Best Value ~1,000cc Adv Bike (New): 6'+ Rider Friendly & Highway Commuter?

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by Barnaby'sDad, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. Barnaby'sDad

    Barnaby'sDad Been here awhile

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    I'm currently shopping for a new ~1,000cc Adv bike. I've been doing a lot of research here and elsewhere for the past few weeks. I've narrowed it down, somewhat:

    - No Ducati Multistrada 950. I REALLY want a Multistrada, but there's no way that I'm going to be able to stomach the maintenance cost...so I'll just remove any Italian, German (BMW), and Austrian (KTM) options from consideration.

    - The Yamaha Super Tenere ES is a good option, but I would prefer something less porky. It should require less maintenance (shaft drive), has all the features that I'm looking for (ex. Grip heaters), and the second generation seems to have good reviews.

    - Suzuki V-Strom 1000 XT Adventure. Should be easy to work on, comes with panniers, grip heaters, skid plate, crash bars, etc. I like the thumper-ish (for lack of a better way of putting it) exhaust note...it reminds me of my old KLR. This wouldn't be great in the ground clearance department, but it will rarely go off-road and it has a skid plate...so I'm not too concerned there.

    -Honda Africa Twin. This is on my list from a "bare bones" appearance standpoint (I appreciate that) and its combination of touring and off-road capability. I want tubeless tires, so I would have to look at the 2020...which is going to end up being more than I want to spend (no more than $15k out the door) with the desired options.

    This will be 90%+ for commuting at 70 MPH...30+ miles each way...so highway comfort, reliability, and fitting my 6'3" frame are my primary concerns.

    I want to roll bike 'x' off the lot and it be comfortable on day one. I don't want it to be like my gen 2 KLR where I changed one thing or another to make it fit me (ex. Bar risers, lowered foot pegs, extra tall windscreen, highway friendly front sprocket, etc.), but I was never really happy with it on the highway.

    Really the only two that I'm considering (of the list above) at this point are the Super Tenere and the V-Strom 1000 XT Adventure. I would appreciate any input that you can offer. ex. Other options that I should put on the list? Thank you.:beer
    #1
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  2. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail A grin without a cat

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    I have a 2014 Vstrom 1000 and it is an amazing road/adventure touring bike. It is a marginal off road bike. I can't think of a bike I would rather be riding for a long trip, it's easy and cheap to take care of, and it can handle gravel and light forest roads well. With all that said, my next bike will be something more dirt-oriented. Were I doing it again today, and price was similar, I'd probably grab an AT. (Mostly because I've really come to enjoy my time off road, even on the strom)
    #2
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  3. Barnaby'sDad

    Barnaby'sDad Been here awhile

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    That's my concern with some of what I've read about the V-Strom. While I don't place a high priority on riding off-road at the moment, I don't want it to be a complete letdown when the time comes (I did ride my KLR as it was intended to be ridden).

    If I was not going to be spending the vast majority of my time at highway speeds, the V-Strom would not be on my list.
    #3
  4. steve68steve

    steve68steve Long timer

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    We're almost the same person:

    6' 4", commuted 70 miles/ day, year round (FL), mostly 70-80mph turnpike. For about a year, I hitched a ride in with a co-worker to save $ and enjoy climate control, but I'm relocated and back to 100% moto commuting, about 40 miles/ day.

    I'm doing it on a 2014 Super Tenere. In my biased opinion, it's the best bike for the job.
    Cruise control is a must for long highway stints, IMO.
    Shaft drive is a must for racking up lots of miles.
    Low maintenance/ reliability is a must for a daily driver.

    My bike is just under 50k miles and runs like new. Besides brake pads, tires, oil, and lubing the shifter, I've had one weepy fork seal, one leaking shaft seal, and wore out one set of steering head bearings. I biffed two radiator fans dropping on the left side in sugar sand.

    The ST is my only bike, so it's also my tourer, camper, moto-vacation, and fun bike. It's been dropped, drug around on rocks, and upside-down in a ditch. It's been thru torrential rain, 110F heat, and sub-freezing cold. It's done whole tanks without stopping and sat in bumper-to-bumper stoplight crawls every day. It's sat unused for months and saw punishing daily use.

    I just can't say enough about the dependable, solid, drama-free experience of this bike.
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  5. Randyincolo

    Randyincolo Been here awhile

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    First thing you should do is visit the dealerships and hop on the saddle and compare the fit and maybe get a test ride or two in.
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  6. CatBehemoth

    CatBehemoth Been here awhile

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    Take a test ride on S10 - it feels way smaller than it seems.
    #6
  7. Barnaby'sDad

    Barnaby'sDad Been here awhile

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    I've heard good things about the 2014+ Super Tenere's. I don't see many of the second generation bikes for sale used. I take that to be a good sign.

    That's what I'm looking for. I previously had a shaft drift bike (V-Star), so I have some experience with how much lower the upkeep is.

    I did get to sit on a Super Tenere. The problem in my area is finding a place that seems open to test rides. ex. Couldn't find a place that would permit a test ride when I bought my KLR several years back.

    I'll see if I can find a place with one in stock that's open to a test ride.
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  8. ricerooster

    ricerooster Adventurer

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    I just purchased my 2018 Super Tenere ES about a month ago $14k OTD, I commute 200 miles every day, bike definently rides and feels lighter than it looks and I'm 5'2 with a 30 inch inseam. I was also looking at the Vstrom 1000xt but it was to tall for me and no cruise control. S10 won it for me with cruise control, heated grips, electronic suspension and shaft drive, with the amount riding I do, I was done with dealing with the chain. Lol. My brother just bought a 2019 Vstrom 1000xt his about 6'7, according to him he had to get lower pegs and riser as he felt to cramped with the stock setup but he's loving the bike. Here's a video of us this weekend taking our new bikes out in the wild...

    #8
  9. AwDang

    AwDang Enabler

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    Add the Tiger 1200 to your list
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  10. steve68steve

    steve68steve Long timer

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    That bike has a beautiful engine. I did an extended test ride on one years ago and was literally laughing out loud in my helmet.

    The higher price and lower reliability sank it for me. If money and space were no object, I would definitely have one in my garage.
    #10
  11. Lewilewi

    Lewilewi Ride it like you stole it......

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    Not sure why your avoiding ktm, as your reasons are not true, mines cheap to run reliable and stunning performance

    1290s.ar, 15% off of rrp just for asking,

    It's been a cheap and reliable two years for me, more reliable than my old gsxr1000...cheaper to run than my old zx10r
    #11
  12. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail A grin without a cat

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    Don't get me wrong, the Vstrom is an awesome bike. It has never left me stranded, and I never felt like it would. There are folks that have taken Vstroms pretty much anywhere you could want to take a bike. However, if you're honest with yourself about your "off road" needs, and it ends up being more than gravel or forest roads then the Vstrom may not be the tool for the job. (Or at least not optimal) the big issue is going to be ground clearance like you mentioned. I think I have 6.3 inches under the skid. I've yet to bang the bottom, but I'm far from being a hardcore off-road rider.

    With all that said, I couldn't be happier with the bike. I wouldn't hesitate to hop on and ride to Alaska tomorrow. Your mileage of course may vary.

    8584D7FE-C883-4EF1-A889-4F6BD8871E17.jpeg 6E44D4D0-69EA-42CA-857A-8AFD620D342B.jpeg
    #12
  13. hawkgt

    hawkgt Where to and when?

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    What does value mean to you? Used V2's are considerably cheaper than the 2nd gen S10, but you get what you pay for, so if you have the extra $ covered get the Yammi and enjoy the nicer features. I chose the V because they are the best bang for the buck and it's not my only bike.
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  14. cblais19

    cblais19 Long timer

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    Used gen 2 Tenere's are pretty cheap, and I don't think there's a better ADV bike for devouring highway miles. I did 60 mile round trip commutes to/from the Beltway on mine - about the only negative I can say about it in VA is that it gets a bit hot in the summer here thanks to the awesome wind protection. Come cooler weather, or any storms, that's a major plus - and it completely ignores any sort of wind buffeting. If you want to be less porky, don't lard it up with accessories. The bike in stock form was weighed at ~548lbs in the last big comparison I saw it in, or roughly on par with the LC GS.

    I recently switched to an Africa Twin DCT, and discovered I don't really mind missing the cruise. It's a much less enjoyable bike to burn highway miles on, but far more fun on backroads as it's a lighter and more nimble feeling ride. However, with your weighting towards commute comfort, I'd come down on the S10 (especially since you have a shaft you can just ignore for 12k miles and then do a quick fluid change on).
    #14
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  15. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    The bike you are looking for doesn't exist. There is no bike you will roll of the showroom floor (or your friendly local biker's garage who is recycling his once new bike) and you will be 100% comfortable on, much less when you are 6'3". Once you get past that and accept that it will require some customisation, we can actually discuss the plusses and minuses of different bikes.

    BTW, for your use, the best value bike would probably be a 650. It's a cheaper to buy and run as a commuter, and no less comfortable than the bigger bikes. Meaning, they too will require some modifications to be just right... :ricky

    Gustavo
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  16. menotknow

    menotknow always n00b

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    If you are able find a used second gen S10 with low miles at reasonable price that would be probably best fit. It is definitely worth riding one and 14+ VStrom first, best from one dealership and one after another. They are similar to certain extent but feel way different. I was almost set on S10 and it surprised me a lot find out that V2 actually fit me better. They have different feel to them.

    Personally I do not find it any obnoxious to dedicate 30 minutes every 1000-1500 miles to clean and lube the chain. The one thing I do miss on the V2 is cruise control. Being 6-0 and 185lbs I found them both to be comfortable. I do not imagine going with any of the two to hard enough off-road where clearance or suspension limits were the limiting factor. Both of them will handle any gravel or moderate dirt/adventure road with the same ease as a highway.
    #16
  17. fastring

    fastring Been here awhile

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    I'd try out: 1. 2014 S10, 2. KTM 1290 and 3. BMW GSA. My 1190 was rock solid, the maintenance wasnt any harder than my current '14 S10 and I consider it reliable. For more commuting miles, filling up all the time is more than annoying, so the larger range of the 1290 or GSA would appeal to me. I commute daily and the S10 really needed the aux tank (I am at 11+ gal now) to make me happy. The Strom obviously has a strong following and is reliable, but no real big price difference for a S10 and the S10 gets you the shaft drive. The KTM would be more fun with more hp while the GSA would split the difference. Look at the mileage on used bikes on cycle trader, the BMW GSAs all have tons of miles on them compared to other bikes. There must be a reason for that (somehow reliable and nice to put lots of miles on). I've had BMW, KTM and now the S10 and like all of them and will likely rotate through each every 5 years.
    #17
  18. Barnaby'sDad

    Barnaby'sDad Been here awhile

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    The current rankings (fit wise) for what I've checked out in person so far:

    1. Versys 1000. It fit like a glove, but it's considerably over budget (sat on it prior to seeing the price tag, lol)...so it's not a contender. Will have to take a peek at a Versys 650 and see what I think about that (obviously that would be on-road only).

    2. Super Tenere Gen 2. Nice setup. It would need some tweaks, but I could make it work.

    3. Africa Twin. Looks great/rugged, but didn't do anything for me from the riders seat on the showroom floor.

    4. Multistrada 950. Looks great, but cramped seat (lower/comfort model), cramped foot pegs, etc. If it fit like a glove, I would have considered talking myself into overlooking the maintenance costs.:lurk

    I suspect that's going to be the general theme for me on many bikes. As @Gustavo said...from just my first day of checking out motorcycles today, i process that my previously expressed requirement (fits 100% right off the lot) is not a reasonable expectation, given my size.

    One thing the Vstrom 1000XT Adventure does not have that I'd like is cruise control. It ticks every other box for me (with the exception of shaft drive, which would be nice). I'm hoping to find one to check out this weekend.


    I really like the looks of them, but that's going to come in over budget.

    The 1290 is going to be over budget for me. Assuming I can get one for $15k...that doesn't account for $1k+ in luggage to make it useful to me.

    I was going to check out the 790, but the local dealer doesn't carry that one.

    Value = Best bang for the buck. I don't feel the need to spend $15k, but will do so if that gets me the best bang for my buck.

    The problem is that in my area...used gen 2 S10's are few and far between. When I have found one...the price is close enough to new that I wouldn't bother going used.

    I got to check out an Africa Twin today. For what I'm looking to do with it...I don't think it's the bike for me.

    I looked at three bikes this afternoon...that was my takeaway. The only one (a pricier/loaded Versys 1000) was much more than I am looking to spend. It seemed to fit like a glove though, lol.

    The Multistrada...I'd need a seat, lower pegs, likely better wind protection, etc.

    The Africa Twin...I liked the aesthetics. It looks like a beast. From the seat though, it just didn't do anything for me.

    I'll give the 650's some thought. My main reason towards leaning towards the ~1000's is that I'd like something with a bit of pep. I'm a good sized guy. Any ride I go on is going to basically be "two up," as far as the motorcycle is concerned.

    I'll keep my eyes open. I see several S10's for sale locally, but they're all Gen 1.

    The place I bought my KLR from has a couple Vstroms in stock. I'll have to drop by and see if they'd consider a test ride. Value wise...from what I'm seeing...the V-Strom XT A seems to be a decent bang for the buck. Baggage is going to be an issue for any other ride, but that one.

    New...the only one from that list that's within budget for me is the S10. That one is still on my list (checked out a few options this afternoon).

    Don't get me wrong...if I was looking to drop ~$25k for a decked out motorcycle (with rugged panniers and top case)...a GSA would be at the top of my list. I'd be doing good to get into a F800GS. From what I've read, they are pretty decent off road...but a heck of a compromise (compared to the 1200) for highway usage.
    #18
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  19. AwDang

    AwDang Enabler

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    There are still some left over 17 & 18 T12’s out there. If you decide a chain is tolerable, the 800 is just as awesome.
    #19
  20. Barnaby'sDad

    Barnaby'sDad Been here awhile

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    I’ve seen a few, as well. The problem is that the majority are non-ES (that’s a similar issue for used ones too).

    Is there somewhere better than Cycletrader for finding new ones?

    Most of the online inventories at dealers in my area aren't accurate, so I can’t go by that.
    #20