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  #1  
Old 1 Jun 2005
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V-Strom 1000 vs BMW R1150GS Adventurer

Hi all. This is my first post and I'm glad to have found you all!

I am planning a route that will take me first to Cuba (a ride to raise money for HIV/AIDS patients there) and then to Caracas. From there, I will be working my way down to Salvador de Bahia, Brasil.

I need to replace my bike and have pretty much narrowed it down to the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and the BMW R1150GS Adventurer. I know some will say there is no comparison, but there is also about a $6500 price difference new (less used). I don't mind spending the money for a BMW, but then again I don't mind NOT spending it either
Both seem pretty equal in many ways. Image is meaningless to me....I don't care if the bike has Suzuki or BMW as long as its reliable and sturdy.

Some questions:
1. There will be alot of rough roads along the way. If equipped with equal tires, which is best for those conditions?
2. It troubles me that the Beemer only wants high test. Especially in Cuba, gas quality and octane is questionable. Will the BMW take crappy gas if need be?
3. Would you say that there are more Suzuki or BMW places internationally along the way? Which is easier to get spare parts for in a pinch?


Any thoughts would be welcome.
Gracias mis amigos.
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  #2  
Old 1 Jun 2005
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Quote:
Originally posted by costa:


Some questions:
1. There will be alot of rough roads along the way. If equipped with equal tires, which is best for those conditions?
2. It troubles me that the Beemer only wants high test. Especially in Cuba, gas quality and octane is questionable. Will the BMW take crappy gas if need be?
3. Would you say that there are more Suzuki or BMW places internationally along the way? Which is easier to get spare parts for in a pinch?

Any thoughts would be welcome.
Gracias mis amigos.
1.I've taken my 1150GS off road a few times. Lo centre of gravity is a plus as is the low down torque. A downside is the Telelever front end. Fine on the road & gravel tracks but it lacks feel off road, not sure how a Strom compares. Lot more plastic on the Strom to break. The 1150's shaft drive is a bonus at the end of the day, no chains to clean, tension or lube. Saying that, it adds a bit of weight.

2. Not sure what you mean by a "high test"? You can buy a chip for the 1150 Adventure that retards the ignition timing to allow ue of low grade (85 octane?) fuel. Not sure about the Strom?

3. I'd say there are more BMW than Suzuki dealers along the way but could be wrong. Try asking the same question in the Regional Forum at www.advriders.com ? In addition, there are more aftermarket parts & suppliers for the 1150 than the Strom. In addition, there is also a better spares (nes & used) for the BMW. In the UK we have Sherlocks, Moto-Bins & Motorworks, all of whom stock spares & ship worldwide.

Unless you're buying new, consider buying the regular 1150GS rather than the Adventure. There's plenty about, they're considerably cheaper & just as capable. The only differences are:

1. 22 v 30 ltr on the Adventure (fit the larger tank)
2. Adventure has 20mm longer suspension - you need longer legs though. I'm 5'10"/1.78m with long legs & I struggle on a friends Adventure.
3. No chip for low grade fuel on the regular 1150.
4. 2 piece v one piece seat on the Adventure
5. Larger screen on the Adventure. Fitted one to mine & hated it, now use an MRA Vario.

Regardless of which 1150 you may end with, drill out the filler neck & increase fuel capacity by 2 litres:


Good luck


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  #3  
Old 3 Jun 2005
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Costa,
this is becomming a very common question! I had same question several months ago and there are many places to look for opinions ie posts in this HUBB forum, Advrider and various BMW and V-strom forums.

I ended up with the 1000 v-Strom, and I am still a little surprised by this as I was replacing a 650GS Dakar so I was a bit BMW focused and only looked at the strom for my comfort that BMW was right choice for me. I liked the strom so much, I bought it instead!

You need to work out the strengths and weaknesses of each (yes they both have them, don't be fooled by parochial owners of either brand). Then work out what is important for you and which fits you best.

Yes the strom has more plastic to break in a fall, but GS has metal to scratch/dent/hole. The GS is likely to survive the fall better, but is likely to be at least as expensive (or more) to repair. For me, I hated the GS gearbox - BMW should have left it in the 1930's tractor it obviously came from. For me this is a big turn-off for the 1100 and 1150 GS in most applications. Jap bike gearboxes really spoil you.

I liked the idea of shaft drive on GS, but I have never had a shaft bike and chains don't bother me. Actually I like being able to change gear ratio and I can see when maintenance is needed, so chain was preferred. I fitted a scottoiler, double chain life, even less maintenance. The GS is currently getting a bad rap for shaft drive failures - deserved or not I will leave for others.

The strom has more power and torque (oooh bet that gets a comment), but the GS has adequate, overall I preferred the engine characteristics of the strom. I don't care much for ABS and will never have BMW linked brakes, so this was a factor for me. Wife said strom was more comfortable for her. BMW has more factory and aftermarket accessories available, but strom has plenty for most people.

In the end the BMW seems to have the higher quality finish, but not enough to peg back the huge price difference and other factors mentioned above - for me anyway - and thats the point, its all about what suits you not everyone else.

Skillo
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  #4  
Old 4 Jun 2005
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Dear Costa:
I have a GSA 1150 ´02 and my best moto-friend has a 1000 Vstorm.
I can point some differences.

I agree with Steve in his comments.

Both bikes are alike but VERY different so I couldn´t say wich one is better. Better for what?
For me it would be like asking what is better; a Camel or a Horse.

In power and torque I would say that once you load both bikes like a Mexican Burro, the Vstrom feels like Bambi while the beemer becomes the father of Dumbo!

When weight and handling becomes important, if the beemer falls you will need a towtruck to lift it, doing a solo trip is one of the important concerns to have in mind.

Gas tank capacity is another difference, the Vee makes maybe 65 or 70% less distance in one full tank. But a full tank of the adventure weights more than 30 kilos, This weight is put in one of the highest points of mass of the bike. So if while stopped you incline your bike more than 15 degrees you will find it very hard to hold.

I dont think Vstom is really prepared for dual purpose, as the oil cooler is so exposed to break and the cast wheels are so fragile. But when you seat on both I fell like more secure, stable and confident on the Vstrom.

On the road the Vstrom feels more sporty but the GSA is quite a pleasure to ride, heavy, torky and it goes thru the potholes like a boat on calm water.

Yes, you will find BMW parts more easily than Vstrom and mostly because this bike is not regularly sold in latin american susuki dealers.

I would make review of the use I would make to the bike and then make a choice.

As an example I reviewed the times I went off the paved roads and after finding out it was less than 3% of my trips, I decided to sell my GSA and then bought an RT 1200, very different indeed but I can now say the RT is better than the GSA, but only for my needs and likes.

Good luck in you finding.

MoroCycler
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  #5  
Old 4 Jun 2005
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Skillo and MoroCycler,
Thanks for your thoughtful and lengthy responses.

Before I respond, let me say that I was at both the Suzuki and BMW dealerships checking out the bikes. Also saw the Triumph Tiger as my Suzuki dealer is a dual dealership. I add that I own a 2001 Suzuki V-Twin Intruder 800 and have owned a few Suzukis in the past, including a Suzuki Samurai auto. They have been very good to me from a mechanical aspect.

What I want from this bike is for it to get me from New Jersey to Buenos Aires and back without a major meltdown. Granted, it could happen with any bike.

Last night I did some thinking, and I think I will go with a 650 instead of a bigger bike. A 650 is plenty of juice to go solo, albeit loaded up with gear. And, why bring along the extra weight of a bigger bike? Less weight to pick up if I go down and better gas mileage to boot. Also, if I want to use it here before and after the trip, a 650 is still big enough to jet around town or go on 200 mile hops with 2 people on it. I'm sure both perform well on dry pavement. Sound logical?

I did some research online today and BMW DEFINATELY has the edge on dealerships in latin America. Now, whether or not they are dealerships (with a full parts and service dept) is another story. One way around this is to ship basic parts to myself (tires, plugs, other normal replaceable parts) in strategic locations. If once I get there I don't need them, I can ship them back.

Another important factor is how "fixable" is the bike on the road? I'm handy with tools but the BMW seems infinately more complicated than the Suzuki. I like simplicity.

"Dual Purpose" is important. I like the back roads of South America and I am sure I will be hitting lots of dirt and some mud. I'll venture to say that 30% will be dirt with most of it being hard dirt and gravel with 10% being crappy, wet soil. Of course, I know neither is a true dirt bike, but I would like the benefit of at least having a chance to get through. Looks like if I go with a Suzuki, I will need to shore up the bottom of the bike with heavy plating or some facsimile. Hate to lose a bike on one bad monster pothole.

Both bikes are awesome. The BMW does have a more refined look, but the Susuki looks pretty good too. Either way, the cosmetics are irrelevent to me. Its practicality and toughness that are more important. I guess I just want to pick my motorcycle for this trip much like I would pick a wife. Not necessarily the most beautiful, rather the good partner who can weather the bumps and storms.

Thanks again for your advice. Looks like I got some more investigating to do.


[This message has been edited by costa (edited 03 June 2005).]

[This message has been edited by costa (edited 03 June 2005).]
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  #6  
Old 4 Jun 2005
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Hello,

under this link you'll find my V-Strom 1000 vs R1100GS experience: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ubb...ML/000388.html

Note the 'real' difference between R1100GS and R1150GS Adventure is mainly:
-suspension, ADV has better offroad ability due longer travel space, higher bike (though, it's a con for shorter people)
-gearbox (1100 has 5, ADV 6 gears)
-ADV has bigger 30 litre tank option
-fairing

So i'd say ADV suits your a bit more " 'offroad' oriented" requirement even better compared with Strom.

Margus

[This message has been edited by Margus (edited 03 June 2005).]
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  #7  
Old 4 Jun 2005
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Then I definewtly would go for one of these:
Dakar, F650, Vstrom 650 (equiped). Kawasaki KLR 650
As I can understand you like dirt roads so Maybe between Dakar & KLR.

see www.advrider.com
www.f650.com

also there is link, that I can´t remember exclusively for vstroms.

See www.benkapulko.com she did a RTW on a 650.


Have fun

Humberto
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  #8  
Old 4 Jun 2005
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Sounds like you have already made up your mind to go with the 650. I just got back from South America on a BMW 1200GS, and before that I owned a V-Strom DL1000, put over 25K miles on it. I believe I might be able to give you some 1st hand opinions if you want them. Drop me a an email if you are still searching and want my thoughts.
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  #9  
Old 4 Jun 2005
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My wife and I are currently riding a 650 Dakar around Mexico, central and south america. We are staying with Humberto (hmoro) at the moment. The Dakar will carry 380 Kilos fully loaded, we are close to this weight two up and the bike has enough power for this. See our website for pictures of the load. If you need any info on equipment we use or how we load let me know.
www.cemacsolutions.com

Cheers Geoff

------------------
In mexico heading south to central and south america until Jan 06
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  #10  
Old 30 Jun 2005
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I ride a fully equipped DL1000 V-Strom (crashbars all round, Givi luggage etc). The GS is too tall for me even with the touratech wafer thin seat mod so I can't comment on it. However I like the strom and you can do big miles in great comfort and it will handle unpaved roads and gravel with ease as well as mediocre river crossings, BUT it's not a dirt bike and you can have problems in deep mud and sand.. My only gripes with the strom however, are that the oil cooler is located directly behind the front wheel and may be prone to damage. Touratech do an aluminium guard but it's still a little low to the ground. The other gripe is that nearly all the systems are electronic. Fuel injection, speedo,. ignition, fuel delivery etc. Now I must add that the strom runs like a swiss watch but if you're going to be hitting the Sahara or the steppe in Khazakstan you really need to be able to fix your bike with some gaffer tape and a 10 MM spanner. The strom is too "techie" for this in my opinion so I'll only be blatting around the likes of europe and the US on mine. Other than that I'll be looking at an R100GSPD (short legs y'know) !!
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  #11  
Old 1 Jul 2005
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Pickford:
[B] <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="">quote:</font><HR><font face="" size="2">Originally posted by costa:


Regardless of which 1150 you may end with, drill out the filler neck & increase fuel capacity by 2 litres:


Good luck


I just wanted to ask you, how did you mannage to drill that hole. Take the tank off? What about the debris?
Thanks for the advice

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  #12  
Old 1 Jul 2005
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Hole was drilled after removing the filler cap, lifting upwards & wrapping a rag around it. Any debris would not have got past the fuel filter, which I changed shortly afterwards anyway. I later swapped the filler cap over to an Adventure tank.

Re: complexity. BMW looks more complicated. In some areas it is, in others not. If ABS fails, then your brakes still work. If you have electronic Servo brakes & the servo fails, you'll only have 20-40% residual braking (depending on model & age), which is unacceptable if riding in remote areas, unless your name's Ewan or Charlie..............

I'm servicing my 1150 this weekend. Total cost will be £65.00 & will take 2-3 hours max depending on how many cups of tea I drink: £35.00 on a full service kit (three filters, plugs & various crush washers) and £30.00 on 4 litres of quality engine oil & 1 litre of transmission oil. Valve clearances are a doddle, no shims to worry about. Throttle body synching is easy with the right tools & nothing needs to be removed from the bike to change the oils. Remove seat top access air filter! Fuel filter swap is fiddly but is only every 24,000 miles. V-belt tensioning takes 10 minutes, replacement takes 20 minutes.

6,000 mile service intervals are a plus. If I had to work on a bike by the roadside, there are worse options than a BMW. I'm not promoting BMW at the expense of other brands here, merely trying to dispel the myth of BMW complexity. My 1150 does not have ABS, this was my choice. less to wrong. I'm more than aware of BMW's shortcomings in several areas though.
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  #13  
Old 14 Dec 2005
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Unfortunatly---having dealers around the areas you travel doesn't have anything to do with having parts. Most US dealers don't have everything you need when you go in with a list. Read about "My Dakar died in Africa" in the chain gang. I blew a rear shock in Peru last year, had to ship one in. As some of the Europe guys have said before..have a parts manual with a friend at home close to a large dealer and DHL phone number.

There are no parts in stock anywhere in the whole world.

Curtis
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  #14  
Old 24 Dec 2005
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Quote:
Originally posted by jklotz:
Sounds like you have already made up your mind to go with the 650. I just got back from South America on a BMW 1200GS, and before that I owned a V-Strom DL1000, put over 25K miles on it. I believe I might be able to give you some 1st hand opinions if you want them. Drop me a an email if you are still searching and want my thoughts.

I have a DL1000 and would love to hear your take on the DL vs. 1200GS

could you post your thoughts here?
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  #15  
Old 1 Jul 2006
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V-Strom 1000 v. GS1100/1150/1200

I'm trying to decide between the Suzuki and the Beemer. I currently ride a 20 year old K100RT. I like the Beemer's shaft drive; I've never ridden a chain drive for any length of time.

My primary short-term destination goal is Alaska. Any thoughts on the Suzuki v. Beemer would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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