New To Motorcycles...Pre 2012 V-Strom VS Post - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-15-2014, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
Junior Trooper
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: WI
Posts: 3
New To Motorcycles...Pre 2012 V-Strom VS Post

Hello All-

I am brand new to the world of motorcycles...just got my license last week (basic riders course) and I am enjoying shopping for my first bike!

I am really interested in an adventure/dual sport bike. Bikes on my radar have been the Honda NC700X, Kawi Versys, BMW F/G650GS, and, of course, the V-Strom.

A local used dealer has a clean 2011 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS for sale for $5,699. 10,000 miles and comes with 3 hard bags. I am really thinking of this bike as a strong possibility but I am wondering if I should really hold out for a 2012 or newer bike.

The 2012 version seems to have a lot of nice updates...only issue is that I am really in the market for a used bike (cost) and there are not a ton of used 2012 or newer bikes out there in my area.

Wanted to get everyone's opinion of my predicament. Are the improvements for the 2012 worth waiting for? Or would the 2011 fit a new bikers needs without regret?
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-15-2014, 07:48 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Adirondacks N.Y. beside Lake George
Posts: 2,191
Great question Jmangt,
I had a 2011 650 for three years before trading it in for a '14 Vee2. My '11 650 was flawless, and worked perfectly. NO issues at all. That said, I am sure others will chime in who have had 650's 2011 and prior, and upgraded to 2012 650's. I would think you could get a better deal, especially now, for a well kept 2011 650 with a good number of upgrades. Good luck and safe riding. You picked a great bike to consider purchasing.
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post #3 of 11 Old 09-15-2014, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
Junior Trooper
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: WI
Posts: 3
Thanks for the quick response!

As I think/research about it on the posts here (awesome site by the way), I get the feeling that the old style v-strom is still a strong bike...the second generation just made it all the better (hadn't gone through an update in several years as well).

Who wouldn't want the best/latest......but I am leaning towards a used first generation v-strom as a strong possibility. For a lowered cost and starter bike, seems like a strong option. Also seems like maintenance would be less expensive than a BMW...any confirming thoughts by anyone?

I would hope I could talk them down a bit on the used one...especially this time of year.
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post #4 of 11 Old 09-15-2014, 12:55 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Evanston IL USA
Posts: 38,049
I won't recommend a V-Strom for a new rider unless that rider is tall and weighty, like a man over 6 feet. The bike is taller, heavier and more powerful than a new rider needs to learn on, and new riders have a steep learning curve. Even then, I think a smaller displacement dual sport is better. Then, learning to ride off road is good practice. The ground is softer when you go down and you learn how to handle slipping tires.

Do take a rider course on a small bike. That will qualify you to do some solo learning on a small bike in a parking lot.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s

Please vote in the poll on what Strom(s) you have at
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-15-2014, 08:57 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 647
Agree with GW! If you are truly looking for a starter bike and especially if you are not well over 5 ft 10, you may be best off with something like a smaller dualsport or a used Honda CBR250, looks like a sports bike but with a more upright seating position. Can be ridden at interstate speeds, very beginner friendly and would be much easier to pick up than the Strom when you drop it. Ride it for a year or two, take a class or two (you can never learn too much) and then consider trading up.
Welcome to the forum !

2012 DL650/EXP (fox orange)
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-17-2014, 03:35 PM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 118
Hey jmangt welcome and have to say this is a great place to get help. Felt I should chim in on this thread since I was in your shoes a few months ago.

I just got my license about 2 months ago, never rode a motorcycle before and wasn't sure what to get. I was looking at the Concours (Big no no, bike very powerful), KLR 650, Versys, BMW 650 and of course the V-Strom 650.

In the end I decided on the V-Strom, I purchased a 2012 650 that has ABS with top case and bar risers with about 3250 miles on it for $5650.00 dollars from a private party. I live in Portland, Oregon. I did have to replace the brake lever though but beside that the bike was in great condition.

I am a tall guy 6 feet 4 inches and come in around 212 lbs. I can flat foot the bike with no problems, but if I was 6 or 7 inches shorter I would be nervous trying to learn on the V-Strom. There are few times where I was learning to stop and the bike would go over to the side and I was able to catch it with no real issue but if I was shorter I would most likely have dropped the bike.

I really like the 2012 model with the display. For a new rider hate to say it but I did need to check on more than one occasion what gear I was in and having that display really help.. Total noob thing

So my advice from one new rider to another, get a bike that you feel you can flat foot with no problems and isn't to heavy. One of the tests I did in my garage was I leaned the bike to the left and than to the right as far as I could with out dropping it to get a sense of the weight when it went over so I know if the bike when passed that point I couldn't recover and to just let it go.

I put close to 100 miles in my neighborhood constantly practicing stopping, turning left, turning right and making u-turns before I ever went on a more busy roads and even then was very careful to stay off any busy road I felt I couldn't handle.

If you want any more info feel free and send me a private message. What ever bike you get hope you enjoy it and remember people buy and sell bikes all the time you getting something smaller and trading up later shouldn't be to much of a problem.

Last edited by noob75; 09-18-2014 at 01:06 AM.
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-18-2014, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
Junior Trooper
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: WI
Posts: 3
Thank you to everyone for the replies! It is all quite helpful as I continue the hunt for my first bike.

I did take the basic rider course, so I can say I am at least not coming into everything completely blind.

But, like you say, I expect a lot of neighborhood practice riding!
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-22-2014, 05:05 PM
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 30
I looked at the NC700X, Versys and the V-strom this summer.
I am a "beginner" again after being out motorcycles for 15 years.
For a complete beginner it is a pretty tall and top heavy bike so you need to have long legs to control it well. I am 6' even with 32" inseam.
It did take me a few days to get used to the V-strom again.

Anyway I test drove all 3 of them at the local dealer. Here are my observations:

Honda NC700X:
Very smooth engine but really weird with the 6,500 RPM limit. It gives it a pretty small power band so you have to use the gears a lot.
It was a very good ride with virtually no vibrations from the engine. It however feels pretty small with no fairing and just a tiny wind screen.
I was pretty much set on buying it after my research until I test drove it. In comparison you just get a lot more for your money with the V-strom.

Kawasaki Versys:
I test drove a used 2012 model. It drove good but had a lot of engine vibrations through the handles and foot pegs. Suspension seemed a bit floaty but it may not have been set up to my weight/liking.
It also seemed to have the highest seat height and it was a bit tougher to reach the ground on it.
Good bike in my opinion but the looks and feels indicates that it is more of a 25% off-road / 75% on road bike.

Suzuki V-strom:
I test drove 2 used 2011 V-strom models as well. The engine is not quite as smooth as the Honda but much better than the Kawa. There is some small vibration in the handle bars above 6,000 RPM (highway speed). However I liked the fairing much better as it gives some good wind protection for your legs. The wind shield is larger and will give you some protection.
The engine has plenty of grunt and likes to rev high - max hp is at around 8,000 RPM.

As you can guess since I am here I ended up with the V-strom.
I bought a 2011 ABS (non adv.) with new center stand, Suzuki hard side cases, original luggage rack included and 2,700 miles on it for $ 6k even. (included wash and full gas tank - I like my dealership).
This was in the beginning of summer so prices may be a little less on them now.

I did have a bit of a hard time with the lack of a gear indicator in the beginning but I did get better at it.
I did install one I bought off Ebay for $ 70 or so and really like it. I can probably live without it now but it did help me in the beginning.
I also installed a better seat on it - the stock ones are not made for 200lbs people like me.

So far everything is good although I only have 1,500 miles on it yet. I am getting about 48-50 mpg dependent on my riding.

2011 DL650AL1 V-strom ABS. Factory saddlebags.
Bought (lightly) used with 2,700 miles on the clock.

Last edited by Alan Lloys; 09-22-2014 at 05:10 PM.
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-23-2014, 01:39 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Hillsburrito
Posts: 158
Same answer I gave our noob friend when he asked (even though he is 6'4"):

There are better options to learn how to ride. Yes, you can buy a V-Strom and survive it. It may not be the best thing you do for your riding skills. Resist the urge to buy a bike you lust after as your first bike. You are buying a learning tool, not a dream. The dream comes after you mastered riding and can go ride that bike you want anywhere. Or maybe you'll discover that what you really wanted was something completely different. You won't know until you actually start riding.

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post #10 of 11 Old 09-23-2014, 01:45 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Mineville, Nova Scotia
Posts: 393
Pretty sure the OP isn't familiar with the "terminology" of the V-strom on here...his original post was about a 650....and it is a great bike, it is also referred to as a Wee(1st gen) and Glee(2nd Gen) on here and a Vee being the 1000 ...go buy the used 650, ride it like the wind and enjoy the learning curve, great power, awesome mileage, and get a manual so you can learn to do your own maintenance....all the help you could ever imagine is available from the great people on here!

2002 DL1000 K2
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