Best of the dull competitors?

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by Woodsparrow, Aug 5, 2019.

  1. Woodsparrow

    Woodsparrow Adventurer

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    I'm trying to figure out my next ride. So far I've narrowed it down to:

    NC750X, CB500X, V-strom 650, and maybe on the outside the BMW 310GS, if it can go fast enough to be safe.

    I started out with a whole lot of criteria and just cut it down according to HP, fuel economy, etc., until I hit this list.

    Basically I want a big fuel tank, high gas mileage, and an upright ride position. I'll be chewing through 70+ miles of highway a day for commute (30-35 each way). The DCT honda isn't out of the question, lots of stop and go traffic. Mostly I just wanted to have to fill up 1 time a week, instead of literally every day, so it's around 300-350 miles per tank. Some of my favorite rides have been light adventure style, they just seem to be able to cruise safely while also being able to take some luggage etc.

    But they're all so similar I'm having a hard time figuring it out. Been riding for 6-7 years, but I'm about to move 20 miles further from work so my trip will change. Right now I've been rocking along on a little Super Cub because they're stupid fun, but I've ridden everything from a CB1100 down to a, well, the cub is the most laid back bike I've had. In between were some NC, a CB, a bonneville, and a ducati 400 scrambler - which I liked, but the premium gas, tiny gas tank, and shockingly bad MPG, meant it had to go. Plus I could get it up to 60 if I flogged it, and my Super cub does 50-55 on regular at like 500 miles to a gallon.

    I'm mostly debating the V-strom or the NC.

    I don't really ride for pleasure. My ideal saturday is chilling at home, not cutting curves. It's just that when I run errands and work, I like to do it on a bike. So super sporty isn't important, just enough power to be safe on these North Texas roads.

    I'll be trading in the Cub, so new/dealer is pretty much my option, and the Hondas are impossible to find used (hard to find new even). Plenty of 700s, but I'd prefer the redesigned 750.

    Vstrom 650 comes with standard ABS and is easier to find used.

    Make Model Horsepower Weight MPG Fuel tank size Total travel
    Suzuki V-strom 650 66 490 54 5.8 313.2
    Kawasaki KLR 650 33 388 47 6.1 286.7
    Kawasaki Versys 650 59 476 52 5.5 286
    Honda CB500X 49.6 62 4.6 285.2
    Honda NC750X M 54 479 62 3.9 241.8
    BMW F650GS 70 421 52 4.6 239.2
    Honda NC750X D 54 500 60 3.9 234
    BMW F750GS 77 493 57 3.96 225.72
    Triumph Scrambler 900 65 450 69 3.2 220.8
    Triumph Street twin 900 65 440 69 3.2 220.8
    BMW F700GS 75 460 50 4.3 215
    Yamaha XSR700 68 397 58 3.7 214.6
    BMW F800GS 85 456 50 4.2 210
    Yamaha MT-07 74 400 56 3.7 207.2
    BMW G310GS 29.5 387 70 2.9 203
    Suzuki SV650 75 417 47 4.2 197.4
    BMW R nineT pure 86 483 40 4.8 192
    Honda Rebel 500 30 408 64 2.9 185.6
    KTM Duke 390 40 338 50 2.9 145
    BMW R1200GS 0
    BMW R1200GS ADV 0
    Kawasaki Z900RS 0

    Edit: I added an ugly chart to show what I've considered - check the spoilers thing.
    #1
  2. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

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    Don't know if you considered the Kawi Versus 300X. Good fuel milage.

    But small tank.
    #2
  3. Woodsparrow

    Woodsparrow Adventurer

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    The Versys 650 was on the final cut, I just don't dig the styling as much. The KLR was too, but only maked 35 HP at a hefty weight, so I nixed it (I'm open to being corrected).

    The 300 I thought would have the same problem as the ducati - too little power for my fat ass. Around the same weight and HP, so I thought it wouldn't be fast enough to be safe.
    #3
  4. Woodsparrow

    Woodsparrow Adventurer

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    I won't be adding hard bags. I've ridden a few bikes with them and ended up hating everything about them. I normally just get 1 fair sized pack like a Kriega 30L, and strap it to the passenger seat. For larger stuff MOAR BUNGIES, or an extra backpack.

    I just never found hard bags as useful as I thought, and since I'm not roaming cross country, the frustration never ends up being worth the hassle.

    I had a CB500X that I really loved, I traded it away at the time for 'a little more power'. NC750 seems to have that 'little more power' while still being in the same general performance and gas zone. Rode an NC700X, it was OK, but wasn't what I was looking for at the time (s'how I ended up with the ducati...). So I've got a lot of experience with the two hondas, but none really with the V-strom.

    Edit: Did you just...have those pictures sitting around? Hoping you didn't roll stuff out of the garage for me! Also meant to add 'how would that change your thoughts'?

    I hadn't thought to change sprockets, what does that do?
    #4
  5. Woodsparrow

    Woodsparrow Adventurer

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    Ha. Highway riding is all straight as a board around here. More likely to have to drunk-swerve from Karen who stacked up 5 too many mimosas and is cruising her minivan around on her phone, than carve a corner.

    Though the NC never felt 'short', and if the Strom is worse maybe I should pass.
    #5
  6. ukiboy

    ukiboy Been here awhile

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    Never ridden the NC or CB500X. Owned a first and second generation VStrom 650, owned both from new, had each for two years and put about 16000 miles on each.
    Great bike. Cheap to buy, cheap to run, reliable and a superb workhorse. Like you I don’t ride that often just for pleasure but I enjoy using my bike as my main form of transport.
    My current ride is a 2018 Africa Twin which is great and I love it. The fact that the third generation VStrom is on my short list of a replacement bike speaks volumes about the DL650...
    #6
  7. Woodsparrow

    Woodsparrow Adventurer

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    How do you like the Africa Twin? I couldn't ever afford one personally, and I think they're a bit too large for me overall, but I do consider them the scaled up NC, so you've basically got 2 of the 3 covered.
    #7
  8. ukiboy

    ukiboy Been here awhile

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    It’s great! I chopped in a 2017 R1200R and initially I felt the lack of ‘oomph’. 125bhp is a lot after all!
    But the AT is more comfortable than the BMW was, it’s so much cheaper to buy and cheaper running costs plus it’s a good workhorse with loads of room for luggage.
    I’ve just come back today from a 200 mile slog from up north and saw some slightly naughty speeds on the clock. Panniers and tank bag fitted and it still motors along just fine.
    The only down side for me is the tube type tyres. Other than that I think it’s great.
    But a 2018/2019 DL650 isn’t that far off the pace and I think just as good a mule
    #8
  9. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    I think there is a basic flaw to your analysis. None of those bike will average the mileage in your table while commuting at highway speeds, unless you are happy to sit below 65 MPH in the right lane all the way to work. You will likely not achieve the goal of once a week fill-up on any of those bikes, not even the V-Strom, which on paper seems to be the closest fit.

    Actually, it probably is the closest fit, but you will have to get gas more often than once a week.

    Gustavo
    #9
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  10. Woodsparrow

    Woodsparrow Adventurer

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    Correct. But it's the best I can do with the tools and desires I have.
    #10
  11. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Don't get me wrong, I think the V-Strom is a fantastic bike. Despite taking countless test rides on other, "more sexy" options, I still have one (OK, I have other bikes too, but I am not getting rid of the Wee any time soon). It's just that 250 is a more realistic range, if like me you have an aversion to walking to get gas or pushing the bike into a gas station... :becca

    Gustavo
    #11
  12. hawkgt

    hawkgt Daydreaming

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    My 2012 Vstrom got better mpg than my 2015 CB500X, 60 vs 55 in mixed riding.
    #12
  13. HarveyM

    HarveyM Been here awhile

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    I love my NC750x dct, but I get about 180 miles before the reserve warning. Expect mid 50's highway with panniers & large windscreen.
    #13
  14. fastnlight

    fastnlight Repeat Offender

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    Used NC with DCT for sure. Had one and it was great for what you describe.

    Greg
    #14
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  15. Woodsparrow

    Woodsparrow Adventurer

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    I won't be putting panniers on it, and will be keeping the OEM screen. I've never ridden a bike with a screen that I didn't remove ASAP, I hate them. And bags, hard or soft, just end up feeling bloaty and ungainly to me.

    Like I told the other guy, I don't expect to get the numbers on the estimates. But they're at least uniformly arbitrary. I'm certainly not going to get BETTER, and I can't use some randomized gauge for worse.
    #15
  16. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

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    Pick up a PC800.

    5d2acbba70f30263ee44770a.jpg
    #16
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  17. Randyincolo

    Randyincolo Been here awhile

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    Read your comments a couple of times and each time the KLR 650 pops into my mind.
    #17
  18. Woodsparrow

    Woodsparrow Adventurer

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    I ended up going with:

    2013 V-strom 650 ABS.

    Previous owner installed heated grips, handguards, what I'm assuming is an aftermarket screen, some type of comfort seat, crash bars, a center stand if they're not standard, and one of those 'more broad' kickstand footpads.

    3000$ out the door of the dealership after trade, feel like that's pretty good for me.

    Only thing I may need to do is look into making the bastard shorter, I have to tiptoe at stops, and I love being able to flat foot.

    https://imgur.com/a/ThMejFg
    #18
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  19. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

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    Lucky you're a Texan, just get a pair of these.

    o-BATA-32-900.jpg
    #19
  20. Woodsparrow

    Woodsparrow Adventurer

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    Haha. It was with my workboots on. Granted they're only like 1 inch heels. Plus seriously, ever ride on leather-sole shoes? Tried it exactly once, it was dry and I busted my damned ass.
    #20