Comparing '14 V-Strom 1000 To KLR650/SV650 Touring Ability - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 31 Old 06-07-2014, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Indiana
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Comparing '14 V-Strom 1000 To KLR650/SV650 Touring Ability

I hope this isn't too long for all of you, but I wanted to tell me story in hopes to get some good advice. I have gotten tons of bad advice related to this over the years. Most of it involves either "buy a harley!" or that I am an idiot. I am pretty particular about my bikes, and a lot of that is related to my physical size and health issues. If a bike doesn't fit me right, I am just not happy.

I have 6'2", 34" inseam, 225lbs. I currently ride a SV650s. I have modified it with GSXR front end, bars (5" rise over stock, nearly straight up and down riding position), 1" lowered pegs, "Great Day to Ride" seat, aftermarket touring labelled windshield, hard bags and trunk. Also have a sheepskin I use on dry days. I went up 1 tooth on the front sprocket, not just to lower cruising rpm, but also to tame it a little down low. It has a few other things, but that is the mods most applicable to long distance riding.

It has plenty of power and I have no complaints there. I have had this bike for a couple of years and I am still quite impressed with its get up and go. I mostly just cruise and rarely get on it, but when I I love the engine, the powerband, the sound (aftermarket pipes), and reliability. Maybe I am just easily impressed.

However, the bike just wears me out. 2 hours of ride time and I am ready for a long break. I have done 4 hours in one day with about an hour break at the 2 hour mark and I couldn't even look at the bike for a week afterwards. The arthritis in my knees gives me fits with the knee bend. However, I can stretch out over the frame sliders for a bit and ease that. However, the "pain in the ass" never ceases. The spencer seat helped a lot (from 20 minutes to 2 hours), but it doesn't fix it. I have tried other seats and the spencer works the best. I blame this on the still slightly leaned over (measured 1 degree) riding position and angle of the hips. The wing turbulence is also very tiring. Some mini-apes would likely solve a lot of my problems. However, I have reached a point where I am fighting a losing battle. I need a bike that fits me better.

I have road a KLR650 approx 10 miles. It had highway pegs. For 10 miles (you can't hardly tell long distance ability from that, I understand. The SV is really comfortable short distances) the bike road like a dream. I couldn't believe how comfortable it was, especially when I used the highway pegs. The powerplant is a joke and I would never consider a KLR for that reason. However, that got my interested. I went to the dealer last year and sat on a v-strom. It reminded me heavily of the SV. My knee/leg position felt the same and it didn't feel any better or any less leaned over than my SV. I was not able to test ride one. The thought of the v-strom intrigued me greatly as I love the SV engine, just not the ergo's.

I have owned (and still do) various old school japanese bikes, Suzuki GS's, Honda CB's namely. I have not found their ergo's to be great long distance either. Fantastic around town and short distances, however.

I owned a Boulevard C50T for one riding season. I only took it on 1 long 4 hour trip and it was alright. Stock bars, mustang seat. No pain, some discomfort, but it wasn't too bad. However, the handling of the cruiser made me give it up. While the C50 is pretty flickable for a cruiser, it is nothing compared to my SV. The power was also pretty sad. I ride daily, in all weather except snow/ice, and I want a bike to respond instantly under all conditions. When someone pulls out in front of me, I need to be able to swerve and stop without worry. Didn't get that in the boulevard. It was a beautiful bike by all rights, but I couldn't keep it. The boulevard was the first new style bike I have ever owned. I bought it in 2008. Up until then I had road GS/CB's my whole life. I went back to a CB as my main bike until 2012 when I bought the SV. I was wanting better long distance ability.

The pain in my backside and the requirement that I often take long trips (I have a mandatory 4 hour ride every week, plus normal commute and such) has got me looking for something different. A requirement for me is ABS brakes. I have had too many close calls...and too many wrecks. I will never claim I am the best rider in the world, and riding daily under all conditions, I require ABS.

I just recently learned of the new 2014 V-Strom 1000 Adventure. I have been reading about it for a solid week now in my spare time, including this forum. My local dealer has one coming in soon, they are selling as quick as he can get them! Thus I haven't seen one yet. I have been to a few dealers all over Indiana and they all will only demo used bikes. There won't be any used bikes on the showroom for quite a while.

What is everyone's thoughts on the new v-strom and what I have said here? I am looking into the 1000 instead of the 650 due to its new features, and while I am perfectly happy with the 650 on my sv....I know I would be happier with the 1000 . This is especially true once I load it down more for longer trips and ride 2up. Do you believe I will be happy with the riding position on the new v-strom? I am fine making realistic mods, as I have done a lot to the SV. However, I have heard some less than ideal things regarding the bars and installing risers. ABS lines and such, may not be as easy as I am used to. I am not expecting cross-country touring, goldwing standard, but ease of day long rides. I will learn a lot looking at them in the showroom, but since I won't come across a used one to demo for quite a while, this spawns the question. I am looking for a new bike fairly soon.
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post #2 of 31 Old 06-07-2014, 07:01 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
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Get the new V-Strom 1000 and it will solve all your dilemmas

If you like the V-Twin 650 powerplant, then you will love the new 1000 V-Twin!
Great engine.

Plus brakes, suspension, handling are all vastly improved.
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post #3 of 31 Old 06-08-2014, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Indiana
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The SV, especially once I got the suspension halfway tuned, will handle quite nicely. I have already contacted sonic springs and they don't have a plan/schedule for releasing fork springs for the new strom. He said that once they get one in the shop for disassemble, they will create springs. Respringing for my weight is the first thing I do now for any bike. I do like the adjustable suspension and better design on the new strom. A respring is probably all it will need to be a great handler.

I guess you could say my main question here involves the bars. Does anyone here, at around my height of 6'2" have one of the new stroms and take it on long trips? My current weekly "commute" ride that I must do is 4 hours. I would love to be able to do 6-8 in a day. With the issues of installing risers or taller bars with all of the newfound stuff, this is probably the biggest issue. Highway pegs are already out and an easy deal.

Last fall I test road a new vulcan on the same day I looked at the vstrom. I was actually starting to sign papers on that bike, but backed out because the dealer changed the financing terms at the last minute (and sneakily). The bike was smooth for the test ride. They had another c50 there, so I road it as well just for a back to back comparison. The vulcan was superior to the c50 in every way that I could tell. Test ride wasn't very long, but the bike was smooth, quite comfortable, and felt more responsive in the handling and braking department. Played with some harley's. Bikes were beautiful with a lot of character (take that as you will). I love the wide glide. Handled a lot worse than the vulcan by all rights, but powerful and beautiful and did "glide" on the freeway. I just can't get over the price tag, even used. Harley as ABS, vulcan does not. This is a pretty big negative, and one of my main features I was looking for.

Next weekend I am being loaned a vulcan to take on my standard journey. I am very excited about that. I also found a used one for sale with all of my standard mods done. At this point, I believe it is down to the strom or the vulcan. I will know quite a bit about the vulcan next week.
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post #4 of 31 Old 06-08-2014, 11:42 AM
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There is a very good reason why the BMW 1200GS is considered by many to be the best all around motorcycle money can buy, and the V-Strom's are in that same category.

BRIAN "GO Buckeyes, GO Wildcats"!

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post #5 of 31 Old 06-08-2014, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Brad4321 View Post
Next weekend I am being loaned a vulcan to take on my standard journey. I am very excited about that. I also found a used one for sale with all of my standard mods done. At this point, I believe it is down to the strom or the vulcan. I will know quite a bit about the vulcan next week.

See if you can ride both for more than a couple hours to see how the seating positions work out for you. You might not be able to tell a big difference with less than that. Why?

I rode my buddy's cruiser this week after selling mine in December for a '13 DL650. His was ok but the ride reminded me of how much pressure is angled into one' lower back and rear, vs. the Strom. I also didn't like being unable to stand up on the cruiser to give my rump a break.

Love my Strom.

2019 KTM 790 Adv R, 2013 Beta 350RR, 1991 XR250L
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post #6 of 31 Old 06-08-2014, 12:15 PM
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V STroms ( pick any model/year ) are about the most comfortable bikes I have ever ridden. Plenty of room, good ergonomics.

A KLR 650 is NOT a touring bike.

An SV 650 is good at what it is, but the V Strom ergonomics are much better suited for longer days in the saddle.

They all need some personalization-windscreen changes, seat changes, etc.

'12 DL 650 '14 BMW R 1200 RT

WERKS modified clutch baskets for DL and SV 1000's.
The BEST in chudder control, noise control, and lasting durability! AVAILABLE HERE:

Have questions about the clutch in your DL or SV 1000? E-mail Terry [email protected]
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post #7 of 31 Old 06-08-2014, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Indiana
Posts: 37
I'll have the vulcan for a 4 hour ride next weekend. I won't have that with the vstrom. I'll have a good idea what I think of the vulcan. If the ergos are anything like the c50, I won't have much issue there. We will find out, however.

I have researched the bmw extensively as well, as well as sport touring bikes such as the fjr. To me, the strom wins the cost vs features war. The bmw bikes are just too expensive. Same goes for the fjr/st and other true sport touring bikes. I have road an old gl1100 goldwing and thought it was smooth and very surprisingly well balanced. I have considered buying an early model gl1500, which is in my price range, but the wing is more bike
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post #8 of 31 Old 06-10-2014, 07:18 AM
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Location: Tamworth, NSW, Australia
Posts: 362
This is going to sound stupid

Looking at your post Brad4321 -- you talk about two problem areas.
The arthritic knees pain and the sitting discomfort.
They are two issues quite different from each other.
I have the 2012 VStrom 650 and have sat on the new 1000 VStrom. (the ergos on the 1000 are no better)
I rode my VStrom thousands of klms last November travelling up to 8 hrs per day and nearly 1000 klm on one day. I have only a few modifications - including bar risers. One extra that made that trip easy on the body was the AirHawk R air seat pad. That would fix your sitting issue for sure -- but not the knee pain issue. This is going to sound stupid -- but, a person in a local magazine for older riders just chanced upon a ride of one of those larger scooters as a loaner while their bike was in for service -- and traded in a bought the scooter. They were riding their Triumph less and less due to the knee pain. There are 400cc & 650cc scooters and even an 850 cc scooter. The seat pain is not hard to fix -- and the AirHawk is probably the cheapest fix. However, without fixing the knees issue you're not going to be happy.
Happy hunting :-)
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post #9 of 31 Old 06-10-2014, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Indiana
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The problem is I am only 27 years old and already have arthritis! I'm not ready for the scooter yet!

A bike with mid controls and highway pegs, or vis versa, solves the knee pain. I have to keep moving my legs. As long as I have a couple different positions, and none of those has a strong bend in the knee (like the sv does), I am ok. Forward controls work very well for me, especially if I can install a mid peg of some sort. I agree that having a mid peg and lifting myself off the seat is a huge benefit (I don't ride off-road dirt track trails, but I don't always ride on nice paved surfaces either). I would feel a lot more confident on a strom (or sv for that matter) over a cruiser on some of the roads I ride. I'll be on the interstate for 4 hours, then down dirt/gravel roads for another 30 minutes. When the road is washed out, cruisers will drag with the low ground clearance.

When I sat on a strom the knee bend didn't feel any better to me than on my sv with lowered pegs. Highway pegs can fix that to a certain extent, but it didn't feel ideal. The mid pegs on the KLR felt better. Have you looked at Motorcycle Ergonomics ? That website is awesome for comparing motorcycle ergonomics. According to it, the DL650 I sat on has a knee angle (for my size) of 77 degrees. The KLR I road is 86 degrees. The new DL1000 is 82. While the KLR still has the best knee angle, the 2014 DL1000 is better than the DL650 I sat on. This is interesting. The KLR also sits more upright than either suzuki by a few degrees. According to this site, if I take a new DL1000 and move the pegs 1", it will match the KLR. Of course, the vulcan beats all here by a few degrees more.

I am not afraid of doing a few mods (look what I have done with the sv). However, I need a better platform to work with. I am eyeballing now, but plan on running the SV out the rest of this season. Once the '15 models roll in, I can get a '14 for a decent price I have a feeling. The new vulcans have abs as well. It may sound like I am comparing very different bikes, but they all have the same purpose in mind of long distance ability and have similar ergo's. Its hard to pass up the classic v-twin cruiser look of the vulcan. The strom isn't much to look at. Granted, I ride my bike, not stare at it. I just know when I had the boulevard, my heart skipped when I walk into the garage. On the SV, it skips when I roll on the throttle!
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post #10 of 31 Old 06-10-2014, 12:32 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: oregon
Posts: 2,182
Bike setup is no black art or mystery. The DL is very much based on the SV in terms of its frame/seat/peg relationship. There is nothing there that is not easily altered. Richland Rick peg lowering kit, have the saddle reshaped to put you where you want to be, alter the bars to put them where you want.
I know that sounds like a fair amount of work but one thing you will get that is very important is a more comfortable bike. I've owned a KLR and the thing they do which is not desirable is vibrate, in fact they vibrate a lot. If you can tolerate it no problem but if you already have trouble with arthritis I can't imagine it being pleasant. There is also not much you can do about the vibration, its inherent in the design of the bike.
If touring is your thing, of what you've mentioned the DL is going to be your best bet and the easiest one to work with in terms of getting it right.

Joe S.
'12 Concours
'11 DL650
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