Bandit 1200s vs Weestrom?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by elementalg20, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. elementalg20

    elementalg20 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    806
    Location:
    Melcher, Iowa
    Odd comparison, yes I'm sure.

    I like the wee for it's upright ergo's, overall roomy, EFI, lots of aftermarket goodies, dirt roads are starting to look cooler but not clue if that'll really happen never mind it's far from a dirt bike lol. Should be super reliable, and inexpensive to run, long range and reasonable on the power side of things. The one I'm looking at has a top case, but that's about it near as I can tell, 11k miles, maint. is current for asking $2995@ dealer.

    The bandit reads as follows: 2003 Suzuki 1200s bandit 18,000 miles Yoshimura exhaust can, highway pegs(attached to crash bars) tank bra, new handle bars and heated grips. Three new sprockets, two front and one rear. all new cables, and new rear tire. Seat has gel inserts. It's got some sort of serious bar riser installed to get it upright, thus the new cables. Same price as the wee.

    Two very different bikes in my mind, but both should do what I'm after. Comfy 2up afternoon/weekend touring, comfortable solo commuters, and both good for hopping on for a trip the the local grocery store. I'm trying to lean towards the wee for practicality, mpg better, efi, a little less maintenace(not as hard on tires, chains, brakes...or so I tell myself). But I'm sure the stonking power of the bandit would make for a great time. I've not ridden either, so thoughts and opinions are welcome as always. Either way, I think I'm at long last close to being able to pull the trigger and buy something again....just going to have to be cheaper than I hoped for due to cage issues. I'm looking at $3k and less without having to go cross country to get it(I'm in Iowa).

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    754
    Location:
    Sweden
    If you spend most of your time below 60-70 mph the strom is better, if you like to faster and do sport touring the bandit is better. Simple as that, neither is an offroad or gravel road kind of bike really.

    Me personally I'd go for the strom, bandit is good and great engine but I know from experience I have more fun on lighter nimbler bikes.
    #2
  3. 10/10ths

    10/10ths Road Trip Fool

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,002
    Location:
    Bayou country
    ....both are fantastic machines, but the Bandit is a screamer. The only downside to the Bandit is that it will cost more in gas money to ride.

    The Bandit is a better road burner, and is closer to the ground, so if you are short inseam, it's a better fit.

    The V-Strom will get better gas mileage and gives great visibility from the high riding position, but walking speed is a little more tricky if you have short legs.

    I own a 650 V-Strom and if I did not already own her, I'd buy the Bandit for THAT engine.

    Good luck.

    Just buy the Bandit, if you don't like her, sell her to me this Fall.

    :lol3
    #3
  4. Scrivens

    Scrivens Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    617
    Location:
    usually the garage
    Up to today I owned a K9 ABS Wee and an 07 Bandit 1250S. Both have been heavily tweaked for touring: different bars, Madstat bracket, soft luggae and top box and so on on the Wee; Rox risers, lowered pegs, Givi touring screen, driving lights, full Givi E41 hard luggage etc on the 1250S. Both have heated grips, handguards, 12V sockets and the usual stuff. In Imperial mpg, the Wee has averaged 65mpg, the Bandit on exactly the same runs, 56mpg. Tyre and chain/sprocket wear is around the same on both, though the Bandit front tyres do wear quicker than the Wee's. Both bikes are almost vibe free, handle well in the twisty stuff and are quite stable at highway speeds. The Bandit does gravel roads surprisingly well too.

    Up to a genuine 115kmh the Wee is smooth, quiet, powerful enough and very capable, but over that it doesn't have the poke of a big engine. Up to the same speeds it is also fine with a pillion, but there's not much in reserve for fast overtaking, even dropping a gear and running it up to the redline. It will wind out to about 180kmh, but slower than the Bandit of course - which does that in a few seconds, pillion, full bags or whatever. For snap overtakes at highway speeds, the Wee is not is its element, whereas on the Bandit you have to keep your eye on the speedo as you move out to overtake otherwise you will be at seriously illegal speeds without realising it.

    The Bandit is electric smooth, has unbelievable torque right from idle and accelerates like a demon if you feel like it. It is happy to cruise at 2500rpm in top (about 80kmh) if you want to as well. The throttle is not touchy and it is a very civilised bike to live with. I'm 5'11 with long arms and legs and I find it rather a reach to the bars after the Wee (hence the Rox risers), the footrests are more 'sporting' than the Wee and the wind noise, even with the Givi touring screen makes life a misery over 110kmh. I have a very quiet AGV helmet and wear earplugs, btw. (The standard screen sends a fierce wind blast and rain right into your upper chest and face - dreadful.) The Bandit is useless if you take pillions as the footrests are high and the seat slopes so they have a lot of trouble keeping their position on the seat once the roads get twisty or bumpy. None of my regular pillions can hack it in the hills, even my 5' 3" lightweight daughter. The Bandit suspension is a lot harsher too. It is a lovely bike, and amazingly economical but I find it a lot more tiring to ride distances on than the Wee. As a bike it is more relaxed, the engine and exhaust are almost silent at highway speeds, but driving it with the wind noise and marginal weather protection gets tiresome. The seat is appalling as well.

    You will love either of them, but personally I'd buy the Wee again. In fact I have sold the pair of them this weekend and will be replacing them with the 2012 Wee. I have saved enough to spend twice a new Wee's purchase price on a new bike, but after looking around for the past 2 months there is nothing else I can think of which is so generally useful at everything as the Wee - and it is a lot lighter than bigger bikes.
    #4
  5. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    27,204
    Location:
    Minnyhappiness
    I despise the wee strom and the bandit is really heavy.

    You said 'two-up' so I'll go with the bandit.
    #5
  6. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    57,308
    Location:
    Toronto
    What's the fuel range on the Bandit?
    #6
  7. 0ldhippie

    0ldhippie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    578
    Location:
    Sacramento
    I don't really like either? The SVs were great bikes, but I never got the fake dirt bike (tall and funny looking) storms? The bandit's are built to a price, old/low tech and heavy. They are both kinda old school standards and lot of folks love them. Pick the one that fits ya best.
    #7
  8. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,539
    Location:
    Collingwood, Ontario
    What rules?

    If your head, get the DL650

    If your heart, get the Bandit

    The V-Strom is a great bike, but it is hard to get excited by it.
    #8
  9. elementalg20

    elementalg20 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    806
    Location:
    Melcher, Iowa
    My heart as pretty well always dictated what bikes I've purchased. The issue with that is I've never owned any of them for a very long time, always a flash in the pan lust affair. It's difficult to find something that I can both love, and live with.....and be cheap lol. I'll keep looking around and see what pops up one never knows.
    #9
  10. 10/10ths

    10/10ths Road Trip Fool

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,002
    Location:
    Bayou country
    ....Thank you for that report---Brilliant!!!!

    You have made my day. I actually do "love" my Wee. My RC51 and Ducati Monster fill my need for speed and "character". My Wee is just an amazing machine and I delight taking her on 12 hour rides.

    Your report warms my heart. I have now lost my lust for the 1250.

    With a good aftermarket windscreen, the "Windstrom Manta" in my case, the Wee is a calm, noise free, buffet free, wonderful long range, cross-country touring machine.

    Cheers.
    #10
  11. Scrivens

    Scrivens Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    617
    Location:
    usually the garage
    The 1250 is a lovely bike but it's just not suitable for me. I live in the foothills and most of the roads here are steep, narrow and twisty and I do a 200km 'commute' 4 or 5 days a week in all weathers, frequently with a pilion. The real killers with the Bandit are the wind noise and lack of rain protection - the screens are too narrow by about 3" either side unless you get the huge Madstad one - and the high pillion rests. For people who just punt around for 50-100km on fine days then neither is a problem, but for the roads here, especially with a pillion, and for 12hr days on the highway in dirty weather, it is a tiring bike for me to ride. The wind noise isn't buffeting, just the blast around the screen edges hitting the helmet as the calm air 'cockpit' with the 1250S fairing is very narrow. The naked 1250 is a lot quieter to ride on the highway, but you have to live with the wind pressure, bugs and rain at speed.

    I've had bikes for well over 40 years and have owned lots - dirt bikes, tourers, sports bikes, (no cruisers), and I always had some variety of Beemer airhead in the garage as my touring mount until I bought the Wee. I put big miles on the Beemers - 250,000 miles (not km) on one - so I've had a bit of experience at what makes a good tourer. As Jon_l said above, the Wee isn't an exciting bike for me, but it isn't a dull one either. It is a lot of fun if you use the throttle hard and push it in the twisty bits and incredibly capable at most things, just like the old airheads. I was hoping to find something else to replace it with just for a change of bike, but nothing I've tried in the last year or so has done the same job without making a lot of compromises.

    The fact remains that of all the current mid or larger capacity 'standard' bikes around (60hp and above) the Wee has about the best pillion accommodation and the nicest combination of performance, ergos, weight, lights and touring comfort. The only similar ones that spring to mind are the Bonneville and the W800 Kawasaki, and both of them need substantial additions to make them good all weather tourers as it wasn't their design spec. I grew up riding Brit bikes, CB750 Hondas, Suzuki T500s, Yamaha XS650s, BMWs and similar, so the current sports bike-based riding positions don't suit me; younger riders would consider the 1250S an 'upright' bike and very comfortable compared to most. The 1250 is superb on the highway if you get calm air - as silent as a BMW, smooth and lots of power - but days like that are rare here. The Wee on the other hand can get me home through 3hrs of torrential rain with little more than damp cuffs and can be a real hoot in fine weather.
    #11
  12. Scrivens

    Scrivens Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    617
    Location:
    usually the garage
    Depends on what you are doing - highway riding at 65-75mph, about 180 miles to reserve, at illegal speeds about 120-150 depending on just how illegal we are talking about, around town in heavy traffic, perhaps 140. Pottering about at 2500 rpm in top (50mph) on country roads will get you around 200. (This is the 1250S - it gets better mpg than the 1200.)
    #12
  13. elementalg20

    elementalg20 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    806
    Location:
    Melcher, Iowa
    After doing more reading, it looks like the bandit 1200s is out for me. Too many bad reports from pillion riders. I hope to get my wife more enthused and involved in riding, and a bike that's not reasonably comfortable for her simply will not work. I'm not sure if the wee strom is the bike for me yet either, but it's definately got it's merits. Unfortunately I'm gathering a pretty long list of "maybe's" again but so be it. Not exactly in a rush, but it'd be nice to find "the one". Hard to do on such a tight budget though.
    #13
  14. Cat0020

    Cat0020 El cheapo

    Joined:
    May 1, 2002
    Oddometer:
    5,664
    Location:
    NW of Philly, Hoboken, Brooklyn, Jamaica NY.
    If passenger comfort is more priority than your ego: Burgman 650 w/backrest, plenty of underseat storage for her crap without extra luggage, used ones can be found under $3k.
    #14
  15. elementalg20

    elementalg20 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    806
    Location:
    Melcher, Iowa
    Might ego might rank just slightly above passenger comfort:D I can't bring myself to ride a burgman, maybe when I'm 60....maybe. Right now I'm still shy of 30 yrs old. I'd like to find a light weight easy to live with adv/s-t type bike that is comfortable 2up and fun solo. Tons of bikes will do what I need solo, but so many of them don't offer much in the way of passenger comfort. I might just have to hold off a while a spend some more money as much as I'd like to get something bought while I have this money(I suck at money period).

    These are "bigger" bikes than I desire, but something like an R1100RT, ST1100, Trophy 900/1200 might be in order. Maybe even a R11xxR would work ok with a windcreen of some sort, but I hate to buy one because I like the looks and end up turing it into an uglier version of an RT trying to make it comfortable for me. High mile RT's are definately out there for reasonable prices and I don't mind wrenching myself. Tiger could possibly work as well as the Wee/Vee strom's I started this thread looking at. I really wish I could get my hands on a wee strom for a weekend to really judge it for myself. Some people carry a pretty low opinion of them, while others feel they are just short of gold, just goes to show it's your own opinion that really matters but it's difficult to score test rides and a revolving door of bikes is usually not financially viable either.
    #15
  16. Scrivens

    Scrivens Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    617
    Location:
    usually the garage
    I hate to say it but the bike that would probably best suit your needs isn't imported into the US as far as I know - the TDM900 Yamaha. You could look at the TDM850 which is older and a good bike. Good motor, good pillion comfort and a nice ride. There's a thread on here about them and asking in there might turn up a very good one at an affordable price. They more or less last forever, so mileage isn't a problem.

    By the way, I'd love a Burgman, but I'd have to ride it at night... I've only had a couple of bikes under 500cc in my life and one of them was a 250cc Honda scooter a guy up the road was throwing out. I picked it up, spent about $50 fixing it and rode it round town for a couple of years. One of the most fun bikes I've owned. A mate had a Yamaha T-Max 500 along with his normal bikes and traded it in on a Kawasaki 1700 Voyager; talking to him last week he said that even after two years with the Voyager he still preferred the T-Max for 2 up highway riding, and he's not a 'scooter person'. Used Burgmans are incredibly expensive here, so I'm saved from becoming a social outcast.
    #16
  17. elementalg20

    elementalg20 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    806
    Location:
    Melcher, Iowa
    I've kept my eye open for a good deal on a TDM850, usually when one turns up it's way too far from home, or simply more money than I feel it's worth.

    I've got to go over some important money stuff with the misses, but I think I've found my bike. It's a little more than I should be spending, but it's imo very much worth it. Already has 3 piece hard luggage and one very comfortable looking aftermarket seat(day long maybe?). It's a 2000 R1100RT. I won't know for sure until the end of the week, owner says if I give him my word he'll hold it for me until I can come get in a couple of weeks. Wish me luck!
    #17
  18. firtree

    firtree Huh?

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    14
    Location:
    MA
    Maybe it is worth digging deeper into the other options you proposed. I rode an ST1100 for a couple of years,
    and while it was not an exciting bike it was a fantastic commuter/weekender. Maintenance was very simple,
    it had tons of power, smooth as heck, and would not bat an eye at going 2-up at highway speeds in comfort.
    Couple that with the plethora of good aftermarket seats and windscreens and it might just fit the bill.
    #18
  19. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    27,204
    Location:
    Minnyhappiness
    The boxer RT will be a hell of a lot lighter than the ST1100. :thumb
    #19
  20. TINK

    TINK Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    737
    Location:
    So Cal
    #20