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242 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just took a short post-holiday ride this morning and on my way home I noticed my speedometer had just gone over 1000 miles. In the old days, putting a thousand miles on a bike over a 6 week span would have been met with derision and disbelief..but the LD days, for me, are way over now...pleasant memories, but that's it. BTDT, but no more and I am comfortable with it.

As I sat out in my garage in my Kermit's chair; looking at the bike as she ticked off the heat I realized just how much I like this bike. What's to like someone may ask? Here are some musings of my first 'thou' with this machine.

On many forums, the DL650 V-Strom is called ugly, even fugly. Sorry, but I don't get that at all. The taper of the tank, the angle of the windscreen, the shape of the seat and yes, even the angle of the exhaust are pleasing to the eye. At least my eyes. Exposed frame and most of the engine is visible...I personally like that (I had a Burgman 650 Exec in my stable at one time along with a Honda PC800-"Pacific Coast"--cool bikes but way too much plastic).

As for the seat, even though it is much maligned, I like it and intend to keep it. It is soft enough to prevent butt burn for me yet stiff enough to allow movement, fore and aft and side to side easily. Remember I wear a Stich Roadcrafter and there is a fair amount of material covering your hindquarters).
I even like the word V-Strom embossed into the seat. The handlebars fit me just fine, no need for risers or bar backs. The mirrors work real well too and are solid and vibration free at any speed or RPM.

I've tweaked the suspension just a tad, lowering the front settings to 2 and the rear to a 3 to accommodate my weight which is just a hair over 200. (A fork brace is on its way to my mailbox as we speak-along with a small Givi tank bag as soon as it gets off backorder status).

The OEM hand guards look nice, fit very well, were simple to mount and stave off the cool breezes hitting your hands. They also work pretty well in rain too, deflecting a lot of water OFF your hands). The adjustable brake and clutch levers just fit me right out of the box but it's nice to know they can be tweaked if you wish to do so.

The dash is pretty cool too with two trip meters, a gas consumption 'guesser' (I get better mileage by dividing the miles by the gallons pumped into the tank that what the gauge says) and ambient temperature gauge. Never had that on a bike before. Plus having the ability to brighten or soften the lighting of the dash is a nice plus.

The rear grab rails look nice and I have only used them while putting the bike up on its center stand (which was bought Day One). Another easy installation that did require a fellow rider to assist in getting the springs mounted correctly. It's OEM too...and it works great--easy on and easy off yet very stable. Makes lubing the chain just so easy.

On the back rack sits a Bestem 40 liter top case that works very well, was easily installed in about 30 minutes and has a brake light that works quite well. I also added a Bestem liner for it to keep stuff from sliding around or getting marred by the screws in the case itself. It was only 20 bucks so why not?

The riding itself.....

A bike that weighs well over a hundred pounds less than my last adventure bike, a 1995 R100 Paris Dakar but is quicker, more nimble on the tight stuff up in the North GA mountains, has fuel injection and ABS brakes and nearly the same range (the PD had a 9.5 gallon tank), I have no complaints so far.

A tall first gear, which I like, a tranny that shifts smoother than most I've ever had, an easily adjustable shift lever (I have finally found a pair of boots that fit me well, are waterproof and offer excellent protection- AlpineStars)-thus several changes were made to the shifter to fit "just right", this bike just has so much going for it.

A long history of being nearly bullet proof, this 650 engine keeps delivering. Yes, it isn't tuned like the Gladius is (never ridden a Gladius) or an older DL but from where I sit, the acceleration, the cornering and tracking, keeping the suspension settled in long sweepers by using trailing braking..this bike works. A little more diving under hard braking than I liked resulted in tweaking the forks up front. I am not ready to take it downtown to Race Tech, yet, for new valving and springs but that may come eventually. But not now.

I don't plan on saddlebags since I do not intend to stray too far from home on this bike. I like to squeeze through traffic sometimes (filtering) and saddlebags don't really allow that. The top case will allow me to take the bike to work if I wish too, giving me someplace to at least store my helmet and boots, objects the maximum security prison I work in doesn't like allowing inside. The Stich will have to be cable locked to the seat but since I'll be parking beneath Tower One no one will mess with my stuff. (Criminals are pretty stupid but not stupid enough to come into the employee parking lot to rip stuff off with a manned guard tower with lots of firepower inside-but that's another topic for another time). :eek1:

The brakes work well but not sure this bike will do a stoppie or not, but I don't intend to find out either. For my type of riding, the brakes will suffice quite well, knowing that the ABS is always on and lurking, there if you ever need it. Since I live by the theory that you get of trouble more by using the throttle than the brakes, I'll just hope the ABS computer stays in the sleep mode and is not ever fully actuated.

As for the OEM windscreen I've raised it all the way up (it came in the middle position) but didn't like the turbulence. I now have it lowered all the way and am in clean wind and that's just fine with me. I think I'll leave the windscreen stock for now.

I haven't gone off road yet but the tires the bike came with appear that they will work fine for light dirt roads yet they give me confidence on the street with the grip they give. Ill just have to see how they stack up for mileage.

So that's it for now. What's in the future with this bike? Heated grips for sure, hopefully some 'fatter' grips for my large hands. Crash bars hopefully, but after reading about all the harmonic vibrations that many riders have had to deal with I may delay this purchase. I like their looks but for my white bike, I'd have the crash bars powder coated white too...I think that would look very nice.

I am mixed about adding more lighting..I have taken this bike out on a couple of night rides on some very dark roads (heavily lined with trees so they are very cask) and the headlights, to me, work very, very well. So I think I"ll wait to add any lighting.

That's about it for mods.(Sorry, I don't use the F word- :)). Not much more to do with this bike but just out and ride it as much as possible.

I hope I run across some of you out there..that's always fun. Ride safe, y'all, and enjoy your DL650!



54 Posts
I enjoyed your take on the Vstrom, but you are preaching to the choir, which is why I suspect your post has been viewed but not replied to - welcome to the club, and I think it's safe to say we pretty much second the motion.

Ride safe,


103 Posts
Nice take!

Enjoyed the read.

I agree. I have 9,000 miles on mine now (had just over a year.) I am just getting ready to replace the stock rear tire but I did my first true offroad stint (20miles) on Switzerland Trail in Colorado today. Dropped both tires to 26psi and ran the trail at 30 mph for the majority of it. No complaints with the tires. (disclaimer- this trail is rated easy as it is an old railroad bed that had the track torn up.)

Tip: Stay away from OEM heated grips. This may appear obvious due to price, but I speak from experience. I pulled mine off in the winter b/c they didn't heat much and I didn't like the increased grip diameter.

Oh, and I totally agree about the lights. I was hellbent on getting additional lighting when I first purchased the bike, until I rode it at night. 9,000 miles later, and still happy with just stock lights.
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