Join Date: May 2005
Location: Wilmington, DE, USA
1) How does the V-Strom perform in winding 2 lane curvy roads. Is it at all top-heavy and unstable? This is my main concern and the reason that the FJR 1300 is being considered.
I ride all over Pennsylvania Dutch country in SE Pennsylvania. Handles very well on 2 lane country back roads, even quite bumpy ones. I especially like its tight turning radius. I easily out manuver my BMW, cruiser, and sports bike riding friends and family when doing a U turn on a 2 lane road or in tight parking lots, gas stations, etc. It is a tall bike so be ready to slide your tail to one side if your wheels are on a high center and your foot in a rut. And use the clutch unsparingly during slow speed manuvers. You don't want the engine to stall. (don't ask me how I know, but my quick thinking wife saved the day by hiking out on the upside when I was trying to bring the bike back to upright).
2) I am not interested in off-road adventures in the dirt. I am looking for a bike to ride on senic Arkansas backroads and some touring. Does the V-Strom fit the bill?
I would think so. Works here in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
3) If I get a V-Strom, should I get a center stand? Is it tough to get the bike up on the stand?
I got an OEM centerstand. I use it exclusively for chain maintenance. I find it worthwhile. I find the centerstand not hard to use with the correct technique. Don't lift it with your back. Use your weight on the foot pad to lever the bike up (you do have to lift up and back some).
4) Should I get Givi hard bags or Suzuki hard bags? The bags won't be on the bike most of the time so unobtrusive mounting brackets are prefered.
I got the big Givi top case. It's great. Very useful. I have a tank bag for long trips (1 week for me). I have not found the need for side cases.
5) I am 6'2" tall. Is moving the windscreen up to the top position sufficient to keep wind buffeting from occuring or do I need a bigger shield?
I went through 4 windscreens before getting the MP Cycle Design windshield with adjustable spoiler. I don't feel the need to try any other screens, it's great. No buffeting. No ear plugs required.
6) Besides obvious oil changes, what maintenance has to be done? How frequent are valve adjustments and can you do it yourself?
I have had the valves checked about every 16000 miles. So far no changes are necessary. My 48000 check will be coming up in a few months.
7) Are there any known problems with V-Strom's that I need to know about before the purchase?
I have a 2003 (DL1000K3). The engine was rougher than I liked it below 4000 rpm. I got a Power Commander and tried a few maps from the user community here. I found one that I liked, tweaked it just a little bit. And haven't looked back. I had to have the throttle bodies synced when it started backfiring three years ago. I have had to replace the chain, multiple sets of tires, oil, oil filter, and both headlights. Other than that it's gas and go. The longer I ride it the better it is getting. It's a lot smoother shifting and runs better now than when it was new. 46500 miles and climbing...