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)
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.