What to expect coming from an XR650L? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 28 Old 08-09-2010, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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What to expect coming from an XR650L?

Hello, first real post here. Have been lurking for awhile.

I currently ride an XR650L and am considering the Wee/Vee and would like to know if this would be a satisfying replacement for my XRL as my next bike. Frankly, I’m all over the place in terms of what I might want for a next bike: it varies from the Wee, Vee Strom, KTM 950/990 ADV, KTM 950 SE, Triumph Tiger, even considering an FJR1300, which is obviously much more suited to slab. Like many others, I’m searching for that perfect adventure touring bike and I’d like to ideally have just one bike that can “do it all.”

My biggest gripe about the XR is that it is not (no surprise here) a very highway friendly bike. Sure, you can cruise at 65-70 mph for long stretches, but not comfortably and at what cost to the motor? For what I want to do (medium to long-range adventure touring), the XR does many things very well, except for the fact that its single cylinder motor/lighter weight is not ideal for riding long stretches of highway comfortably. Can the Wee cruise comfortably all day long at these speeds or higher if necessary? How much off-roadability would I be giving up with a Wee over the XR? Admittedly, when I acquired the XRL I had much grander plans of doing a lot more off-road riding than I actually have been doing since I got it. I still love the XR but am just looking for something with more highway capabilities and comfort and that's where the Wee/Vee (as well as the others I mentioned above) come into consideration. Note that I'm also considering the Vee as well, but just don't know if it is more than I need.

Seems like some Strom owners are putting TKC-80s on their Vees/Wees and taking them just about anywhere. That sounds encouraging. Appreciate anyone's thoughts on this.

Last edited by HolyStromboli; 08-09-2010 at 11:46 AM.
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post #2 of 28 Old 08-09-2010, 12:32 PM
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I have a DRZ 400 which is similar to the XR 650 in most ways. I would have to say the only thing you are giving up from the XR is off road capabillity. The strom is a do-it-all bike. You can ride some easy trails with out any difficulty, but the most noticable difference is general road riding. The strom is comfortable and powerful enough to go all day without any problems. I think my DRZ has less than 100 miles on it for the year. Since getting my wee, my other bikes just sit in the garage. It's nice to know that they are there if I feel like riding them, but I enjoy the wee much more than the other two. The true dual-sport bikes like the XR, DRZ, KLX are a lot of fun in their element. They just are not great highway bikes. If the seat were a little wider and softer, it might help some, but I wouldn't want to do more than 100 miles or so on mine.

2005 v-strom 650 blue
2007 DRZ400s
2007 honda VTX1300c
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post #3 of 28 Old 08-09-2010, 01:05 PM
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I think with the wee you are getting way more then your giving up. It won't rumble along on single track like the XR but it will eat highways. You may have noticed that most are outfitted with a Madstad bracket to stop buffetting and that an upgrade in seats usually occurs for those so inclined to travel into the sunset. Other than that I would give the OEM tires a try, they seem very good to me and I travel just like you said (medium range adventure touring). It's the one I'd try first cause it would be so easy to resell should it not meet my needs.

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post #4 of 28 Old 08-10-2010, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. Seems like I'm on the right track here.
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post #5 of 28 Old 08-10-2010, 01:01 PM
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Don't have any illusions - the Strom is NOT a dirt bike.

As an ex-MX'er, the Strom appealed to my senses, just barely enough off road capability to ride up a two track, zip down a mysterious dirt road, or cut down a rough alley. It's a tough bike. I've seen YouTube vids of Stroms getting air, blasting up and down hills, singletrack, broken shale trails, etc., but I really think its out of it's element for real trail rough going. It's a big bike [the fairing will seem absolutely huge from the riding position when compared with your tiny XL's cockpit], with not a whole lot of suspension travel, low slung, so you have to really be mindful of it's largesse when off road. I look at it like it's a Toyota RAV SUV or a little Ford Escape - you can take it off road if you're careful, but it's really much happier on the road.

That said, It's a wonderful bike to eat up miles on, whether it's on the freeway, or two lane back roads. Smooth, comfortable, and there are so many accessories to be had, that it's impossible not to fine tune it to your ultimate magic setup.....it's a great canvas.

I don't know if I'd ever put some TKC knobbies on my Wee, just because I commute to work on it so much - not much sense in grinding down expensive knobbies for nothing!, so I'm happy to stick with barely dirt worthy tires [bridgestone battlewings]. Which kinda limits my off-road explorations, but that's fine, not much "technical terrain" in Michigan anyway!

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Last edited by jokermtb; 08-10-2010 at 01:08 PM.
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post #6 of 28 Old 08-10-2010, 08:16 PM
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Joker hit it square, he must be a wise man. 90% street, 10% fire-road. Doesn't like the big gravel.
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post #7 of 28 Old 08-11-2010, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jokermtb View Post
It's a big bike [the fairing will seem absolutely huge from the riding position when compared with your tiny XL's cockpit].
No doubt. I sat on both a Vee and Wee at my local dealer yesterday and the first thing I noticed was that these bikes were so much bigger (and heavier) than my XR. I'm no stranger to big bikes but it's been awhile since I've ridden anything larger than my XR. Right now I don't do much offroading anyway, just the occasional dirt/gravel road whenever I plan or map out a ride using GPS. One of the things I'm looking for is to expand my options in the event that I'm far away from home and want to simply abort a route and get home faster and just hop on the freeway. The XR can do this, but again, with limited capabilities whereas the Wee would be right at home doing so.

Thanks for the input, Joker. :thumbsup:
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post #8 of 28 Old 08-11-2010, 08:58 AM
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Its kinda funny, when I'm standing up on it, and puttering down a bumpy two track, I can't help but laugh - the bike tries so hard to be a dirt bike, but it's just not one. Kinda like a mutt that's always trying to be a show dog!

But, trying gets very far, in my book - its one of the best bikes I've ridden. A great bike to get lost on - you can pretty much take any way home if that happens [btw, way more comfy than my buddy's F800gs - he's a uber-noob, and will probably never take his bike off road, even though he's a really good mountain biker - just kinda intimidating, I suppose. It's entertaining to watch him squirm around on the pencil wide seat on that thing after 40 minutes of riding, as I sit on my Strom couch. Maybe he's gotta dump it a few times to get over the hump.]

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post #9 of 28 Old 08-16-2010, 09:51 AM
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Keep it

If you can keep the XR and add a DL, you'll have the best of both worlds. The DL is fine for poking along down dirt and gravel roads and smooth dirt trails, but too big, heavy, and powerful for real dirt riding. My XR is uncomfortable on the highway (though the engine shows no sign of distress at extended 75 MPH running) but is great at trail-riding, and an absolute blast on dirt and gravel roads. Considering that they ran air-cooled XR's for many years in the desert races with great success, I kinda doubt the engines is being strained on the highway. As a precaution I feed mine premium Honda oil. If you gotta let the XR go to get a DL, and you do much real dirt riding, you'll be unhappy.
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post #10 of 28 Old 08-17-2010, 06:49 PM
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The Wee

The Wee for me.

It does not do any one thing superbly.

However, it does many things very very well

I do long distance fully loaded with clothes and camping gear for up to two weeks, covering 800+ kilometres in a day.

I commute daily in traffic.

Dirt roads and trails see the bike more capable than my faded skills.

The size/weight feeling diminishes quickly after you spend some time on the bike, they are very easy to get used to [I have done close to 25,000km in ten months since buying my Wee brand new after trading my BMW R1150GS].

Tourance tyres give great road handling on wet or dry and handle dirt roads very well while giving 20,000+ km on the rear before reaching the wear blocks.

I doubt you could find a more versatile bike.

Ock. in Oz

I ride naked and unafraid.

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