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Discussion Starter #1
First a brief introduction: I'm new to this site. I've looked on here off and on for information about this bike and gear and whatnot over the past couple years but decided to join today so that I could ask a question that's been asked hundreds of times before. :mrgreen:

I currently own a 2011 Versys. Great bike, lots of fun, totally reliable, handles great, etc, etc. Lately, however, I've found myself riding distance more and more. The Versys(Vs), equipped with a 43 tooth rear sprocket, Baldwin saddle and Givi windscreen, is good for about 400 miles per day. After that it starts getting uncomfortable and by 500 miles I'm racing to get wherever I'm going just so I can get off the damn bike. It's the seat and the lack of real estate to work with that bothers me. I can't really move around to take the pressure off of spots as they get tired. My knees will get cramped occasionally but that's been getting better. I do the majority of my riding on either U.S. Routes or interstates if I'm just trying to get somewhere or make it through the Chicago/urban sprawl.

Before I bought the Vs I strongly considered a 2012 V-strom(Glee?). But at the time I thought the tidier dimensions of the Vs would be better. Plus, a local dealer was trying really hard to unload the 2011. So the deal on the Vs was much better. Fast forward to now and they have a 2014 V-strom 650 that I can work into my budget and I am strongly considering.

So, things I need to know:

1. At 6'1", 180-ish pounds with a 32" inseam is the Glee that much more spacious than the Vs? Does anybody have experience with a Vs with lowered pegs/bar risers compared to the Glee? I'd like to try a new bike just to try a new bike but if I can make the Vs work with a couple farkles versus shelling out for a new ride I should probably do that.

2. Is it that hard to fix the buffeting problem? I know some people say "What buffeting?" or "It's a motorcycle. It's going to be windy". But I've gotten the Vs to be comfortable in anything other than a strong crosswind and would like to know if it's possible/difficult to get the Glee to the same level. (I understand that this is a very subjective thing.)

3. What farkles do I need right away? I know I'm going to need a luggage stand-off for my Nelson-Rigg bags and I'm going to want a new screen right away. I've also read good things about a front fork brace. How's the stock seat? I tend to ride fuel stop-to-fuel stop. Is that doable with the stock set-up? It can't be any worse than the stock Vs seat but is it OK for some long-ish days? (Subjective, again, I know.)

4. Anything else I need to know? Anyone experienced with making this switch? Thoughts? I'm not worried about missing the sportiness of the Vs. I don't use the chassis anywhere near it's full capabilities and I effectively neutered the engine with the 43 tooth sprocket (I miss my wheelies a bit but it's soooo much better on the slab). I do plan on some gravel and fire service roads eventually but that will be rare.

I go back to the dealer next weekend for a test ride (did not expect them to offer that, at all).

I know at the end of the day it's my choice and I have to do whatever feels right to me but I like to have as much information as possible before I make large financial decisions.
 

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Vinegarjoe
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...need to know

don't know about 2012's and later, but prior model 650's really benefit from cartridge fork emulators (per friends, there's benefit to adding aftermarket, recommended fork springs too). not sure if 2012's and post still have a problem with headlight current in right handlebar switch, if so EB headlight relay might save you some problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
As far as I know the suspension on the 2012 and up bikes is pretty well sorted out. Diving into the suspension is more than I would want to do on any bike.

That said, does anyone know how the V-strom rides compared to the Versus? The suspension on the Kawi is firm bordering on harsh. Especially with the crap roads we have in Northern Illinois after this past winter.
 

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Dont know if yours has ABS, but my 13 650 is my first with it and I would be hard pressed to have another without. I am 6'01" 190 lbs and I have plenty of room and power. Not particularly comfortable in the seat area but better than all of the sport bikes I owned.
 

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Not sure on this, but I am betting the 400 mile comfort limit is more you than the bike. You said you are getting knee cramps, but you are getting used to it. That's right; you have to build up conditioning sometimes to ride distance. And there are good days and bad days. A 400 mile day, on average, is already a good day's ride on back roads. I'd push the envelope a bit and experiment some more with farkles and try for 450 a few more times before I concluded it was machine and not man, that was limited. But it's up to you. I've noticed (it seems) some riders search endlessly for elusive bike nirvana at great expense to eliminate all discomfort, regardless of how minor. Maybe a Glee is a better platform; I don't know. But I'd be generally happy with 400 miles most days. Just a different perspective to think about.
 

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The V-strom suspension takes the bumps very well and it's adjustable.
H4 relay kit from Eastern Beaver still applies for the newer model.
Long trips are what they are, some aftermarket seats help in that regard.
There won't be a night and day difference in rides but a test ride may help you decide what's best for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Not sure on this, but I am betting the 400 mile comfort limit is more you than the bike. You said you are getting knee cramps, but you are getting used to it. That's right; you have to build up conditioning sometimes to ride distance. And there are good days and bad days. A 400 mile day, on average, is already a good day's ride on back roads. I'd push the envelope a bit and experiment some more with farkles and try for 450 a few more times before I concluded it was machine and not man, that was limited. But it's up to you. I've noticed (it seems) some riders search endlessly for elusive bike nirvana at great expense to eliminate all discomfort, regardless of how minor. Maybe a Glee is a better platform; I don't know. But I'd be generally happy with 400 miles most days. Just a different perspective to think about.
Yeah, I know that you have to build up a tolerance for distance riding. I stretch before the ride and at fuel stops. The knee cramps got better after I put crash bars on the bike. Just having somewhere to shift my feet to for a couple minutes helps a lot. The plan was to also put highway pegs on it but I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

400 miles is a good day but I find myself wanting and sometimes needing to go further, hence the dilemma. I know that no bike is going to be 100% comfortable for a full 12 hour day. Not one that I can afford or would even be interested in, at least. You kind of nailed it with your 3rd to last sentence. I'm looking for a better platform. The Versys is a great bike but it leans more toward the sport side of things whereas my riding style leans more towards touring.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The V-strom suspension takes the bumps very well and it's adjustable.
H4 relay kit from Eastern Beaver still applies for the newer model.
Long trips are what they are, some aftermarket seats help in that regard.
There won't be a night and day difference in rides but a test ride may help you decide what's best for you.
Does it do OK with mid-corner bumps? The Versys is a dream through the twisty's until your leaned over and hit that frost heave in the road. :yikes:

Dont know if yours has ABS, but my 13 650 is my first with it and I would be hard pressed to have another without. I am 6'01" 190 lbs and I have plenty of room and power. Not particularly comfortable in the seat area but better than all of the sport bikes I owned.
The Versys doesn't have ABS (it's not offered with ABS in the States) and that's been another consideration. It's one of those extra things that makes me think I might like the Glee more even if it's not a huge difference in riding dynamics. I also like the gear indicator, external temp gauge and the thumb switch for the dash info. Beats having to reach up to the panel to figure out what time it is vs how far you've gone.
 

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I've never owned a Versys, but have demo'd it. To your point there *does* seem to be more "real estate" on both the V-Strom stock, and aftermarket seats (I have both).

Your 2nd question, I'm only 5'9", so don't have your perspective. That being said, you have taller seat options, and (from what I've seen) an excellent peg lowering kit from Richland Rick at Adventuretech (watched him install one at the VStrom rally last month, and it's a nice bit of kit of that's your preference).

Buffeting. I have a Madstad screen and bracket (which I'd have done *without* any buffeting), and Mismo deflectors. I have zero issues (but, again, I'm 5'9, not 6'1". Opinions vary here).

I also have the front fork brace, the Dan Vesel standoff you're talking about (it can come with an "agri-tube" for an extra $5), and a Sargent seat. Seats are very objective (I have a Sargent, and can ride non-stop all day without any noticeable issues), but the fork brace, and Dan Vesel standoff are *excellent*. I could have lived without both, but, if it's not a budget crunch, they're well worth it.

My other farkles are standard fare: topcase, tanklock bag, PC-8 fuse block, GPS mount from Adventuretech, etc.

One of the big attractions of the Strom (and mine's a Glee as well), is how malleable it is. There's little that isn't available for it, if you need a small or larger mod...
 

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I don't care what bike you're on, sitting in one position would get me no matter what - which is why reclining in a big bucket car seat is where it's at. No motorcycle is more comfortable for traveling than a cage. That said, there's lots of things you can do to make moto-travelling more comfortable.

You will want an aftermarket seat. Lots love the big overstuffed barcalounger seats by Russell, Mayer, etc...those tractor seats that plop you in one position, but it's a fully supported/cradled position. Many love these one position fits all seats, but they drive me insane. I'm a seat scooter - I like to move forward, back and side to side - can't sit still. The stock seat lets you move around, but for most, 1-2 hrs is it before the softer foam gets ya.....firmer foam/gel is the way to go. It may seem counter intuitive, but that seems to be the case. I'm 6-0, 32" inseam 200lbs, so I'm about the same size as you, and the Vstrom fits so nice - plenty of legroom to stretch out. I never feel squeezed or confined.

I've had good results with Saddlemen seats - the biggest comfort factor is the additional fore-aft real estate offered by their suede surfaced Adventure Track seat. I really love this seat. Longest ride I've done on it was a bit over 3 hrs on country two lanes and dirt roads, and it was the first time I'd actually thought "wow, my butt isn't even sore".....it's a great seat for me. My entire body gets physically tired instead of my butt - which is a nice change!

Before I bought my vstrom, I'd ventured into my local Kawa dealership to check out the Versys, since those two bikes were going toe to toe at the time. I've always deemed myself a Kawasaki guy, so I had high hopes. It's a nice looking bike, but one leg swing over the saddle, and I knew it wasn't for me. It's a lot smaller than the Vstrom, and that concerned me because I wanted to kit it up with hard bags/top case, and the tiny dimensions turned me off the bike. The vstrom 650 is so much larger, it's a much better platform for long-distance kitting up - and that long wheelbase is great on the open road. Throw some different handlebars on, a aftermarket seat, madstadt adjustable bracket for the windscreen, and you're good to go....And in the twisties, the Vstrom is a willing partner in any shenanigans you want to pull off. It may not be a glamorous bike, but as most vstrommers here will attest, it's a bike that gets under your skin. It's a fantastic canvas to tweak.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the responses. Very helpful.

I would likely be buying the PMR luggage racks/stand-off. They look appropriately industrial for the bike and like they might do a passable job of being rear crash bars. Also, is the stock rack on the Glee set-up to accept a top case? If so, which one?

That Adventure Track seat looks... interesting. The additional movement looks nice but that channel down the middle makes me concerned it might put too much pressure on my upper hamstring area. I'm always torn between the barcalounger seats and a straight, flat, no-frills bench. I like to move around but I also like a cushy seat. Unfortunately, I don't have the budget to try multiple seats. So whatever I pick the first time is what I'm stuck with for quite awhile.
 

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1. ... is the Glee that much more spacious than the Vs? ...

2. Is it that hard to fix the buffeting problem? ...

3. What farkles do I need right away? ...

4. Anything else I need to know? Anyone experienced with making this switch? Thoughts? I'm not worried about missing the sportiness of the Vs. I don't use the chassis anywhere near it's full capabilities and I effectively neutered the engine with the 43 tooth sprocket (I miss my wheelies a bit but it's soooo much better on the slab). I do plan on some gravel and fire service roads eventually but that will be rare.
I really wanted a Versys and tried hard to figure out how I could make it work (like a VStrom). Then I got a VStrom.:hurray:
Here are my thoughts.
1. Yes, it IS that much more spacious. You sit IN the Versys seat, and you have limited space to move around. Plus the stock Versys seat tilts you forward against the tank, which makes parts of me very uncomfortable before long, and you push back, but there is nowhere to go.
The wheelbase on the VStrom is a full 6 inches longer. That gives you personal space comfort and long day ride comfort over the Versys. Likely at the expense of quickness in transitions through chicanes, but neither bike is an R6.

2. I'm 5'9", stock windscreen in highest setting works perfectly for me. No buffeting, so no input there.

3. Farkles. For where I live, heated grips and hand guards were the most important, followed by the Ed Vesel Tool Tube for the Nelson Riggs stand-off.
Fork brace, meh. I couldn't really tell a difference. I wouldn't rush into that.
Seat on the 12+ is the best stock seat I've had. I've done Iron Butt 1000s on my VStrom. You probably won't need to change it out.

4. Anything else ... Fantastic headlights - Very well designed. The VStrom feels heavy for a 650. You loose the feeling of height and ungainliness once you are rolling, but you are likely used to that with the Versys anyway. It's fine on unpaved roads (I live on one, I get to experience that everyday!). I have a CooCase 37L top case wired in with brakelights, running lights and turn signals. Really handy. Fit pretty easy on the rear rack.

Good luck! I don't think you'll be disappointed if you decide to make the switch.
 

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I'm always torn between the barcalounger seats and a straight, flat, no-frills bench. I like to move around but I also like a cushy seat. Unfortunately, I don't have the budget to try multiple seats. So whatever I pick the first time is what I'm stuck with for quite awhile.
Seats are a crap shoot, very personal. I tried a Sargent, (they have a 30 day return policy) borrowed a friends Çorbin for a day, modified the stocker with memory foam, tried gel pads, but non were great. Finally got a Russell and found seat nirvana, as a very high percentage of buyers do. If you don't want to fool around and can deal with the tractor looks, it's the way to go, you'll save money in the long run.

I also considered the V and the Wee, but found the Wee would make a better platform as a long distance mount. The main reason being is that it felt roomier along with another 10 or so small points that I liked over the V.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, I pulled the trigger this weekend and traded in the Versys for a 2014 V Strom 650. I've got 400 miles on the new bike so far and I'd like to give my first impressions and some comparisons. Just in case somebody else is considering making this switch.

1. Space- The Glee is much more spacious than the Vs. You sit up on top of the Suzuki were as you sat down in the Kawasaki. It wasn't bad most of the time because the Versys is actually a pretty comfortable bike but I prefer the freedom to move around a little more.

2. Wind protection- Stock for stock the Glee wins this comparison hands down. The tiny screen on the Vs takes the windblast off your chest but leaves your head (in my case encased in a Scorpion Exo 1100) directly in the wind. There's no buffeting but it is loud as hell and very fatiguing. The stock Glee screen, in both the mid and high position, dumps the air out about forehead level. It's a little loud but much, much less fatiguing. I've also noticed that the dreaded buffeting problem doesn't seem to come up very often. If there is no crosswind or traffic in front of me, everything is fine up to ~75MPH. Add either or both of those other two variables and things can get pretty uncomfortable. But until I start doing lots of super slab trips I think I'm going to keep the stock screen.

3. Seat- Again, no contest. The Glee seat is great. Maybe a little too soft but it is very wide and roomy. It's about on par with the Baldwin I had for the Vs. The stock Vs seat seemed like it was made either a) by somebody who wasn't actually human or b) as a torture device. I seriously can not figure out how it made it into production.

4. Ride- The Glee is smooth with a much softer ride than the Vs. It also feels more stable because of the longer wheel base and larger front tire. The tradeoff here is transition speed. I never felt like I had to to do anything more than think about leaning one way or the other and the Kawi would do it. That being said, I feel more comfortable going fast down the (few) local twisties on the Glee because of the added stability. It also doesn't lurch near as bad if you hit a mid-corner bump. The limits of both machines are higher than my skills as a rider but the Versys' are higher than the V-Strom. I just feel more comfortable pushing my own limits on the Suzuki.

5. Engine- The V-strom engine is highly (and rightly) praised for its smoothness and plateau like torque curve. It's plenty fast, as well. However, the tradeoff for that smoothness is a lack of feedback. The Vs snarled and barked and snapped and just generally talked back to you all the time. That got kind of annoying on long straightaways but was fun and informative on a curvy back road. The Glee does none of those things. It gets a little louder as you wind it up but there's no sense of urgency, no drama, no live-wire feeling like the Versys. Just very business-like forward thrust. It gets the job done just fine but in a less exciting way.

Besides the things listed the V-Strom also has a lot of nice little touches that the Versys lacks: A lot more info available on the cluster, seemingly better build quality, nicer paint, ABS (though that's not little).

All in all I am very happy with my purchase so far. I feel like I went from a budget SPORT touring bike to a budget sport TOURING bike. None of this is to say that I disliked my Versys or that I was disappointed in it's performance. It did what it was designed to do very well (basically be a tall sport bike). The issue was largely that I was trying to use it for something it wasn't particularly well suited for, especially given my lanky frame. For me and my riding style I feel that the V-Strom will work out much better.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Forgot to thank everyone, again, for all the info. Thanks, guys!! :thumbup:
 

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First a brief introduction: I'm new to this site. I've looked on here off and on for information about this bike and gear and whatnot over the past couple years but decided to join today so that I could ask a question that's been asked hundreds of times before. :mrgreen:

I currently own a 2011 Versys. Great bike, lots of fun, totally reliable, handles great, etc, etc. Lately, however, I've found myself riding distance more and more. The Versys(Vs), equipped with a 43 tooth rear sprocket, Baldwin saddle and Givi windscreen, is good for about 400 miles per day. After that it starts getting uncomfortable and by 500 miles I'm racing to get wherever I'm going just so I can get off the damn bike. It's the seat and the lack of real estate to work with that bothers me. I can't really move around to take the pressure off of spots as they get tired. My knees will get cramped occasionally but that's been getting better. I do the majority of my riding on either U.S. Routes or interstates if I'm just trying to get somewhere or make it through the Chicago/urban sprawl.

Before I bought the Vs I strongly considered a 2012 V-strom(Glee?). But at the time I thought the tidier dimensions of the Vs would be better. Plus, a local dealer was trying really hard to unload the 2011. So the deal on the Vs was much better. Fast forward to now and they have a 2014 V-strom 650 that I can work into my budget and I am strongly considering.

So, things I need to know:

1. At 6'1", 180-ish pounds with a 32" inseam is the Glee that much more spacious than the Vs? Does anybody have experience with a Vs with lowered pegs/bar risers compared to the Glee? I'd like to try a new bike just to try a new bike but if I can make the Vs work with a couple farkles versus shelling out for a new ride I should probably do that.

2. Is it that hard to fix the buffeting problem? I know some people say "What buffeting?" or "It's a motorcycle. It's going to be windy". But I've gotten the Vs to be comfortable in anything other than a strong crosswind and would like to know if it's possible/difficult to get the Glee to the same level. (I understand that this is a very subjective thing.)

3. What farkles do I need right away? I know I'm going to need a luggage stand-off for my Nelson-Rigg bags and I'm going to want a new screen right away. I've also read good things about a front fork brace. How's the stock seat? I tend to ride fuel stop-to-fuel stop. Is that doable with the stock set-up? It can't be any worse than the stock Vs seat but is it OK for some long-ish days? (Subjective, again, I know.)

4. Anything else I need to know? Anyone experienced with making this switch? Thoughts? I'm not worried about missing the sportiness of the Vs. I don't use the chassis anywhere near it's full capabilities and I effectively neutered the engine with the 43 tooth sprocket (I miss my wheelies a bit but it's soooo much better on the slab). I do plan on some gravel and fire service roads eventually but that will be rare.

I go back to the dealer next weekend for a test ride (did not expect them to offer that, at all).

I know at the end of the day it's my choice and I have to do whatever feels right to me but I like to have as much information as possible before I make large financial decisions.


There is a lowering kit available for the foot pegs that lowers the pegs and makes quite a bit of improvement according to my friend with a Versys. I've ridden both and I can't say there is a significant difference in ergonomics except for the lower pegs on the VStrom.
 

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Just read your previous post about buying the VStrom. I think you nailed it in your comparison. The Versys is a SPORT touring bike and the VStrom is a sport TOURING bike. If you ride a lot of dirt roads there is also a better selection of dual sport tires in the rim sizes the VStrom sports compared to the Versys and the softer suspension of the VStrom works better on dirt.
 

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First a brief introduction: I'm new to this site. I've looked on here off and on for information about this bike and gear and whatnot over the past couple years but decided to join today so that I could ask a question that's been asked hundreds of times before. :mrgreen:

I currently own a 2011 Versys. Great bike, lots of fun, totally reliable, handles great, etc, etc. Lately, however, I've found myself riding distance more and more. The Versys(Vs), equipped with a 43 tooth rear sprocket, Baldwin saddle and Givi windscreen, is good for about 400 miles per day. After that it starts getting uncomfortable and by 500 miles I'm racing to get wherever I'm going just so I can get off the damn bike. It's the seat and the lack of real estate to work with that bothers me. I can't really move around to take the pressure off of spots as they get tired. My knees will get cramped occasionally but that's been getting better. I do the majority of my riding on either U.S. Routes or interstates if I'm just trying to get somewhere or make it through the Chicago/urban sprawl.

Before I bought the Vs I strongly considered a 2012 V-strom(Glee?). But at the time I thought the tidier dimensions of the Vs would be better. Plus, a local dealer was trying really hard to unload the 2011. So the deal on the Vs was much better. Fast forward to now and they have a 2014 V-strom 650 that I can work into my budget and I am strongly considering.

So, things I need to know:

1. At 6'1", 180-ish pounds with a 32" inseam is the Glee that much more spacious than the Vs? Does anybody have experience with a Vs with lowered pegs/bar risers compared to the Glee? I'd like to try a new bike just to try a new bike but if I can make the Vs work with a couple farkles versus shelling out for a new ride I should probably do that.

2. Is it that hard to fix the buffeting problem? I know some people say "What buffeting?" or "It's a motorcycle. It's going to be windy". But I've gotten the Vs to be comfortable in anything other than a strong crosswind and would like to know if it's possible/difficult to get the Glee to the same level. (I understand that this is a very subjective thing.)

3. What farkles do I need right away? I know I'm going to need a luggage stand-off for my Nelson-Rigg bags and I'm going to want a new screen right away. I've also read good things about a front fork brace. How's the stock seat? I tend to ride fuel stop-to-fuel stop. Is that doable with the stock set-up? It can't be any worse than the stock Vs seat but is it OK for some long-ish days? (Subjective, again, I know.)

4. Anything else I need to know? Anyone experienced with making this switch? Thoughts? I'm not worried about missing the sportiness of the Vs. I don't use the chassis anywhere near it's full capabilities and I effectively neutered the engine with the 43 tooth sprocket (I miss my wheelies a bit but it's soooo much better on the slab). I do plan on some gravel and fire service roads eventually but that will be rare.

I go back to the dealer next weekend for a test ride (did not expect them to offer that, at all).

I know at the end of the day it's my choice and I have to do whatever feels right to me but I like to have as much information as possible before I make large financial decisions.


I came from a Versys also. I'm 6' 32" inseam. I switched for the same reason, longer touring ride. Put lower pegs, 2" antivibes, fork brace and use a sheepskin butt pad on the pain inducing seat although I want a Russell day long. I have fixed the horrible wind/buffeting issues by making many changes to the bike. When I get time I will learn how to post photos so I can show what I have done to make a really nice air pocket that rivals my old Valkyrie Interstate. I change sprockets on the Versys but not on the Strom, its spot on. The Strom is a great sport touring bike with good dirt road manners. I have found long distance riding is most enjoyable if the speed is 60mph or under. I am going to try and make it to the gathering next month for those interested in seeing my airflow mods.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
There is a lowering kit available for the foot pegs that lowers the pegs and makes quite a bit of improvement according to my friend with a Versys. I've ridden both and I can't say there is a significant difference in ergonomics except for the lower pegs on the VStrom.
Yeah, I was wondering if I'd feel like I should have tried that before buying the Strom. But as of right now I'm so much happier with nearly everything about the Suzuki that I don't regret making the switch. The V-Strom just fits me better.
 

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From a 6' 2" rider: if the stock screen is almost good enough for you at the highest position, try adding a Laminar Lip. If you were local I'd give you my old one. It's $94 plus shipping, and you can position it however you want to with Dual Lock (like Velcro but better). It's kind of a funky look but it works, for the same price as a Madstad bracket alone (and you won't need to swap out for a different windshield on top of that).

Seat-wise, I have found the best bang for the buck seat upgrade is simply adding a 13x13 Bead Rider to the stock seat (I know their website says 14x14 for a VStrom, but 13x13 does the trick). The added airflow between your butt and the seat is great in the summer, and in cooler weather you can wrap it in some sheepskin or something for extra padding and warmth.
 
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