I see a few 650s and 1000s between 2003 and 2009 in the $5-6k range (that's C$ where C$1.00 ~= US$0.80-ish). Suppose I could go as old as 2000 if I found some later or elsewhere, but probably wouldn't want to go any older than that, and I probably can't afford anything 2010 or newer that was in any decent shape, so 2000-2009 it is.
 

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There aren't any problem points. You want one that has had the routine maintenance done on schedule (and there are a couple of items with silly short schedules--radiator hoses and spark plugs, for example). And, as always, not crashed hard enough to bend anything critical. The 650 was introduced in 2004. The 1000 started in 2002, and got a few minor changes in 2004. Not sure about Canada, but there were no 2010 650s in the U.S., and there were a couple of years with no 1000s.

I think ABS brakes are important. I know that they were an option on the 650 beginning in 2007 in the U.S.; I don't know if Canada was the same. They became standard on the 2012 650s. They weren't on the 1000 until 2014.

If you'll be riding mainly mountain roads and not much superslab at 120+, the 650 might do OK. You can drop to a 14 tooth front sprocket from 15 and move the power band down to lower speeds. A 1000 that has been retuned with a Power Commander and has the clutch modified would be a good choice.
 

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I bought my '09 650 used with 25'000 km on it , for @ $6000.00 .
I knew nothing about bikes , and showed up at my first rally, 1000 km from home , with bald tires .:thumbdown:

I showed up at the next rally with a worn out chain and sprockets .:headbang:

So , those are two things I would check on a prospective purchase .

Also , there are a great many aftermarket trinkets we all like to put on our bikes , that make them better adapted to long and/or offroad rides ; crash bars , skidplates , handwarmers , windscreens , custom seats ,panniers , etc - if you can get a bike that already has some of those , you're ahead of the game .

See you at the next rally !

Alex .
 

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If you're, umm ... on the solid side, and planning on two-up riding a lot I'd suggest the 1000. I'm about 210 (on a good day, 230 on a bad one) and rarely take a pillion so the 650 is fine for me. I also don't tend to stay over 110Kph for expended periods or carry much luggage, so consider that as well.
As for 'things to watch out for' ... basic maintenance, not badly crashed ... just the basic stuff that's already mentioned which applies to any vehicle.
 
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