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Today I wen't to the bmw dealer and asked for a test drive of a BMW F850GS, after seeing and reading endless reviews I was convinced it would only take a test ride to convince me to trade the vstrom for the 850, but ... no, not really

They had a demo F850GS adventure with low suspension which is the standard suspension, not the fancy electronic auto adjusting to riding conditions, I was allowed to borrow it for a whole 1 hr and only in the city

My impressions from the short riding time are mixed when comparing it with the 650 vstrom xt
  • The starting has to be pressed until the engine starts , the vstrom auto start is very convenient
  • There is no idle compensation although the throttle was easy to modulate adding just a few more rpm, I did stall the engine starting on an incline
  • The torque below 4000rpm feels stronger on the vstrom , riding slow has to be on the right gear or the 850 engine will have odd vibrations
  • Front break feels similar to the vstrom , at least at low speeds , probably the fastest I went was 70 kmh
  • Rear brake is far more powerful on the bmw, on the vstrom I can never feel it being useful without the ABS kicking in
  • Very slow riding at 5kmh or slower is very stable on the bmw, more so than on the vstrom
  • Imperfections on the pavement seem to affect the steering very little - ie : tar snakes
  • Shifting is very smooth, quite enjoyable, I guess the slipping clutch helps a lot on this
  • Gearbox shifting is much less noisy on the bmw - the vstrom can make loud clunk noises
  • The low suspension made the 850 a bit less tall than the vstrom , I would have liked to try one with the regular height suspension
  • I could not really judge the turning on the 850, it felt a bit different but could not tell if better in anyway than the vstrom
  • Above 5000rpm the 850 is certainly faster, but I do not use that range very often
  • the engine on the 850 feels smoother, I guess at highway speeds it would feel smoother as the vstrom is the 5000..6000 range
  • engine sound is subjective but I dislike it less on the 850
  • the windscreen on the 850 is a joke specially compared to givi airflow on my vstrom
  • I really do not care much for the TFT screen , it is easy to read, I'll may be concern about durability
  • I did like the keyless start
  • riding position is awfully similar between both bikes
  • Now ... suspension... that is certainly better on the 850, I was intentionally looking for rough pavement and the bike feels always in control with no odd vibrations, passing speed bumps intentionally at higher speed felt quite ok, once I was leaving the suspension difference was immediately obvious with the ride on the vstrom being harsher and less in control

    so ... just to improve suspension, is it worth the $5K dollars I would have to spend to get a 850 ?
    Can aftermarket suspension help the vstrom get much closer to the riding quality I felt on the 850
 

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Of course spending the money on proper suspension upgrades will make your Strom even better, but life is too short if you'd rather have another bike in the garage. ;)
 

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I rode a 2012 DL650 for 6 years. No suspension upgrades but numerous accessories - Russell seat, aux. lights, Madstad screen, peg lowering kit, plus a few other things. It was one of the favorite bikes I've owned and I've been riding since 1966. Recently I bought an F850GS with premium package but not ADV and not lowered. In a nutshell, it has everything I always wished the vstrom had: better suspension, better brakes, more power, superior fit and finish. It would be considerably better than the vstrom offroad too, but I'll be staying on pavement. The TFT and integrated nav aren't really necessary but are nice to have. The stock screen is as bad or worse than the stock DL650 screen so I put a Madstad on it which looks OEM on the bike and completely solves wind noise and buffeting. The size and weight of the non-ADV 850GS is close to same as the DL650. Both take 87 octane gas and the mileage is similar. Range on the vstrom is a bit longer, depending on speed. Yes, it's a fair amount more expensive than a weestrom, but it's a great bike. The value of the DL650 can't be beat, but I'm enjoying the upgrade.
 

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The only thing upgrading the DL's suspension will do is make it a better DL suspension.
PerazziMx14 has it right. I love my strom and I feel it does exactly what it was designed to do. All the mods and farkles available won't change that.

is it worth the $5K dollars I would have to spend to get a 850 ?
You're asking a qualitative financial question and my situation is probably different than yours, That said, the question I'd be asking myself is, "Am I going to enjoy that 5k suspension more than ANY other thing I could spend that money on?" Good luck with your decision. You'll have fun either way, I'm sure.
 

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Won't be a DL suspension if it's upgraded, was that a dig on V-Stroms in general since you no longer own one?
What will it be then?

You take my comment however you like but the simply fact is upgrading the DL suspension will make it a DL with better/upgraded suspension! Its not going to magically turn it into another brand.
 

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With the price range that you’re considering...have you given any thought to the Multistrada 950?

There were a couple things I didn’t like about the Multistrada (shifter wasn’t smooth...but it only had 30 miles and supposedly breaks in) and the seating position was too cramped for me, but all around...it was an awesome machine. The engine sounded amazing and it was the best balanced motorcycle that I’ve ever ridden.
 

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What will it be then?

You take my comment however you like but the simply fact is upgrading the DL suspension will make it a DL with better/upgraded suspension! Its not going to magically turn it into another brand.
Yep.

When I had a KLR similar questions would come up. People would talk about what type of mods to do to have more power, better brakes, suspension, etc. Yea you can make the bike better but improving one aspect just highlights the deficiencies in other areas, i.e. More power means a need for better brakes.

Suspension upgrades usually are the best use of your money if you can appreciate the better ride quality. In the end though you can't change the basic character of the bike. Cheaper to spend more money up front and get a bike setup like you want.
 

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Yep.

When I had a KLR similar questions would come up. People would talk about what type of mods to do to have more power, better brakes, suspension, etc. Yea you can make the bike better but improving one aspect just highlights the deficiencies in other areas, i.e. More power means a need for better brakes.

Suspension upgrades usually are the best use of your money if you can appreciate the better ride quality. In the end though you can't change the basic character of the bike. Cheaper to spend more money up front and get a bike setup like you want.
This is on of the reasons I moved on from the DL. I had the bikes ergo's set up and next was suspension. Then The more I tough about it spending around $2,000 on a custom rear shock, springs and doing all I could to the damper rods forks just didn't makes sense for me.
 

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All I know is that installing proper weighted springs in the front forks for me "and many others" did wonders, so eventually going with a proper rear shock valved and sprung for me will make things even better. Upgrading a suspension for the rider is a helluva lot cheaper than a new bike, especially when an owner is quite satisfied overall with their bike otherwise. My buddy has an 11 1200GS and has spent "a fortune" on custom suspension, so obviously you don't always get better suspension on many motorcycles by simply buying another. ;) The Stroms are overall inexpensive motorcycles in this segment, and where price cuts are typically made is in........suspension. Rode my buddy's top of the line Ducati Multistrada with OEM Ohlins suspension, sure was nice........sure was expensive. LOL
 

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What will it be then?

You take my comment however you like but the simply fact is upgrading the DL suspension will make it a DL with better/upgraded suspension! Its not going to magically turn it into another brand.
I'm not really sure what you are trying to get at? Upgrading the rear shock to the Tractive made a massive improvement. I wasn't expecting it to turn it into a BMW, I'd be pretty upset if it did. It hasn't hurt the reliability at all!
 

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I'm not really sure what you are trying to get at? Upgrading the rear shock to the Tractive made a massive improvement. I wasn't expecting it to turn it into a BMW, I'd be pretty upset if it did. It hasn't hurt the reliability at all!
What I get out of his comment is that if you like what you’ve got at the moment, but would like to make some improvements....it’s not a bad idea. However, if you’ve mentally moved on and are leaning towards getting another bike...dropping a grand or more on suspension upgrades is not going to make your bike something it’s not (ex. Bike‘x’ that someone is currently wanting).

I agree with that way of thinking. “Farkles” to improve a bike or make up for minor (perceived) deficiencies are one thing. Dumping thousands into a bike expecting it to be something it’s not (ex. Performance mods to a DL1000 attempting to make it a Multistrada 1260 competitor) are something else.
 

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All I know is that installing proper weighted springs in the front forks for me "and many others" did wonders, so eventually going with a proper rear shock valved and sprung for me will make things even better. Upgrading a suspension for the rider is a helluva lot cheaper than a new bike, especially when an owner is quite satisfied overall with their bike otherwise. My buddy has an 11 1200GS and has spent "a fortune" on custom suspension, so obviously you don't always get better suspension on many motorcycles by simply buying another. ;) The Stroms are overall inexpensive motorcycles in this segment, and where price cuts are typically made is in........suspension. Rode my buddy's top of the line Ducati Multistrada with OEM Ohlins suspension, sure was nice........sure was expensive. LOL
Where did I say anything to the contrary?

For me putting $150 worth of springs in the front was waste of time and money. I been down that road on other bikes with similar fork technology. So to do it up as right as possible I was looking as sending about $2,000 and that made no sense on a $3,500 bike.

2015 I bought my 2012 DL for $5,000 then put over $1,500 into it and if I was to do the suspension would have been another $1,500 to $2,000.

In 2017 I sold the DL for $3,500 and bought a 2006 R1200GS in like new condition with 11,374 miles on t for $7,000. It had more power, better suspension, better brakes, better handling and as it turns out at least $1500 cheaper than what I' have invested in the DL had I gone forward with the suspension upgrades..

Since then I bought 2 additional well farkled R1200GS's a 2005 & 2007 both for money that would make you wonder how much you overspent on your used DL.

The world of good used bikes start to open up once you get in the $4,000 to $5,000 range.
 

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Where did I say anything to the contrary?

For me putting $150 worth of springs in the front was waste of time and money. I been down that road on other bikes with similar fork technology. So to do it up as right as possible I was looking as sending about $2,000 and that made no sense on a $3,500 bike.

2015 I bought my 2012 DL for $5,000 then put over $1,500 into it and if I was to do the suspension would have been another $1,500 to $2,000.

In 2017 I sold the DL for $3,500 and bought a 2006 R1200GS in like new condition with 11,374 miles on t for $7,000. It had more power, better suspension, better brakes, better handling and as it turns out at least $1500 cheaper than what I' have invested in the DL had I gone forward with the suspension upgrades..

Since then I bought 2 additional well farkled R1200GS's a 2005 & 2007 both for money that would make you wonder how much you overspent on your used DL.

The world of good used bikes start to open up once you get in the $4,000 to $5,000 range.
I'm not sure why you feel the need to come on here and constantly bash the V-Strom, why don't you just go to a BMW forum and stay there?

You can keep your 15 year old GS's. I've road them, my 2018 V-Strom 1000 has all the power I need, better suspension, better brakes, better handling and as it turns out way cheaper for a new one then a BMW, about half the price actually. I wouldn't trade my strom for all 3 of your unreliable German pieces of shit.
 

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For many owners it's worth spending the coin on a new bike or the bike they have in order to make it better for them, what's the difference in buying an old bike on the cheap, yet you end up spending many times more than you bought it for in terms of getting it running or re-finished? Yes Stroms are cheaper bikes than some of the direct competition, however the new 1050 easily competes with the big boys now IMHO, where the 650 will unlikely sadly ever mirror the 1050 in some regards. PLENTY of BMW and KTM owners upgrade their stock suspension, why would they ever do such a thing since they are reportedly so good right out of the box? My buddy's 18 1200GS has a better suspension than his 14 did, but he's a lightweight and could never come close to pushing the suspension to it's limits. My buddy Scott has a new KTM 790R with great suspension as you would imagine, and yeah it's heads over tails better than his 2012 650 Strom was, but he NEVER did a single upgrade to his suspension so he was clueless as to how much better it could've been.

Again......if an owner likes their current bike enough to spend coin on their suspension upgrades regardless of price paid for their new or used bike, I don't see how that is a waste of money at all. Tickled to death that many here have found a better bike for them than a Strom, yet many who've done such have also come back to the cheap ole Stroms. ;)
 

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Where did I say anything to the contrary?
I'm not sure why you feel the need to come on here and constantly bash the V-Strom, why don't you just go to a BMW forum and stay there?

You can keep your 15 year old GS's. I've road them, my 2018 V-Strom 1000 has all the power I need, better suspension, better brakes, better handling and as it turns out way cheaper for a new one then a BMW, about half the price actually. I wouldn't trade my strom for all 3 of your unreliable German pieces of shit.
Please feel free to point out where the DL was bashed.

Having had a DL you wouldn't have to worry I wouldn't take your DL as trade for any of my "unreliable German pieces of shit".
 
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