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 do...wow. 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.