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  1. #1
    In Training
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    145

    V-Strom 650. Any info, opinions?

    I've been riding for over 3 years (and that's a whole other story!!!!). My ride is a 250 cc scooter, from that "other" Japanese manufacturer. To be honest, I've loved it, and I love the excellent Honda dealership near my house.

    I've been looking at other bikes for a long time, have always thought some day I'd move up to something with more power and a clutch. I've had the motorcycle safety course, and kept right up with the Harley and crotch rocket riders who sneered at my almost antique scooter. But, until now, I've never found a bike that seemed like it could do a variety of things well. I don't want some huge monstrosity, I don't like the seating arrangements on cruisers or sport bikes. I'm not out to impress anybody, outpace anyone, or scrape my knees on the ground on tight mountain turns. I ride, almost entirely alone, because I just love it. I commute to work (that's a topic all on its own, too), I run errands, and occasionally a shorter trip. The scooter is not something you do a lot of distance on, though it is fun and nimble in town traffic!

    Yesterday, I fell in love. Scoping out web sites about the new 2004 Honda bikes - none of which meet my needs in any way, I came across info on the V-Strom 650. It was love at first sight! The more I read, the more excited I got! Okay, this will turn into a novel, so I'll try to get to the point here. I have so many questions I hardly know where to start!

    1. I am a female rider - but I am tall (5'-10", with very long legs). Will this be a problem? It doesn't sound like a very tall bike. My scooter isn't, either, but it accommodates long legs easily. I read that optional seats will be availabe to raise the seat height, but none is yet shown anywhere.

    2. Any ideas on the predicted reliability of the V-Strom 650? I do not work on bikes, and don't really want to. The little free time I get, I want to ride, not tinker! I'm spoiled, with an ancient, but bulletproof, scooter. I am fanatical about maintenance, but don't want a garage queen! I need durability AND dependability.

    3. How long will it be before used bikes of this type become available? Will the typical rider of this type of bike take decent care of it, or will they dog it out? I live in a Navy town, and many sailors give their bikes a very hard time. How do the Suzukis do on depreciation? I'm hoping to move up on a very tight budget!

    4. What kind of mods would be possible for carrying "stuff"? For commuting, I have to haul business attire, my lunch, various paperwork, etc. My current arrangement is a milk crate bungeed on the back rack of my scooter. But I'd really like dry storage, and additional security would be fantastic. I'd also like the option to possibly do some touring, or to use the bike for business travel, all without spending a fortune.

    5. Does Suzuki have a Rider's Club? I've liked the Honda one, and have used the roadside assistance a couple of times. It's really good for those of us who are mechanically challenged.

    I'm sorry this is so long, but I'm trying to get past my initial infatuation here, and get a few cold, hard facts to cool me down before I do something rash! I have looked so long, and was starting to think I'd never find something that I like, and that meets my needs! This is the most excited I've gotten about a bike in a long, long time! Thanks for any info anyone can provide!
    My motto is "In all things - moderation." Of course, that means that even moderation needs to be practiced in moderation!

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  3. #2
    Seat Tester
    Location
    vancouver, bc Canada
    Posts
    67
    although my v-strom is a 1000, I can answer a few of your questions.

    1) at 5'10 you should fit the vs650 fine. I am 5'9" with short legs(30" inseam) and I can handle the 1000 fine. a good point is that the v-stroms have good distance from the seat to the pegs - very easy on the knees
    2) The 650 motor is basically same as the SV650 motor which has proven to be one of the most reliable engines in the industry. Many racers use the stock sv 650 for racing where it again proves durable. my 1000 has been troublefree since new and i'm approaching 20000km (12000) miles and just now need new tires - the chain is still ok
    3) might be tough to find a used one although I have seen a few where big guys or people wanting to ride 2-up find the torque a bit lacking.
    4) Givi in the US makes a good assortment of topcases and sidecases that fit well on the v-strom. I just bought a Kappa 48ltr case and think it's perfect. good size and it doesn't seem to upset the balace of the bike. Also, topcases don't make the bike wider like sidecases do.

    check out www.advrider.com for more adv bike info
    and my latest ride report is at this link
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48367
    have fun researching

  4. #3
    In Training
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    145

    Thanks for the help!

    Thanks!!!!! I have to admit that I looked longingly at the V-Strom 1000, and I don't think the height would be a problem for me at all (My pant inseam is 35 1/2 inches). But I really am not ready for anything so powerful, I doubt I ever will be. Also, I read the center of gravity is higher on the 1000, which might make it harder for me to handle. I think for me, the 1000 might be like "going hunting for squirrel with an elephant gun". I'm a really tame rider, more into the pleasure of it, than the thrill.

    I also don't think there will be many used 650's, at least not for a while. But perhaps by the time I've saved toward it, there might be! I have a feeling - I hope - it will be pretty popular. But I figure some folks will move up, either to the 1000, or to a touring bike, or to a cruiser. In a pinch, I guess I could retake the MSF course, and take the advanced course, and then I'd be able to handle the 1000, if the 650 is not available. But I'd really prefer the 650, even if I have to raise the bike, or replace the seat and pegs.

    I especially appreciate the advice on engine reliability! I'm not hard on brakes, tires, etc. I have garage space, and change the oil religiously. But I know my brother's BMW's (all 3 of them), while fantastic bikes, are quirky and high maintenance, no matter how they're pampered (to be fair, they are also very old). The only thing about this bike that worried me a bit was that it seems a lot more high-tech than my ancient scooter! But the ride sounds comfortable, and I really, really like the aggressive look of the bike. Maybe I'm a bit tired of getting no respect.

    One article I was reading called it the "Swiss Army Knife of motorcycles". That really appealed to me! I've had one of those in my purse since I was about 12 - except not in airports, these days. Practicality, comfort, and fun, all in one manageable package. Where do I sign up?!?

    The observation about side cases was also excellent. Hadn't thought of the added width. But I think I could travel decently with a good tank bag and a good-sized top case, anyway. I'm sometimes amazed at what I can pack into just a milk crate (with a net atop)! And I already have adjusted to the whole bike commuting thing, so I've learned to travel lighter than I used to. It's made me a much lower-maintenance woman, this biking thing.

    Well, nothing so far to cool my jets on this bike. Maybe someone else can talk some sense into me......maybe!
    My motto is "In all things - moderation." Of course, that means that even moderation needs to be practiced in moderation!

  5. #4
    Newbie
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    11

    vstrom 650

    I have about 1800 miles on my first bike ... a VStrom 650. I have a Givi topcase. Use the bike for commuting, daily rider and one trip of about 950 miles in 6 days. No mechanical problems. Bike is awesome. I was hooked on the 'adventure tourer' concept and made the right decision for myself.

  6. #5
    Newbie
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    11
    almost forgot...

  7. #6
    In Training
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    145
    You are fanning the flames, here. Nice picture......I am drooling over your bike!
    My motto is "In all things - moderation." Of course, that means that even moderation needs to be practiced in moderation!

  8. #7
    Anonymous
    Guest
    I too, am a fan of the V-Strom 650. A friend bought one a short while back, and as he was late for his child's ball game, and he was a new rider, he had me ride it the forty miles home. I like the adventure-bike styling, nice low rumble from the engine, and that little windscreen did the job quite well. (I'm 5'11") The thing is . . .

    . . . I'd rather ride my scooter. Mind you, I'm a guy who's been riding for 35+ years, work as a Correctional Officer (lots of testosterone in the workplace ), and have owned many different motorcycles. Most of the cruiser riders did the big eye roll and snicker, before they found out that this is one killer scooter. I haven't encountered a cruiser that I couldn't beat in any road situation (including long distance), or a sport bike that I couldn't beat through the twisties. And it comes with a locking trunk!

    My advice: before you actually buy that V-Strom, give the AN650K Burgman a ride.

  9. #8
    Where Am I ?
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    26
    Laurie,
    Checkout http://11109.rapidforum.com/ - a pure VStrom site. Both 650 & 1000. The 650 seems to be a very capable, dependable and excellent starter bike. Tall riders put the DL1000 seat on the 650 to raise the seat height. There is a 650 'Special Community' section on the site where any and all of your question will be answered by 650 owners.
    03 SV1000S - Silver

  10. #9
    In Training
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    145
    Quote Originally Posted by wasions
    I too, am a fan of the V-Strom 650. A friend bought one a short while back, and as he was late for his child's ball game, and he was a new rider, he had me ride it the forty miles home. I like the adventure-bike styling, nice low rumble from the engine, and that little windscreen did the job quite well. (I'm 5'11") The thing is . . .

    . . . I'd rather ride my scooter. Mind you, I'm a guy who's been riding for 35+ years, work as a Correctional Officer (lots of testosterone in the workplace ), and have owned many different motorcycles. Most of the cruiser riders did the big eye roll and snicker, before they found out that this is one killer scooter. I haven't encountered a cruiser that I couldn't beat in any road situation (including long distance), or a sport bike that I couldn't beat through the twisties. And it comes with a locking trunk!

    My advice: before you actually buy that V-Strom, give the AN650K Burgman a ride.
    You are absolutely right! I have to say I have loved my scooter, and still do. When the larger scooters came out, I was so excited!!!! They are soooo expensive, though. And I've been watching to see if they'll be half as durable and reliable as my '85 has been. So far, they are looking very good. I have to admit, until a few weeks ago, I only knew about the Silverwing. The Burgman does fascinate me! I would definitely look into it before I did anything drastic. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to buy right now, anyway, so I'll have LOTS of time to think over the options!

    It's nice to know there are other scooter rides out there!!!!!! I am the only one around here that I know of, not on a 50 cc and wearing some cheesy bike helmet.

    I tell people the motto of us scooter riders is, "Born To Be Mild". My scooter really can be a wolf in sheep's clothing, though!!!! I can't imagine what a 650 cc must be like!!!!!
    My motto is "In all things - moderation." Of course, that means that even moderation needs to be practiced in moderation!

  11. #10
    Squirrel Target
    My Bike(s)
    Burgman 650 K3- 41,000 miles as of 6-01-14
    Location
    Dodge Co. Wisconsin
    Posts
    656
    Laurie, its a sleeper.

  12. #11
    Seat Tester
    Location
    Auburn, AL
    Posts
    75
    is the vs650 a first for 04? I hadn't even heard of em till I saw one in one of the motorcycle parking on campus. I was deffinatly intrigued by it. Had a styling all its on. Did seem quite large, but I guess its more of the cruiser type..... sorta?? Looked pretty cool, good luck.
    04 GSX-R600 Black
    03 Raptor LE w/ some mods. (for sale)
    98 Jeep TJ (mods as well)
    98 Dodge Stratus (aka Goldmember, commuter)

  13. #12
    In Training
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    145
    Yes, the 650 V-Strom is new in '04, it follows the popular 1000 (I like to think of it as "the convenient Travel Size"). Its official Suzuki tag is DL 650 V-Strom.

    It has a large tank, and like most of the dual purpose bikes, it sits up high, so it does look large. But if you check the specs, it's not heavy. And the seat height is lower than the 1000.

    To be honest, you're ahead of me, I haven't actually seen one, though I have seen the 1000. My local dealer hasn't had one for a long time, though he can get me an '05 "soon" - whatever that means.

    I have, however, found a 650 on-line not far from my home base, and struck a deal to buy it. I'm still raising the money, and making travel plans, but it looks like a done deal. I haven't said much, I didn't want to jinx the deal! But it's looking definite, as soon as I can get up there and hand over yankee dollars!

    Sorry 'bout not getting the Burger. I decided I really want a clutch and gears this go-round. Maybe next bike.

    I'm starting to get really excited about this! I've got riding pants ordered (first pair came, and were too small), and I've about decided to splurge on some nice gloves. My old ones are okay, but not great. And they still bleed dye on my hands.

    After all the looking, and waiting, it's hard to believe I'm really going to move up. I'm a little bit scared, but figure it'll be okay once I get started. Thanks for the input, I really like this site, and the people on it.
    My motto is "In all things - moderation." Of course, that means that even moderation needs to be practiced in moderation!

  14. #13
    In Training
    My Bike(s)
    '03 Yamaha FZ1, '05 FZ1 (project bike)
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio
    Posts
    115

    Vstrom 650

    I've been waffling back and forth between the yamaha fz6 and the vstrom
    650 for a couple weeks now, although at this point I do think the vstrom is
    a better fit for me. Being well over 6' with a 36" inseam, the leg positioning
    feels just about perfect. Definitely a tall bike but it's so light that's it seems
    like handling shouldn't be an issue. Right now the dealerships in my area
    have them discounted by about $600 off MSRP, so it seems like an
    exceptional deal. If all goes well, I should be riding one home tomorrow.
    I'll let know how it goes.

  15. #14
    Newbie
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    11
    good luck to both!
    no discount here
    dealer sold out allotment including the one that I had been 'visiting' for a few weeks, although they did get one from another dealer
    no more 04's available in this area
    just turned over 2000 miles on my first bike, no problems except not enough time to ride
    keep us informed!

  16. #15
    In Training
    My Bike(s)
    '03 Yamaha FZ1, '05 FZ1 (project bike)
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio
    Posts
    115

    Vstrom 650

    I'm always amazed at how things work out. I overslept this morning and
    didn't get into the dealier until later in the morning. When I arrived at the
    dealer, the bike was gone from the showroom. Turns out another guy came
    in to test ride it, after which he decided to buy it. Fortunately after doing a
    dealer search, they were able to find another DL650 (black as opposed to
    the blue one they had in the showroom), which I was able to purchase. They
    gave me the same price on it of $5,999. With tax (7%) and title I was
    looking at $6,500, then I added on the 4yr extended warranty for another
    $500 for a total of about $7k. So if things go as planned, I should be able
    to pick it up this coming Monday. I think the 2004 DL1000's were going for
    around $7700 new. The ironic part is that I was actually more interested in
    the black bike than the blue one, so this worked out quite well.


 

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