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I bought my first bike when I got out of the Navy in 2008, a Yamaha YZF 600. It's decent for zipping around the city, but now I'm looking for something I can use to visit my family in the Adirondacks (upstate NY) without being incapacitated the next day. I ran across stromtrooper after reading an article about the V-Storm in the Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly (of all places) and I'm starting to think that I've found the perfect motorcycle for me. But I have a few questions for anyone willing to take the time:

1. How does the V-Strom handle on short stretches of dirt road with frequent potholes?

2. I want to buy asap so that I can get familiar with the bike on nice days this winter and be ready for longer trips in the summer, but when's the best time to buy one of these things? Do they get cheaper in the spring?

3. How much should I budget for a V-Strom, and what accessories should I get for a long trip, say to Laramie, WY from Boston, or out to Pitt PA?

4. Is it advisable to buy online without seeing the bike in person? Should I wait for something to come up where I live, in Boston, or somewhere close enough for me to visit without loosing a few days on travel?

5. Am I on the right track, or should I think about buying a different kind of bike?

:confused: Thanks for reading!
 

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IMHO the strom would suit what you are looking for. I have a vee and it copes with dirt and pot holes if you dont go nuts on them. Great for touring with a top box and I have soft bags if two up. I will be getting hard panniers that will increase me going on dirt as the crash bars are ok but I want more safety for drops with solid panniers. Good luck
 

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One decision you will need to make is whether or not ABS is important to you. If so, that narrows your field to '07 and later Wee-Stroms (650cc) only. Suzuki never did not apply ABS to the V-Stroms (1000cc).

IMO, for the touring type of riding you describe, ABS would be a very nice thing to have.
 

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IMO, for the touring type of riding you describe, ABS would be a very nice thing to have.
I question that for riding on dirt roads though, which he mentioned doing in his post.
 

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I bought a a VEE specifically to replace my 1K Gixah to ride small roads and some dirt roads.

I like to ride the hills of New England/ New York with its bad pavement and frost heaves etc. Its hypermotto thinking glides over this crap.

I now use GPS to find 3rd type little road routes. They have interesting scenery and less people and LEO's

I enjoy dirt road and fire road. I would not head down a single track though mostly out of fear of damage rather then inability to ever get through.

The good or bad news as you see it. Within 150 miles of Boston is probably 40 million people. I would never buy something like a bike and have it shipped to me, but especially with Stroms I would go there with cash with the intent of leaving with it. I was gonna say Geezer bike but I will blunt that by saying sane people's bike so usually properly maintained and not beat to sh*t. They have more than 100K life expectancy with some maintenance so not to worry.


Use the craigslist search engine and just watch like 2 times a week. This is NOT bike buying season so few will be offered before like March
 

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Personally, I wouldnt buy a bike sight unseen, no matter how many photos I am provided.

I also wouldnt mind traveling a few or 5 hours to find the right bike. Id be willing to go farther if the right bike popped up (mileage, cost, condition).

For long trips (such as the 2000 mile laramie/Boston you mentioned), its going to take quite a bit of planning. Youll have to ride a bunch of smaller trips to figure out how to set the bike up to your liking. Youll need to do something about the seat to make it more comfortable (I use an airhawk), and youll need to figure out if constant wind turbulance is going to be an issue for you (i use a madstad adjustable windscreen mount and a givi windscreen). I also found, with one bad knee, having only one position to leave my leg leads to great amounts of pain. I need to reposition my right leg about every half hour or I get bad aching. I had to get "highway pegs".

Ive have done a 2000 mile trip (almost 1000 miles a day) without any of the above... stock seat, stock windscreen, no highway pegs, and only a duffle bag strapped to the back.. but there is a huge difference between getting to where youre going and being completely exhausted, compared to getting where youre going and still being able to go out to dinner and have fun when you get there.

One accessory I wouldnt take a trip without are some crash bars. I had a parking lot tip over on my first 1000 mile day and it saved me from quite a bit of damage.

any bike you get, youre going to accessorize for a long trip, so dont let it bother you.
 

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Just remember for the type of riding that you want to do, you will need a skid plate, a fender extender, crash bars, handguards, and most likely change your windshield, or add the Madstead brackets. Luggage choise is up to you, the hard type pantiers give better fall over protection. Tire choice is another thing to consider, I wouldn't go into it here as it's always like opening up a bag of worms. As far as buying a bike site unseen it's never going to happen for me, but if you like unexpected surprises then that's one way to buy a bike. Good Luck.

John
 

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Welcome, and thanks for your service. Live in Boston proper, or a suburb?

This time of year is challenging for riding as most Japanese motorcycles don't hold up well to road salt. Not to mention snow, slush, sand and leaves, short days, and cold temps. The V-Strom is a relatively popular bike throughout New England because it handles the twisty, rough roads and occasional dirt and gravel rather well.

V-Stroms for sale on Craigslist in MA or NH are not at all uncommon. I wouldn't go to the hassle of trying to transport one from Pittsburg unless the price was so low that it was worth it.

It's rather common on enthusiast forums like this one or say the WRX forum to find someone local to check the bike out for you. That said, the V-Strom is pretty darned reliable so selling price is pretty much a factor of mileage and cosmetics.

Most bikes aren't for sale this time of year. Prices drop in the Fall so only the most desperate sellers have success. Most folks around here store them for Winter. They'll come up for sale starting in mid February and increasing in quantity through the Spring. I've seen as many as three V-Stroms FS on Boston CL at once. There is currently one DL1000 and one DL650 on the NH CL as of this morning 12/11/11. The DL1000 owner is one of those dicks who posts the ad every couple weeks without removing the old ad: at $6,500 that's going to be FS infinitely. The 07 DL650 at $4,400 is in the ballpark but the 38K miles will scare away most buyers.

Most DlL riders around here add the hand guards, heated grips, and engine guards. Side bags or a top case are common, but a good-sized tank bag and the luggage rack will hold enough for a day trip if not weekend camping. A sump guard and Stebel Nautilus horn is also popular. Many add a Madstad bracket for windshield adjustment and an aftermarket windshield. I've substantially upgraded the stock suspension, which pays huge dividends.

Twisted Throttle in RI stocks a lot of stuff for the V-Strom but if you buy it there you have to pay RI sales tax. Micatech in Hillsborough NH makes very nice side-opening aluminum bags for the V-Strom as well. If you get side bags you first have to decide if you want top or side openers. I prefer top openers myself but the Mictechs are pretty slick.

If you want to look at something in the area, post a message in the New England forum and one of us should be able to help you out.
 

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I have bought a bike long distance and while I didn't get burned, it is risky. What I wanted was not available locally so I took a chance. You aren't really in that spot because it's winter and you have some time to wait. That said, sometimes the perfect deal is far away. If you go this route, you have to be very careful and thorough. And you must factor the cost of shipping. People do it regularly, but it's still highly risky.
 

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From your post i think my bike is one your looking at. I'm willing to work with you on it to ship it to you. But I as others here would reccomend to just wait until one comes up in your area. Much safer to see it in person. Plus it will save you the added expense of shipping the bike etc....

Gotta be one close enough for you to drive and pick up come up sometime.

Use an online Craigslist specific search engine like Searchtempest.com that can search multiple cites within a specified mileage range. Takes way less time than searching one at a time.
 

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Thanks for the advice. I'm not in a rush to buy, though I'm a bit antsy. I'll keep my eyes open for a bike in the area. It's really hard to wait though. And yes I'm living in Boston proper, going to UMass Boston with my gi bill. It's a nice town, but it's not really the best place for buying a motorcycle.
 

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Just a thought -- just because you can't see it doesn't mean buying it sight unseen. If you can't (or prefer not to) have a forum member check it out for you, you could always ask the seller to take it to a dealer of your choosing near them for an inspection. You'll have to pay for the inspection, but it will provide peace of mind that the bike is sound mechanically.
 

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I think the v-strom is an excellent choice for what you've described. I disagree that the off-road, crash/brush/etc guards are required. You sound like me; mostly a road rider.

For distance riding, a set of bags will transform the bike, make it 100x more useful.

I bought my 650 last June and rode quite a bit (for me) this year. I commuted into the greater Boston metro area a lot. I have done everything from the major New England Interstates to some of the better maintained seasonal fire roads in the WMNF and everything in between. I've even hung with some sport-bike riders now and then.

The V-Strom is a swiss-army knife. It'll do almost everything and anything competently. I think you'll be happy with it.
 

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Thanks for the advice. I'm not in a rush to buy, though I'm a bit antsy. I'll keep my eyes open for a bike in the area. It's really hard to wait though. And yes I'm living in Boston proper, going to UMass Boston with my gi bill. It's a nice town, but it's not really the best place for buying a motorcycle.
I live in Southie, so quite close.

Just keep looking but don't expect to see much until late February.

MY SV650 is for sale, but it's in a locked storage container 20 miles away: just not the time to try and sell a bike.
 

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I think the v-strom is an excellent choice for what you've described. I disagree that the off-road, crash/brush/etc guards are required. You sound like me; mostly a road rider.
Even for a road rider, theyre very useful. If youre 1000 miles from home, yet still 1000 miles from your final destination... looking for a place to try to fix your bike isnt fun...
 

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1. How does the V-Strom handle on short stretches of dirt road with frequent potholes?
I've only ridden dirt bikes before, but the V-Strom seems OK. The biggest variable would be tires and tire pressure. As far as potholes, the suspension seems crude and clunky, but I haven't gone sideways yet.

2. I want to buy asap so that I can get familiar with the bike on nice days this winter and be ready for longer trips in the summer, but when's the best time to buy one of these things? Do they get cheaper in the spring?
These bikes are fairly common. My advice is keep looking in your area until you find one with a reasonable price. You will pay much more for accessories or transportation than the difference in purchase price. Prices vary. Maybe try a 'wanted' ad.

3. How much should I budget for a V-Strom, and what accessories should I get for a long trip, say to Laramie, WY from Boston, or out to Pitt PA?
Low miles Vstrom 650's are about $5,000. Here's what I think anybody would need.
- Madstad bracket $120
- Maybe new windshield depending on buffeting $200?
- New seat $400?
- Footpeg relocation $60
- New handlebars or risers $50-$150
- Handguards $100
- Tuneup (??) $300
- Tank bag $100
- Tools / tire pump / plug kit $100
- Rear bags - used soft bags maybe $150 or the sky's the limit
- Rear bag support bracket $30?

4. Is it advisable to buy online without seeing the bike in person? Should I wait for something to come up where I live, in Boston, or somewhere close enough for me to visit without loosing a few days on travel?
I wouldn't be afraid of making a deal remotely on a Vstrom, as long as you could inspect it before taking delivery. There isn't much that can go wrong except crash damage. ON the other hand, they are common enough there should be ones available locally.

5. Am I on the right track, or should I think about buying a different kind of bike?
If I realized how... annoying .... the wind buffeting was, I would have looked a lot harder for an alternative.
 

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There are currently two DL1000's on Boston CL. Both South Coast.
 

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I'm relatively new to the V-Strom world, so caveat emptor... :D

1. How does the V-Strom handle on short stretches of dirt road with frequent potholes?
Just fine. I live out at the end of a couple of miles of dirt road, complete with potholes and big rocks and the V-Strom does just fine there. As has been mentioned, especially if you go with a 650, you will definitely want a bash plate at least. Crash bars are nice as well for peace of mind.

3. How much should I budget for a V-Strom, and what accessories should I get for a long trip, say to Laramie, WY from Boston, or out to Pitt PA?
Bike prices seem to vary a lot, by age, milage and location... regarding luggage, though, I just went through that process and it ended up I had to budget right at $1K for a good set of hard cases and mounts. You can probably do it for less, but that seemed to be a pretty common price point for side and top cases of quality (GIVI).

4. Is it advisable to buy online without seeing the bike in person? Should I wait for something to come up where I live, in Boston, or somewhere close enough for me to visit without loosing a few days on travel?
As has been mentioned, be very careful on that route... seeing it in person is of course preferred unless you have a reliable person on site you can trust.

5. Am I on the right track, or should I think about buying a different kind of bike?
Again, I'm fairly new to the DL-650, but based on your description, I'd say YES, you are on the right track. These bikes are something... I'm still learning the depths of what they can do.
 
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