We take 4-6 hour rides twisties + gravel roads almost every weekend, and my mates run on KTM 950/990s, BMW GS/GSAs, Triumph 800XCs, and V-Stroms. I ride a 2000 Tiger which I bought for $700. No problem keeping up or leading in any terrain.
I don't think I enjoy my ride any less than my fellow riders. Brilliant motor:
Plenty of torque, smooth; comfortable 2-up with camping gear; Acerbis plastic tank good for 250 miles+; heated grips, 12V aux power for my vest/GPS. Top Heavy! Just as unmanageable off-road as any of the other bikes. The big Negative: the Girlie is FUGLY ... so I do drool over the Katooms! which are just as ugly as the GSs.
Research on the 955i and riding experience revealed a few critical weaknesses that can easily be addressed:
- Suspension: Too soft, but only the BMW Telelever or KTM WP suspension has this beat. Fix: Ricor Intiminators[/URL] (or RaceTech Emulators) fork mod, Ohlins/Penske/HyperPro Shock.
- Fuel coupling: Fragile plastic. replace with Colder CPC Stainless Steel from QuickCouplings[/URL] ($50 fix)
- Tires: Same deal with any of the big trailees; Recommend Heidenau K60s[/URL] ; Pro/Cons of a 19" Front wheel
- Rubber pegs: Replace with serrated PivotPegz[/URL]
- Better bash plate: But many of the newer bikes are running plastic bash plates.
- Windscreen - wind buffeting
- If you submerge the bike in water: You have to remove the fuel tank and air box to get to the sparkplugs.
If you get the first 4 issues sorted, and assuming you've installed crash bars/engine guards, you'll be on par with any of the other bikes.. at a much smaller investment. I'm only $2000 in the hole.
If you go with the V-Strom, DL1000 that is, you'd still have to address suspension and the protection. You'll never match the Triumph Triple motor.
All bikes are a compromise, but you can ride anything anywhere:
On our last ride I was inspired by Sjaak Lucassen off-road on an R-1! See video: http://youtu.be/ThO-w9SCM8I
The fastest bike off-road last weekend was the Triumph Bonneville, until he bottomed out and lost his left chromed reverse cone muffler. - No worries: we had tools. We creamed our bash plates on a few rocks and logs.
If you go off-road be prepared to drop your bike... standard technique on a failed hill climb is:
- turn right,
- drop left to keep wheels downhill.
- If front wheel is further uphill, drag... yes drag.. the bike around to point the front wheel downhill.
How much $$$ can you afford on a bike and not feel bad when you have to do what's necessary to off-road.
Love what you ride, and ride the hell out of it!