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post #1 of 21 Old 09-12-2009, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Time for a V-Strom?

Hi all, this is my first post and I have a few questions for you. I'm thinking about buying a new motorcycle and am wanting some advice. First a little background about me. I'm nearly 40 years old and have been riding motorcycles since I was 12 or 13. I've rode mostly dual-purpose bikes with the exception of a Honda 750 Custom ('82 vintage) that my father owned when I was a teenager and now I'm thinking about buying a new ride.

Currently I own an '89 Yamaha XT350 which has been ridden very little for the last several years. It's in good shape, but it's a pain to get started and way too small for my wife and I to ride comfortably. I'm not a large person (5'10" and about 165#'s), but I have long legs (34" inseam). The bike I own is comfortable enough for me if I slide most of the way back in the saddle, but that leaves no room for the wife.

Therefore, just out of curiosty I went to look at a KLR 650 today, but the dealer was out of stock. However he had a new 650 and 1000 V-Strom on the showroom floor. I sat on both of them and really liked the feel of each of them. I actually liked the looks and the seat height of the 1000 much better which I can flat foot with no problems (in my case the higher the better). However; I liked the price of the 650 better .

I plan to ride mostly on back roads (we live in East TN = 2-lane curvy mountain roads), with limited highway usage and gravel roads. I would really like to have the better off-road capabilities of the KLR 650, but don't know how comfortable it would be for two-up riding (any ideas?).

Anyway, we probably won't be doing many extended rides, but would like plenty of power for the mountainous terrain. Does the 650 have enough power for what I'm looking for? Neither one of us is large, our combined weight is around 330#'s. Or should I look at the 1000?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 21 Old 09-13-2009, 12:31 AM
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KLR's are fine solo but not so great two up for any length of time. The stroms are more comfortable and powerful on road but can be a handful off road by those with limited experience, or rather I should say that stroms are fine on jeep trails and better in the hands of an experienced off road rider. KLR's can do more on worse trails but they aren't having fun and neither is their rider.

I have a tengai (street oriented klr) with well over 100,000 miles on it and recently got a great deal on a new 08 vee and have put almost 9000 miles on it. The vee is so much better on road especially loaded down and I've been able to go any place I really wanted to so far.

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post #3 of 21 Old 09-13-2009, 01:57 AM
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I have a 650 and while I ride solo, it has been more than adequate on pretty much any road I have taken it down, be it interstates, 2-lane country roads (including some with really rotten pavement), and gravel. I have also taken it down more than a few 2-tracks and abandoned logging roads and had no problem - and some are places I would be reluctant to go with any conventional SUV. From what I have heard from several on this forum, the 650 does well-enough 2-up, although if most of your riding is on pavement 2-up (and especially highway), you may want to consider the 1000. As far as the height issue goes, it is easy enough to get a seat to get the 1000's height boost, if that is an issue.
The KLR would do better on rough terrain, but at the expense of road comfort. If the worst you are dealing with is gravel roads, then I would seriously consider the 650 or 1000.

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post #4 of 21 Old 09-13-2009, 08:36 AM
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I have the DL1000. I'm in NC and head to the mountains near you all the time. It truly is a pleasure to ride and I never have any issues taking it on gravel roads. I would never ride it on trails because it is not designed for that. If you want to ride the twisties in the mountains and occasionally hit gravel roads with a lot of two up riding I recommend it. It is so much fun that you will probably want to start taking it on longer trips. Interstates running 80 MPH, 2 up, heavily loaded with full side bags, it's perfect. If you only are going to use it for short trips and won't load it heavily I would go with the 650. I just like the fact that I will never run short on power with the 1000.

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post #5 of 21 Old 09-13-2009, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies so far. I appreciate the advice. It doesn't sound like the KLR is going to be big enough for what I want to do. Is there a big difference between how the 650 and 1000 handle? There's only about 40 #'s difference...that doesn't seem enough to make any difference.

Also, is there anyone who owns a 650 and rides two-up who can give me their impressions?
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post #6 of 21 Old 09-13-2009, 05:15 PM
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I've never ridden the 650 but they are the same size bike and with the small weight difference the handling should be very close to the same. I suspect the 650 would be a bit easier to handle. If you are concerned about the seat height you can swap seats from either bike. The 1000 is about an inch higher. They are sold on ebay all the time. I also have a 34" inseam and the stock 1000 seat is perfect for me. Suzuki also sells a Gel seat as accessory item. It is a pretty cheap upgrade with some additional comfort for most, again never sat on one, some like it, some don't. Links are available for the rear suspension to raise or lower either bike, (different links).

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post #7 of 21 Old 09-13-2009, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glbtrekker View Post
//However he had a new 650 and 1000 V-Strom on the showroom floor. I sat on both of them and really liked the feel of each of them. I actually liked the looks and the seat height of the 1000 much better which I can flat foot with no problems (in my case the higher the better). However; I liked the price of the 650 better .
//
The only difference in height is the saddle: the DL1000 saddle is 1" thicker. There is also a Tall Touring saddle that is 1.5" thicker. They are interchangeable.

Try to ride them before buying.

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post #8 of 21 Old 09-13-2009, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garandman View Post
The only difference in height is the saddle: the DL1000 saddle is 1" thicker. There is also a Tall Touring saddle that is 1.5" thicker. They are interchangeable.

Try to ride them before buying.
I've never bought a new motorcycle at a dealer before...this may seem like an odd question, but do they typically allow test drives?
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post #9 of 21 Old 09-13-2009, 08:55 PM
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2-up on the 650

Quote:
Originally Posted by glbtrekker View Post
Thanks for the replies so far. I appreciate the advice. It doesn't sound like the KLR is going to be big enough for what I want to do. Is there a big difference between how the 650 and 1000 handle? There's only about 40 #'s difference...that doesn't seem enough to make any difference.

Also, is there anyone who owns a 650 and rides two-up who can give me their impressions?
I am a new rider this year so when purchasing a bike I went with the smaller of the two since I didn't think I needed the power of the 1000. I have since put just over 15,000kms on my bike, here is my 2 cents.

Riding 1-up I find that the bike accelerates quite quickly and is a lot of fun; however, add some luggage and a passenger and the zip disappears quickly. On a recent 3100km camping trip I stopped and weighed my bike with riders on, we were 900lbs total. Considering that's double the weight of the bike alone its not surprising that the acceleration is considerably slower (rider and passenger weight combined is 300lbs).

I have never ridden the dl1000 but from what I have read about them the extra power is quite noticable when 2-up. Since I do a lot of 2-up riding and not much off-road riding a dl1000 may be in my future.
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post #10 of 21 Old 09-25-2009, 02:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glbtrekker View Post
I've never bought a new motorcycle at a dealer before...this may seem like an odd question, but do they typically allow test drives?

Out of 4 bikes, I was only able test ride one. BMW and Harley allow test rides, they can handle the insurance costs. Dealers by you might be different. I bought the Wee after reading most of this forum and sitting on them. I love my Wee. I ride 2 up in the Shenandoah Mts. no problem. Wee is better gas mileage for commuting, which I do every day I can. I have a 35" in seam so no problems with height. I had the stock seat modified for comfort. Some people say the higher seat helps in the knees, but I don't see how an inch or so in height translates much to your bent knee.

Previous ride: Orange Wee Club #34
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