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Old 06-08-2009, 08:22 AM   #1
GreyDR OP
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Top heavy, tippy V-strom

I have a love hate relationship with my V-Strom. Over the winter break all the little things that I don't like about the bike seem much more important and I find myself looking at other bikes. Then, spring and daily rides and I find that the little things don't really matter as much, except for one. I have ridden quite a few motorcycles in my 30 years of riding and I have never ridden a motorcyle that is so damn hard to ride slow. The V-strom is incredibly difficult to ride smoothly and balanced at the creep and crawl speeds of stop and go traffic in the city.

At speed the bike is no longer unstable and is a joy to ride. In the city, scuttling around with traffic it is like trying to balance on a tightrope wearing clown shoes. My buddy is a motorcycle cop and a week ago in a parking lot he was showing me all the cool bike control stuff that they do. I said wow, cool, now try that on the strom. He goes, "Sure, no problem." He had to leg down 3 times to prevent tipping over. The consternation on his face was quite funny. When done, he parked my strom looked at it and said, "Damn that bike is hard to ride." For him, in that context it was.

Anyone else find this to be true?
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:25 AM   #2
Sugar Pig
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Sorry, no

Try a BMW 1200C sometime, it will change your perception
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:31 AM   #3
cueball
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i just acquired my dl 1000 last week. find it to be extremely easy to ride slowly compared to the oilhead gs's i've owned & as easy as the gspd i traded for it. it really suprised me off-road in the mud & sand. once i add a bashplate & tkc's i think it'll be good to go!. on the ride home when i did the trade, i found it o be extremely comfortable & capable on the 265 mile road trip.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:38 AM   #4
Surrlibrumm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyDR

... Anyone else find this to be true?
Nope.

Sure, she is top heavy as hell and this becomes an issue for sure when it's wet and/or slippery. But in the city ? Not really.

If your V-Strom could talk, she would use the famous words from Aretha Franklin:

"All I'm askin' is for a little respect."


Take care.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:48 AM   #5
Pecha72
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Ive owned 5 Africa Twins (RD04=the ´older model´) and they were top-heavy. Admittedly the V-Strom is, too, but not as much.

My girlfriend is actually learning to ride it now, and controlling the Suzuki at slow speeds is one of the areas she needs to work on. We have lowered the seat height by about 2 inches (which is quite a lot - the little ground clearance there was, is almost gone!)..... but all in all, even she can manage it in town traffic, after practising for about 2 months now; she had a bike before, but hasnt ridden for 7-8 years. The V-Strom really aint that bad in town, but sure there are better choices for small people. Hope she doesnt get to test ride the new Gladius, ´cos she´ll want to change...
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:57 AM   #6
Wambo
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I would agree the V-Strom is top heavy and more difficult at low speed as far as balancing. You end up adopting a different, more ackward way of slow speed ridding compared to other bikes. You do get used to it however. Switch back to another bike and do stop and go riding-You'll wonder why the V-Strom can be so difficult. But once underway, all is forgiven.
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:00 AM   #7
bross
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Have you ever watched or practiced "Ride Like a Pro" DVDs? Slow speed on *any* bike is pretty easy if you slip the clutch to stay in the friction zone, ride the rear brake to control speed. You *should* be able to walk the bike around at a crawl in complete control. I bet your buddy would have been able to ride your strom just like his other bike after a bit of practice. Sure some bikes will perform better at slow speed maneuvers than others, but ALL bikes will be controllable at slow speeds as well.

My R1200RT was top heavy, especially when the tank was full, but manageable. I prefer Jodie's DR200 at really slow speeds but I can do anything I can do on the DR on any of our other bikes, some just take a bit more practice.

I rode a riding buddies V-Strom half a dozen times and never really noticed anything.

bross screwed with this post 06-08-2009 at 09:08 AM
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:07 AM   #8
Patrick46
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Is it a V?....maybe you might wanna consider a Wee??? I know I am.
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:50 AM   #9
GreyDR OP
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This is hard to explain...the issue that I have is not coming to a smooth, balanced stop, starting with a balance, clean take off, or ridning at a constant, consistant slow speed. I can ride this bike smoothly, balanced all day at 5mph. The problem for me arises in stop and go traffic. You come to a stop in a line of cars. The average driver, for reasons that I will never understand, stops 1 to 2 car lengths behind the car in front of them. Then, they slowly cost forward 1/2 the distance, stop, cost again until they are behind the other car. At a light in heavy traffic, before the light turns green the whole line of traffic will move forward about 1/4 of a block in that crawl, stop, crawl, stop pattern. So, on the bike I am forced to stop, crawl forward at less than 2 mph, stop, repeat. In Chicago, if I am heading north or west out of downtown and want to avoid the toll roads and interstates I sit in at least 1 hour of stop and go traffic to get out of the city. For me, I find the strom more difficult than other bikes that I have ridden during this.
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:59 AM   #10
Pecha72
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have you adjusted your bikes injection anyhow?

See, I´ve got a K7 Wee with 60.000kms on it, and it´s been adjusted just a few per cent more rich in the low revs, with small throttle openings. And it really did make it a bit better & smoother in very slow speeds, parking lots, etc.

Just rode a brand new K9, which I believe has not been adjusted anyhow, and throttle response was far more sharp, especially at almost idle. This certainly made it a bit harder to ride very slow. It also seemed easier to stall, if you werent careful with the throttle.

Suzuki´s original box can be adjusted with the SDS software. This only took about 5 minutes on my bike, and didnt noticeably affect fuel consumption.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:29 AM   #11
bross
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyDR
This is hard to explain...the issue that I have is not coming to a smooth, balanced stop, starting with a balance, clean take off, or ridning at a constant, consistant slow speed. I can ride this bike smoothly, balanced all day at 5mph. The problem for me arises in stop and go traffic. You come to a stop in a line of cars. The average driver, for reasons that I will never understand, stops 1 to 2 car lengths behind the car in front of them. Then, they slowly cost forward 1/2 the distance, stop, cost again until they are behind the other car. At a light in heavy traffic, before the light turns green the whole line of traffic will move forward about 1/4 of a block in that crawl, stop, crawl, stop pattern. So, on the bike I am forced to stop, crawl forward at less than 2 mph, stop, repeat. In Chicago, if I am heading north or west out of downtown and want to avoid the toll roads and interstates I sit in at least 1 hour of stop and go traffic to get out of the city. For me, I find the strom more difficult than other bikes that I have ridden during this.
I had a similar situation leaving work, a 4 way stop that would back up, mainly because the majority of drivers have no idea of the rules of the road and two or three of them sit there waiting when they should be going, then they all try to go together... anyway, same scenario, it would be ride ahead 8-10', stop, wait 2-3 seconds, ride ahead 8-10', stop, wait 2-3 seconds, ad infinitum. I'd just make a game of it and try to never put my feet down, just roll slow enough so that as you came up to the car in front, it would move ahead it's 10' and you'd just keep rolling slowly. I also try to come up to stop signs, stop completely, check both ways, and then move off, without putting my feet down. Can't always do it but I'm getting better. Sure this uses clutch and rear brake but I've never burned out a clutch and it doesn't seem to cause me to go through brake pads any sooner than normal.

Another little trick I learned is that sometimes you're rolling to a stop and using your rear brake but you lean a titch to the right so you have to dab your right foot down, but you're rolling towards the car in front etc. You don't want to use front brake cause that'll pull you straight down... those are my less graceful stops. I try to remember to just tilt my head to the left before any and all stops, and 99.9% of the time I'll come to a well balanced stop, barely balancing with my left foot.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:55 AM   #12
LowAndSilent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bross
Have you ever watched or practiced "Ride Like a Pro" DVDs? Slow speed on *any* bike is pretty easy if you slip the clutch to stay in the friction zone, ride the rear brake to control speed. You *should* be able to walk the bike around at a crawl in complete control. I bet your buddy would have been able to ride your strom just like his other bike after a bit of practice. Sure some bikes will perform better at slow speed maneuvers than others, but ALL bikes will be controllable at slow speeds as well.
Agreed. I constantly ride my DL650 in stop-n-crawl traffic on the I-5. Clutch control and using the rear break exclusively are what really help me.

I've also found that I get my sloppiest when I'm not looking ahead. I'm looking at the rear bumper of the car ahead of me, or down near it's tires. Once I remember to keep my head up and look "through" the car ahead of me, my control gets a heck of a lot better.
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:03 AM   #13
GreyDR OP
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[quote=LowAndSilent]... Clutch control ... quote]

After riding in the city awhile my left forarm from working the clutch is as huge as my righ forarm from working...um...
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:13 AM   #14
Moooz
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It is a top heavy beast; I do love it. Why do you think crash bars are such a popular add on?? It does take a little practice. Slip clutch in friction zone, look up(not down or a few feet in front) all good tips. Go practice in a parking lot for 20-30 minutes every other week. Just try to go as slow as possible without putting your foot down. At stop signs try to come to a complete stop without putting your foot down. Yes, even then sometimes it just won't feel comfortable, you can always do the duck walk, with your legs as outriggers. You are not the only on who's had this uncomfortable "tippy" feeling; practice, practice. You are not alone my friend.
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:39 AM   #15
hahmule
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One of the trade offs with a taller bike is the higher center of gravity. My previous bike, a Triumph Sprint, was more stable as you suggest. However, I only feel feel the difference with the Wee in stop and go traffic at really low speeds. Part of this is the spongy front suspension which I will address shortly. In the interim, I have learned to be off the front brake altogether once the bike is at a creep.
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