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V-Strom vs SV650 (vs BMW GS1150 vs Fundur)

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by SV650_fan, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. I blame it on the holiday - a day touring in tropical north Queensland on hired BMWs turned my head to touring bikes. To be honest I didn't really like the GS1150 I had hired - it seemed unnecessarily heavy, was gutless for a 1150, the gearbox was a dog, and the three button indicators needless complicated. In contrast the F650 hired by my brother in law was much better - faster than we expected from a 650 single, light, fun to ride, yet still cruised well and was great through the twisties.

    Yet the spark was lit - the value of touring bikes. We did 525 ks on the day. I had a ball, learnt to trust the front end of the beamer, and that the silly indicators did have their use in overtaking. Heated grips made a much bigger difference that I would have ever expected. All of a sudden my beloved SV650, the ultimate Melbourne commuter that was faster off the line than any 650 commuter has the right to be, and with that marvellous sound from the Yoshimura pipe, was simply too narrow focussed.

    The next day I was talking to a fellow rider, and we started talking comparing the Funduro vs the V-Strom. That night, for the hell of it, out of curiosity, I looked up both on Bikepoint, and then I saw her - a loaded V-Strom 650, in a burgandy colour that largely overcame the inherent ugliness of the V-Strom, and at a very good price. What a great bike for someone, I thought...until the next morning, when on my morning commute in cold weather, when it all came to me - big range, dirt road flexibility, proven motor, a recipe for more big days in the saddle, reputation for reliability and for similar money to the value of my SV. **** it, I thought, you only live once. An hour and one phone call later, the bike was mine.

    So what it is like? A lot more different to the SV than I expected. Like the GS1150 it is a big bike, and as I proved in the 300 km first ride, comfortable on the long trips. Unlike the GS, it has quite decent and in fact deceptive grunt. After overtaking a car in a simple short pass in top gear, I looked down and was doing 1xx - so smooth, I didn't notice. I was worried about its lane splitting ability, but a wide steering lock and high mirrors with great rear views make up for the bigger width and longer wheelbase. Great mirrors and headlights better than many cars. Light controls and boy does those heated grips make a difference in a Melbourne winter. Big fuel range. Handling, like performance, is deceptive - its stability means that corner speeds are comparable to my SV, even if it doesn't feel as fast. I know, all of those bike reviews that read "even on (whatever was being reviewed) adventure bike I can keep up with the hero sportsbikes" which I never really believed -maybe there is an element on truth of this on imperfect roads, if never on a track.

    The V-Strom also slightly higher geared in top than the SV. Unlike in all the reviews I read. Which may explain how quick the SV is off the line - when they added the Yoshimura pipe and removed the rear fender, they may have lowered the gearing as well.

    Today, to complete the comparison, I took the SV for one final commute. It had shrunk in a week, and the controls are heavier. The pickup remains great, and cornering is more fun when you are more intimate with the road, as opposed to high in the air. But I am ready to let it go in return for its distant cousin - roll on summer touring....at least until the next bike beckons. Maybe a VFR? F800? Blackbird? The new Tiger? So many bikes, so little time.....

    • Like Like x 1
  2. i've just spent about 5 weeks working on the suspension of a vstrom 650, its one place that really needs improvement on these bikes.
  3. Awesome right up. I love my ugly 'little' wee strom too. It still surprises me with how nice it is to ride.

    Well done on the purchase.

  4. Hey, I know what you mean about dual purpose style bikes...
    I was about to purchase the strom but ended up with the TDM 900 as a good second hand one came along at the right time.

    Particularly if you like to go the distances, the comfort factor, range, etc, comes into it's own.

    Someone said this to me a short while ago which is spot on about these bike styles.
    They're perfect at no particular style but very good at all of them..

    I love mine..
  5. agreed. A guy at work has a K9 ABS and he reckons the best money he's spent is a suspension upgrade. It's clearly one of the ways they've kept the cost down. It's on my list of things to do, but I'm such an old granny riding that the standard setup is okay even though I'm 110kg dressed.

    The riding position is kind to my old back but the stock screen is very average if you're over six foot tall. The oil cooler is vulnerable if you're going to be doing much riding on gravel but is fine on sealed surfaces.

    You said the bike was fully loaded so i assume it's got the rad and sump guards fitted and a new screen, but there are plenty to choose from if not.
  6. I've always wanted a big GS and the price difference between 1200GS or the GSA version and other competitors is one of the reasons that keep me away from them. While somehow I like the look of big Beemers (in all their ugliness :-w) I can't justify the price differences. Is $30K GSA really worth the price tag comparing to $12K V-Storm? Is it really two times better or you pay for the image?
  7. Having ridden a GS1150, I would strongly vouch for a V-Strom.

    As much as I love and look forward to my daily ride on the V-Strom, there is one drawback. I believe that bikes should be an emotional purchase - lets face it, they are not 100% rational. The V-Strom is almost too rational - armchair like riding position, flexible, does a lot of things well, surprisingly useful in the corners - but looks are challenging and the exhaust note is flat.

    Over Xmas last year I borrowed by brother in laws Ducati Monster S4R. Sex on wheels - the gorgeous framework, motor and two radiators, the sound which is evocative at idle, and just gets better and better until up near the top end where it is beyond compare, the poke from idle which enough to get the front wheel off the tarmac without trying in the first three gears, the handling....

    I seriously thought about saving up and getting a new commuter...but then thought about the 100 km fuel range (maybe it was the way I rode?), the heavy clutch, and the Ducati 'superbike' motor maintenance costs. And my license would be a constant risk. In an ideal world, I would have the Ducati for special days, the V-Strom for touring, and perhaps a smaller bike, a CB400 maybe, for commuting...if only
  8. Just wondering if there is a 'most recommended' suspension upgrade or if its one of those dang personal opinion things!


  9. I think the major issue is the lack of adjustability on the stock suspension. There's no front adjustment possible, and preload only on the rear. any fully adjustable system would be an improvement.
  10. the forks are junk, and the rear shock is only ok when you get a stiffer rear spring.
  11. i too, have thought about going from my sv to one of these all rounders, but gonna get a dirty first and learn some skillz :)

    and, i really need to learn about this suspension busines... i know nothing!
  12. If you contemplating moving from a SV to a V-Strom, see if you can wrangle a test ride (or hire one perhaps). But a decent test ride, as they will feel different. You just might be motivated to move sooner..

    I have to admit though, that the new Tiger 800 XC or F800GS are both appealing bikes as well, probably better bikes if a lot more money. So many bikes, so little time...

    I agree that the suspension on the V-Strom is nothing special. And the screen causes buffeting. And they are pretty ordinary looking - one post I read described the 'dashboard' as looking like that of a ride-on lawnmower. They are easy to criticise.

    Regardless, whenever I ride it, I just want to keep going, and going...and it is surprisingly good on corners, regardless of the suspension quality. Fabulous in traffic as well, much better than any other bike I have ridden.
  13. Don't forget there is an updated Wee-Strom coming out soon that will address some of the issues of the current model... mainly the styling (much improved) and the buffeting issue but there are limited suspension alterations as well.