Strom650, Versys650 and CB500X Which one?

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by Phipsd, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. Phipsd

    Phipsd Older but not wiser.

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    Ok I'm looking for some solid experience based opinion here, not ra ra fan boy BS. One of these three is going to be my retirement gift to myself. I've ridden all three, and I would be thrilled if I could have all three, but that's not going to happen. I have to make a choice. It however is a really tough choice.

    If you have experience with any two of these bikes; or all three give me a comparison of what you like or don't like and what your choice would be and why.

    In other words: Which one would you want and why. The more specific you can be, the better.
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  2. JeepDawg

    JeepDawg Long timer

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    For what? around town? long multi-day trips? two-up? forest roads?
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  3. Phipsd

    Phipsd Older but not wiser.

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    I want to find out what you all like and don't like and why about the bikes. It's how YOU have used the bikes and how it worked out that is important. With a little luck we'll get a wide variety of riders with a considerable range of experience who have formed opinions. I want to learn about riders and their bikes. To me and I suspect for others, it is particularly interesting to get feedback from those who have had experience with more than one.

    I think that comparisons are the most useful kind of information. Any kind of first hand comparative information is useful for getting to know the bikes better. I'm not putting a limit on the kind of usage. It's all grist for the mill.
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  4. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    How tall are you? I'm 5'9" and I find the cb500 cramped, the strom just right, I haven't sat on a versys. For touring, including fire roads with a few mods like a skid plate, the strom is pretty hard to beat. The cb500 I've heard is a little under powered. You're going to have to wait for a versys owner.

    Strom suspension - upgrade it.
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  5. WilVis

    WilVis Adventurer

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    I've owned the Versys 650 and the CB500X. If you are all on road and want sportbike-like power and the handling that comes from a shorter wheelbase, the V650 is fun. For me, I didn't like the vibes, airflow management, poor two-up capabilities even around the block, and higher center of gravity.

    The CB500x was next. Super smooth engine, great quality for the price, low center of gravity adds to handling, and nice large fuel tank with good efficiency. Great bike. Lows for me are foot pegs being somewhat rear set, budget suspension, and I decided I wanted more dirt capability without going the Rally Raid route.

    I looked at Vstroms, which seemed heavier than I wanted and counter to my objective of off pavement capabilities. I ended up with a Versys X 300, which is my sweet spot at the present. Light, flickable, even sporty with great wind management, perfect peg position for standing on dirt, 19" spoke front, and surprisingly it fits my 6' 2" size best. I even stepped up to ABS, which has been great. Looks the best to my eyes too especially in grey! Seat takes some getting used too but it's actually getting better with time or my butt is adjusting.

    So my choice is the X300 for all around enjoyment on paved and dirt, mostly back roads. If I was going to mostly ride interstate I would have looked harder at the Vstrom. Looks well suited for that role.
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  6. Phipsd

    Phipsd Older but not wiser.

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    If I start giving out personal details people may start limiting their answers. I'm hoping for unfiltered experience. It's not just for me, but for all of us.
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  7. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    Then: cb500x I found to be way too small and the footpegs are set very oddly far back.

    You're probably going to get more assistance on this if you make it about you. Otherwise I would get the brochures/specs for the 3 bikes, lay them out on your living room floor, think about the test rides, think about what you're going to use it for and pick one.
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  8. Phipsd

    Phipsd Older but not wiser.

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    You are right, I also found the Versys 650 to be really fun especially in the twisties. Also I love Honda twins. The first big bike I ever rode was a 450 Black Bomber, I was 15 and it was a thrill. I'm also a two time V-Strom owner, so I'm in a quandry.

    I hadn't thought about the 300. Hmmmm.....
    #8
  9. basketcase

    basketcase lifelong reject fixer Supporter

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    Average motorcyclist can afford one bike. Perhaps you didn't mean it to come across as it does, but your apparent demand is for experiential perspectives based on ownership - or at least, substantial ride time on three specific bikes out of hundreds. Not many of us can support such a request through experience, so the chances of you getting the non "fanboy BS " perspective is pretty slim.

    But hey, if one does not ask he does not get anything. So here 'tis: I like the DL650 just because. :lol3

    I suppose I should close out with "that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!" :photog

    Actually - and specifically, I chose the 650 VStrom over some other options due to the rock solid reputation, power to weight ratio, minimal maintenance requirements, strong aftermarket, and the way it fits my personal build, ergonomic needs, and riding habits. I did review the Versys and looked at one on the showroom floor, but it just didn't do anything for me. Additionally, the VStrom seems - at least to me, to have more dirtly potential if I want to go off road again (I rode the CDT on a DR650 in 2010). The Versys on the other hand appears a much more street oriented ride.

    I did not consider the Honda, but after doing a bit of poking around (based on the knowledge seeking nature of your question) I can tell you I would not personally consider that particular bike. The differences in power, OEM locking luggage, and other tech amenities on the Versys and the VStrom are better than the CB.

    The VStrom I bought in 2016 was a zero miles, left over 2014 Adventure model that I found on a dealer website. I could have spent less money by purchasing pre-owned, but the dealer discounts and other incentives made the fully outfitted Adventure an excellent choice. Buying it "out the door" for less than $8K, I didn't steal it, as we say, but I snagged a great deal on a darned fine motorcycle.

    Some people ride a VStrom off the lot and never do anything it it. It cost me a bit more change to deal with some annoying buffeting issues (with Augustus Winglets, and a Givi Airflow WS) but after getting that done I've been completely satisfied.

    The photo was taken at Deal's Gap last year in July. :thumb

    [​IMG]
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  10. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    I t will really depend on intended use. Had gen1 Versys and Gen2 Wee now, they both comparable with Wee having edge for 2up (loaded 2up Versys handles like crap) and greater choice of front ADV tires, but this is just for me.
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  11. Phipsd

    Phipsd Older but not wiser.

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    I don't think it's an unreasonable request. My brother had a Versys when I had a V-Strom, lots of folks have traded V-Strom's for 500x's or the reverse or the Versys for one of the others, you know the grass is always greener etc. You've never swapped bikes with a friend just to see what it's like? And there are inmates here who own multiple bikes.

    This is a very popular class of bikes, even a small minority is going to be a considerable number of people.
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  12. Phipsd

    Phipsd Older but not wiser.

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    I can easily make a case for all three bikes. I loved my V2 with a passion, so I could easily make a case for the newest 650 that is very similar with less weight, more agility and easier low speed power characteristics, or the punchy fun motor of the Versys that feels bigger than it is along with the agile handling or the wonderful balance and sublime handling of the 500X.

    aaarrragghh!!!:)
    #12
  13. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    I own the DL, I've ridden the Versys and I've ridden a CB500 (I havn't ridden the X) . I could live with any but the DL is the best of them for me. It's the most versatile (commute, tour, dirt roads) and it handles the relatively rough sealed back roads around here with ease and both the Versys and CB500 struggled once the roads got lumpy.

    Your call, personally I think the DL is the best of the three, certainly the best if riding off the seal is on the list of things to do. But smoother roads, just canyon carving or a lot more short distances around town could swing things around. None of them are bad bikes and one may just happen to suit you better.

    Look at the FZ700 if you can, it's also in the ballpark.
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  14. Phipsd

    Phipsd Older but not wiser.

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    Another thing you didn't mention is the high mileage reliability of the V-Strom. The 650 is not in the 1000 class when it comes to the ability to rack up astounding mileage; but there are still many 650's out there far in excess of 100,000 miles. Is the Versys that durable? I don't know. It could be because the Versys isn't as common on the road, but I haven't heard of a high mileage Versys. Also 100,000 miles would be very high mileage for any 500. I think 60,000 would be a more reasonable expectation. But the Honda is thousands cheaper. Decisions, decisions.
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  15. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    I loved Versys engine more for highway use silky smooth at cruising 5k RPM with Wee having edge at 2.5-4k range and a little buzzier at cruising.

    Personally I would consider Versys again after they redesign it in venue of VX 300: 19" front, spoked wheels, longer wheelbase.

    If 2up touring and unpaved roads are part of the menu Wee is the better bike. For smaller rider something like CB500 or Versys X 300 could be a good fit.
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  16. motorat

    motorat Is it raining

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    i have 56,462 on my 2008 vstrom 650. it has not missed a beat except when I took a turn too fast in the snow. I keep looking at the versys 650 and the 500x but the strom is already set up the way I like it so i cannot justify buying another bike. Besides I still like it and enjoy riding it 7 years after I bought it, just as I did when I first bought it.
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  17. Phipsd

    Phipsd Older but not wiser.

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    All three bikes fit me well, and I'm tall, but I especially like the seating position of the new Versys. It blew me away when I sat on it, I like a fairly close coupled riding position that places the rider further forward for better handling. It was a bit of a shock because the old Versys kind of sucked comfort wise.
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  18. Phipsd

    Phipsd Older but not wiser.

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    Riding in the snow? I thought I was the only idiot crazy enough to have had to do that. More than once in fact:)
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  19. bv11

    bv11 Been here awhile

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    I had an 05 DL650 and currently have a 16 V650. The DL was my first bike and I liked it, but decided I wanted ABS and a 17" front wheel since I don't ride off pavement. The V650 feels lighter, narrower and more nimble to me, but the new model DL might also. The DL had more room if you ride two up. For a solo rider who stays on the pavement, I believe the V is the superior machine of the two. I have a Triumph Trophy for riding with my wife, but I would probably go back to the DL if I could only have one.
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  20. Phipsd

    Phipsd Older but not wiser.

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    I'm looking for a bike for back road mountain twisties and long solo day trips. I think the new Versys would be ideal, even better than the new Strom 650 which has a much longer wheelbase and less wind protection. I had a 14 DL1000 which was pretty much the same bike as the new DL650 only with a bigger engine and way more stomp. Great bike, but not as agile as the Versys 650. However I have a 30 year relationship relationship with my local Suzuki dealer.....
    #20