V-Strom 650 Issues--Should I Buy One? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 30 Old 12-01-2013, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: NorCal
Posts: 98
V-Strom 650 Issues--Should I Buy One?

I just now registered to this site so that I can ask about the V-Strom 650.
I have a Vulcan 750 that I have really liked to ride for the past 10 years, but it's starting to ask for oil--and so it's about time to change. A lot of talk about the V-Strom 650, so I decided to ask you folks.

My Vulcan 750 was the "perfect bike" until I rode it a few thousand miles and had to correct some of its issues--that I didn't know about before I bought it. It's still "my bike", and I hope it doesn't find out I'm asking about another bike! (I actually feel like I'm cheating on it!)

Anyway, no bike is without issues, so I want to know what mostly makes you folks grump about the Strom 650 before I take the plunge.

I like to ride back country 2-lane asphalt for hundreds of miles. And, in California, I have to ride multi-lane fwy, like it or not! Best of all is when I can get on the gravel and improved dirt. (Vulcan 750s don't like gravel very much! And I'm too old, now, for trail riding.) I also get up well over 5,000 feet high in the Sierras every time I get a chance--and I thought fuel injected would be a big step up from carburetors in that high elevation environment.

But bragging about ability to control ill-natured bikes who demand a lot of TLC is a waste of time for me, and quirky bikes that throw up issues at you drive me frantic. The main thing is if I can get on the bike and stay on it and stop when / if I want to, not when the bike wants me to. And if I can do it again the next day without filling my saddle bags up with tools.

Does the V-Strom 650 give that kind of ride?
And, just as important, can it be ridden the same day as its normal maintenance (filter clean, chain tightening, oil change, etc.), or does it require a full day of purple language just to get the basic work done?

The V-Stroms are pure butt-ugly! I know and accept that. That's just a minor factor a guy has to deal with--like walking my wife's ugly little wiener dog. Having recognized that, I would appreciate just good straightforward info on its quirks and itches.
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post #2 of 30 Old 12-01-2013, 11:47 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Bittern Australia
Posts: 32
Hi Frank, l'm a bit of a noob when it comes to the 2012 650 aswell, l'v also got a 1600 nomad and vfr800, l was a bit hesitant in getting the wee at first but l needed a cheap runabout to get to and from work (all highway) plus for zipping around the place that was cheap to run ect and even after only putting 6000ks on so far (only had it for three mths) l'v found it really versatile and just plain fun to ride, it gets used every day and starts first hit, their sort of in the jack of all trades, master of none category, another plus is there's so much stuff out there for them you can virtually tailor the bike to suite you and for whatever you need it for
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post #3 of 30 Old 12-02-2013, 02:57 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Central West NSW, Australia
Posts: 1,366
650 Strom issues?

Yes, they're WAY too much fun and entirely too versatile.

Whether you "need" to do anything to it is completely dependant on what you expect out of it and what you're comparing it to. They're terribly tall compared to a Lowrider, use tons of fuel compared to a CT110, have way less power than a Hyabussa and handle awfully on dirt compared to a KTM990.

They also use way less fuel than a Lowrider, are far better on dirt than a Hyabussa, have a rather reasonable seat height compared to a KTM990 and have the power of a Saturn V rocket compared to the CT110. It's all a matter of perspective.

Take one for a ride on some crappy back roads if you can and the whole thing will suddenly make perfect sense.

"I've recently come to the realization that true happiness can often be found at the bottom of an empty gas tank" - Prime
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post #4 of 30 Old 12-02-2013, 04:46 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Posts: 3,724
Maintenance is a non-issue, no real quirks. The behave well - far better than you'd expect from the price - and don't have any real vices. (Far better than bikes with 3x the price tag).

The only thing you might have problems with is wind. It's taller, the rider sits taller, so side winds will have more effect. A fork brace (~$100) will make that a non-event.

Wins compared to your current ride, better suspension, those potholled roads become a non-event - well, pretty much anyway. I think more power than the Vulcan, almost certainly better acceleration.

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post #5 of 30 Old 12-02-2013, 09:39 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Oakland, CA 94602
Posts: 1,572
used or new

if used - go for it. Best bang for the buck on the planet. Reliable. Don't need much maintenance else just don't do it, chain/sprockets excepted
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post #6 of 30 Old 12-02-2013, 09:45 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Lunenburg, Massachusetts
Posts: 898

Yeah. When you're hangin' around with other riders on Ducatis and Beemers, passersby will pass YOU by to compliment those other guys on their "really nice bikes". It'll hurt for a while until you get used to remembering that YOU can do all of your maintenance and most of your occasional repairs for a pittance of the cost that your buddies have to fork out for their bikes. And more $$ in your pocket means more money for farkels! YIPPEE!!!
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post #7 of 30 Old 12-02-2013, 12:16 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Close to you
Posts: 639
BUY IT! I actually think its a nice looking bike, looks as big as a R1200GS, And I know, I 've had R1100GS, R1150GS x 3 plus an Adventure, R1200GS + Adventure, K1200GT X 2, K1200S, K1100LT, VZR1800R, Suzuki 750gt (kettle) big scooters and a handfull of GSXR's. I still own a VZ1600 (Meanstreak' twin) and let me tell you, the beemers were the biggest pain in the butt with issues. I got rid of the VZR1800 because of the possibilty of clutch lock up and dumping the beast. But when was the last time a guy spends $100k on a Porsche then tells all his mates that the thing is in and out of the shop? Don't brag about that sort of thing. My point is this, the wee strom is probably the least complicated bike to own and so far the only issues I've had were down to my own body not adjusting as easily as it should (where do I start!!), but I really love riding it and is so easy to love the bike.
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post #8 of 30 Old 12-02-2013, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: NorCal
Posts: 98

I appreciate the replies--and some funny too.

I think I'll keep on looking at this machine. Maybe I can find a used one I can afford. But I've been reading about an upgrade that happened in 2012; maybe that's what I need to look at.
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post #9 of 30 Old 12-28-2013, 12:25 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Perth,W,A
Posts: 30
Liked the bike,son has one,found one in Melbourne at a good price,flew over,paid money,1 hr later rode back to Perth(trans nullarbor), 4.5 days 4,200 kms,last day 1002,hated the windscreen(changed)wanted highway pegs (fitted) booked for speeding miles from anywhere! it's quick, coming from a cruiser,so feels light and nimble,Saddle? took my sheepskin with me,no probs.
I must be weird,I like its looks!! probably an age thing,I'm 79,usually do 4 road trips a year.Bikes a keeper.
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post #10 of 30 Old 12-28-2013, 04:25 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tamworth, NSW, Australia
Posts: 362
yes - improved

Originally Posted by Vangky View Post
But I've been reading about an upgrade that happened in 2012; maybe that's what I need to look at.
You're right there.
That's why there is a 2012 + thread on this forum.
It's improved in a few important areas
650 V-Strom's generally hold their value -- and probably the 2012 and later will be even more likely to -- so -- you may not find much difference between a used 2012 and a new one with the usual low % finance.
Probably most riders would say it has better torque (or torque band is in a better shape); lighter weight - carried lower; better suspension; less (complaints about) wind buffeting; better fuel economy (unless ridden in a spirited manner); and I reckon -- a better appearance; gear indicator as stock; all models have ABS. That's all I can remember ATM.
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considering buying 650 , dependability , need info

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