VStrom Owners Thread

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by Queen, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    @Millwright77 you are not wrong, compared to the DR650, either V-Strom will feel bigger and heavier. The V-Strom 650 is a big bike physically, in the first gen, visually, they seemed identical, which was why a lot of us dismissed it as "the same bike, just with less power". You have to ride both back to back to really feel the differences. Granted, the newer 1000 and 1050 also gained better suspension and brakes over the 650 that has been left mechanically unchanged for eons, but the 1000 is still a bigger and heavier bike. You can't hide that weight from the laws of physics.

    Gustavo
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  2. OCLandspeeder

    OCLandspeeder Been here awhile

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    So I put my money where my mouth is. I went shopping. I decided to let the Tenere 700 go even though it was my first choice initially. The Tenere 700 ergos felt more like my modified DR650 (CR High bars and 3/4" risers). It was tall, narrow, and felt like a big dirt bike, which I liked because it was familiar. But my biggest beef with the Tenere 700 is its tubed tires and cheap looking digital dash. I know these things can be "corrected"....convert to tubeless, and someday replace that OEM instrument cluster. But due to its popularity and low inventory, local dealers refuse to sell them without a mark up.

    I looked at the VStrom 1050XT, sat on a couple. The bike is too big for my 5'8" frame. It's tall and wide at the seat for my 31" inseam (I have thick legs). Not a problem keeping the bike upright but definitely on the balls of my feet. And that was on the low seat setting. The 1050 also noticeably had a larger mass ahead of the rider. Wider, heavier,....a lot heavier, which made me feel awkward on the bike. I'm sure it's something I can overcome with time but....as soon as I sat on the VStrom 650 I was immediately comfortable. Slimmer, lighter, lower. Yeah I would have liked to have an LED headlight but I do like that round stacked headlight on the 650. The 650's instruments are less blingy than the 1050 but I must admit that big round Tachometer is nice to see and easier to read. It certainly looked a lot more clean and integrated than the Tenere 700's gauges, which reminded me of a digital clip board. Finally, the XT model has TUBELESS spoked wheels, and a few more rear wheel horsepower over the T700, and the dealer wasn't demanding a mark up, instead they were asking. In the end, it ended up being an easy decision for me.

    [​IMG]Untitled by rogue_biker, on Flickr
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  3. Millwright77

    Millwright77 I ♥ Milkcrates♥

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    How’s it feel compared to your DR? I’m also coming from a dr thinking about a v strom.
  4. BigOgre

    BigOgre Been here awhile

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    When I decided to put a 'Strom in the stable I was determined to buy used as I wasn't sure how I'd use it. Looked at quite a few nice examples but just wasn't taken with them. End of that year we're walking around IMS where Suzuki intro'd the new design '12 650. Threw my leg over and that was that. On paper it wasn't that much different, said I wasn't going to buy new, and especially hate buying anything first year of release but like you it just felt right, less bulky. Congrats and best of luck with it.
  5. OCLandspeeder

    OCLandspeeder Been here awhile

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    My only basis of comparison is my highly modified DR650: full exhaust, open intake, pumper carb, upgraded SM brakes with steel braided hoses, Trail Tech instrument, Pro Taper EVO CR High bars. So this bike is nothing like a stock DR650. And I recently tuned my DR and she is purring like a kitten and running like a scalded cat. :lol3 About as smooth as she can be and putting out as much power as possible short of a 790 kit!

    The VStrom 650 XT feels different.
    Ergonomics: The riding position is Adventure Bike position, and not dirt bike. Bars are not as wide and high. Seat is not as narrow and flat. Footpegs just a smidge higher.

    Engine: Significantly smoother (we all knew that), and so is the gearbox (buttery smooth). The engine has vibes, but they come in very soft, not the "thumping" from the DR's Thumper. It revs quicker and A LOT higher. Surprisingly enough, or not, is my DR feels more lively from below 6k RPM. My DR has the direct power to throttle correlation and the torque is there NOW so it pulls now. The VStrom's response is a tad softer below 6k RPM. But of course, the DR runs out of steam at 6k RPM and the VStrom's motor is just catching its second wind at 6k RPM. The VStrom can be lugged and it stays smooth and power is delivered smoothly. The DR's hates being lugged, even with the pumper carb, and we all know it chugs down low when you're lugging it just like all thumpers. Overall, it feels to me like Suzuki poured their velvety smooth refinement on the VStrom 650's powertrain. If this were a KTM V-twin people would be waxing poetic about how refined this engine is and that's why you buy a KTM! :D It is that good. And it is powerful up top. The VStrom 650 really surprised me how much top end it has for a 650. 100 mph comes up fast! And for 185 lbs. me, unloaded bike, the VStrom 650 feels like a sport bike on pavement and a highway muncher as well. Very relaxed at 85-90 mph.

    Handling: My DR has stock suspension, but me being 185 lbs. wet, doesn't really tax it too much. Unloaded I find the DR's suspension to be adequate for the job. I turned up its rear spring preload and nearly maxed out the Compression damping and it feels ok to me even when I push it hard on pavement. The VStrom's suspension feels firmer. I was expecting it to float over bumps and potholes like the DR but it does NOT. It does a lot better than an ordinary street bike but nothing like the long stroke of the DR. No surprise there I suppose. In exchange for that firmer suspension and 19" front wheel is the VStrom is planted like an Oak Tree in the corners. Front end feedback is great compared to the DR. Handling is neutral as can be and the bike flicks into corners very easily. Even quick side to side transitions, the VStrom requires little effort. The DR, despite its low weight, requires more effort in quick side to side, most likely due to its much higher center of gravity.

    Braking: No contest here. The VStrom brakes feel like Moto GP level compared to even the modified DR650 with SM brakes. The DR requires a lot more brake lever effort, and a LOT of travel at the rear before real braking happens. The VStrom requires less than half that effort. And the rear brakes are strong and much easier to modulate. And the VStrom exhibits almost no brake dive.

    Long Distance Capability: No surprise here either. The VStrom's wind protection is almost full coverage for my 5'8" frame. In the windshield's lowest position, wind hits the very top of my helmet. I found this nice when its cold out, but....when it got hot I wanted more wind in the face to fully vent my helmet, and sometimes I wanted to just keep the front helmet shield up to get more cooling wind in the face. What surprised me is the wind noise. The VStrom has more than I thought it would considering the almost no wind all along my torso. This is a common issue with VStrom's and aftermarket solutions abound. My first order of business is to fit a SHORTER windshield from GIVI (sport shield) to get more wind in my helmet for the summer months.

    Because my riding is 90% pavement, and I like riding my bike to a trail or other interesting destination off the beaten path, and never take it on anything more than an easy off road trek, the VStrom 650 is a perfect match. Icing on the cake is now I don't have to get battered by the wind on the highway, and I don't have to bring tire changing tools on every ride, and now I got power to cruise on our big interstates for long periods at 85-90 if I so choose.
  6. Millwright77

    Millwright77 I ♥ Milkcrates♥

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    :muutt
    Oh wow thanks for the write up man. Yeah I hate the lugging on the dr and I also ride 90% pavement. I guess I’m just coming to realization that I enjoy the idea of riding off-road more than I actually do. :muutt

    I used to do some pretty hardcore trails on a 2 stroke. I really enjoyed that and kinda imagined the same on my DR but it’s just too dam heavy even though it’s on the lighter side when it comes to bikes.
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  7. Rusty Shakelford

    Rusty Shakelford Been here awhile Supporter

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    They're both great bikes KIMG1516.JPG
  8. Rusty Shakelford

    Rusty Shakelford Been here awhile Supporter

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    received_482025513013537.jpeg yep, two great bikes. Different yet similar...
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  9. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    Hey there. Long time VStrom owner. I have a K3 which I've put ~55k miles on - it currently has 71k. The bike has been a workhorse for me: I don't ***love*** it, but it's pretty good at a lot of things, and isn't bad at anything I do regularly, and has never been lacking enough to warrant replacement... until recently. I went on a two-day group ride that included a bunch of *very* goaty, barely paved NorCal back-roads. With camping gear & my lardy ass over the bumpy pavement the shock faded to uselessness.

    Several years ago, I replaced the stocker with a used eBay Progressive 465 of questionable age and condition: regardless, it was an improvement. Anyway, if the shock wasn't worn out when I installed it, it's worn out now.

    I wanted to service the shock, but, I'm appalled to find that Progressive doesn't offer rebuild kits for the 465. Yes, a local tuner could probably fix it, but it's not a sophisticated shock even when new.

    I'm considering a YSS X506 shock - this is their big-piston, big shaft, rebound/hi comp/low comp adjustable remote reservoir shock.

    Has anyone installed a YSS on their VStrom, and can offer feedback?

    Thanks in advance.
  10. Pollack

    Pollack Adventurer

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    Progressive told me they would rebuild a 465 if I sent it in, ymmv........

    Best regards,
  11. OCLandspeeder

    OCLandspeeder Been here awhile

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    I hear yah. When I got my DR650 in '17, I had visions of me riding like EverRide, sailing along incredible canyons and deserts like Superman. But reality for me was so much different. I actually did sail along incredible canyons and deserts, just not as elegant as Tyler and his expert crew. Also, since I don't live near those canyons and deserts, I have to ride on incredibly boring freeways, then later exciting twisty pavement, before I get to the off pavement parts. Which is great! I love it. And this works out to 90% pavement riding, with 10% dirt (I do not like trucking my bike to the trail). My DR is set up to be better on pavement because this is how I us it for, and it is really better than I have skills for off road. But the VStrom 650 XT is MUCH better for 90% of my riding. It's limitations off road compared to the DR is ok by me since I'm not fast and not that skilled anyway. So the VStrom is a perfect marriage for me.
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  12. ag_streak

    ag_streak Tiene Ruta Cuarenta? Supporter

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    This makes perfect sense, and describes me too, but I would add that riding a V-strom off-road takes MORE skill, experience, and confidence than riding a DR650 off-road! Lol! :lol3
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  13. Pollack

    Pollack Adventurer

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    I thought the exact same thing, till I had to check the valve clearances. :dunno

    Regardless, I agree with all the points that have been raised.

    Best regards,
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  14. OCLandspeeder

    OCLandspeeder Been here awhile

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    So true! The DR's 9.5" of suspension travel and 9.5" of ground clearance, and 100 lbs. less weight makes things a lot easier off road.
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  15. OCLandspeeder

    OCLandspeeder Been here awhile

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    I've checked the valve clearance on my VFR800 VTEC. You want hard....that was HARD! The easiest valves to check and adjust is the DR650's without a doubt.
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  16. vanislejay

    vanislejay Been here awhile

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    I would bet the big BMW has the DR beat for an easy valve check.
  17. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    I went through RaceTech's week-long Suspension Seminar, and have the tools & skills to do the job, so it chafes a bit for Progressive to demand I pay them labor (and shipping) because they won't sell me $30 worth of parts to fix their products. As long as shocks aren't run *without* fluid, they are repairable products. #RightToRepair

    Any YSS users want to chime in?
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  18. Pollack

    Pollack Adventurer

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    I am not familiar with YSS; however, have you looked at Cogent? Everyone who has their products is extremely complimentary.

    Best regards,
  19. jwumpus

    jwumpus standup philosopher

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    My wife and I went to the Catskills last weekend and made an interesting discovery about my 2014 V Strom. The stock seat which is comfortable for 2 hours turns into a torture device after 3. I've sat on my share of uncomfortable motorcycle seats but I don't recall one making my tailbone feel like it was on fire. This seat has to go ASAP. My first choice was Russell but they said September to start so that's out. Seat Concepts currently has 8-10 weeks lead time and I can't wait that long. Not sure I like the look of Saddlemen. A couple of other I don't recall. So that leaves the Sargent World Sport Adventure Touring Seat which I can get right now. I have no experience with Sargent but they review well so I'm going to give that a shot. Maybe there are some other options I haven't found yet. I also discovered that the handlebars have to go. Wrist pain and numbness is not cool. So I'm thinking risers and either Protaper or Tusk so far. I'm still trying to figure out which bars and what riser height. I think I might need to lower the pegs, too. If anyone has any recommendations or pointers for these things they would be greatly appreciated. I'm 6' 4", 34 inseam, 290 lbs if any of that is helpful.

    Picture of the bike because it's a great bike and very photogenic.

    [​IMG]
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  20. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

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    I've got Sargents on both of my Stroms. They're great. They make the bike feel taller, only because they're wider and a tiny bit harder to get your feet down. They also push me fairly far forward in the saddle, but so did the stock seat.

    Overall, well worth the $