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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.
I know that this has probably been covered before but I couldn't find the link. Please advise. I would like a 2up rtw and have decided to go with the v strom ABS mainly because of the price and write ups. 1) Will a wee strom be comfortable and 2) have enough power for 2up plus gear, me 6'0/190, the wife 5'1/105lbs (don't tell her I posted her weight!) , mostly highway miles Alaska to Patagonia.
I prefer the 650 to the 1000 to even the 1200gsa because of MPG and initial cost. The price really isn't the issue. Currently we drive an 800 triumph which doesn't have 't enough get up an go and I haven't driven a v strom and in my country (Guatemala) they don't have test rides! We are going to pick up a new one in Denver Colorado. I'd rather save our cash for nice hotels and food than an expensive bike. Furthermore, everybody's beemer seems to break down when they pass through here so I'm not convinced to drop 17G on a 35mpg bike. Thanks!
I have a DL1000 and it is a great bike. I had a 1100gs before and although I liked the way it rode it was nothing but problems- gearbox, shaft drve problems, seals etc etc etc. The 650 is the same size as the 1000 seat wise so it should be just as comfortable. I haven't ridden a 650 but it should have enough power. I have Pelican Bags mounted on SW Mototech racks so far this has been a totally waterproof, simple set up. I have put about 17000 miles on the strom in 12 months with just normal services.
If you plan on coiming through Mex City drop me a PM
safe travels and have a great trip.
The 650 VStrom has slightly less hp and torque than a Bonneville so if the Bonny is not powerful enough for you then the 650 Vstrom won't be either .
The 1000 Vstrom has 50% more horsepower and torque than it's little brother and quite frankly has all the power you will need .It will ,however, use more fuel , probably about 40 to 45 mpg [ imperial gallons ] two up - and up to 55 mpg solo .
Think about the kind of roads you will be travelling and the availability of fuel , the 650 is the same physical size as the 1000 but you'll get much better fuel economy out of the 650.
Neither of you are very large and you will fit on the Strom very well , you may have to customise the seat and bars to suit you , but the USA has the best selection of alternative seats .
Only the 650 has ABS , it's up to you to decide if you need it or not .
It's really only a choice between power or economy !
Lot of people talk about power - new bikes have lot of power, more than old big bikes etc.
But what people don't know or just forget, what gives you comfort on 2 up full gear is the torque. It's the very raw force. Horsepower is the energy your bike can create.
Torque only comes with cc, that's the only constant (the only truth) on any free-breathing engine. Horsepower only come because of high revs, the more revs the more horsepower. Modern technologies and lubricants allow engines to rotate very fast, horsepower has grown dramatically but the torque hasn't grown a single bit if taking similar CC and number of cylinder engine comparison from 80s or from nowadays.
On solo and light gear smaller cc more "revvy" (more HP) bikes can be lot of fun. But if you're 2 up full of gear, those terms change IMHO - you don't go out sporting 2 up. That's why most of trucks, trains, ships etc are low-revving diesels, they create so little power per their CC, but awful lot of torque to push the huge momentum with raw force - which is exacly what you need on carrying loads with ease and comfort.
With 650 you have to rev it hard to get it moving, with 1000 Strom it'll just go like a tractor on low revs compared to 650. Much less revs needed on bigger displacement bikes, much less gear changes and you don't feel like you're abusing it and getting tired after longish ride. Yeah, people do 2 up even with 125cc, limited to 60mph top speed and people get used with everything, but you and your better half have to make your own decision on comfort levels you require from a bike.
In 2up plus gear terms, if there's lot of load to carry then to sum up: 1000=comfort (heavier, but just "wrenches" you forward), 650=more revvy sport (lighter, but needs more "abusing" on revs to carry you 2 up and all that gear)
R1200GS is obviously the most torquey of the bunch (115Nm@5500rpm) and the best load carrier by far versus maneuverability when fully loaded (telelever front suspension - the bike is incredibly nimble even if fully loaded, something you don't experience with conventional front suspension - it'll handle more like a cow when fully loaded), but in price terms if you're budget limited then I reckon V-Strom 1000 will be a good weapon of choice for you. While for solo 650 would be excellent and 650 can work out 2-up OK too if you get used to little torque and more revs and mayhaps a bit more "cramped" ride compared to the big 1000 brother for very longish distances.
Maybe also consider "middle-man" bikes too depending on your budget: Africa Twin 750cc - an old classic or the new BMW F800GS. A good compromise between "grunty" 1000cc range bikes and smaller 600cc class "revvers".
One aspect that hasn't been mentioned is gearing , the DL 1000 has a much lower first gear than the 650 , so you can maintain a slower speed more easily .
One of the changes I want to make on mine is to go up about 4 teeth on the back sprocket then I will have a nice walking pace 1st gear and still have a usable 6 th gear [ which is a very high ratio as standard ] .
Margus made a very good point about torque , it is the force that gets you moving and the one that makes itself felt at low revs .
BUT compared to my 750 Norton Commando [67 hp and 49 lb torque ]
the DL 1000 [ 98 hp and 77 ft lbs ] feels gutless in comparison - that's strange isn't it !
The DL1000 will pull away at low revs but is not really happy below 3000 rpm and then it's smooth all the way to the redline at 9500.
The Norton pulls like a steam train from 1000 to 5000 and then gives you a kick up the arse at 5000 and flies all the way to the red line at 7000 .
The Norton is much more fun but the Suzuki will cruise faster and longer because it's got those extra ponies !
It's important to know at what rpm your engine achieves it's power and torque and ride accordingly .
Did Europe -> Australia on the Wee. 2-up, 3 panniers, spare tyres, extra bags, etc. It does surprisingly well for a 650.
Surely a liter engine would have had more power in reserve, but if i´d go again, I´d pick the 650 over the 1000. Because:
- Its 20kgs lighter
-The 650 has lower consumption and better range (especially from 2007 onwards, when it has twinspark heads and euro3; the DL1000 is still euro2, and this newest norm is about 60% stricter than the previous one, so as a ´side effect´ it really has an impact on fuel economy, too)
- To run nice, the 1000 needs to have its fuel injection, especially its throttle body synchronization done frequently, and this is not always possible on a long overland-trip. The 650 went 35.000kms without needing to do anything except change oil and spark plugs, check air cleaner, etc. (Again I´m talking 2007 and newer here, the synchronization is done in a different way in 2006 and previous models)
- They have an almost identical frame, so both can carry about as much weight
- During the trip, I very rarely felt like I would "need" any extra power or torque from the engine. Surely sometimes on the motorway a 1000 would´ve cruised even more comfortably, but it was much more common that the 650 was in fact way too powerful considering the roads and traffic. This whole thing could be very different in Europe or USA, but thats how it was through most of Asia. In Australia you could go faster, but didnt want to do it because they seem to take speeding seriously, and it would´ve cost you.
First, I would like to thank everyone for the input each, post was full of information that I hadn't previously accounted for. To me it looks like that if I can put up with the whine of the motor (revvs) then the only choice for me is the 650 as I really want ABS. The fact that these two bikes share the same frame is something I didn't think of before so the weight will not be an issue, just getting up to speed may be. I don't think the top end need be too fast either as I don't find it safe above 65mph/100kph through most of these countries anyway. Only in the US have I ever yearned for a 1200cc with throttle lock and I don't plan to spend much time there on this trip. Thanks so much for the feedback. I am going to try to get a ride on a 650 around here no matter what. I will advise of final choice and send pic's. THANKS
I think you will be fine with the 650. I just bought an 05 model for an upcoming trip to Alaska. The previous owner had added one tooth to the front sprocket for faster cruising on the interstate and it still has enough power for my use. Like you, I wanted something with good fuel mileage and long range comfort, and so far this bike has been great. I had also considered a Kawasaki Versys but found it a little cramped for anything other than commuting or corner carving with my XXL sized body. The DL series seem to be as reliable as a rock and there is a very large aftermarket following for these bikes.
Good point mentioned before. Modern fuel-injected Suzukis are among the most bulletproof bikes on the market.
I had an SV650 from new for 62.000kms, now I have DL650 from new nearing 55.000kms. Never, ever has either bike broken down once (the DL´s battery died during the trip to Australia, but that was the only technical glitch we had on the whole trip). Not huge kilometres I know, but what I´ve heard also backs up what I´ve experienced myself. These things are much more likely to break down because of neglected or poorly performed maintenance than because of any design faults.
We had a HUGE load on the DL all the way on our trip, but the subframe didnt crack, neither did any of the pannier racks. Also many times hit some bumps full-on, and I thought now the wheel is dented, but not even that happened.
Hi! I've got an 07' 650 and I have to agree with pretty much all thats been said above! I've been around a bit, two up with way too much luggage, pretty much all on tarmac so far and the Wee has turned in excellent economy and, only in my opinion, I've never considered it underpowered. We could cruise all day at about 80mph with loads of revs left. 80mph in top gear, roll the throttle on for overtakes and it pulls like a train.
Can't recommend them enough.
I've read a lot about the VStrom 650 and although I don't like the looks at all it seams like the best option for a RTW trip(two up). I'm planning to go RTW with my wife in 2010 and we're in the market looking for bikes at the moment.
The RTW trip planned route is as follows: UK -> Europe -> Asia -> Australia and NZ -> SA -> CA -> USA -> back to Europe. I think that with this route we're going to be forced to some off road riding. Is the Vstrom capable of dealing with this? Is it better to take 1000 or 650? I personaly think after reading all the previous threads that 650 would be a way to go (no high speed required, less weight, same frame). We were thinking of taking BMW 1200 GS but after reading a lot of threads about it don't think it's a very reliable bike after all and it's expensive too. Another thing about the VStrom that I would like to know is its fuel tank capacity and the max distance it can cover.
1. DL1000 or DL650??
2.Off road capabilities of both? Clearance - isn't the bike to low on suspension especially with the load?
3.Fuel capacity in the tank and max distance? Should we carry a couple of jerrycans with petrol?
4.One other thing that I just remembered - Drive shaft or chain?This would be in favour of the beemer
There's a blog by a fellow called Skillington [ if I recall his name correctly] who travelled with his wife from the UK to Australia on a DL1000 .
You should read that to gain some info .
Tank size on a Strom is 22 litres which is good for 300 km on a DL1000 with average to fast riding on tarmac,one up .
The 650 will do much better than that .
Fuel consumption can vary so much with the type of terrain, quality of fuel and the loading of the bike that it is pretty much a waste of time trying to generalise .
If neither of you are large then I reckon the 650 will be fine .
If you enjoy the power ,get the bigger bike .
It's very easy to buy a couple of 1 gallon jerry cans enroute and strap them to the bike .
Uprated shocks can be fitted and also lifting kits .
The question of chain v shaft is a long debated one and in the old days there was a valid reason to go with shaft for reliability .Nowadays the Xring chains are so good that reliability of the chain is no longer a question and servicing is simple .
Thanks a lot for the info, I actually read that thing about the DL1000. I'm quite a big lad but my wife is very wee so I think that it's not an issue. I think that in the more remote areas of the world the amount of ponnies is not that critical because you keep your speed down and we want to see as much as possible so no need for high speed traveling. As for the servicing of the chain I've got one more question. I used to clean and lubricate the chain every 500km so that would mean that I would have to do that almost every day RTW. Am I doing it too often? If not how am I suposed to do that? I'm not going to carry 20 bottles of lubricator and cleaner am I?
Fit a chain oiler and you won't have to worry .
To clean the chain ,just turn up the drip rate and the muck will fly off as you ride .
Then turn back down for clean sections of tarmac .
X ring chains need very little maintenance compared to the old style unsealed chains .
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