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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone! I am a new guy on this forum and thought it would be a good time to throw up a post on what I was considering to get some feedback from all you guys that have experience with V-Strom.

First a little about myself….. I am 38 years old and been riding bikes, both dirt and street, since I was about 7 years old. Not sure how many bikes I have had over the years but it has been more than a few! A handful of years back I had no bike in my life for a few years due to some challenging family changes. A couple of years ago I picked up an older Buell XB9R and really enjoyed having a bike again. I loved the V Twin grunt too but due to comfort issues, I sold the Buell. After that I picked up a sweet 06’ VFR800 that I am still riding and I really enjoy the bike a lot but I am still finding myself having some comfort issues, (which I know most can be cured with money), and I am finding a growing urge to want an adventure bike!

I have ridden and owned plenty of big motored bikes and I always find them fun but also have no real need for huge power so that is where I am really considering the 650 V-Strom to be a good contender.

One little side note about myself is about 4-5 years ago, I blew my lower back out pretty bad and it still bothers me some but overall, not that bad anymore. Guess that is one reason why the sportier bikes don’t feel all that great to me anymore. That and hand/wrist pain. I still really enjoy anything that I sit on that reminds me of a dirt bike.

How I ride now…. Well let’s just say I do enjoy a spirited pace on back roads that I know well but I would say that more than 80% of my riding is at or only slightly above the speed limit. I do find myself wanting to run every dirt road that I find now too. This past month, my wonderful girlfriend and I spent 4 days on the VFR in the NC Mountains and I think the most fun area that we rode was this long un-paved back road that we found. Saw some cool stuff on that one and had a blast. I can promise you though, on a bike like the little V-Strom and knowing myself, I will find the off road limits of the V sooner rather than later. Most of my riding is back roads around my home, commuting to work when the weather permits and once or twice a year, trying to have a long weekend ride somewhere. That ride will almost always include my girlfriend too and related luggage. One thing she likes to do is bring some of her camera equipment, (she is a photographer), and shoot pictures. I have to have a bike that works well for a passenger too because my girlfriend absolutely loves to ride with me! She loves the turns too and I don’t want to lose that for either of us.

So what I am considering is possibly selling my VFR and putting that cash towards an adventure bike. Both the 650 and the new bigger 14’ V-Strom are on the list of possibilities, but the bigger bike is lower on the list due to price of the bike. I glanced at the bigger V and sat on it too. I do have to say that I really like it. I have never ridden a 650 but I have also only sat on a 650 and that was about a year ago.

So lets just say I go after a new bike for the moment…..

I really think the 650 would probably due me okay as far as motor goes because even though I really like the idea of a big motor, I know I don’t need it. My VFR has plenty for the way I ride now. Most of the time I don’t even get it up high enough in the RPM’s to even have the V-Tec transition hit. But will the 650 have enough guts to carry two people and gear? Looking for honest opinions on that one. I am only about 5’-7” and about 165 pounds. My girlfriend is about 5’-2” and only about 115 pounds on a heavy day so we are not big.

Luggage options….

Buy the base bike or get the Adventure 650 with the factory luggage? I don’t need hard luggage for most of my riding but I think if I had a bike with hard bags, they would get used a lot more than I think and would probably stay on the bike all the time. I have some soft bags now that get used on the VFR and they could also be used on the 650 I think. But I would prefer to have good lockable hard cases.

In other words, would I be cheaper and or better to buy the base bike, then a little later buy aftermarket hard luggage and a good lower skid plate for the motor or just spend the extra few bucks at the time of purchase and get it all in the adventure bike at one time?

As far as mods that I would do to the bike other than some luggage options….
Certainly a good lower skid plate! 12V plug and a little set up for GPS. Other than that, I don’t think I would really need much else.

I am not very concerned about reliability because I know the bikes are pretty much bullet proof. I am concerned about maybe getting bored on it though. I have had heard a few say that they got bored with the little 650 V even though it was a great bike, they just did not have much fun on it. But in my case, I think the adventure side of it may keep me entertained.

One thing I would hate is to sell my VFR and then later regret it. I know a lot of VFR owners have regretted selling but my funds do not allow me to have more than one bike at a time in my garage.
 

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I have had 15 or so bikes, sport and ADV types. Just purchased a 2012 650 Vstrom and quite like it, BUT had a GS 1150 and it would run circles around the Glee, just cannot afford the maintenance problems and lack of dealers when compared to the great reliability and service of Suzuki. Still thinkin of a 1000 for 2 up travel, I also must clarify this with the fact that I am 6'3" 240 lbs.
 

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If you can, try to get a ride on a wee before you make the switch and decide from there.

I went from a 5th gen VFR to the wee and at first, I wondered where the brakes and power went. But I got used to the wee very quickly, and it's my favorite of all the bikes that I've had. It's a lot more comfortable for long rides than the VFR, has enough power, is easier to ride around the city, and I can park it without fear of the plastics getting smashed up by a driver that isn't paying attention.

I would say that two up, it isn't the best of bikes, but it will do. The 1000 would be a better option, but then you're looking at added weight. Occasionally, I do two up rides with my wife and have never found it to not have enough power.

Another thing to consider is the supporting forum. VFRD was great, and you'll find that the folks here also have a lot of knowledge and are very kind and eager to offer advice. For me, that plays into the decision of what bike I get.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If you can, try to get a ride on a wee before you make the switch and decide from there.

I went from a 5th gen VFR to the wee and at first, I wondered where the brakes and power went. But I got used to the wee very quickly, and it's my favorite of all the bikes that I've had. It's a lot more comfortable for long rides than the VFR, has enough power, is easier to ride around the city, and I can park it without fear of the plastics getting smashed up by a driver that isn't paying attention.

I would say that two up, it isn't the best of bikes, but it will do. The 1000 would be a better option, but then you're looking at added weight. Occasionally, I do two up rides with my wife and have never found it to not have enough power.

Another thing to consider is the supporting forum. VFRD was great, and you'll find that the folks here also have a lot of knowledge and are very kind and eager to offer advice. For me, that plays into the decision of what bike I get.
Its cool to hear from someone that has spent time on the same type of bike as I have. That gives me a good comparison in a way hearing from someone that has ridden the same type of machine.

It would be great to get a chance to ride one before even considering selling my VFR but unfortunately, I do not know anyone that has one. Right now I am in the "Thinking Mode" of what I want to do. Doing homework first, asking questions and then going to make a choice.

And yes, I do have a tendency to overthink !
 

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Discussion Starter #6
From what you mentioned about two up riding, are you comparing that to the VFR ?

My girlfriend actually thinks the VFR works very well for her on the back and she really has no complaints about it at all. I would think the VFR and the 650 would sit about the same except that the 650 looks to have a much broader seat for the passenger.
 

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I'm lucky enough to own a Wee and a Vee, here is my condensed opinion on where each shine.

Vee
Open road at 110kmph+
Two up
Panniers/cargo
Acceleration/passing (the goofy grin factor)
Engine braking


Wee
Oh so smooth
Nimble
Economical
One up, open road
Engine feels more comfortable at lower revs
Seating comfort

After market modifications

• Givi screen - to eliminate wind buffeting
• 12 volt accessory socket - to run & charge - GPS, camera, phone, intercom & music etc
• Lowering link - to make mounting easier for the “vertically challenged” owners
• Heated grips - for those cold Central Otago winter mornings
• Scott automatic oiler - to ensure the chain receives consistent lubrication
• Complete 3 pack luggage system – for the overnight, weekend & week long trips
• Skid plate - for protecting the oil filter
• Engine protection bars – just in case I ever drop it!
• Centre stand – makes cleaning and servicing easier
 

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Another one with similar expirience here. From few cruisers, then sport- touring bikes (Kawa Z750 and 3x VFR800 VTEC). Liked the power and speed but how often I fully used it? For longer trips VFR was uncomfortable (even with Heli bars my wrists were killing me). One day I switched the bike for my buddy's Wee. Next day I was looking for one. Since 1000 had a similar power to VFR and I was planning longer trips (also 2 up) I got Vee shortly after. My wife didn't ride with me, OD was useless but I still got another one year laiter even I didn't like it to much after VFR. Then again I took my buddy's 650 for the whole day. 1 week later I got the Wee. Now I'm on my 4th Wee and never looked back. With your waight 2up shouldn't be a problem specially that looks like you're not planning to much hwy, high speed riding. Off road in my opinion it behaves better then 1000. But you should test ride one before you put the money on the table. Since you probably had an ABS on VFR you should look for one with it. Regarding the luggage? It doesn't really matter. There is a lot of stuff for this bike, new or used. (Not like VFR). You can always add it afterwords.
 

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I have owned a VFR800 and am on my second Wee. The VFR was fun, but killed my wrists, so it had to go. The Wee won't have power factor to roll your eyeballs back when you whack the throttle, but the thing is so darned fun to ride that you just don't think about it. It's light, fun-handling and easy to manage. As far as 2-up riding goes, from your descriptions, she should be just fine on the Wee. But just remember, you really can't compare the two bikes--apples and oranges.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That's one of my biggest problems with the VFR, wrist and hand pain. Even when I really concentrate on proper posture and try to take all weight off of my hands, I still get it.

I had found a site that you can put in your model bike and your height and it will show you on that bike and give you all the specs on how you sit on that particular machine. You can even add a passenger to it. Its pretty cool to punch in the VFR, the 650 and the bigger V too and look at all three at the same time. There actually looks to be more leg room for the passenger on the 650.

I don't do much interstate at all. I actually try to stay off of it most of the time so the I think the smaller bike would probably do me just fine. But I just like the bigger bike from what I have seen and sat on it. I need to go look at the 650 again in person and sit on them. Maybe try and find one that I can ride, I know that is the best thing I can do.

Until that happens, I will be here reading and looking! Thanks for the comparisons to the VFR. I know the bikes are completely different but it does me good to hear the reasons as to why the VFR riders like the 650 more than the VFR.
 

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For what it's worth, my wife likes riding pillion on the strom much more than the VFR.

And yes, as others have mentioned, it's way more comfortable for the long rides. I rode NYC to Madison on both, and the Strom was a lot more comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Rode by the closest Suzuki dealer to me today at lunch time. They happen to have one 650 V sitting on the floor so it gave me a chance to look at one in person again and sit on it. I do like the way the bike sits. It just reminds me of my dirt biking days a lot, guess that's one main reason why I like sitting on anything with an upright seating position and real handlebars.

One thing I have to be honest about, I am not real big on the looks of the bike but then again I don't think most adventure bikes are all that pretty! :mrgreen: But if she is fun, comfortable, can run me down roads that are not paved and works well for two, then she might just be the ticket!

I have thought about other bikes too like the BMW GS800 and the Tiger and some of the bigger Adventure machines like the Yamaha but for the cost of those, it would be hard to beat the new Bigger V-Strom. But when I start thinking of the price tags of those, I go back to thinking about the 650 V really fast!! It just seems out of the more mid sized Adventure style bikes, it is hard to beat. Seems to be a good road bike that will still run non-paved roads with no problems.

You guys have thoughts on other machines that I have not mentioned?
 

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You won't get a strom for the looks, that's for sure.

I looked at the Tiger, but after considering my actual riding and the cost of ownership (purchase and service), the Strom was my choice. Perhaps you should look at the Versys also? Not sure if that's much of an adventure machine, but guys who have them seem to like them.
 

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That's one of my biggest problems with the VFR, wrist and hand pain. Even when I really concentrate on proper posture and try to take all weight off of my hands, I still get it.

I had found a site that you can put in your model bike and your height and it will show you on that bike and give you all the specs on how you sit on that particular machine. You can even add a passenger to it. Its pretty cool to punch in the VFR, the 650 and the bigger V too and look at all three at the same time. There actually looks to be more leg room for the passenger on the 650.

I don't do much interstate at all. I actually try to stay off of it most of the time so the I think the smaller bike would probably do me just fine. But I just like the bigger bike from what I have seen and sat on it. I need to go look at the 650 again in person and sit on them. Maybe try and find one that I can ride, I know that is the best thing I can do.

Until that happens, I will be here reading and looking! Thanks for the comparisons to the VFR. I know the bikes are completely different but it does me good to hear the reasons as to why the VFR riders like the 650 more than the VFR.
What is the name of that site you mentioned for comparing bike models and size of rider? I Am consider a Wee at this point also and need all the info I can find.
 

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My wife has been willing to ride pillion with me on only two of the many motorcycles that we have owned over the years -- a Goldwing 1500 and the Wee. We have never clacked helmets on either. That should tell you something.

As for power the Wee is perfectly adequate for 2-up touring. You won't do any canyon-carving or drag racing with a passenger aboard anyway. FWIW, I am about 200# and the wife 115 or so.

What a lot of people fail to understand when they think of the "little" 650cc V-Strom is that the entire class of "adventure tourers" consists of BIG bikes. Some are big and HEAVY (the Yamaha Tenere is almost 600 lbs, the BMW GS is no ballerina) but they are ALL big dimensionally which makes them very comfortable for all-day touring.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That site for the ergonomics is really cool! You will have to check it out, I have been using it a lot to compare bikes for both me and my passenger.

I am still trying to decide what I want to do. Do I dump some cash into my current VFR to try and get the comfort level up? She is a great bike. In showroom condition, works great for my passenger and is good looking. She is also paid for!! But she does not run dirt roads well at all and I am just not sure if I can get the comfort to where I want it to be even after dropping cash on her to try things.

I know the V is not the prettiest bike but when I'm on it and riding, I cant see that much of her anyway! I also know I would be comfortable on the V and it would be more versatile than my VFR too. Lots of cool things I could make myself for it too like luggage and stuff!

My little girl and I stopped by my preferred Suzuki dealer today where I know one of the sales guys from a long time ago. He had a new 650 that he would do me a decent deal on. He would even take my VFR on trade for a decent number too if I didn't feel like trying to sell it outright, (which I know is way better to go).

He also had a new, left over 2012 V-Strom 1000 sitting there. He told me if I wanted it, he would let me have it at pretty much cost just to move it. It is certainly one to think about too.
 

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I got one of those left over 2012 dl1000 about 4 months ago.
I love how it has room for my 6'4" 250lb self, and my wife ; who is a big girl, with plenty of power to merge with 90mph traffic.
I got it for $7, 400 out the door, not incl. tax. That leaves plenty of money left over to spend on upgrades and fixing problems.
I the longer I have it, the more I like it, though I haven't got it sorted out yet, I sure as heck don't see anything for the price I like better.
 

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I found cycle-ergo.com and it is a really great site for comparing how you would fit on various bikes you might be considering or even ones you just wondered about. Since most of my riding will be done two-up with my wife, it confirmed that the Wee or the Versys would be a better choice than the smaller but much cheaper KTM Duke 390, just as many had advised me. We are based in the Philippines, so no Interstates, and tours around the islands are short compared to the USA, but with roll-on, roll-off ferries some nice tours can be had.
We have travelled around a bit, 80,000 km on motorbikes in the past six years, but two -up on a Honda XRM 125, descendent of the Honda Cubs. Nice bike but punishing on longer rides and so low in power.
The V-Strom 650 looks ideal for island roads, which can change from nice concrete to gravel around the next corner or even muddy rutted tracts. Suzuki has descent dealer network here, so parts should be available. Not too many brands have that and many big bikes are self-imported or black market.
Used Wees are few and far between, so will probably take a look at the new one next month when on an island with a dealer. The 1000cc is not sold here, so makes it easy to choose the 650 ABS, the only model sold. No bargains here, as the Wee is going for the equivalent of US$ 11,250.
 

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Vee and Wee

V-Strom is not a bike to buy for looks. It is a tool you buy to ride. It excels at being the swiss army knife of motorcycles. From a power standpoint, Vee is the best choice. The engine loves to rev, but is cranky at lower RPMs. Mine gets gas mileage in the low to mid 40s. Two up it would be the better choice. Wee has a wonderful engine, and gets gas mileage into the 50s. It is an easier engine to work with. Both bikes handle very well, are pretty stable (with fork stabilizers installed), and there are a plethora of new and used farkles available to customize the bike to your specific needs. Windscreens, seat, luggage, and crash protection are all things that can make a great difference in comfort and useability. I would not spend new bike money on either, but I am naturally cheap. There are a ton of older, low mileage Stroms out there for reasonable cost, and if you buy one in good shape, they will run forever. I also like the fact that unlike BMW or Triumph, they are inexpensive to maintain, and there are tons of places that will work on them across the country.

Ride safe...:thumbup:
Dave
 
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