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  #1  
Old 2 Oct 2010
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Too V Strom or NOT, U B the judge

I rode 10k/mi. on my '06 Strom DL and wanted to report my experience.

The bike was majorly loaded with allot more shit than I needed. Side and top case, seat pack for cloths and tank bag. I had tent, sleeping bag and giant free dive fins tied on my side cases. My guess on weight would be near 1000 lb gross w/ me.

The bike was heavy but handled very nicely on pavement or hard pack dirt roads. Rode with 2 riding mates untill La Paz ( rider lost due to him not checking oil on his bike and blew motor in La Paz) and then my major break down in San Jose, C.R.

Took long dirt road, very rough in Baja to Sea of Cortez. This was a brutal long sandy, rocky road. I had to either go super slow with landing gear down and ready or very fast. I had 2 low speed spills in sand. Bike was too heavy for this road.

Started having charging issues in GUAT. battery was drained. Suspected R.R. but could not pinpoint. Was dogged with electrical issues and was recharging battery as needed. In HONDO capital Taligulapia had major break down. Battery dead again and w/ overnight charge could not get started. About 2pm decided to un plug Power Commander after numerous Taxi ride and getting a Suzuki tech to look at the bike where I had to leave it. Bike started and came to life. Suzuki tech no help. These giant bikes are a marvel for these folks.

Changed rear break pads in GUAT. Break shoes not seating in. Numerous assembly and reassembling with no change. Running on very hot rear rotor for many inner pad finally seats and rotors cooled. Found out that calipers need to be lubricated when I got back stateside!

Back on the road with a large battery charger I bought in Taligulapia. Nightly charging untill I made it to San Jose where a BMW rider I had met came and took me to the largest Suzuki shop in C.R.

Guy's at Suzuki shop initially said the charging system checked out. I insisted they look further where they pulled the rotor / stator cover and found one of the magnets had come un-bonded from the rotor wiping out the stator with bits of magnet floating around. Repair time estimate was 1 MONTH while new parts were shipped from Japan. I thought I could speed things up by ordering parts from U.S.

After languishing for 3 weeks waiting for parts from U.S. the Suzuki GM tells me he revived the 2 shipments and BOTH the rotor and stator are the wrong parts! My U.S. mechanic got the wrong rotor and the stator from regulatorrectifier.com was also wrong.

Suzuki GM found a rotor in GUAT and they ended up re wounding the stator. Back on the raod after 5 WEEKS with advise that the stator may not last.

Still with my battery charger I continued nightly charging and noticed battery taking charge at night on some days and others not taking on too much charge.

Road long dirt road, 171 mi. in Honduras, way the hell out there working my way to the Atlantic side. Bike stopped working and sounded like I had blown a plug out of 1 cylinder. After 2 hour repair on dirt road with curious on lookers and one guy who stopped to watch / help I discovered that one of the throttle body boots had blown off of the trailing cylinder. I was bummed to find that Suzuki had a smooth surface on the rubber / aluminum surfaces w/ no groove or mating machined surface. Only a clamp holding it on the throttle body and air cleaner box. BAD DESIGN!!!! The bumpy dirt roads vibrated the T.B. off the boot. None the less, glad to have made the repair and back on the road.

Another dirt road in Belize the same thing happened with the T.B. coming off boot. Only advantage that I fixed in 20 minutes w/o pulling tank.

Guadalajara Mexico my charging system completely dies taking the battery with it. New bike battery brings everything back to life. Not wanting to be stuck for another 3 weeks OR MORE again I decide to buy a large Deep Cycle battery and wired it parel and secure in my top case.

Running hard back to the border with very deep overnight charging with the battery charger I carried I made it back ON BATTERY POWER! Stator replaced in U.S. and bike is sound again.

The stator / rotor issue is a 1 in 1,000,000 shot.

The T.B. coming loose is a design defect from Suzuki. No excuse to have not machined some mating surfaces in these components. The smooth rubber boots against the smooth T.B. is just plane wrong.

Would I take a V Strom on this kind of trip again?
Probably not.

Although it navigated the dirt roads it was very cumbersome and shook / vibrated allot. I wish I had coughed up the money for a GS that I was looking at before I bought the Strom. My luck was bad all around with the Rotor going down.

Overall I LOVED my adventure! Incredible and I have been bitten by the overland experience! Even though I ended up riding the majority solo I went placed FEW white men have gone and saw so many beautiful and amazing places.I had people either stare at me in disbelief for what they were seeing or whoop and hollar. The giant free dive fins came in handy in many places. I had no fear and NEVER had any dangerous events that I was aware of, except the animals in the roads.

V STROM OK FOR PAVED ROADS NOT AN ADVENTURE BIKE !!!!!

I'm pretty sure the magnet broke loose from the rotor on the sand road in Baja.

HIGHLIGHTS; Too many but.... Big Surf- Puerto Escondido, Killer reef free diving- Bocas - Salt Creek, Killer reef free dive- Placencia-Belize , Tecal, the ride, the ride, the ride, meeting Indigenous people GUAT and Salt Creek-Panama.

lowlights; Spending hours and hours and hours and...... thinking about- working on- paying for bike repairs, languishing in San Jose waiting for parts-repair and returning back home to the "real life."

AFRICA to RUSSIA anyone!!! If only I had a GS and the money.

Last edited by robopie; 3 Oct 2010 at 20:08.
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  #2  
Old 2 Oct 2010
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Don't be so sure that a GS would be any better ,their reliability record is patchy .

The VStrom is built for paved road work as you say .[and maybe dry unpaved roads as well ].
It's hard to define what an ADVENTURE BIKE really is ,but it looks like you pushed the envelope .
As Ted Simon says "The interuptions make the journey ".

It's the first time I've ever heard of the throttle body boots slipping off ,I'll be sure to check mine this winter before next season .

Thanks for sharing your experiences .
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  #3  
Old 2 Oct 2010
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Hi Rob, sorry you had all that crap while on the road. Everything is worse when out of your country, and people let you down with wrong parts. I got stressed out in Eastern Europe with probs and it can be difficult.

Is it the case that this problem would have happened anywhere? This particular prob seems to be one which had nothing to do with adventure biking as such? Which is no consolation of course. Coming off in sand is a certainty, so no surprises there. I cant stay rubber side down in sand or mud.

I agree with view that the BMW, good as it certainly is, has its problems too; it's easy when you're pissed off to believe there is a golden bike somewhere. For example, Africa Twins are reliable - but they have R/R, + fuel pump probs, tho' admittedly because they're known, they can be prepared for.
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  #4  
Old 26 Nov 2010
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Gotta say Robopie, in response to a V-Strom not being an adventure bike, I'm nearly 40,000km's in from Seattle to Alaska and back down south, currently in Costa Rica, and there's not been a problem yet. And I've had a hell of an adventure. I agree it does rattle a wee bit much on the dirt, but hey, you're not exactly sitting on the couch. I've put my bike through the paces on some seriously bad dirt roads and it's come out shining on the other side. You do often think there's another bike out there you might enjoy more, but hey, the grass is always greener. Clearance is about my only issue on the Strom. Credit due to SW-Motech for the abuse their skid plate has taken so far. Still amusing the funny looks I get in these small latin towns with their home-made speedbumps when I go over one with the inevitable screeeeeeech of steel on concrete. Apart from that it's holding up a treat. Few more km's to go to be fair, but I hope I won't be dissapointed!!!!!
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  #5  
Old 17 Dec 2010
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Bad EXperience or maintenance?

Certainly having a charging issue while on the road is aggrevating. I know ekke and Audrey Kok went thru the exact same issues with her GS, and Mike and Ruby on their GS's. (2canadiansonbikes)

It is more prevalent on air/oil cooled motors than liquid cooled since in some instances a low oil, high heat 'event' can affect the lamination to the stator coils and they have delaminated and sheared against the rotor.

Before doing any major trip of this kind of significance you should perform a major service, determine the weaknesses and 'fixes' of the particular bike and test it in conditions you expect to be in. The brake calipers would have been cleaned and any corrosion would be noticed and repaired.

I know I have owned a Vstrom 1000 for 3 seasons and made sure I rode it in every terrible condition I could find including granite scree steep grade roads.
My wife and I even did a major distance on a washed out creek bed type road, 2 up with full gear and camping equipment. And miles and miles of Oregon forestry roads. It performed perfectly. Read the web resources on your particular bike. What I found on mine was that the Suzuki mechanic who did the 1000 km service did not tighten the back clamp on the throttle body. And he wasn't particularly fussy with the secondary balance. When I did the major service before this season I was amazed at how much smoother, and more responsive the bike was. For 2ndary throttle bodies use a vernier caliper to measure the close point for each and insure they are accurate. And outfit the throttle body bases with a vacuum tube extension that will keep 6th grade drop out suzuki motorcycle mechanics from missing doing up a clamp when they do a throttle balance on the Fuel injection.

The V Strom does well with a Hyper-Pro progressive spring mounted on the factory shock. But of course that info is on VSRI. Same with front spring rates, and changing the gearing.

They all have their issues, I know the Vstrom is one simple robust ride that will get me anywhere I want to go.
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  #6  
Old 19 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robopie View Post
AFRICA to RUSSIA anyone!!! If only I had a GS and the money.
I'm trying to convince the wife we need to ride RTW. I also have an '06 DL1K that is for sale, but haven't had many calls on. Tempted to just keep it, buy another and start prepping them.

I can fix the obvious weaknesses and still save money vs buying a GS.

Curious, with how heavily you say you were loaded, if you had any structural issues with the bike. Any cracks in the subframe? Anything else fail?
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  #7  
Old 30 Jan 2011
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See you on the ROad

Hopefully we'll see you on the road.

Our bike is now in Germany waiting for us in late April. Should do 30K on it this season including the Sahara desert an Turkey.

I have complete confidence in the Vstrom DL1K and I now know the bike well from a mechanical standpoint. And we are outfitted for 2up riding, which carries more stuff than you could strap on 1 up.

For many the DL650 may be the better choice. If we weren't riding 2up, the 650 each would be perfect. Save 40 lbs of top heavy weight.
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  #8  
Old 31 Jan 2011
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Well, I am sorry to say you had a bad experience, but I have heard of these rotor problems with the earlier 1000 bikes through the Vstrom forums, notably VSRI.

I doubt that the bad roads you took caused this problem, probably just exacerbated it or brought it on earlier than usual. You don't say how many miles/kms was on it prior to travel, but it was a few years old, did you have it from new, did you do all the services and thus know what the bike was about, how to fix it etc?

I can say I rode my 06DL650 for 84,000kms before I had a failed rectifier, but I was running my laptop off the bike while camped which I feel caused this issue.

I ran an 07 DL650 for 90,000kms through all the Americas, North South and Central, did Prue Bay, Top of the world Highway, the Denali Hwy, Copper Canyon, Atacama Desert in Bolivia/Chile just to name a few.

The bike was lowered for my height and I was packed to the rafters, total weight, 430kg and yes I crashed a few times mainly in soft sand, but whenever I lost my footing, I have ducks disease so that was often.

The bike performed flawlessly, but I broke the clutch interlock(Atacama Desert) and clogged the low pressure fuel filter with bad fuel in Bolivia, but that was not a failure of the bike. I knew how to track down these faults, or otherwise work around them, I decided I did not need to have foreign technicians look after my only means of transport.

Would I ride this bike again, I am and will and I will next year(hopefully)take the one I have now(09ABS650) to London and ride it through the middle east, Asia and back home.

I know I can trust this bike and it is reliable, takes all the punishment I can throw at it and runs on the smell of a dirty oily rag, all I have to do is give it fresh oil and a new filter every 6000km and Bob's your uncle!

This bike is far more reliable than the BMW's I saw while on the road and a lot less expensive to maintain, let alone purchase originally. A lot lighter as well! Mind you I have heard good reports on the 800, the in between bike but like all BMW;s they are too tall for me.

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Last edited by TravellingStrom; 31 Jan 2011 at 11:59. Reason: spelling
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  #9  
Old 11 Mar 2011
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Throttle body boots

For what it's worth I had an 04 DL1000 until 2009, did 36000 miles that included a number of runs around Europe.

I had exactly the same issues with the throttle body boots as above, it happened a number of times. Apart from that no problems with the bike at all.

I swapped it out for a GS, I won't be taking that one off road either.....
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Old 13 Mar 2011
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I guess I like the bike after all.

After being taken out by a car lane changing on top of me on the Coronado Bay Bridge RT 75 and totaling the bike I replaced with another. I hit the out side bridge rail and got thrown back on the tarmac causing massive damage o both sides and front of bike. Lucky for me I only had a severely bruised left knee!!

Looked at all my options, KLR, GS and ect. and went back to a DL1000. I love the feeling of the bike with comfort and stability. I'm sure the size of the bike helped me on the crash. Hope to take her (and me) to Nome this summer.
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  #11  
Old 26 Apr 2012
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anything will do

Sounds like a long time sitting on your a**e, and i know thats frustrating but i must agree with the other responses here. Any bike can have its problems and most probably will. some folks go to some serious extremes i.e the lad you went RTW on and R1. Just goes to show that as far as the reliability of most modern bikes go its mostly down to luck. Have you seen the blog by the guy travelling on a Honda c90 he bought for £150? just goes to show you dont need to spend mega bucks to have an adventure..........in fact im thinking sandals for my next one.....
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  #12  
Old 26 Apr 2012
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Wee strom

Well Im taking my 57 V Strom through scandinavia and Eastern Europe , May 8th. Aprox 6 weeks, camping up to Nordd Cape and thro Finland. maybe a bit "off road" but only to camp. Will be interesting to see how she performs. I will be charging with an invertor, net book, 2 phones, camera battery and cam battery. Ever the optomist!!
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  #13  
Old 27 Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by chef jules View Post
Well Im taking my 57 V Strom through scandinavia and Eastern Europe , May 8th. Aprox 6 weeks, camping up to Nordd Cape and thro Finland. maybe a bit "off road" but only to camp. Will be interesting to see how she performs. I will be charging with an invertor, net book, 2 phones, camera battery and cam battery. Ever the optomist!!

Not sure what a 57 Vstrom is, maybe that is 07?

Just beware when using an inverter. I ran one in 08 and was using it to charge stuff while riding and also to run the laptop while stopped. I believe using it while stopped killed the regulator/rectifier. This unit runs quite hot normally and is in the slipstream to get cooling, by running it stationary, it overheated and burnt out.

Some people are running a different regulator which has a larger heat sink, this may take the pain, not sure and for $350, plus two days hotel/daily costs bill while waiting for the part to arrive, I am not really willing to try again, unless I can find a cheap reg/rec from a crashed bike. You can see the good new one on the right




Anyway, good luck.

Cheers
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