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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ShiftHead, Aug 22, 2020.
Yeah, I'll start with my post over on the Stromtroopers site and add a bit after that:
So I'll start off by saying yes, I very much like the bike and the power. But as so many others have said it's not necessary, 90% of the time. There were times when the 650 needed more steam, but that was rare enough to not have been an issue. In truth the ride on the 650 is more fun in some ways, where the ride on the 1050 is fun in other ways, for me anyway. I'll say that I'm not someone who wants to ride fast all the time so the power wasn't the draw for me. I was very happy with the 650, it was just getting a bit long in the tooth. And as I've run into that 10% gap more than I'd have liked I did want a bit more power.
So the roll on power on the larger Strom is intoxicating, let's get that out of the way. But to counter that I'd say that I loved the transmission on the 650 and downshifting is fun too. With the 650 you can really use all the power pretty much all the time, without fearing for your life. Whereas I'm glad there is traction control on the big bike as I am sure it would break the rear free if you were to start acting a bit hooliganish. And while that may appeal to some, it doesn't really for me. I like smooth and quick. I ride with a buddy on a Multistrada that loves to lift the front wheel whenever he can. Not my thing.
For me the power is needed when I'm on my trips. There have been several times where I am loaded up and need to climb passes in excess of 8,000 feet and up there the little 650 is working pretty hard. The big bike isn't. Also times when the passing window is narrow, that extra power matters. I've misjudged this on the 650 and it was uncomfortably close because I'm asking a lot of the 650. Mind you this is with all my stuff on the bike and usually at elevation, so a specific set of circumstances. But it's occurred to me enough that I welcomed the extra power. However, if you don't see yourself in this situation then the 650 will always deliver. And even if you do find yourself in the situation the 650 can still get the job done, just understand it's limits.
IMO, the 650 is the best all rounder out there for the money.
Now I will speak to the 1050 itself; by and large it's an evolution of the DL1000. Same engine (1037cc) and largely the same frame and forks as far as I can tell. The plastics are certainly more handsome I think, but IMO the biggest advantage of the DL1050 over the DL1000 is the electronics suite on the bike. I'll say that it rides down the road very nicely. For a stock suspension its quite good on the tarmac and plush enough for light gravel to track well. It handles very well, and the brakes are fabulous by comparison to even the 4 pot Nissin upgrades I had on the DL650. An all around very good bike.
However, with the addition of the Drive By Wire system they have been able to add so much to the bike that was missing. First and foremost, I loved the cruise control. Honestly, I will not ride a bike without it now. I injured my right wrist in a crash a few years ago and after about 45 mins of gripping the throttle I have to let my hand hang down for a few minutes or its murder. Next is the traction control. Having never had a bike with it I sincerely like having it, esp with this torquey engine. Getting on it and you could see that in a turn it could pretty easily get away from you if you weren't careful. ABS is wonderful to have and has already saved me and the bike. Literally 2 days after I was home I was on a road I generally try to avoid. There is a turn on it where it dips down through a little valley between two steep hills. It's maybe 1/8th of a mile in total distance, but in that time it goes very steeply down and back up and as it starts to go down it take a fairly hard bend to the right. On top of all of this the trees and bushes are such that the sun doesn't every shine in there, except for the winter months, and the turn is slightly off camber so the outside of the turn is lower than the inside. So coming the other direction isn't as bad as going this direction on the road. Well this particular day it had rained the day before, and I didn't see it till I was in the turn but there was some pea gravel washout from a gravel driveway as you go into the turn. I was already on the brakes heading into the turn when I ran right over the gravel. The front pushed a bit but as the rear went over it kicked out sideways a fair bit. I was already off the brakes but I suspect the ABS had already kicked in, however it was the rear tire grabbing hard that sent me up and over to the left side of the bike. Back on the brakes and I'm seeing trees and the edge of the pavement coming fast while the bike is wig wagging hard. I stopped right on the white paint. Had there been a car approaching the other direction, I'd have never seen it and it would have been lights out. Once my heart rate came back down from the stratosphere, about 5 miles down the road and I was able to start riding faster than 15 mph again I thought about what all happened. One, I was probably going faster than I realized. The engine is super smooth and you just go faster than you think. And two, if that had happened on the other bike it wouldn't have turned out as good.
It has drive modes A/B/C under the SDMS system, accessible from the menu on the fly, so long as the throttle is in the idle position. This essentially determines how hyperactive the engine responds to your inputs. A is fastest and C slowest. I found that when loaded down fully to leave it on A, that helps to contend with the extra weight. Whereas when riding without all the gear to leave it on B for normal conditions. If I were to ride in freezing conditions like I did last summer going through Jasper AB, I would put it in C mode and ensure that ABS and TC are in their most sensitive modes as well. So having these options isn't necessary, but it does add a measure of comfort knowing they are there and watching out for you.
I happen to like the bike and think it looks better in person than in pictures, but I could be biased. I really like the spoke wheels as I have bent cast wheels in the past with a solid whack of a dirt road pothole. The screen is surprisingly good. I transferred over my chinese laminar flow windshield extension thing and the air pocket is nice and quiet with the shield all the way up, and I can still easily see over it. The seat, well what stock seat is good. Maybe a Goldwing? This one is rough for me. I must have had a fairly numb bum when I picked up the bike in CO because I didn't really notice it. But after having been back a bit, when I ride now I noticed it. So I put on an Airhawk and that has helped tremendously. I'm waiting for Seat Concepts to come out with something.
All in all I really like the bike. I have no regrets about the choice, there was an Africa Twin sitting next to it for a couple grand less. It didn't appeal to me in person the way it did in pictures. I know it's an awesome bike, and I'd still love to ride one, but the truth is the 1050 will go to 99.9% of everywhere I want to go. I can live with that compromise.
A good trip, with a buddy, met Dale, and....came home with a new bike. That’s a great RR! Thanks!
@ShiftHead, thanks for the Strom feedback. I had an 03 1000 and an 07 650A and I absolutely agree that the 650 is the best bang for the buck bike out there. I also thought it was a much more enjoyable bike than the 1000. I'm hoping the cruise control makes its way down to the 650. I do know that if I were in the market for an adventure bike today, the 1050 Strom would be on the list of potential purchases.
Great ride and fantastic write up! Glad to meet you and thanks again for helping me decide on a 1050xt.
For sure, let's go for a ride sometime dude.