Is the v strom 650 right for me? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 24 Old 05-29-2017, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Is the v strom 650 right for me?

Hey guys,

Lately i've been watching a lot of motorcycle adventure videos. These videos are of guys going all through central and south america on ADV bikes (mostly klrs). The roads there were pretty bad and to get to some of those beautiful places they had to take some knarly dirt roads. Earlier this year i went to the Salton Sea and with my naked bike and all i wanted to do was hit all the dirt roads i saw. I have decided that i want to do some adventures like these. I want to travel mostly the western US and baja california. The thought of hitting up some random dirt roads and leaving society and setting up camp in the middle of nowhere excites me.

I'm thinking about buying a vstrom 650 because of all the good reviews and how it's the swiss army knife of motorcycles. I have a few questions though. The v strom would be my only bike, besides a grom but the grom is only for in town riding.

1. How is the power? I currently ride a honda 919/hornet and love the power. I used to ride a gs500 and was that thing slow. I know it won't be as fast as my bike but would it be enough to keep me happy and safe on the Los Angeles freeways? Freeways here run fast as 85 is the average speed but can go up to 95mph. I like hitting 100+ on my bike sometimes lol.

2. How does it lanesplit without bags? I love lanesplitting and do it every time i can. Will it be heavy in traffic? My bike weighs about 480lbs wet and i'm used to it.

3. How fun is it in the canyons? I love hitting up the local mountains here in Los Angeles. I do like getting wild in the twisties lol. Can the strom handle this type of fast paced riding?

4. How well can it handle dirt? I would most likely travel on long stretches of highway before i hit any dirt.

That's pretty much it. I know the bike is reliable and gets great gas mileage.
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post #2 of 24 Old 05-29-2017, 06:49 PM
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Hey, SFR has a bunch-O-videos on the strom 650. Here is one on the highway.

SFR on Cali highway

Overall I find the 650 is a great road bike (paved or unpaved). I am not so sure I would want to spend much trail time on it though. YMMV

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post #3 of 24 Old 05-29-2017, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinnyvavoom View Post
Hey, SFR has a bunch-O-videos on the strom 650. Here is one on the highway.


Overall I find the 650 is a great road bike (paved or unpaved). I am not so sure I would want to spend much trail time on it though. YMMV
yeah i watched his video and it did get to 100 quickly. I know it's not amazing on the trails but i've seen some people take their stroms through some crazy roads.
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post #4 of 24 Old 05-29-2017, 07:29 PM
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Power is... adequate... It's not fast, it's not dead slow. Coming from a 919, you may find it lacking.

It's a big bike, even without bags. I don't feel comfortable lane splitting in it

It's a fun bike in the twisties, but it's not your 919

I have only taken it on gravel and hardpacked dirt, which it does fine, but then your 919 could do that too. The biggest deficiency is the lack of ground clearance, I scrape the bash guard going off a curb.
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post #5 of 24 Old 05-29-2017, 07:45 PM
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My wife and I did the dirt roads around the Salton Sea all the way back to the mud pots......on a 2009 Harley Ultra Classic, you couldn't even tell what color it was haha. No doubt the Strom will handle it. Mine does 100+ easy and handles like a slot car.
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post #6 of 24 Old 05-29-2017, 08:35 PM
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1. Power: I cruise at 85 mph and will get up to 95 for passing. I've touched 100 one time and don't plan to do it again. I've heard that the front end gets light above 100 and may start a nasty shimmy. These bikes aren't made for that and I don't need to find out if it's true.

2. It's not heavy once it's moving. 475 pounds. We don't lane split in TX so I don't know.

3. I think the limitation will not be the bike. It will be tires and rider skill.

4. It's heavy on dirt. It's no dual sport/KLR. I think smooth dirt and gravel roads are the limit personally. You can get more dirt oriented tires but again, it's a heavy bike and can be top heavy at very low (parking lot) speeds.

I think it's unrealistic to have a 100+ mile an hour canyon carver that is also good on the dirt.

Good luck.
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post #7 of 24 Old 05-29-2017, 08:45 PM
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My previous bike was an FJR, so the 650 feels lighter and skinny compared to that.

I have lane split with the factory bags on the 650, and it's not cool. I only split without the bags now and it feels fine. I did not have the FJR in California, so I have never lane split on any bike other than the 650.

As for power, the FJR had over twice the amount. The 650 keeps up with traffic just fine in the Bay Area though. I regularly commute at 80+ mph and sometimes hold it at 90+ for a while. The 650 feels a little anemic up there with the motor spinning around 7000 RPM, but there's always more throttle available when I need it.

I also like to hit the twisty roads for fun every once in a while, and again, it's competent and fun to ride, but it's not a sport bike.

As for your last question, the only dirt any of my bikes have seen is on a dirt parking lot, so I don't have any frame of reference there.

Like you (and many others) have said, it's a competent bike at EVERYTHING, but it's a master of none. If you only can have one bike, it's the bike to have.

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post #8 of 24 Old 05-29-2017, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IHellsent View Post
Hey guys,
...
4. How well can it handle dirt? I would most likely travel on long stretches of highway before i hit any dirt.

That's pretty much it. I know the bike is reliable and gets great gas mileage.

Dirt capability is inversely proportional to road capability.

The Strom is a 500 lb bike. Anything more than a nice dirt road is a challenge for most.
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post #9 of 24 Old 05-29-2017, 10:27 PM
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Mine has the bags on and it lane splits just fine. The bags are not much wider that the handle bars. What I worry about is bashing mirrors.
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post #10 of 24 Old 05-29-2017, 10:34 PM
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I dabbled in motocross (100 cc class) in high school and in 2010 I rode a Suzuki DR650 on 2,000 miles of dirt roads while doing the Continental Divide Trail.

We rode hills, flats, steep hills, curves, and hills with curves. Surfaces included sand, rocks, hard-pack dirt, rutted and "corrugated" dirt, double track dirt, double track sand, double track w'rocks - and 3" deep powerdly dust on the south edge of Yellowstone that splashed like water and hung in the air so long the next rider had to follow at a 3/4's mile distance.

You get the idea ... it was diverse terrain to say the least.

At my level of rider skill the DR is as large a bike as I would take on that type of ride. In hindsight a Yamaha WR250 would have been ideal, but we also rode the bikes across country to get to the Rockies.

Yes, we're idiots - but I still would not do the dirt sections of the same ride on a VStrom.

That's just me, of course. If this thread goes long enough someone will eventually tell you it is the perfect bike for what you are describing.

PS: - I forgot to mention the water crossings...
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Last edited by basketcase; 05-30-2017 at 06:41 AM. Reason: Speelin' & grammer
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