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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  #1  
Old 28 Sep 2003
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v-strom

Anyone had any experance with the Suzuki V-Strom? All the reviews say good things.

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  #2  
Old 28 Sep 2003
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I'm having the same question.

V-Strom better than 1150 GS almost in all tests as i've been convinced, but is it the same reliable too in high mileage?

Margus
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  #3  
Old 28 Sep 2003
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Looks rather not that reliable in first approximation because it's quite new bike with new engine taken from street SVs, compared with BMW R 1xx0, witch is developed since from far in the past, and seen from the street to sandfields - we're dealing with a very reliable bike...

Altough i've heard some travellers have done 20 000 mile trips with Stroms even on semi-offroad conditions and have nothing to complain about the bike...
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  #4  
Old 28 Sep 2003
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Forgot to add: http://www.stromtrooper.com/

It may give some answers.

Best of regards, Margus (Estonia, Eastern Europe)
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  #5  
Old 30 Sep 2003
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there's apparently a new 650 version due out next year, likely a better candidate for off-roading I think.
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  #6  
Old 9 Oct 2003
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In reviews I've read, the V-Strom is a bit of a nothing bike. Not as good as either the BMW GS or the Aprilia Caponard. The GS has a long history of touring on the less favourable roads, why risk it on anything else???
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  #7  
Old 9 Oct 2003
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What reviews have you read? Some very subjective and oriented ones i guess...

From those i've read - and those that measure physical and every-day characteristics (no subjective or too-oriented tests) tell that V-Strom beats in most of tests GS, Caponord, Tiger, Varadero, TDM, Multistrada.

VS's pro is it's weight to power ratio, lower sum-mass point (thus riding comfort) and handling. As testers say - "V-Strom 1000 flat smokes the legendary R 1150 GS and puts it into shame."

I'd be very certan, that V-Strom is better in performance, almost equal in comfort, although i think GS has better stock seat for two up riding.

Only pro that R 1150/1100 GS has, for me, is it's reliability that go past 100k miles (the reason why Touratech prefers this bike too). And looks like that's the reason i'm interested in buying it. The situation puts me into tears because V-Strom acctually IS a better bike than GS (maybe except comfort), but not that well tested for reliability, yet...

Well, we have R 1200 GS coming with loss of big amount of weight (!) and added power, maybe next or even this year (?). Let's see, things may turn for BMW in the end.

Margus
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  #8  
Old 9 Oct 2003
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Forgot to add: testers are talking in terms of what price do you pay for the bike and what do you get from it.

Margus
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  #9  
Old 10 Oct 2003
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Margus makes a good point - the VStrom wins comparisons on "value for money".

Some will argue that it doesn't matter if it doesn't last as long as a BMW GS. You can just buy another one! And it'll be new, and a newer design.

BUT it's definitely not even close to as good as the GS offroad, and when you're in Mongolia or Mali on a terrible road, the price difference becomes irrelevant.

I do NOT see the two bikes as competitors.

What do YOU need? A great onroad, tour around home bike for "civilised" countries, or a go-almost-anywhere bike that just happens to cost a lot more? What's your budget and needs? It's all about balance and trade-offs. And what you WANT in a bike of course - needs aren't always the same as DESIRES.

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[This message has been edited by Grant Johnson (edited 09 October 2003).]
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  #10  
Old 12 Oct 2003
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I need a bike virtually capable of going anywhere on two-up, and fully bullet-proof doing a RTW (last requrement is very subjective, as we know - we don't live in ideal world).

R 1150/1100 GS seem to be absolutely the finest bike for that purpose - but it's complicated to understand - technically speaking, it's capable of going everywhere on two up - BUT- IT DOES NOT WORK WITH LOWER OCTANE GAS??! -> Thus you cannot go with it anywhere because you can't get 95+octane gas in deep Asia for example. Well, as i can see the R 1150 GS ADV model has a spare plug available to buy (probably expensive piece indeed) that sets the engine to work on lower ocatne gas, but it works only temporarely as i've read from BMW site - redicoulous, also the price for ADV model goes high till the Moon. Not sure if the lower octane plug is available for simple GS model too(?)

V-Strom is a very offroad capable too as i've read if some suspension modifications are done. Seems to be near-ideal. But the problem is still again proved-reliability. VS is too new bike on the market, not well tested on high mileage. Altough it's basically the same comfortible as GS even on two up. And most of all - VS works 87+ octane gas - ideal for Asia/Africa.

So, as you can see - i'm having real difficulties to choose between them...

Anyone has a recommendation or a solution for choosing siutable bike described above?

Thanks alot, Margus

[This message has been edited by Margus (edited 11 October 2003).]
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  #11  
Old 27 Nov 2003
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Hello. Just my two cents, But if i was confronted with this question of which bike to choose, i would ask myself: if it ever breaks, can i fix it? I just purchased an '89GS100PD and rode it home from California durring the latest storm a week ago, and also took it off-road briefly along a riverbank, for a 200km. testdrive, and here's my review on the bike. Simply put, the bike is comfortable, extremely nimble, and simplicity at it's finest. Carbs with quick-clip floatbowls for simlpe jet changes. Single-sided swing-arm = easy tire removal. 32l. fuel tank provided 300 miles before a re-fill. Dirtbike handlebars can be easily replaced, or bent back to square, and my feet never got cold! Although heavy, i know I could take that bike anywhere a fully loaded RTW KTM640 could go, maybe just not as fast. And if anything happens to the bike mechanically, i could probably fix it! This bike was a great buy and i'm very happy with it.
Good luck!
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  #12  
Old 27 Nov 2003
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Oops! just read my post, that was 2000KM. Sacramento to SanFrancisco, then Highway1 along the coast back home.
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  #13  
Old 27 Nov 2003
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Ron, i agree PD has it's charm in it's simplicity.

But how about the parts? Can you get new parts for that machine easily worldwide?

I was thinking about R 1100 GS - it's electicity systems seem to be maybe only difficult task to do if something brakes down with igintion or timing - Bosch chip, injection systems. Nothing a simple hand can do there. Only way is to fully replace it, but i haven't heard anybody had a problems with electricity on R11GS.(?)

Well, yes, cluch plate replacement is another difficult thing on all GSes. You have to demount circa 60% from the whole bike to get to it first. And original cluch die quite fast on R11GSes as i've read from forums - maybe better to mount TouraTech cheramic cluch before to leave to a long trip or even a RTW...

Only typical technical problems i've heard on 11GSes are broken frame (can be strenghtened with third-party products), suspension (normal to all types of bikes - better to put Öhlins or some other high-quality ones on), surging (not that bad problem) thus needs quite frequent valve adjustment that's easy to do on boxer engines and quick cluch wear on offroad conditions (pretty normal problem on all bikes).

Anyone can add or comment more R11GS problems?

Yet, for my eyes R11GS doesn't seem that bad from technical side compared with older and simpler PD. Yes, R11GS is technically more complicated, but it seems more reliable indeed. And 11GS is from a newer generation of GS series - lot of improvements added. Don't mean to underestimate Paris-Dakar.

I'd strongly appriciate your chritisism on my understanings between the Paris-Dakar/R100GS and R11GS, because i'm on my way to buy a slightly used R11GS, but want to be entirely sure that i'm buyng the right one i need - a very reliable one for two up on long distances in Asian/African/South/Central-American conditions.

Margus

[This message has been edited by Margus (edited 30 November 2003).]
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  #14  
Old 27 Nov 2003
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Hi Margus!

I don’t have much knowledge about the 1100GS but I have had a R80GS (pretty similar to R100GS) for the last 160.000 km.
When it comes to getting parts around the world I think BMW in general is one of the best bikes. In almost every country (even in Africa) there are some rich guys who want to show off with BMW-cars, so most countries do have a BMW-dealer. The part-ordering system is the same for cars and motorbikes (same cd) so you can order parts at any BMW shop.
A lot of countries have used R80 or R100 for the police or the army. Most of this bikes are not in use anymore and it’s possible to buy the old parts. When I was in Zambia I bought an alternator from a police-bike with low mileage, they had a lot of parts.
The clutch is not a problem on this bikes and it will work for more then 100.000km, and it dies slowly so there is no need to panic. The clutch can be changed in about 5 hours.
Sure the bike has some weak points and I think I have had most of them:

-Broken rotor (105.000km)
-Broken rear-suspension (WP) (110.000km)
-Crack in rear-frame (145.000)
-Broken propeller-shaft (153.000km)
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  #15  
Old 30 Nov 2003
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Thaks for the info, AliBaba.

Sad is that there aren't much R80GSes or R100GSes for sale... If there are, then they're with very high mileage. Looks like i'm a bit late to get a good R80/100GS...

Margus
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