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?