Ed has questions in No. Calif. - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-14-2009, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
Junior Trooper
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1
Ed has questions in No. Calif.

Hello V-Strom people.

I know the questions have been asked and answered many times....but I'd love some personal advice from you on these questions.

I purchased a used 1996 R1100RT about 5 years ago for $4900. It was scary heavy, tall, and fast after my V-Star 650 which I purchased when I returned to motorcycling. I'm a 5'6" person. Scary as it was, the first time I hit the freeway with it, I was in motorcycle heaven and have been, pretty much ever since. Something about having the same bike that the CHP rides was appealing too.

I really love the bike for the heated grips, motorized windshield, hard bags, gas gauge, Ohlin's suspension it came with, the great power etc, but I discovered it's a rich man's toy and when it comes to service, the cost is HIGH.

Last year, took it in for a safety check, new tires, and and oil chance. $3200 later I had new tires, new rotors, pads, disks, etc. I finally got them to stop. Sure the bike had 60,000, but $3200. would have been a nice down payment on a V-Strom.

Another season has begun and I'm afraid to even go to a BMW dealer and say change the oil and safety check the bike...because that might be $1000...who knows....or only three or four hundred. The bike runs great so I'm sure the brakes and tires are good. I'm just keeping the oil right, and avoiding another trip to BMW.

So, I've had recommendations to buy a 650 Strom.

1. Will I miss the great power from the BMW? Should I therefore buy the 1000 even though the 650 keeps getting recommended as better and perfect? In this regard, I dream of long trips to the great National Parks around the country, but so far, mostly commute to work and sometimes go into San Francisco about an hour away. I'm a local ride with aspirations.

2. Will service be more reasonable? I don't touch anything mechanical.

3. If you were going to trade the beemer in at the suzuki dealer what kind of deal would you be happy with? The bike now has 67000 and the value online at wholesale is supposed to be around $3800 or so...

I feel like I own the world's greatest bike and that I'll miss it, but V-Stroms seemed to be well loved by their riders and economical. A Concurs 14 that I thought about replacing the Beemer with, costs about $15000 plus around here. Must be a great bike. I can buy many types of cars for $15000 so I just can't afford or justify that expense.

The V doesn't look so pretty to me, but I'm sure I'd learn to love it. Being used to a touring bike, and old..62...I guess I don't want an SV650 right?

Thanks for letting me get this out. (So many bikes...so little $$.)

Ed in San Ramon, CA
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-14-2009, 12:46 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: texas
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Originally Posted by emargolin View Post

1. Will I miss the great power from the BMW?
This is a personal choice. I was in the market for a 650 but found a great deal on a 1000, so that's what I got. The power is nice, but I probably would have been just as happy with a 650.

2. Will service be more reasonable? I don't touch anything mechanical.
Wow. Rotors, pads, oil....all of this is very easy to take on/off a bike and would save you a bundle at a shop. I don't know what the difference would be on these things, so why not call your local Suzuki mech and ask them for an estimate. If you're really adverse to doing anything mechanical, I don't think any bike is going to be inexpensive to maintain.

The V doesn't look so pretty to me, but I'm sure I'd learn to love it. Being used to a touring bike, and old..62...I guess I don't want an SV650 right?
Ha! I thought it was ugly when I first saw it, but now it's grown on me. You can tour on an SV650, but you would be much more comfortable on a Vee or Wee for longer distances (without modifying the SV I mean).
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-15-2009, 05:19 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Klamath Falls, OR
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Hi, Ed,

I'm 61, 5'8" and 145lbs. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and I'm looking for a girl who likes. . . .

Oh, wait. Wrong post.

Anyway, I'm about same size and shape you're in. I had an 1150RT and never particularly liked it. It was great in cold weather but didn't seem to me to have a lot of soul. It just wasn't that fun to ride for me.

So bought a VFR800, which I've had for eight years. Great bike, but the riding positing is finally catching up to me. I do a lot of touring and want to be able to keep that up for a few more years,so I bought an 06 650 V-Strom two weeks ago and love it.

I don't think you'll miss any power. At over 100 lbs lighter than your RT, the 650 is plenty quick. It doesn't have the hit of acceleration my VFR does, but it's fast enough and then some. Handling compared to the RT is vastly superior, and I think I can ride it faster than the VFR because of the lighter weight, plusI prefer the seating position.

Comfort is good. Plan to add a windshield and mount, luggage if you want it, and a seat if you're tender down there. You can opt for heated grips and hand protectors. In really cold weather, I think only your feet and lower legs will mind. I try not to ride when it's quite that cold anymore. (30s)

I bought the 650 thinking I was making some compromises for comfort. Now I think it's the most fun motorcycle I've owned. Maintenance costs will also be much lower than for your BMW, especially if you learn to do just the oil and filter change. Lube your chain. Keep your tires properly inflated.

You might at least try to sell your BMW on Cycletrader and Craig'sList. In my experience, BMWs sell fast and people are willing to travel to get the bike they want.


Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA
In my garage: 2006 V-Strom 650, 2006 Yamaha Vino 125 scooter.
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-18-2009, 05:18 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: L.I., N.Y.
Posts: 31

I currently have a '98 R1100RT which is for sale, because I recently bought an '08 Wee with almost no miles on it. I've only riden the Wee about 300 miles so far. I think there is a notable difference in power between the two. I find myself searching for a seventh (or eighth) gear when riding the Wee on the highway. That said - I'm still babying it because it's not broken in yet, so perhaps when I can wind up the RPM's some more, it'll be a different ride. The Wee is definitely a much more utilitarian vehicle and in a different class than the BMW. It grows on me more and more as I ride it.
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-18-2009, 05:49 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Atwater, California
Posts: 33
BMW vs V-Strom

Last november I bought a 2009 Wee with ABS new. I sold my 2001 BMW R1150GS in January of this year. I do not believe the Wee gives up anything to the GS. It handles fine, corners just as good and the gas milage is quite an improvement over the GS.
I have added a few things here and there to make it better for me. A Givi top case and rack, Jesse bags, Givi engine(crash) bars, a center stand, a corrected speedometer face, hand guards, a Madstad bracket with a V-Stream windshield and a tall touring seat for the comfort. I believe the best thing was changing to a 17 tooth counter shaft (front) sprocket. Instead of looking for 7th gear I some times forget I have 6 and catch myself on the freeway in 5th at 70 MPH taching just under 5K. I believe the 17 tooth sprocket has made this bike perfect for me and the kind of riding I do. The mileage hovers around 50 and it has under 2000 miles on it so far. I just expect it to get better.
The only time I miss the shaft drive is when I have to clean and lube the chain which takes all of about 15 minutes.
I would not go back for any reason.

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post #6 of 9 Old 06-26-2009, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Villa Ridge, MO
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Ed has questions in No. Calif.


I have never owned an RT1100. Although I have ridden a couple of RT1200 for lots of miles. I currently own a DL650 along with a Honda ST1300 that I traded my FJR to get last year. I have a bad knee / leg and needed something less agressive on my aging body thus the ST1300 has replaced my FJR.

When all is said and done, it it the DL650 (unless it is a several thousand mile tour 2-up) that I ride everywhere.

There is no denying that it doesn't have all the power of an RT1100 but -- it handles beautifully. In over 30,000 miles on my 2 year old Vstrom the only money I have put in it is:

6 sets of tires (I like the twisties too much). YMMV
Oil change every 5,000 miles (I use synthetic after original break-in)
Oil Filter -- 6
2 Fuel Filters
1 New chain and sprocket set at 22,000 miles.
2 headlight bulbs (takes under 5 minutes to change) - even I can do it!!!

I find that I need to tighten the chain about every 5,000 to 7,500 as long as I keep spraying chain lube regularly on the chain.

That is it. Because I am somewhat mechanically impaired myself and don't know how -- I browbeat my mechanic (over his strenuous "the WeeStrom Valves always stay in Spec" argument) into checking the valves before I left for Arkansas 3 weeks ago. I wanted to be safe.

Guess what, they were dead center in spec and I was out $75.

Regarding handling. The only thing I can see is that in very heavy crosswinds I found the heavier BMW's a bit more stable. However, I have reached an age that if I have to fight 50 mph crosswinds for more than a hour or so; the heck with it. I'll just wait. Additionally, since I put a "superbrace" on the forks I am not sure my statement is true anymore. Big improvement in crosswinds with this inexpensive farkle.

I find it is fully equal in the twisties to the RT1200's I have ridden for under 1/2 the price. I have a friend with 87,000 on his WeeStrom and other than brake pads and a throttle cable his bike has only had the same routine maintenance as mine. BTW -- He does all his own maintenance and told me that the valves were still in spec at 85,000 miles. No adjustments necessary.

Regarding the DL1000. I do not own one. I have ridden 2 of them (my mechanic's) and a friends extensively.

My thoughts were:

1. Yes it has more pick up. About the only time I need that kind of pick up is when I am being stupidly agressive passing 18 wheelers in blind turns.

2. Handling is very similar when the suspension is set up right. The WeeStrom is a bit, but just a bit, more responsive in turns.

3. Gas Mileage. DL650 (46 - 52 mpg) DL1000 (39 - 42 mpg).

4. The DL1000 seems to require a bit more maintenance with regards to Throttle Body Syncs and Valve Adjustments according to both this Website and my 2 buddies.

5. Riding 2-up. I find the DL650 is just fine -- but there is no denying tha the DL1000 has a bit more torque when passing someone in a hurry. But not enough for me to change bikes.

Conclusion. I love the WeeStrom. Since my wife has announced because her girlfriend crashed and broke her hip (wife has artificial hip) that any riding on the back of my motorcycles is going to be very short trips to a restaraunt or park etc. No long trips. The result is that the Wee is so good and so much fun, that I am probably going to sell the ST1300 as it just is taking space in my garage.

I don't believe you will miss the power of the BMW or DL1000 unless you do a lot of 2 up or very aggressive passing . I sure don't. And both my FJR and ST1300 are much faster and more powerful than an RT1100 or DL1000.

I can't believe you won't be happy if not happier with the DL650 than you ever were with the BMW and possibly / probably? even the DL1000. But that part is very personal.

One thing you will really enjoy about the Vstrom though (way over the BMW) is that no matter where you are a dealer is near. Supplies and parts are available everywhere and generally for a lot less money.

Hope this helps.

Banks C[FONT=Comic Sans MS]:crying:[/FONT]
2006 DL650 Current Engine 15,625 Prior engine 67,426 when chain came off and bent valves
2005 Yamaha FJR1300A 68,000 miles and counting
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-27-2009, 10:17 AM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Rural Alberta
Posts: 21
I can't compare the Wee to the RT, but I can tell you about my time on the Wee.

-Easy to handle, light, it all works great.
-Goes just about anywhere you want it to.
-Fast enough
-You can bolt or dangle all kinds of luggage on it
-I LIKE the way it looks
-Unpretentious, practical, easy to maintain (although I'd still like a shaft drive)
-Great, proven engine with an interesting sound
-It's not annoyingly loud or zippy

Not so pluses, but easy to fix (if not cheap).
-comfort is poor for me: I have to get off after 150 km or so with ass and upper back pain
(6 foot, 180, 32 inch inseam, only riding for about ten years)

Fixes to modify the minuses
- INSTALLED: tall windscreen (V-Stream) with Madstad (both about $250 CDN)
- TO INSTALL: bar risers ($125) --> these'll require some cable changes, more money
- COMING: Sargent seat is on the way ($480 US, I'm scared to see what it'll be after shipping, duty and exchange)

Other doodads that weren't cheap:
- engine guard
- hand guards, grip warmers (I'm in Canada, eh)
- center stand

So, this is a decent bike out of the crate and the price is good. BUT, unless you are tougher than me, you'll have to keep paying for a while to get the bike you want. Once all that is done, it's an awesome machine that will be in the garage for many years.

I my humble opinion, if you like the bike you have, keep it. Find a cheaper mechanic and keep riding it. It seems like the bike isn't so much the problem as the BMW maintenance prices. Don't Beemers run forever?


2008 Wee-Strom
Givi engine guard, OEM center stand, Givi soft bags, MBK top case, V-Stream Windscreen, Heated grips
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-28-2009, 09:59 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: KY
Posts: 1,104
On the subject of maint., call more than one dealer for a quote! I just had a 600 mile service done for $50.00. Some dealers wanted as high as $180!!! This is mainly just a oil change and I'm more than likely going to do all the other service requirements from here on myself. I have a 1000, and at your height it may be a little tall. I like the power, it's not a 'busa, but it is fun, you can ride it as fast or slow as you like, a little more torque than the 650. It's not quite as smooth as a 650, but it is light years better than my other V-twins I owned in the past. It does get attention from other bikers, mainly H-D types wondering what the heck it is? So far nothing negitive, but most people around here have never viewed a Strom before. I thought I wanted a BMW, and still like the way they look, but to many BMW ridders warned me about problems, and expensive service, more or less talked me out of buying one? Good luck on your quest! Cheers-BB

2012 Wee
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-01-2009, 12:51 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Morton Il
Posts: 238
Thumbs up Former Airhead

I sold my 81 R100RT, lack of dealer support, and parts availability, after buying my new to me 07Wee. I have not looked back! The Wee is a great ride for my needs, 120 Mi. daily commute, with a local weekend trip now and then. So far about 7k mi since I bought it, no problems, gas, air in the tires, and an oil change every 2-2500 miles or so, Lube and check the chain, plus add a few farkles for the highway living my Wee does. The bikes are different, both have pluses and minuses, but I would have to hit the lottery and have more time and money for riding before I would go back to the Beemer. The Wee has been good to me and nearly all of the folks you will find here! The rest is up to you! Ride Safe ride often! Dave

74 ts 250 Suzuki First Bike
56 BSA basket case Bought for $30.
78 Triumph Bonneville got $300 for BSA trade-in
81 Red Smoke R100Rt BMWsold after 26 years
Blue V Strom Club
Cee Bailey, Madstad, sheepskin
Suzuki bags and top case.centerstand
Sargent seat, Murphs forkbrace,fenda extenda
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