Harley rider considering trading in for a 1000 or 650 - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 32 Old 03-28-2014, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Harley rider considering trading in for a 1000 or 650

First real post, looking for some feedback from anybody that would like to comment here and provide thoughts, guidance, or just general chatter. I've lurked here for months, and it is time to start posting questions.

Currently have an '08 Harley Ultra Classic. Bike before was a '04 Sportster XL883C. Wife hated it, told me to get the biggest bike Harley makes for her comfort, so that's how the UC ended up in the garage. It is no garage queen though...last year it did 15K miles, year before 12K. This year it is going to Alaska (1-up) in June and will get around 23K for the year I imagine.

Current bike does not do the barhop tour, has road ding pits in the chrome, but is generally well taken care of (both by me and a independent repair shop). I hate paying for repairs, but I also hate wrenching (I prefer to take apart computers and electronics).

I'm mid-40s, 5'10", about 200 pounds, size of 32" inseam and a large shirt or L/XL jacket depending on manufacturer. Standing up a 840 pound machine with 350 pounds of people and another 100 pounds of gear on long camping trips is aggravating a deteriorating medical condition that will only get worse in the coming years. I've taken the ERC ABATE course several times, and can ride with the best of them...but have never felt comfortable with tight u-turns on this bike, so I'll duck walk at times I shouldn't. I live in the country, and can handle it just fine on usual Hoosier gravel roads, even on tight corners.

Anyways, I am considering getting rid of the Ultra Classic later this year. I have reasons listed on my blog that this bike goes with me to Alaska this year. But, two years ago, wife got her own bike (Rebel 250), and I find myself riding to work more often instead of driving...even in the winter months as long as snow/ice isn't on the ground.

What I want is a bike I am more comfortable with that I can keep for the next decade at least and put lots of miles on. Less weight, easier to maneuver, gets decent gas mileage (getting about 40MPG on the UC), and handles the rougher roads better. Still needs to be able to load up with camping gear, take my wife on the pillion, and fun to ride. I go all over the country with my bike, so it needs to be able to handle long days and lots of miles on the asphalt. No boulder riding in the future, but I wouldn't mind exploring some fire roads that I know my Harley will never experience (I know the limitations of my UC).

So, I'm considering both the 650 and the 1000. What I don't like about the Vstrom is the lack of self canceling turn signals and the lack of a cruise control...but both can be worked around I guess. I'm leaning towards the new 1000...I've had bikes in the 600-800 CC range, and I like passing power when it is needed, and from what I read, the 1000 definitely has a lot more upmh in it. Also do not like struggling up mountain passes when going cross country.

So, a few questions, if you read through all my jibber-jabber so far:

1. At 5'10", am I going to be able to flat foot at the stop sign on a stock seat? I am NOT a tiptoes or ball of the feet kind of guy. Haven't had time to hit the closest dealership 40 miles away, but will try to do that soon.

2. Other than putting on a wrist-assister type of plastic helper, is there a way to "install" something electronic for a cruise control? Wrist fatigue is something I experience, and CC is the best feature on my bike right now.

3. I absolutely hate wrenching, and Harley makes it even harder to do things yourself. Is the Vstrom much easier to wrench on, or is everybody here just a mechanic in nature? I see a lot of people posting here that wrench on their own bikes, but I have no idea if it is that easy, or you all have the natural desire and ability to do mechanical wrenching.

4. How comfortable is the passenger pillion? I know it's not a Barcolounger like the Ultra Classic...but is my wife (4'11", 120) going to be comfortable back there for multiple long day rides?

5. The 650 vs 1000 debate is strong in my mind. I'm frugal, so the 650 attracts me. But it seems like it is more geared towards the single rider, which it would be 80% of the time. But that other 20%, the wife is on the back, and she brings four pairs of shoes with her (that's her right...it was our agreement when she allows me to buy a new motorcycle :mrgreen: ) and I'm wondering if I'll be struggling for power. What are your thoughts?

Keeping the UC is not an option unfortunately. We aren't rich by any means, but we get by. However, a new bike requires the trade-in of the old one, so the next bike will need to replace the Harley even with whatever "lacks of" it comes with...just need to figure out what is what before deciding.

Any input you can provide would be most appreciated.

Lighten up, Francis. If you can't take some sarcasm, an Internet forum is the last place you should be.

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post #2 of 32 Old 03-28-2014, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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By the way, I'm a member for years of ADV and HDforums under the same user name on both. If I end up with a Strom, I plan to stick around here for a long time as well. Be prepared. :cornut:

Lighten up, Francis. If you can't take some sarcasm, an Internet forum is the last place you should be.

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post #3 of 32 Old 03-28-2014, 09:11 AM
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You will not be able to stand flat footed but for little effort and money can lower the bike no problem. I got tired of my Harley real quick when it came to wrenching and I have always done all of my own. They are a pain in the butt IMO. $60 bucks for a oil change is ridiculous and all of the other maintenance just burned me up. I like the idea of a 10 minute oil change for 20 bucks and the occasional chain lube and even less frequent adjustment. I have always been a Suzuki fan and my 13 650 is turning out to be one of my favorites already.
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post #4 of 32 Old 03-28-2014, 09:12 AM
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There are threads that compare the 650 vs 1000.

(talking about the 1000 prior to 2014 and any year 650) Physically they are the same size with the 1000 coming with a higher seat.

The 650 has more than enough power for what most people would expect for two up riding with load, etc. Passing no issue if you don't mind shifting. The 1000 has more power.

If you like to avoid shifting, the 1000 has more torque so you can be a lazier rider if you wish. (The 1000 really likes to have the gearing made a bit shorter.) Some 1000 motors need a bit of sorting out to run their best, the 650 motor generally doesn't need anything to run right.

Ergonomicaly they are pretty much the same (apart from the stock seat) and things that you might want changed on one would likely apply to the other.

Most people get much better mileage on the 650 vs the 1000. Most 1000 riders don't care.


Either are good choices and there are many riders of both that do or have done long tours two up.

..Tom

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post #5 of 32 Old 03-28-2014, 09:14 AM
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Your wife should be plenty comfy on the back and for the uses you are talking about I wouldn't imagine needing more than a 650. With a top case for a back rest you won't even know she is there. My daughter is 5'08" and weighs 150lbs and I forget she is with me.
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post #6 of 32 Old 03-28-2014, 09:18 AM
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Depends on a persons idea of comfort I would think. FWIW I traded a large metric cruiser for my Strom... my wife says the Vstrom is a much more comfortable ride, and we have done some long 2 up trips.... she insists on a back rest (the stock trunk works great)

She does not have to slap me on the back anymore these days to slow down, but it was a common occurance the first year... :biggrinjester:

in summary...do it, sooner the better, you will never regret it, and you will find you have hours to ride you used to spend polishing chrome bits...

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post #7 of 32 Old 03-28-2014, 09:20 AM
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I have a 650wee, so far it has been bullet proof. I am on a good day 5'7" I can flat foot my bike. I routinely get 60mpguk. It handles the freeway with my wife and I easily. It is a fun bike. It is injected so I don't think that a lot can be done to the engine. Maintenance for me is a spring affair apart from that nothing major yet. I put a throttle lock on it. I believe an electronic cruise is available for the 1000 not for the 650B-)

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post #8 of 32 Old 03-28-2014, 09:23 AM
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I just sold my Ultra I owned for 10 years. Ill never go back. I now own a new 2013 650 adv all farkled. I an 6'3" 225 and have no issue with the 650. I was surprized how it actually ran. I was about to buy a Stelvio when the salesman convinced me to ride the 650. The rest is history. I ride solo with camping gear. If I was riding 2 up all the time I would have baught another Ultra. The best advice I can give you is go ride one. Youll see what Im talking about.

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post #9 of 32 Old 03-28-2014, 11:47 AM
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Having owned all three (UC, 650, 1000) at once, here's my two cents
You will be comfortable two up on either of the DL's, but nowhere near as comfortable as on the UC.
Either DL sits way higher than the UC, but is 300lbs lighter than the UC
For two up, the 1000 might better suit you, but many do well on the 650
Our 650 required zero adjustments other than regular maintenance, a great bike. Our 1000 has been a continual maintenance whore, which is something I enjoy though. I've wrenched On HD's for over 40 years and our 1000 has required more tinkering than any of them. Others have had better luck with the 1000's and the 2014 models look promising in that department
If you are looking for a turn key two up touring bike, the DL's may not suit you and you might venture to a sport tourer. However the DL's are a great bang for the buck and their low weight for touring is a benefit in every way except for riding in the wind.

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post #10 of 32 Old 03-28-2014, 12:17 PM
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So, a few questions, if you read through all my jibber-jabber so far:

1. At 5'10", am I going to be able to flat foot at the stop sign on a stock seat? I am NOT a tiptoes or ball of the feet kind of guy. Haven't had time to hit the closest dealership 40 miles away, but will try to do that soon.

I am 6-1 and have 31 inseam. I can just about flat foot my 1000 with a sargent seat on it. I weigh 250 so I am mashing the bike down a little.

2. Other than putting on a wrist-assister type of plastic helper, is there a way to "install" something electronic for a cruise control? Wrist fatigue is something I experience, and CC is the best feature on my bike right now.

Yes, there is cruise control in the after market. My Road King had friction screw on throttle...it suited me fine. I have plastic helper on the strom....it also suits me fine.

3. I absolutely hate wrenching, and Harley makes it even harder to do things yourself. Is the Vstrom much easier to wrench on, or is everybody here just a mechanic in nature? I see a lot of people posting here that wrench on their own bikes, but I have no idea if it is that easy, or you all have the natural desire and ability to do mechanical wrenching.

This one is a toss up. Routine maintenance on the Harley was easier but the strom is not that hard either. Maintenance intervals are similar, as are parts prices. Finding a good Harley mechanic is easier than finding a decent Suzuki wrench.

4. How comfortable is the passenger pillion? I know it's not a Barcolounger like the Ultra Classic...but is my wife (4'11", 120) going to be comfortable back there for multiple long day rides?

My wife liked the strom better. It has more leg and seat room than a Harley. The strom is longer than a Harley in the seat area for both riders...hard to believe but true.

5. The 650 vs 1000 debate is strong in my mind. I'm frugal, so the 650 attracts me. But it seems like it is more geared towards the single rider, which it would be 80% of the time. But that other 20%, the wife is on the back, and she brings four pairs of shoes with her (that's her right...it was our agreement when she allows me to buy a new motorcycle ) and I'm wondering if I'll be struggling for power. What are your thoughts?

I bought the 1000 due to my cave man side. Both bikes are very good. The 650 gives you great MPG and acceptable power. The 1000 gives you average at best mpg but great power. Either the 650 or 1000 can be set up to carry the weight. The 650 has about the same hp as your Harley...around mid 65 range, the 1000 near 100hp. Both the 650 and 1000 share the same basic frame and ergonomics....but some of the bits and pieces on the 1000 are better quality. 650 can be had with ABS, 1000 can not.



Note - All of my comments are based upon pre 2012 650s and pre 2014 1000. The 650 was revised in 2012. The 1000 just this year and is just hitting dealers.

I like some will buy another HD some day. But if you want lots of miles, trouble free and comfortable...the strom is a great choice...either one 650 or 1000. I live 3/4 hour southeast of Louisville. If you bring your motorcycle license (and Harley) you could have a ride on a decked out 2007 1000.

________________________________
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