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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone!

I was posting here a few months ago asking about the M50 while waiting to take my motorcycle training and get my license. Having taken the course (and get my license, yay!), I had the opportunity to ride a variety of different bikes. After being on a sportbike, cruiser, enduro, and dual-sport, my attitude as to what kind of bike I want has changed. I was convinced beforehand that I wanted a cruiser, I love the look, but now I find that I really liked the riding position of the dual-sports, upright, higher, feet under me.

I also re-assessed my needs\desires in a bike. I want a bike that will be nimble in city traffic, as %90+ of my motorcycling will be in town. I don't feel that a cruiser would be that nimble in traffic, but what do I know? I also have friends that go cruising the highways for hours at a time and I would like to go with them comfortably. Looks are less important.

I know that I don't like the hunched over sportbike position so I've basically discounted them from my decision making process. I've been looking hard at the V-Strom 650 w\ABS, and all things being equal, would purchase this bike. Of course, all things are not equal and I've been mulling over other options. A KLR650 runs about $3500 less (if I buy new, even greater difference used).

I know that a KLR is more dirt oriented and I question the seat comfort on long highway rides. Is the V-strom worth the extra bucks? Are there things that can be done to make the KLR more comfy on the highways?

Also, am I wrong about the maneuverability of the M50 in city traffic? Would you consider it if your needs\wants were the same as mine?

Also, if you have any other suggestions, I'm open to them.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

David

FWIW, I'm 6'2" and 210lbs.
 

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There are a few other midweights out there. This year's model of the 650 Bandit looks like a sport bike, but it's got the same upright seating as my ride. Doesn't have ABS this year though. You might also consider the 500 Ninja or the Versys.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I will have to try sitting on the Bandit. ABS isn't a deal breaker, it's actually all I can find on the V-Strom.

Thanks for the suggestions, the Versys is something I'd like to look at too. The Kaw dealer had one and now it's been sold. I'll have to try the one on the other side of the city.
 

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heck, I'm even considering a v-strom.

one of these days, I tell ya.

but I sat on an m-50, and as I drive farther it is more tempting.

search for v-strom, drbob has one and seems to like it.
 

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Buying a bike?
Jim McCraw/Popular Mechanics /July 2005
I think this is how you borrow what someone else says.

Nobody really has to buy a motorcycle. But these days plenty of people want to. And you may be one of them. Before you plunk down your money, swing your leg over the seat and feel that warm breeze of freedom, you need to resolve several critical issues.

AM I AN EXPERINCED RIDER? Riding a motorcycle is undeniably fun. It also can be lethal if done wrong. Therefore, before you even consider buying any kind of motorcycle, assess your skills and abilities. If you’re a rank novice, you need to learn how to ride. If you’ve been away from motorcycles for awhile, you should take a refresher course. And if you don’t already have a motorcycle license, you’re going to need one to ride legally. The best course of action is to go to a riding school.

HOW DO I INTEND TO RIDE? The kind of riding you’re interested in fairly well dictates the type of bike you should shop for. Conversely, the kind of bike you ride largely defines your motorcycling world and lifestyle. So besides selecting the motorcycle based on its mechanical and performance attributes, consider what circles you’ll likely be riding in—so to speak. If you don’t think of yourself as a racer or a biker in the WILD ONE vein, and you would be comfortable at, say, an Eagles reunion concert, consider a traditional bike, on the other hand, tend to indulge in extreme activities—think THE FAST AND THE FERIOUS, only on two wheels. If you want to hang with the hip-hop crowd, maybe you’re a sport-bike candidate. Folks who enjoy the touring lifestyle tend to be older—often retirees—and are in on kind of hurry when they watch the scenery go by on all sides. If an RV lifestyle or dinner theater appeals to you, so might a touring bike. But if you want to put some adventure into a long daily commute, you may be cruiser-bike material.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I SPEND? It’s a discretionary purchase—the mortgage comes first, okay? Depending on the type of motorcycle you choose, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5000.00 to $25000.00 for a new bike. Motorcycle dealers, like auto dealers will do what they can to help you with financing options, and many offer used bikes as well.

DO I REALLY NEED A NEW BIKE? For many riders, a used motorcycle is a better option. Besides being more affordable than a new bike, a used one is a sensible transitional machine. You may find that the bike you bought to get you back in the game is somehow lacking after you’ve spent some serious time on it. And the reality is, sooner or later your first motorcycle is going to hit the pavement. There’s no reason that the bike you ding up needs to be an expensive one right out the crate. Give yourself a few months to get comfortable—then you’ll be more than ready for a new set of wheels.

IS THIS THE BIKE FOR ME? As you shop, consider your body type: if you cannot put both feet flat on the ground when the bike is upright, it’s too tall for you, period. Also, if this is your first bike, or you’ve never ridden anything scarily fast, don’t even look at a high-performance bike. That said, if you see yourself using the bike primarily as daily transportation, consider a standard, or traditional, bike. If you used to ride years ago, these will look familiar, but feel better thanks to electric starters, fuel injection and disc brakes. If your commute is a long one, you typically do it with a passenger and you want a bit more style, the next logical choice is a cruiser. If you intend to spend many hours and miles in the saddle with a passenger setting behind you, you need a touring bike. For a little more performance in a touring bike, there’s a subset called sport/touring. If you primarily want to straighten curvy roads, your needs will be best met with a sportbike. If you want a basic commuter that can keep going when the pavement doesn’t, look at a dual-purpose bike: a standard bike with extra ground clearance and knobby tires.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED? Before you start riding, you’ll require a helmet, jacket, gloves, boots, rain suit and, possibly, dedicated eyewear—especially if you wear glasses. Don’t stint when you buy your riding outfit: should you ever need it, it’s all there is between you and the hard, coarse pavement. Buy a helmet that meets both DOT {Department of Transportation} and Snell Memorial Foundation’s current safety standards, nothing less.
Then, after you’re fully trained and equipped, prepare for adversity. Expose yourself to what you’re bound to face eventually when riding in a safe and controlled environment. While you may never intend to ride in the rain, sooner or later you’re going to get caught in a shower. Go to an empty parking lot or deserted stretch of road on a rainy morning to get yourself used to the feel of wet pavement and how the bike reacts to breaking, accelerating and swerving in the wet. These are skills you don’t want to have to learn on the job.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Uncle B,

While I appreciate that you make that post in every, "what bike?" thread, I didn't find it very helpful. I laid out my thoughts on which bikes I am interested and why. It seems as though you didn't take the time to read my post at all and give me any sort of insight, instead choosing to post a generic answer that asks me to consider things that I already have. That is something that I don't appreciate.

It's no wonder you have +3500 posts. Sheesh.

David
 

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There are people who tour on the KLR650. Most motorcycle mags list it in the most bang for the buck. Personally I cannot advise on the bike more than that since I have not owned one or rode one more than a few minutes.

I have a good friend that has a V-Strom 650 and I really like it. The seat seems a little better for longer rides. It also has a better fairing than the KLR. The V-Strom also has better power with the V-Twin verses the single in the KLR.

I am looking for a second bike for myself and the KLR is on my short list. I don't think that you could go wrong with either. There is a forum dedicated to the KLR. KLR650.net. Maybe you could get some first hand advice there.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There are people who tour on the KLR650. Most motorcycle mags list it in the most bang for the buck. Personally I cannot advise on the bike more than that since I have not owned one or rode one more than a few minutes.

I have a good friend that has a V-Strom 650 and I really like it. The seat seems a little better for longer rides. It also has a better fairing than the KLR. The V-Strom also has better power with the V-Twin verses the single in the KLR.

I am looking for a second bike for myself and the KLR is on my short list. I don't think that you could go wrong with either. There is a forum dedicated to the KLR. KLR650.net. Maybe you could get some first hand advice there.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.
Thanks Dave, I've been checking KLR650.net out as well as advrider.com. I've read some good ride reports of the KLR650 going cross country and from Connecticut to Panama and longer. My highway concerns are quickly becoming quelled.

The KLR650 is quickly becoming the bike I like the most from what I've seen. I also appreciate the bang for the buck factor of it.
 

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Uncle B,

While I appreciate that you make that post in every, "what bike?" thread, I didn't find it very helpful. I laid out my thoughts on which bikes I am interested and why. It seems as though you didn't take the time to read my post at all and give me any sort of insight, instead choosing to post a generic answer that asks me to consider things that I already have. That is something that I don't appreciate.

It's no wonder you have +3500 posts. Sheesh.

David

AM I AN EXPERINCED RIDER? Riding a motorcycle is undeniably fun. It also can be lethal if done wrong. Therefore, before you even consider buying any kind of motorcycle, assess your skills and abilities. If you’re a rank novice, you need to learn how to ride. If you’ve been away from motorcycles for awhile, you should take a refresher course. And if you don’t already have a motorcycle license, you’re going to need one to ride legally. The best course of action is to go to a riding school. I was posting here a few months ago asking about the M50 while waiting to take my motorcycle training and get my license.


HOW DO I INTEND TO RIDE? The kind of riding you’re interested in fairly well dictates the type of bike you should shop for. Conversely, the kind of bike you ride largely defines your motorcycling world and lifestyle. So besides selecting the motorcycle based on its mechanical and performance attributes, consider what circles you’ll likely be riding in—so to speak. If you don’t think of yourself as a racer or a biker in the WILD ONE vein, and you would be comfortable at, say, an Eagles reunion concert, consider a traditional bike, on the other hand, tend to indulge in extreme activities—think THE FAST AND THE FERIOUS, only on two wheels. If you want to hang with the hip-hop crowd, maybe you’re a sport-bike candidate. Folks who enjoy the touring lifestyle tend to be older—often retirees—and are in on kind of hurry when they watch the scenery go by on all sides. If an RV lifestyle or dinner theater appeals to you, so might a touring bike. But if you want to put some adventure into a long daily commute, you may be cruiser-bike material.
I also have friends that go cruising the highways for hours at a time and I would like to go with them comfortably. Looks are less important.




HOW MUCH SHOULD I SPEND? It’s a discretionary purchase—the mortgage comes first, okay? Depending on the type of motorcycle you choose, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5000.00 to $25000.00 for a new bike. Motorcycle dealers, like auto dealers will do what they can to help you with financing options, and many offer used bikes as well.
A KLR650 runs about $3500 less (if I buy new, even greater difference used).




DO I REALLY NEED A NEW BIKE? For many riders, a used motorcycle is a better option. Besides being more affordable than a new bike, a used one is a sensible transitional machine. You may find that the bike you bought to get you back in the game is somehow lacking after you’ve spent some serious time on it. And the reality is, sooner or later your first motorcycle is going to hit the pavement. There’s no reason that the bike you ding up needs to be an expensive one right out the crate. Give yourself a few months to get comfortable—then you’ll be more than ready for a new set of wheels.
Of course, all things are not equal and I've been mulling over other options. A KLR650 runs about $3500 less (if I buy new, even greater difference used).




IS THIS THE BIKE FOR ME? As you shop, consider your body type: if you cannot put both feet flat on the ground when the bike is upright, it’s too tall for you, period. Also, if this is your first bike, or you’ve never ridden anything scarily fast, don’t even look at a high-performance bike. That said, if you see yourself using the bike primarily as daily transportation, consider a standard, or traditional, bike. If you used to ride years ago, these will look familiar, but feel better thanks to electric starters, fuel injection and disc brakes. If your commute is a long one, you typically do it with a passenger and you want a bit more style, the next logical choice is a cruiser. If you intend to spend many hours and miles in the saddle with a passenger setting behind you, you need a touring bike. For a little more performance in a touring bike, there’s a subset called sport/touring. If you primarily want to straighten curvy roads, your needs will be best met with a sportbike. If you want a basic commuter that can keep going when the pavement doesn’t, look at a dual-purpose bike: a standard bike with extra ground clearance and knobby tires.
I don't feel that a cruiser would be that nimble in traffic, but what do I know? I know that I don't like the hunched over sportbike position so I've basically discounted them from my decision making process.

Also, am I wrong about the maneuverability of the M50 { a cruiser would be that nimble in traffic} in city traffic? Would you consider it if your needs\wants were the same as mine?

 

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A couple bikes I considered, for similar reasons you mention, before buying the M50:
Suzuki SV650
Yamaha FZ6

The FZ6 is a sweet "sit up straight" sport bike in my opinion.

I also looked at the KLR650 but since I really didnt plan on much off roading or even dirt roads it didn't seem practical for me. That skinny seat just doesn't seem like it could be comfortable for long.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
@ Uncle_B

Exactly. I'm considering everything that the article says to in the OP. I have already offered my opinion, I am asking for others. If you feel the need to continue spamming my thread with articles from Popular Mechanics I guess I can't stop you, but I would rather you offer something constructive to the discussion.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
A couple bikes I considered, for similar reasons you mention, before buying the M50:
Suzuki SV650
Yamaha FZ6

The FZ6 is a sweet "sit up straight" sport bike in my opinion.

I also looked at the KLR650 but since I really didnt plan on much off roading or even dirt roads it didn't seem practical for me. That skinny seat just doesn't seem like it could be comfortable for long.
I agree about the seat. It doesn't seem like the most comfortable thing in the world, but there are pads, and aftermarket seats that can be considered.

I spent a lot of time lurking and it sounds as though no one thinks their stock seat was comfy, regardless of the bike they have.

I'll have to check out the FZ6.
 

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@ Uncle_B

I would rather you offer something constructive to the discussion.
I don't feel that a cruiser would be that nimble in traffic, but what do I know?

something constructive to the discussion An M50 is a CRUISER.
 

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As a new rider, I don't think the M50 would be as easy or as enjoyable to ride in city traffic for you as the V-Strom or KLR.

I think the main thing you have to decide between the V-Strom and the KLR is do you want to pay the $3500 to be more comfortable on the highway. The V-Strom has better wind protection (both from driving winds and crosswinds), more comfort and power, and ABS. The KLR is lighter and more maneuverable but is less comfortable due to the seat and vibrating single cylinder and is blown around more in the wind.

You will probably find that the KLR is better in the city, but I would bet that the V-Strom knocks the KLR on its butt on the highway.
 

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As an M50 owner I can tell you, imo, it's a good city bike. Not as manuverable as the KLr or V-strom, but not bad.

Also consider:
Suzuki gsx650f (the previously mentioned Bandit)
Suzuki sv650sf (little more foward lean but not too bad)
Suzuki gs500f
Kawasaki 650R (shorter Versys w/ more fairing and cheaper suspension)
Kawasaki 500 Ninja
Kawasaki zzr 600 (similar to the sv650sf)
Yamaha yzf600r (too much foward lean for my tastes but a competent ride)
 

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the most important element in the equation is thus

1) what is your typical drive for the bike after purchase? To work through the city, or the occassional jaunt on the weekends?
2) How far apart is work and home? If the distance is less than 20 - 30 miles, I would go with the vstrom 650 (or similar).

Remember, once you purchase something, you can always get something else as your tastes change. And as you become more comfortable driving.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I will mostly be using it in city. Between work and home, maybe a 10 minute drive. I intend to ride it everywhere unless I feel as though I absolutely need to take the car.

My friends tend to rip around highways, maybe once or twice a month during the riding season (4-5 months around here).

As it stands at this moment, I'm leaning heavily towards the KLR. It seems to be the most bang for the buck and I figure it will be more than acceptable for the great majority of my riding. I still have time to look at other bikes and change my mind a couple hundred more times.

@Uncle B: Don't treat me like I'm a simpleton. I'm fully aware that an M50 is a cruiser.
 

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oh, one last thing, if they have a fair amount of gravel roads (even ILL has a goodly amount of them) a smaller bike will handle gravel and dirt roads better.

as I mentioned, by something you're happy with, you will always get something else later. Or find a way to put luggage racks on a klr. You wouldn't the first to do so.
 

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I have owned a "M50", and a V Strom 1000, and I currently own a DR 650 which is quite similar to the KLR 650, so I might be able to help you.

The M50 is a lot more nimble than you might think, it's quite easy to flick around, I'd say it's the most "sports bike like" riding cruiser I've ever ridden, and it's one of first bikes I recommend to any new riders because of it's easy going manner, and ease of maintenance, but it does have some issues that need to be mentioned.
1. The seat is only good for about 50 miles before you need a break.
2. The brakes are adequate, but just barley.
3. Of the three bikes you mentioned it's the lowest to the ground, and that limits your visibility in traffic, both for you to see, and be seen.
4. It has the least power of the three bikes you mentioned, so if you ever want to carry a passenger or a heavy load of gear for a trip you would have more trouble in a passing situation than the other two.

I haven't ridden one of the newer KLR's, but except for the seat, they are quite similar to my DR650, and for what it's worth, when it comes to bang for the buck, I think the DR is a better buy than the KLR, but that's just my opinion.
The KLR is a great bike with a long history of good service, and a lot of loyal owners, but it is lacking in creature comforts if it's going to be ridden mostly on the black-top. As with the M50, you will find the seat to be good for about 50 miles, and at highway speeds, or in any kind of a cross wind you will get pushed around a lot, even more than on the M50. Trust me, the wind "will" fatigue you in short order at highway speeds on this bike.

For someone that can handle the seat height, the V Stroms have to be about the most versatile bikes ever made, they truly are a do-it-all bike. I rode mine 12,000 miles in one month, including a 1025 mile 18 hour day, so I would have to rate comfort as excelent, They have the best brakes & suspension of the 3 bikes you mention, and get at least as good gas mileage (all 3 get around 50 mpg), The 650 Strom (We Strom) has a super smooth motor with lots of torquey power for effortless passing. The "We" also has the best lighting of the 3, so night riding will be less stressful.
Usually when a manufacturer tries to make a product designed to function in a lot of different areas, it winds up being good at nothing, that's just not the case with the Stroms, they really do excel in all areas that count, the only bad trait they have is about 75% of owners report some level of helmet buffeting.

If I could only own one bike it would be a V Strom, if you haven't already made your mind up to buy the KLR, do yourself a favor and ride the two back to back, I think you'll be surprised at how much nicer the Strom is.
 

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IMO Rickster's take on this is extremely good and accurate. The only thing I'd add is the buffeting issues on the Wee are easily and cheaply solved, either with a MadStad bracket for about $80 or just shimming out the windscreen with cheap spacers. Some get aftermarket windscreens, and even those are (relatively) cheap, but the original screen with MadStad works great for a whole lot of Wee riders.
 
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