StromTrooper banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My first post on this site, maybe it'll help some fellow posters make the right choice. ps. I know many of you don't even have the option of even buying a Transalp!

I've spent the last couple of weekend testriding these three bikes, thought it might be worth a quick write-up. I currently ride an FMX (think Dominator/XR650 engine in a supermoto frame - another Europe only Honda model) and want a bike more comfort and speed.

Having tried the Versys last weekend and enjoyed the bike, but not the cramped riding position, my intention has been to take the new Transalp out for a couple of hours testride. Unfortunately the first local dealership I'd booked a testride with, couldn't get their demo bike started, so I headed off to find some who had a working one (the non-starting was supposedly because the bike had all the extras fitted and the wiring was screwed - would you buy a bike from such a dealer??).

Headed off to the next Honda dealer, but popped into my local Suzuki dealer on the way. Took a brief look at what was on offer and met a couple of blokes who had just been out for a testride on the 1000 and 650 V-stroms - both considered the 650 the better of the two. So I blagged myself a testride too. I had intended to only take it out for 20 minutes but ended up being over an hour - this bike is a LOT of fun around town. The bike feels lower and longer than Versys and has an even more addictive engine, free-revving and gutsy. Great gearbox too. I've tried a lot of bikes with great engines in the past (VFR, Fazer, GSX, VTR, ...), the SV engine is in the same league!

So off to the Honda dealer for a try of the Transalp. Initial impression very good, brilliant build quality compaired to the other two. Pleasant exhaust note, not a wild as the Versys (at high revs) or raucous as the V-strom, more of a bark. All three sound good in their own way. Gearbox pretty good, better than the Versys, but not as good as the V-strom (has Suzuki ever built a bad gearbox?). On the go the Transalp is light years better than my old TA 600, could be a completely new bike, if it didn't share so much design. Plenty of power, power delivery not quite as direct as the Versys or V-strom but good fun to ride. The mid-range is great and it'll pull from lower revs in top gear (2000 rpm would have the Suzuki stumbling a bit, whereas the Honda would just pickup from that sort of speed). The Honda is lower revving however, with a redline of only 8000rpm - to me this is less fun. The seat is pretty hard compared to V-strom but this may be better over longer distances. Versys had the least comfortable seat of the three.

The handling of all three bikes was very reassuring, the Versys and TA being quite flickable, the V-strom being more stable with precise steering, similar to a more traditional road orientated machine. The quality of ride on the Transalp was the best, the Suzuki definately has budget suspension, with lots of clatter over rougher surfaces. Couldn't really test the Versys properly because of the wet weather and the poor riding position stopped me covering the rear brake properly (I've got long legs). For me the V-strom has the best riding position, but this aspect is always VERY subjective. To me the TA's footpegs are too far forward for long distance work. However this may make it better for offroad, compared with the other two. The TA was also very easy to ride at slow speed and hid its weight well - certainly didn't feel any heavier than the other two, although on paper it's a lot heavier than the Versys.

In terms of out and out speed, not that important to me, the V-strom and Versys are both a bit faster than the Transalp and both have 6 speed boxes, so would be be better on the motorway. Both also have better fairings than the TA. I testrode the X version of the V-strom (again Europe/UK only?) with the shorter screen, which gave good protection and no helmet buffeting (something I've heard can be a problem using the standard V-strom screen).

You've probably already guessed which bike I'll probably go for. I'd put the V-strom 1st, then the Transalp and lastly the Versys. All great bikes and I'm certain others would order them differently. If I was a different shape the Versys could have come first equal with the V-strom!

Versys

Pros: Lowest Priced, whacky looks, engine note, looks great in green
Cons: Cramped riding position for long legs (for me this ruined a good bike), gearbox (okay but not great)

Transalp

Pros: Build quality, finish, limited offroad ability, good handling and it's a Honda (to me that's a positive)
Cons: Slightly feet forward riding position, poor wind protection.

Vstrom

Pros: Best engine, great power delivery and engine note. Stable handling despite budget suspension but slightly slower steering than the TA. Price is good. Best wind protection with smaller X windshield fitted. And most important - the most fun!
Cons: Budget finish and suspension, dated looks compared to the other two.

The main lesson I learnt was to always take a testride. I hadn't even really considered the V-strom and only took the testride by chance. For me it turned out to be the best of the bunch. One annoying thing was that the Honda dealer offered me the best deal but I'm unlikely to take him up on it!!
 

·
Rjsurfer
Joined
·
539 Posts
Thanks for taking the time to do the review, sounds like you are an experienced rider.

Nice to know a beginner like myself picked the right bike.

Ron W.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
I´ve just returned home after spending 6 months on the road, from Finland to Australia on a DL650A. With my girlfriend sitting on the back the whole time, and we even carried spare tyres on top of everything else, so let me assure you, it was loaded to the fullest!!

Its a 2007-bike, which has now done 50.000kms (34.000 on the trip) and didnt let us down once. In places like Iran, Pakistan, India or Indonesia there would have been very little help available for this type of bike, so I´m really happy it proved its totally bulletproof.

You can do just about anything with this bike. For serious offroad-riding there are better options, but as an allrounder (and for the money, too) it is one hell of a bike. Used to have an SV650, and the more I ride this engine, the more I like it.

It just needs a good bashplate, and stiffer fork springs wouldnt hurt, either. Unlike most touring-bikes, it offers lots of fun even on the twisty bits, when you dont have much load.

People who doubt its abilities usually have no idea what they are talking about.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,739 Posts
I´ve just returned home after spending 6 months on the road, from Finland to Australia on a DL650A. With my girlfriend sitting on the back the whole time, and we even carried spare tyres on top of everything else, so let me assure you, it was loaded to the fullest!!.
Photos and a ride report please.
Photos and a ride report please.
Photos and a ride report please.
Photos and a ride report please.
Please.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Hi, done plenty of stuff with printed magazines etc., but the net is relatively new to me.... so how do you put photos in here (and I dont have a homepage, so I dont have a URL for them)?? If its simple to do, sure I could post a few. I´ve got +5000 photos altogether!

I actually have a "blog" on a website of a Finnish bike-magazine:
w w w.moto1.fi/blog

but its only up till India at the moment, lagging behind because I needed to use my time with the laptop doing something else mostly - and it is in Finnish language, too. Now that I have more time, I might make an English version of it in about a month or so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Commuter

Great review. I'm looking for a good bike for a 30 mile commmute. The route to work is a mix of stop and go and about 15 miles of interstate. How comfortable is the 650 and 1000 at highway speeds? What are the Pros and Cons of the 650 vs. the 1000?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Great review. I'm looking for a good bike for a 30 mile commmute. The route to work is a mix of stop and go and about 15 miles of interstate. How comfortable is the 650 and 1000 at highway speeds? What are the Pros and Cons of the 650 vs. the 1000?

Thanks
Good Day,

I live 360kms from where I work. I go home every weekend. I have a 650.

I modified the bike for the distances I travel, however, none of the modifications were made because it was a 650 vs 1000: Gel Seat, GIVI screen, 12v socket, plug for heated gear (hand guards 1000 already has them).

I travel the whole way at speeds slightly higher than the traffic flow.

In my opinon, the 650 is fine for this.

Blessings,

Christopher.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
797 Posts
I commute on my 650. 30 miles interstate, 5 miles city traffic, one way. It's perfect. The 1000 was too much bike for what I wanted, both power and weight wise. If you can, ride both and see which one speaks to you. I guarantee that one will feel like exactly what you want.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
650 / 1000

The 1000 has naturally got more power and torque, plus better suspension and brakes as standard.

But its some 20 kilos heavier, and its fuel economy isnt as good as the 650 (after 2007, the 650 has even better economy, because of the new European emission standards, so far they havent updated the 1000 in the same way).

And the 650 really has a stellar engine, considering its ´only´ 650. On our long trip we had luggage like you wouldnt believe, the bike was practically overloaded, but the engine was STILL pulling all the weight with relative ease. It did not feel like I had to ride with full throttle all the time, which is remarkable. I actually thought it would be a lot worse.

1000cc version also seems to want to have the throttle body synchronization done frequently, or it wont run nice. With our 650, we could not do that after leaving Europe, and before reaching Australia (there was no service available), so at least 20.000kms in between, and it never was a problem. I just changed oil very often (it cost next to nothing in Asia, and I wasnt 100% sure of the quality of oil there) and also checked the airfilter and plugs frequently, and changed them a couple of times as well.

If I was to ride mainly on motorways at high speeds, then I would consider the 1000, or maybe there are better bikes than V-Strom for that. But for almost all other needs, I think the 650 will be the better choice for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Update on my original post.

My local dealer eventually got their Transalp demonstator working (change of plugs), so I had another testride of the Honda. Second impressions were better, this is very solid bike, nice engine but I still don't think that it's got the excitement factor of the V-strom. The Wee has a great, free-revving punchy engine, which to me is lot of more fun to ride.

So the Suzuki is still definately at the top my shopping list, but I may need another testride just to make sure ;)

Having read many reports on both the 650 and 1000 strom, the consensus seems to be that the 650 is the better of the two, better balanced and easier to ride than the 1000. I suspect the 1000 would only be much of an improvement if you were carrying lots of luggage and a pillion. Or liked a bit more top end speed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
797 Posts
Having read many reports on both the 650 and 1000 strom, the consensus seems to be that the 650 is the better of the two, better balanced and easier to ride than the 1000. I suspect the 1000 would only be much of an improvement if you were carrying lots of luggage and a pillion. Or liked a bit more top end speed.
I'm sure the 1000 riders will disagree, and probably fairly so. At the end of the day, though, the decision needs to be yours. Ride both, if you can, and see what you like :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Agree, definately try before you buy. I was just summarising most of the test reports I've read, which all seem to start in the same vain - the tester not expecting it to be as good as the older 1000, but being pleasantly surprised. Yet to see one written by a journalist, who strongly preferred the 1000. If someone spots one, let me know. I suspect both a great in their own ways, the 650 I tried was certainly a hoot, so might try the 1000 too. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
When looking for a new bike to replace my 1996 Africa Twin I looked at TA and Wee Strom, the deciding factor for me was tank range/ fuel consumption. The TA has a poor range when compared to Wee Strom a slip up by honda in my opinion.
For information my worst fuel consumption to date is around 50mpg (uk gallons) and best was 72 mpg while running in. Everyday running gives around 55mpg and typical touring (up north) gives around 62 mpg which gives a range of 270 +.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Versys V Wee

I have had my eye on the Wee for 3 years before I tested one. I tested a Versys before the Wee and found the Wee to be "a bit more refined".
A good friend bought a Versys only a few weeks after I tested it. I have had the opportunity to put many KM on each bike, even switching back and forth on the same ride. The Versys is more flickable and very easy in the corners. Seems to be peppier then the Wee but has a vibration that makes my hands numb after only a few minutes. You can feel the vibration of the Versys in the foot pegs also. The wind on the Versys is wide open and I prefer the Suzuki screen with a MADSTAD.
I think I get better milage with the Wee, my friend wont talk about milage too much. :confused:
He has also run into poblems finding the tires he wanted in the Versys size.
I find his suspension to be very stiff, could be the way he has it set up.
Any way, I prefer my Wee and he openly states he is glad he chose the Versys. I am glad we are both happy with our choise in bikes.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
257 Posts
Thanks for the fantastic review, I just sold a bike yesterday & am toying with the idea of a DL650, Versys, Buell or Breva. I've tried out a KTM Duke & a DL650 & liked the Duke better but not for the money involved. After your review I think I'll stick to the DL650. Again, thanks for taking the time to share your opinions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
I do love my strom and that 650 engine is sweet but having owned several Honda's I do miss the Honda fit and finish quality. Big red doesn't offer anything in the US to compete with the strom or versys, big mistake on Honda's part.

TM
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top