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Opinions on V-Stroms

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mike Qube's Avatar
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    Opinions on V-Stroms


    So, I'm looking to add a second bike to my garage. I'm thinking of getting something more of an adventure/touring bike. I'd love a 1200gs, but it's too much $$ for me right now. I'm looking into the V-Strom 650. From what I've been seeing online, I can get one, sometimes with decent accessories for around 5k.
    Does anyone on here have one? I'm looking for something for long distances and light off-road riding.

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  2. #2
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Paging g-string.

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  3. #3
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Absolutly nothing wrong with that choice. Go for it...

    (If your looking for 80% Touring and 20% 'Adventure (meaning serious off road) you might want to check in at Seacoast Sport Cycle. They have several first gen Multistrada's they took in trade. One was mine...! It's no uglier than the weestom, has more motor, and....it's a Ducati! There may be some good deals to be had!)

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    Last edited by DucDave; 10-19-10 at 08:56 AM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member tonyd's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    They are great all around bikes just like the SV they are based on. Strom650 will keep you much happier on New england shit pavement and dirt roads. Some use them off road but I never was much for that with mine. Made a few ventrures on logging roads but with out much dirt back ground it was a tough machine to learn on, it is what 450lbs? 650 is soft for hard sport riding or 2 up. Go 1000 if you plan on lots of 2 up or touring cross country.
    Had a 2006 DL650
    Now have 2008 Kawasaki Versys 650 and preffer it the suzuki. kaw is MUCH better for sporty riding and holds it's own on dirt roads, suspension is better in my opion. Has 17" wheels at both ends for better road tire selection, but limited dual tire selection. Parrellel twin seems smother running than Vtwin.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Mike Qube's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyd View Post
    They are great all around bikes just like the SV they are based on. Strom650 will keep you much happier on New england shit pavement and dirt roads. Some use them off road but I never was much for that with mine. Made a few ventrures on logging roads but with out much dirt back ground it was a tough machine to learn on, it is what 450lbs? 650 is soft for hard sport riding or 2 up. Go 1000 if you plan on lots of 2 up or touring cross country.
    Had a 2006 DL650
    Now have 2008 Kawasaki Versys 650 and preffer it the suzuki. kaw is MUCH better for sporty riding and holds it's own on dirt roads, suspension is better in my opion. Has 17" wheels at both ends for better road tire selection, but limited dual tire selection. Parrellel twin seems smother running than Vtwin.
    I'm not planning on going 2-up at all. I hate riding with a passenger and my girlfriend refuses to get on a bike.

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  6. #6
    Lifer markbvt's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    The Wee-Strom is a good choice. I bought mine brand-new in April '08, and it now has over 37,000 miles on it. It's VERY easy to rack up miles on this bike. It's comfortable, has decent power, handles well, gets great gas mileage, and it's ultra-reliable (mine has needed nothing aside from the usual consumables).

    It's not a great dirt bike -- suspension, geometry, and wheels just aren't quite right for that -- but it'll do fine on dirt roads, etc. I recently rode mine over the Trans-Labrador Highway (700+ miles of loose gravel); a true dual-sport would have been more fun in those conditions, but the Strom made it without damage.

    Also, for what it's worth, Stroms are pretty devoid of personality, at least when they're new. Mine has developed some personality over time, but I expect that's largely a product of the places I've been on that bike, and the work I've done to it. But as a utilitarian, no-frills touring and mild ADV bike, the Strom can't be beat.

    If Suzuki would build an Adventure version with lighter weight, better suspension, spoked wheels, and less bodywork, I'd be seriously tempted away from the upcoming Triumph Tiger 800 XC.

    --mark

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  7. #7
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    I've had two: a 2005 DL650 I put 8,000 miles on and now have an 09 DL650A (ABS) that will turn 10,000 this week. As you can surmise from Markbvt's post, that makes me a poker.

    They are absurdly reliable, have huge supermarket support, and a rider community so devoted it is known as "The Collective."

    The DL650 is considerably more popular than the DL1000 so resale values are almost the same. The 1000 weighs 40 lbs more and has 30-35 more HP. ABS is only available on the 650.

    2004-6 DL650's are pretty much the same. In 2007 it got the twin plug motor, slightly longer swingarm, a little higher alternator output and the ABS option. There aren't really any problem areas or problem years.

    The 1000 has cartridge forks. The 650's have a damper rod fork like the SV650. All have a rear shock with remote reload adjustment and compression damping but not rebound damping adjustment.
    2
    Motorradfahrer magazine holds a 20+ bike shootout called "Alpenkonig" [King of the Alps]. The DL650 was the overall winner - twice.

    Stromtrooper.com is an active forum, as well as the Beasts section of advrider.com.

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    Last edited by Garandman; 10-19-10 at 11:21 AM.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Mike Qube's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    I've had two: a 2005 DL650 I put 8,000 miles on and now have an 09 DL650A (ABS) that will turn 10,000 this week. As you can surmise from Markbvt's post, that makes me a poker.

    They are absurdly reliable, have huge supermarket support, and a rider community so devoted it is known as "The Collective."

    The DL650 is considerably more popular than the DL1000 so resale values are almost the same. The 1000 weighs 40 lbs more and has 30-35 more HP. ABS is only available on the 650.

    2004-6 DL650's are pretty much the same. In 2007 it got the twin plug motor, slightly longer swingarm, a little higher alternator output and the ABS option. There aren't really any problem areas or problem years.

    The 1000 has cartridge forks. The 650's have a damper rod fork like the SV650. All have a rear shock with remote reload adjustment and compression damping but not rebound damping adjustment.
    2
    Motorradfahrer magazine holds a 20+ bike shootout called "Alpenkonig" [King of the Alps]. The DL650 was the overall winner - twice.

    Stromtrooper.com is an active forum, as well as the Beasts section of advrider.com.
    I juts checked out the "beasts" section on advrider. Some good stuff on there. The dl650 seems to be liked by pretty much everyone who has one there.

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  9. #9
    Lifer
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Hmmm...Considering a Wee myself. I do carry a passenger often enough, and I have read that the seat is actually pretty good in that regard. With prices being somewhat similar, perhaps I should just target the 1000....

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  10. #10
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    If your going to look at a lil more adventure and a little less touring, a 950/990 adv is a very worthy choice. Used/farkled for about 7k or so. And way worth the extra $ IMO.

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  11. #11
    Lifer
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    I have owned several KTM's, but the only ones I would actively seek now, is a 200, or maybe the new 150.

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  12. #12
    Lifer Stromper's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    I have the dl1000 am a happy owner

    I would miss those 35 extra horsepower

    I have done 500+ happy miles on 2 lane roads in a day

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  13. #13
    Member leftlane's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Quote Originally Posted by Stromper View Post
    I have the dl1000 am a happy owner

    I would miss those 35 extra horsepower
    They are both great bikes.

    Minor tweaks: Up to 80MPH, the performance is nearly the same, because of the differences in gearing between the two models. I've spooked a few DL1000 riders on group rides who thought they were pulling away, and then did a double take in the mirror when I was right with them.

    Then there is the issue of not having to stop for gas all the time with the 650.

    Like Garandman, I've owned two DL650's and wouldn't have an interest in the DL1000 unless I moved to one of those big square states where you can use the top end without putting your license in danger.

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  14. #14
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Quote Originally Posted by Chippertheripper View Post
    If your going to look at a lil more adventure and a little less touring, a 950/990 adv is a very worthy choice. Used/farkled for about 7k or so. And way worth the extra $ IMO.
    There is a 2004 model for sale on NH CL. 14,900 miles, asking $7,500.

    Used DL650's with ABS are extremely difficult to find (I bought one new) but DL650's pop up regularly. My 2005 with new tires and 8K miles sold for exactly $4K in 2009.

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  15. #15
    Lifer Stromper's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Well I have had a 1K bike or larger since 1976 could not do otherwise.

    I have had mine remapped so the motor is a little perkier and no stumble. 1st gear power wheelies and light in 2nd

    Back on topic

    I think that on the 3rd rate roads I like like 8A where leos are hard to find I think the vstrom is the original hypermotard and can show its cans to most sportbikes in the real road. Then I will be ready for more and maybe some dirt as well.

    I am poor and still don't car about gas mileage. Not sure since remap but was just about 40 before

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    Last edited by Stromper; 10-19-10 at 07:44 PM.

  16. #16
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    BTW it was interesting Sunday to hear what everyone's mpg was at the gas stop, since we'd all covered the same route at more or less the same speed. One Multistrada and a big sport bike reported "around 37."

    The tank is 5.8 gallons but you can probably only use 5.5. I usually go 230 miles before I start looking for gas so skipped the first stop but topped off for the ride home on the second. I took 3.1 gallons to ride that 185 miles...on regular. That's a little inflated due to fill differences, but my long-term average is 51. Lowest was a track day: 32. 44 in regular riding. Highest ever full tank was 62, on a back-roads trip in Maine. I'm usually commuting out of Boston with hard bags, touring windshield, and 240 lb me, so that's pretty impressive.

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    Last edited by Garandman; 10-20-10 at 07:41 AM.
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  17. #17
    Lifer
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Wow. I like that the 650 has that kind of range. How is the 650, two-up, on the highway? Are the passenger accomodations OK?

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  18. #18
    Lifer Stromper's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Certainly passenger seating infinitely better than any sport bike

    Even though God has been generous and I have not crashed in decades Women never wanted to ride at any pace I found the least bit entertaining.

    There are also like 6 companies that make various aftermarket seats

    The 650 is also easier on tires with many reports better than 10000
    On a sport bike tires cost about 6 cents a mile which is almost as much as gas we all talk about.

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  19. #19
    Lifer markbvt's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    my long-term average is 51. Lowest was a track day: 32. 44 in regular riding. Highest ever full tank was 62, on a back-roads trip in Maine. I'm usually commuting out of Boston with hard bags, touring windshield, and 240 lb me, so that's pretty impressive.
    I usually get 50-55mpg on typical rides on secondary roads, depending on how spirited the pace is. It'll go down to the low 40s or so on long highway stretches unless you keep speeds under 70ish. The worst I've ever gotten was about 35mpg, but that was with the bike fully loaded with tail bag, saddlebags, and tank panniers, on Highway 1 in Newfoundland, on a super-windy day, with a dirty air filter.

    On that same trip, I got to test the Strom's range on the new Phase III section of the Trans-Labrador Highway -- 260 miles between gas stops (Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Port Hope Simpson), gravel road all the way. Gravel and knobby tires cut down fuel efficiency, made up for a bit by lower speeds; the Strom made it the whole way without adding the extra fuel I was carrying on the back of the bike, and probably had at least half a gallon left in the tank.

    --mark

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  20. #20
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Quote Originally Posted by gregp View Post
    Wow. I like that the 650 has that kind of range. How is the 650, two-up, on the highway? Are the passenger accomodations OK?
    While the DL1000 has a lot more power, many people ride two-up on the 650. Most report it's fine up to highway speeds but not much more.

    The folks who prefer the 1000 usually aren't going off-road much, but like to accelerate fast or ride a lot two up and loaded down with passenger and gear. Asking a guy on a forum how much his wife weighs is considered indelicate, but V-Stroms are popular with large humans and there are guys who report their combined weight as "over 500 lbs, plus gear. My wife and I in riding gear weigh over 400 lbs.

    The only difference, accommodations-wise, is that the DL1000 comes with a seat that is 1" higher than the stock DL650 seat. They are all interchangeable, and Suzuki also makes a Tall Touring saddle that is 40mm (about 1.5") higher than the stock seat and about 15mm (call it 1/2") taller than the DL1000 seat. There are also many aftermarket seats that are wider/taller/harder/softer/etc.



    One couple looped the US on one, and another couple rode from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. They chose the 650 because it is about the lightest bike available that can comfortably handle two: it's 8" longer than an SV650. It has adequate performance up to about 80mph. It has outstanding range and many windscreen, baggage, crash bar and skid plate options available. And while very reliable, the dealer network is extensive. DL650's are imported as kits and assembled at a factory Colombia, and exported to Venezuela, Ecuador & Costa Rica so they are somewhat common and many dealers stock the tires. It's a relatively popular police bike down there, where the roads suck. So while Charlie and Ewan traveled with an SUV and factory support, DL riders just do it.

    There's some cheerleading going on here and I don't sell these things, so let me bring up what the most frequently cited negatives are.

    * The stock suspension is not terribly sophisticated and undersprung, especially for two up riding, on both bikes (though relatively easily remedied). I have Intiminators (like emulators) and Sonic Springs on the front, and an Elka rear shock with a spring suitable for my immense mass, the hard bags, etc etc.

    * The stock windshield has a "flip" that results in buffeting at highway speeds for many riders. There is an adjustable bracket (Madstad) available, and many aftermarket windshields. I have three and my current favorite is the California Scientific "Sport" shield.


    * For a touring/adventure bike, the alternator output is not high. The bike normally runs with both headlights on and that only leaves you about 125-150 watts. That's enough for a heated vest and handgrips, but if you want to run heated pants or have a passenger with heated gear, you run out of juice. There is an aftermarket harness that allows you to switch one bulb on and off to help.

    * It has no cachet outside the lunatics who own one. The exhaust note with the stock exhaust is mundane and non-riders are not impressed with a 650. Harley riders think it's a sport bike, sport bike riders don't know what the hell it is. So if you want to meet girls, buy a BMW. Well, at least girls who have graduated from college...


    If you want other riders to think you are a cool, buy a Ducati or Moto Guzzi. V-Strom riders are unfashionable and so many wear high-viz gear that BMW riders automatically wave. In fact, the President of Yankee Beemers rides a DL650A....

    Oh, and sometimes they get sleepy....

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    Last edited by Garandman; 10-20-10 at 08:30 AM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Mike Qube's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    BTW it was interesting Sunday to hear what everyone's mpg was at the gas stop, since we'd all covered the same route at more or less the same speed. One Multistrada and a big sport bike reported "around 37."

    The tank is 5.8 gallons but you can probably only use 5.5. I usually go 230 miles before I start looking for gas so skipped the first stop but topped off for the ride home on the second. I took 3.1 gallons to ride that 185 miles...on regular. That's a little inflated due to fill differences, but my long-term average is 51. Lowest was a track day: 32. 44 in regular riding. Highest ever full tank was 62, on a back-roads trip in Maine. I'm usually commuting out of Boston with hard bags, touring windshield, and 240 lb me, so that's pretty impressive.
    230 isnt bad. It's a hell of a lot better than the range on my Monster. My low-fuel light comes on at around 115 miles on that. When I went up to Quebec and back in one day, I think I stopped 7 times for gas.

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  22. #22
    Member leftlane's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    While the DL1000 has a lot more power, many people ride two-up on the 650. Most report it's fine up to highway speeds but not much more.
    Between me and all the crap I carry in the luggage, I'm usually running at close to the GVWR (925 pounds), and I've had no problem putting my license in danger. I do try to keep it under 80.

    I have beefed up the suspension on both ends, so the real world GVWR has probably increased a bit. (Yeah, I know there are other factors that go into that number.)

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  23. #23
    Lifer markbvt's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    For what it's worth, most people who've ridden both say the DL650 handles much better than the DL1000.

    --mark

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  24. #24
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    the V-stroms biggest weakness is its measley 400watt alternator, sure sounds big for a sportbike, when you start adding geated gear, auxillary lighting, something has to give,

    the GS has an 800 watt alternator, the MotorGuzzi Stelvio is 550 watts


    If I were looking for a new adventure bike right now, I'd prolly wait for the Tenere

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  25. #25
    Senior Member Mike Qube's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on V-Stroms

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    the V-stroms biggest weakness is its measley 400watt alternator, sure sounds big for a sportbike, when you start adding geated gear, auxillary lighting, something has to give,

    the GS has an 800 watt alternator, the MotorGuzzi Stelvio is 550 watts


    If I were looking for a new adventure bike right now, I'd prolly wait for the Tenere
    can the alternator be upgraded?

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