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At age 27 I have been riding a few years now on a 1991 Ninja 600. Been a great first bike, but I have had my eyes on the V-Strom for a while now. At first I couldn't believe the forums. They didn't seem real because everyone loves their bike, and the forums are not smothered in posts about thing XYZ always breaking. After a lot of time spent on ADV and these forums, here is what I gather as the only negatives I've seen with any consistency....and of course my thoughts with them.

wind buffeting at higher speeds (this is the only one that presents a problem for me with a lot of 70mph freeways to get anywhere with decent scenary), some struggle with the height (not I at 6'1), the few who don't like the 6k RPM at freeway speeds (stock sprockets, but as long as it rides smooth I don't see why 6k is so bothersome if it not affecting mpg by not changing teeth count), and some claim a lack of power out of the 650 (600 has always been enough for me, nobody i need to impress), its not great at off road or racing (well duh, its not supposed to be, its just supposed to be competent at both, not the best)

So I ask...what am I missing? How can I not buy one of these bikes within the next year? Now I am curious to see what the 2012 gets released at, but if I just do a currency rate adjustment it looks like 10-11k msrp or so, which means I'll likely be going after a 08-11 used or new. Besides the only thing that potentially gets knocked off the list above is the wind buffeting. The rest is just improvements on things that will just make a phenomenal bike a little bit better right?
 

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I have owned 46 bikes since 1996, sport bikes , sport touring bikes, dirt bikes, BMWs, track bikes, blackbird, hyabusa, DL1000 et all, the DL650 is my favorite of all of them. Do a little suspension work, its a great all around bike. Kieth
 

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So I ask...what am I missing?...
Ownership? :confused:

I bought my '06 in '07 with 10k miles (now at 40k) for $5k. When done, I will probably have put another $3-4k (mostly top-line suspension) in it. For my style of riding, I believe it to be the absolute perfect bike in it's HP/weight class. The only other bikes that seriously attract my attention are G'wings and R1200RTs, and I wonder if they would suit me as well as my Wee.
 

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I have owned 46 bikes since 1996, sport bikes , sport touring bikes, dirt bikes, BMWs, track bikes, blackbird, hyabusa, DL1000 et all, the DL650 is my favorite of all of them. Do a little suspension work, its a great all around bike. Kieth
I'm in the same boat. I currently ride a cruiser but am getting more interested in touring adventure riding. As Im searching for a new ride I keep coming back to the Strom. Keith -- why the 650 over the 1000. Also why the strom over the sport tourers like the BMW or st1300. many thanks. My guess is the strom is a good combo of touring and adventure.
 

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I recently purchased an 09 DL650. I just took it for the longest ride to date...about 350 miles. Started at an elevation of 1500 feet and went up to 6100 feet. Rode in temps ranging from 80 to 110. Rode through twisties and long straights. The bike ran like a champ. I did at 35 mile section running about 95 mph. I haven't encountered the buffeting that is spoken so much of. I do have the Madstad bracket and the stock windshield. I'm 6'4" and I put the bracket at it highest setting and most inclined setting. Seems to work great. The bike ran up hill just fine. I actually have started riding it more and more in the 6000 rpm area in lower gears.

Here is my only "negative" thing to say about the 650. When I am in a position to pass someone, it would be nice to have that 1000 cc power available for the quick pass. Don't get me wrong, the 650 has lots of "umph" to get the job done. But, when you have the ability to pass someone with literally no thought about the oncoming traffic, you miss it a little. Is it enough to justify not owning it. Of course not.
 

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why the 650 over the 1000. Also why the strom over the sport tourers like the BMW or st1300
The general consensus is that the 650 is the better bike than the 1000 in all respects except max power--better handling, smoother power.

The Stroms compare to the BMW GS series, both "adventure touring" bikes which mainly means all road, paved or unpaved. The R1200GS is a great bike, but BMW means Bring My Wallet. The Strom might be more reliable, rides great, and costs much less, especially concerning life cycle costs. The ST bikes are a different genre, a great pavement traveler, but not an all-road bike like the stroms and the GS. The Triumph Tiger line, Yamaha Tenere line, Honda Transalp & Varadero, Ducati Multistrada, KTM Adventure line, Moto Guzzi Stelvio are other adventure Touring bikes.

Suzuki made some compromises to keep the strom price down. The suspension can well use some upgrades. The windscreen and seat could be changed for the better at no cost to Suzuki, but instead we gott'a do it at our cost. No one is debating the strom reliability -- there are no perfect bikes, but the strom runs great for a long time. There is one thread where the strom owner complains that his odometer stops at 199,999 miles -- and he's still riding it.
 

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wind buffeting at higher speeds
I've never experienced buffeting with mine - at any speed up to 160-170km/h (100-105mph) indicated I currently run a taller Givi screen. I'm 1.8m (5'11") tall and my line of sight is just over the top of the screen.

Here is my only "negative" thing to say about the 650. When I am in a position to pass someone, it would be nice to have that 1000 cc power available for the quick pass. Don't get me wrong, the 650 has lots of "umph" to get the job done. But, when you have the ability to pass someone with literally no thought about the oncoming traffic, you miss it a little. Is it enough to justify not owning it. Of course not.
Yes, agreed. One needs to change down and hit the throttle. It's so different from my XJR1300 where one just opens the throttle in any gear and it just goes. :) For that reason I have considered selling both bikes and getting a DL1000.
 

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You don't say whether you want a 650 or 1000, The K runs lower RPM at highway speeds and a Madsad bracket solved my buffeting problem.

I find it quite comfortable for commuting and fun to ride off work too.
 

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What are you missing? The Wee is my 13th bike in 17 years of biking and it stands out in the top 3 or 4 of those bikes for all round competance. There may not be any one area in which it is awesome but its the way the VStrom manages to impress in so many different categories: economy, comfort, reliability, cheap to buy&cheap to run, weather protection, fun factor & characterful engine. Its a 'swiss army knife' of bikes and if you run only one bike and its your main form of transport the VStrom is hard to beat! There are (at least) 3 very informative, passionate and dedicated forums on the net dedicated to the VStrom and that says it all - an almost cult following for this unsung hero.
 

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You gotta ride 'em. Period.

I'd be astonished if the MSRP was more than $9K and it will likely be more like $8,500.
 

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The general consensus among Wee owners is that the 650 is the better bike than the 1000 in all respects except max power--better handling, smoother power.
Correction made above.

Clearly the 1k has more power. The front forks is also better on the 1K. Weighing only 50 lbs less I don't see this supposed better handling of a Wee.

Smoother power... Well yeah. The smoothest power would be zero power. :jawdrop:
 

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And actually, in the US (and possibly Canada?) the Wee is even more awesome as the price is so cheap! I paid £6100 for my bike in Dec '10 which equates to $9500 or more? Anyone know for sure? What I do know for sure is that UK bikers get taken for a ride due to high taxes levied at point of sale. So all you boys and girls across the pond have it made!
 

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What are you missing?

I've ridden mine for about 1200 miles including two 500 mile trips, here's what I missed:

- I had heard about the buffeting but didn't really consider it during my test ride and it is very annoying/tiring, even around town. I have ridden the KTM 640 ADV, Kawasaki 650r, and Suzuki SV650 and never noticed turbulence. I recommend you test ride one before deciding.

- Maybe I have a rough one, but the engine isn't all that smooth, the suspension clunks a little over bumps, and the shifter is not exactly butter smooth. I know the Wee isn't a BMW, but I had expected a little more polish.

- The riding position/controls location are wrong for me (6'-1" 33" inseam 240 lb.) This is personal but costs $$ to fix.

I got the Wee to replace the KTM640 for on-road/gravel roads, and the main features I like are (some) ground clearance, good fuel range, and good luggage capacity.
 

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why the 650 over the 1000. Also why the strom over the sport tourers like the BMW or st1300. many thanks. My guess is the strom is a good combo of touring and adventure.
Personally, I could give a damn about the 'adventure' bit. I don't ride (any serious) dirt and I don't really feel too motivated to do so. 90% of my miles come from commuting: call it 40% 'slab at 70+, 20% heavy traffic, 30% light urban stuff, and 10% back roads. Not an ounce of dirt, except the construction zones.

I wanted an ST1300, or a BMW RT something-or-other. Basically I wanted a big sport tourer. But I didn't want to pay for it, or to insure it, or to maintain it, or wrestle it in and out of my garage, or..

I slapped some hard bags on my 'wee' and am as happy as a pig in poo.

Oh, and I'm under 35, so younger than most/many here. I had a Bandit 1200 before this. The B12 was faster and more impressive in nearly every respect... but I honestly like the wee better. I get a lot of dirty looks when I admit that around sport-bike types.

Actually, that's what your missing: the image. None of your peers are going to say "oooh, a v-strom 650, those things are the bomb!". Girls will not be impressed. Velvet ropes will not part. And so on.
 

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Great bike

What you are missing is..a comfortable, reliable, maneuverable 650 work horse. Only two months old, I use mine for commuting, shopping, pleasure rides as well as escort duty for my learner wife as she learns to pass the test! Great bike. Rod
 

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There is no one perfect motorcycle for everyone, or even anyone. Motorcycles, like lives, are about compromises. A person decides what is most important to them and then picks the motorcycle, car, wife, house, whatever, that meets the most important and "must have" criteria.

I have owned a few motorcycles in my life. At one time I owned my own dealership so I got to own and ride a ton of bikes. Some stand out as favorites. Currently I only have two bikes, an '05 Wee I got new and a '07 Triumph Tiger I got new a few years back. I ride them both, sort of alternating depending on what that day's journey will be. Having both like this gives a good way to constantly re-access what each is like.

I looked at V's before buying a Wee. I talked to owners of each and got their feelings on it. One of the best conversations was in Death Valley some years back when I ran into two good friends, one on a Wee, the other the "V". They had traded bikes back and forth and both knew each bike well. They spelled out the comparisons just as you will read here. They both agreed the "V" had the big power but the Wee had enough power but was lighter and seemed easier to handle.

So, I bought the Wee, I like lighter and easier to handle. If you do want a big liter bike engine to propel you along look at a "V" and also the Triumph Tiger. The Tiger will be smoother with the three cylinder however. The Wee, "V" and Tiger are similar in many ways. The Tiger is smoother and you pay for this in $$.

Dealers will tell you they sell more Wee's than "V"'s. Again, if max-speed is not your criteria than the Wee seems to suit more people over all. And, as far as negatives...well, Cycle World magazine once said in a review of the Wee that is was, " Probably the most shockingly competent motorcycle made". After living with it for the past six years, side-by-side with a Triumph that cost nearly twice as much I would say the Wee is the best overall value in the motorcycle industry for the type of riding it was made for. You can get better bikes....but you will pay out the nose to do so. Its about compromises.
 

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Ive had my 07 1000 for 2 years now. Good bike allround. Got a Rick Mayer seat and a Madstad and its set.
You can farkle them to death, or just ride, your choice.

Its like a tractor, it always runs, does not ask for much. It is not in the same league as sport touring bikes so comparisions are not fair.

David
 

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why the 650 over the 1000
I rode both this year and fell in love with the 650 and absolutely hated the 1000. I recently wrote about this on my blog. It was a good season for test rides « No Baffles

There might have been something wrong with the 1000 I test rode. It was clunky to shift and I felt like I had to do an inordinate amount of downshifting as I was coming around twisties. I just didn't like it.

I think the wee is a great bike. I continue to look for the right one to add to the stable. I'd love to have the Wee as my daily rider/commuter and my R3T for trips and touring.
 

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I rode both this year and fell in love with the 650 and absolutely hated the 1000. I recently wrote about this on my blog. It was a good season for test rides « No Baffles

There might have been something wrong with the 1000 I test rode. It was clunky to shift and I felt like I had to do an inordinate amount of downshifting as I was coming around twisties. I just didn't like it.
Reading your blog, I would say that there was definitely something wrong with the used bike that you test drove. The shifting should be very smooth. Never heard it called clunky. The only complaint anyone ever has with a 'strom shifting is in occasionally hitting neutral in between first and second. Preloading the shifter and adjusting the shift lever angle to your boot size usually cures that.

With 350 cc's extra displacement worth of torque, you should have been shifting less, not more. Most people that ride a 'strom for the first time are hesitant to let it rev up. It is a race bread engine that loves to sing in the upper rpms.

Fueling is a bit too lean like most every production motorcycle that is forced to meet emissions testing. But that doesn't explain either of your complaints and also is easily fixed with a PCIII.
 
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