Originally Posted by FishrCutB8
I started riding this Summer and got a 2003 Suzuki SV 1000, which has been a fantastic bike. Zippy through the twisties, fantastic acceleration, great as a commuter to work. It looks great, sounds great (Twin Brothers exhaust) and runs great.
Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut.....Here's the thing. Or rather, the things.
While I was riding, I started noticing these other roads. They're dirt. And, I'm curious about what might be up there. I live in Central PA and there are a lot of dirt trails and fire roads and the like. The thing about the SV is that it's really not up to the task.
Stick with what you know, the VStrom 1000 is a good mix of what you want. More of a standard, so more upright than the SV 1000, priced in a good range, not a ton of changes between years, so used is a viable option. Ins. is cheap.
Consider a set of Heidenau K60 tires. Bias, but long wearing and a more aggressive tire that can better handle off pavement, but is still a very good street tire too. I routinely see 12k+ on the rear on my heavier Super Tenere.
Spring for some of the crash bars and skid plate. Then, don't stress about it falling over. It happens. If you have the protection, no damage occurs, just a little scrape or scratch, no big deal. Ride on.
Jaxon Fife at Ride On ADV has the Heidenau tires, as do other vendors. Jaxon is good people. Get the guards that you like and make you feel secure, then just ride the bike. The ManStrom will do well in commuter mode, two up mode and won't suck horribly off pavement. Just remember it's not a dirt bike and take it easy and you'll have a blast. The VStrom 650 is perhaps better balanced and more flickable in the twisties, but for two up it's a little lacking and frankly, the extra Hp of the 1000 is kinda nice on the commutes and any longer trips on the slab.
Don't bother with the exotics. Not that they don't have things to offer, but for what you describe wanting to do, you don't need the extra cost or maintenance.