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V-strom for first decent road bike?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by cypher247, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. Ok, I've searched the forums and found heaps of good stuff about the V-strom 650, mind's almost made up but wanted a second opinion...

    I've had limited road experience - an ancient CB250 15 years ago, my brothers XJ750 as my only transport for a few months, also years ago, and the odd ride on mates bikes - eg GPZ1100 (I'm going HOW fast? ummm, gently roll throttle off.....), some Kawasaki 2 stroke thing, RZ250 etc.

    But I've ridden dirt bikes all my life... latest being an XR400 which I sold a year or so ago as I wasn't using it. Even when I was using it I was mostly playing on the bitumen and graded gravel and sand roads, avoided the really rough stuff as I didn't like the idea of laying somewhere with a broken leg until a farmer found me...

    Anyway, I'm anxious to get back on two wheels and I think it's time for a road bike. I don't want a boring beginners bike but I realise I have significant skill limitations so don't want an R1 either.

    I live in Mildura, far north west corner of VIC, desert country - 550ks to Melbourne, 450ks to Adelaide. Lots of flat, straight, but poorly maintained roads, b-doubles and caravans.... Budget is less than $10k, includes $1500 for riding gear and $500 for advanced rider training, so about $8k or less for the bike and ORC.

    Ideally I want a single bike that will do the following:

    Comfortably handle longish distances so I can get to somewhere that has hills and associated twisty bits - so 5-6 hour transport sections regularly.
    Have enough power and decent handling to be fun around those corners.
    Handle some decent dirt roads - since I live in the desert I should do some touring in the desert. Mildura to Bourke then across to Sydney for example.
    Do all of this two up occasionally - I'm 5'11 80kgs, gf is 5'1 about 45kgs.
    Decent fuel range.
    Look and sound cool in case I need to impress a new gf :)

    Ok, the last one is a big ask for a V-strom, but does anyone know if these fairing lowers are available in Aus?

    (oops, can't post links until I've posted 5 times...)
    (can't insert image as i keep getting a browser error....)

    Google"Proudly riding V STROM in USA !", first hit, then follow the links to fairing pics.

    IMHO they transform the Vstrom from an ugly but ideal bike, to a good looking and ideal bike. Put lower fairing on for bitumen, whip it off and put the panniers on for a trip to Bourke...

    How am I doing? Am I on track or am I missing something? Anything else I should be looking at?
  2. You might want to go an say hello in the welcome lounge before someone kicks your butt for not doing so! Doesn't bother me though.

    Certainly the V-Strom gets extremely good reviews but as you are not restricted to a LAMS bike I would suggest checking out the Yamaha TDM900 as well. Apparently an awesome bike that will do exactly what you need plus be more fun that a V-Strom. They have been around for a long time too so you can get them for that budget.

  3. Fairings:

    I reckon they're fugly. You can't polish a turd, buddy. You can roll it in glitter, but it still stinks.

    Having said that, the wee-strom looks like it would be a perfect match for your needs. Two Wheels magazine once called it the most practical motorcycle in Australia, and I reckon they might be about right.

    I haven't ridden the TDM, but I've spent a couple days on a v-strom 650 and found it very easy to get along with. Exceptional comfort, great fuel range, enough power to get you into and out of trouble. It steers easily and feels like it's leaning forever. Reliable, bulletproof and brilliant for touring. Top bike. Bit sensible perhaps, but you don't sound like your ambition is to raise hell.

    Get one with crash bars and you're laughing.
  4. Mate... all the old blokes are riding V-Stroms... well, all the old blokes that don't have BMWs, and aren't brain dead wankers with Harleys :)...

    They are a really easy bike to get along with, do everything without a complaint...

    just a couple of things... you have a 45kg girlfriend... what if I suggested you trade her in on a 100kg model that would do everything you wanted without complaint??? the 100kg model is a V-Strom... just cause all the other old blokes are riding 100kg models doesn't mean you have to, unless that is what you want... :)

    In reality tho... before you buy, ride it for 30mins on the highway at $1.20... sounds like that is what you would spend a lot of time doing, and I felt the buffeting on my head on a V-Strom was 50 times worse than on my unfaired KLR650... or read up on how people are gettting around that known issue... my neighbour just sold his after spending lots of $$$ chasing a fix...

    V-Stroms are a nice bike, don't let me talk you out of it, ewe sheep :) ...

  5. Loz, yes they are fugly. Can I come to terms with that given it appears to be the ideal bike for me? I don't know. You are right, probably clutching at straws trying to dress up a dog ugly bike.... shame, it might be the deciding factor in the end.

    Daewoo - Jeez, what's with the old???? heh heh. And you lost me with the 45kg - 100kg thing, sorry... What if the 45kg model did all that I wanted without complaint too?

    What I really want to know is how do they cope with long distances and a pillion?

    Rybky, thanks for the suggestion, but the TDM seems a bit harder to find from my searches, and aren't they uglier still?
  6. I just did the sums - if it is 15 years since you had a roadie, you must be almost the same age as me - being interested in something like a V-Strom only confirms it :) ...

    A V-Strom is a 100kg model, an R1 is a 45kg model... the R1 one would complain every time you asked it to leave the driveway, but you would love it anyway... a V-Strom is a very practical choice... :) ...

  7. Ah, perfect sense now, thanks. :)

    Would I be right in saying the Strom could do the Mildura to Melbourne run comfortably, and be enough fun for my skill level around the hills when I get there, yet the R1 wouldn't stand a chance of getting to Bourke in one piece along the dirt roads following the Darling? hmmm, answering my own questions I think....
  8. You don't have to look at the mantelpiece while you're stoking the fire. The v-strom is a double-bagger alright but its form is functional, and functionality has its own sort of beauty. And think of all the hours you'll save not sitting around and polishing it... You can use those hours to carve up the mountains and dirt roads.

    I'd own one any day of the week. Well, any day but Sundays. I'm a bit of a hooligan on Sundays.
  9. I believe that the V-Strom has a range of about 650km... one fill up between Sydney and Phillip Island going the long way... but since you have to stop every time one of your idiot mates on their mid-life-crisis sports bikes stops, it isn't much of an advantage other than bragging rights...

  10. I recently spent a bit of time on an Aprilia Pegaso and now quite like the dual sport bikes. The guys I rode with usually ride DR650's and they spend a lot of time in the desert as well as on the bitumen. So I'd suggest you look at them as well.
  11. This is the bike I'm thinking of getting once I'm off my restricted licence.

    I live on a dirt road and there are plenty of dirt roads around here. It's 80ks to Melbourne so I need something that's comfortable at highway speeds. There are plenty of twisties around here too that are just asking to be ridden.

    Everything I've read about the WeeStrom says that they are great bikes.
  12. I think they are fugly too. But it sort of grows on you.

    You won't get 650km / tank. 450 is definitely doable if you take it easy(ish).

    The screen issue is fixable. With mine I adjusted it on the lowest setting and put a couple of plastic spacers (about 1cm) to push the bottom of the screen forward. This allows more airflow behind the screen and greatly reduces the turbulence at noggin height.

    Have a look at advrider (google it) they have more than a couple of long threads devoted the the wee/v.

  13. Ive just moved from a sports bike to a Wee (dl650) and im loving the Vstrom.

    Yes, its a fugly bike but your mates will stop laughing once you show them what the bike can do. Its not the best at any 1 area but does a bloody good job at most. Organise yourself a test ride and see if you like it.

    Check out www.stromtrooper.com or www.vstrom.info, these sites are packed with info. on the bikes, accessories, maintenance ...etc

  14. A fine bike and extremely versatile for the the money. :cool:
    In fact there is a huge range of farkles to be added to make it even sweeter.

    I do agree with the windscreen issue raised above. It's a small irritance until sorted out with maybe some madstad brackets and a different screen. If you intend to ride far more dirt roads than bitumen and rough ones at that, then consider the BMW FS series if you are willing to spend the coin.
  15. I bought a V-Strom 650 a few weeks ago when they had the June specials. It complements my Daytona as a second bike. I've done about 2500kms on it so far.

    I'm in my late 30s but I have only been riding for two years, stepping from a GPX 250 to the Daytona, then adding the Wee.

    Some random thoughts to help you decide...

    As an all around bike I couldn't be happier with it. For some reason that I can't put my finger on it gives me a whole different kind of pleasure to ride it.

    Stability is very good. to be honest I feel more confident cornering on it than the daytona, especially in the wet. I think it would be excellent for a returning rider and would highly recommend one to someone stepping up from their restricted license.

    I'm 6'1" and find it very comfortable. The wife also finds it great as a pillion.

    I found that moving the windscreen to the highest setting removed most of the wind buffeting and it doesn't bother me like it did at the lowest setting.

    Fuel economy is excellent. Most of my usual riding is highways or commuting from Tarneit to the city. I get about 450kms per tank so it's about 4.3L / 100 kms.

    The power is pretty good, even with a pillion. I was thinking of getting the 1000cc but decided the lighter weight would be better for me. I'm happy I chose the 650.

    It cruises happily and comfortably at freeway speeds. I think it's a great bike for touring long distances. I don't think it would matter if the roads were freeways or dirt tracks.

    I don't have much experience on the dirt so I have been taking it out to the Brisbane Ranges to try and learn. I have found it to be excellent on hilly, rocky, slippery, muddy roads. The gearing in 1st seems perfect for heading down steep curvy descents on rough wet roads - Even with a pillion!

    I've bought a few things that I felt made it better for my purposes. Hand guards because they have done a great job to prevent frost bite commuting in winter. Crash guards in case I learn riding on dirt the hard way.

    In terms of faults... I think it's not the most attractive bike. The crash guards made it look a little better by breaking up the shape of the tank though. There was the initial issue with the wind buffeting but that's now sorted. Apart from that I can't really fault it.

    given your requirements I think the Wee would suit you very well.

    Anyway, I'm happy to help out if you have any other questions.
  16. Great bike, got a new one myself a couple of months ago. Just rode it to near Cairns and back, does anything you ask of it.

    I had to change the gearing, it was revving far too high at 120km/h for my liking. Changed the rear sprocket from a 47 to 43 and it is now perfect.

    I came off the 1000 to the 650 and don't miss the power at all, the 650 is such a better bike.

    It will do everything you ask for sure. Finding one under $8000 with decent kms may be a stretch though.
  17. Never knew you could read!!! :p :p :p :p :p
  18. Am currently saving my pennies for one of these.

    Test rode if a few weeks ago, a nice white abs model.

    Have test ridden half a dozen different things to see what's next, this was the best all round fit for me at 6'2 105kg.

    Beauty is in the eye etc etc - I reckon they've got character.

    $8k or so seems to bring up a good selection of used models.

    I'd like one with the abs though so will try to keep saving :)
  19. Thanks for all the input folks, very helpful...

    I was trying to work out what sort of rides I want to do to help me work out if I really need the dirt road capability. So, Google maps - here's one I'd love to do (after several weekend trips to sort the bike/rider out)....

    Mildura, Menindee, Broken Hill, Bourke, Cunnumulla (following the Darling upstream from it's junction with the Murray near Mildura), nip over to Brisbane to have a few beers with a mate there, follow the coast down to Sydney, then to Bega, through the mountains to Kosciusko, then follow the Murray back to Mildura. Circumnavigate the Murray Darling basin, sort of. About 4500 k's, I'd guess 10 traveling days, another 10 sightseeing (ie poking around back roads on the bike).

    I reckon I could do that trip on a dedicated road tourer (lots of boring bitumen stretches though), but how much fun would it be taking some of those unmarked dirt side roads to see what was there? ?

    Is the 650 Vstrom up to this trip?
  20. I reckon it could just about handle it :)

    Bloke up the road has just come back from Darwin. 3 weeks, 10,000km round trip. His wee ''didn't skip a beat''