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A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

V-Strom 1000: Better Than Expected

When I set out to replace my '06 Kaw 1600 Nomad I didn't plan on making it a mystery here but it sort of worked out that way, a small bit of fun with my twelve regular readers.

Yes, I decided on the 2006 Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 "adventure bike" despite the 30k miles on the odo.  The bike has been wonderfully cared for by it's previous owner since new and it showed when I looked at the bike.  It looked good in the ad photos and better in person. 

Better yet, the owner had added all the best farkles during his 5 years with the bike.  He had already added Givi hard bags, a Sargent custom seat, adjustable windshield, center stand, bar backs, fork brace, crash bars, the works or close to it.  Everyone loves to lavish a bit of money on a "new" bike but this one came with it all.  I've been hard pressed to find anything more to do than toss a sheepskin on the seat and call it good.

But for some small scratches on the right saddle bag and the usual boot wear on the black frame, the bike is spotless and needed nothing.  I did tell the seller, a very nice guy, all I could see to do was give the bike a good detailing  -- the wheels were dirty -- and I usually keep my bikes squeaky clean.  He looked a bit startled, as if I was nutz.  Keep quiet out there.

Hepco & Becker crash bars are an especially nice touch should I tip over on the road to Timbuktu or in the Dairy Queen parking lot.  The previous owner toured the western states with the bike and definitely used it properly.

The Givi detachable hard bags have plenty of room and are about the easiest I've seen for removing and replacing.

If the V-Strom has a negative, it's that I've found it difficult to photograph.  It's silver and black and the lines of the bike don't flow; it looks like it was styled by a committee.  BMW went for the full on military-industrial look with their adventure bike, the R1200GS, but the Suzuki seems trapped in the fractured landscape between style and function.

Never the less, the disjointed styling is redeemed by the 996cc 90° v-twin that makes near 100 horsepower, and while the the handling doesn't seem quite as trustworthy as my old Aprilia Caponord, the power makes up for it after riding the torquey but slow Nomad 1600.  The V-Strom easily stormed to and indicated 120 mph with nary a bobble and there was still power left.  Naturally, that run was done on a closed course with a professional rider...    Side note: plastic water bottles in RAM cup holders will bail out somewhere around 115 mph.

I feel good about this bike, it runs very well, turns a very respectable 48 - 52 mpg, and has more than enough dirt capability for occasional dirt road excursions.  Judging from the videos and pictures I've seen of people off-roading their VStroms, I'd say it's more off road capable than I'd care to be on a 500lb motorcycle.  I have added my Garmin GPS to the bike which will make finding each city's Dairy Queen much easier.

So will this bike stay around a while?  Who knows?  I like it a lot so far, I've put about 600 miles on it now and can't find much to not like except the seat height and I can live with that.  I just wish the V-Strom had come with an extra pair of jugs like that Harley.


Gary France said...

Difficult to photograph? You did a darned good job! This is a very good looking bike, even with that high number of miles.

D. Brent Miller said...

Congratulations. The more you ride the V-Strom, the more you will like it. You have been assimilated.

V-Strom DL650

Jac Brown said...

30k? Just getting broken in. Strom's are dead reliable for many more miles.

The thing I like about it is that you should be able to wander far and wide. Now that you have the freedom to wander, you might as well build up that wander lust and put on some more miles. May I suggest Northern California and, in particular, Cal. 128 from Calistoga to Mendocino. Too bad I won't have a bike when I spend work time in your valley. It would be fun to ride with you.

One question. we know that Suzuki had the Ducati engine in mind when they design the Strom engine for the TL1000. How does it sound? If you really like it, record it and post the recording.

Geoff James said...

Congratulations Doug!

Looks like an excellent buy with all the fruit on it. One of my riding partners has had one for nearly 4 years and he's still delighted with it. The other thing is that it's a very competent fast road tourer when we're out on a mission.

Well done and may you cover many happy miles together.

mq01 said...

aha :) fantastic! and quite photogenic really! enjoy doug, change can bring good things.

Roger said...

You have just given me more ideas for my GS. Glad you like the bike, must take a bit of getting use to , compared to your previous ride.

Unknown said...


You have impeccable taste. Stroms are bulletproof, nothing to do but ride and put in gas, and in your case, clean the wheels. You are lucky it is already farkled out

Riding the Wet Coast
2009 DL650A

Farmer Jim said...

Nice looking Strom, and well farkled to! I almost bought a V-Strom 1000 before pulling the trigger on my C14. One thing I found when researching them is Suzuki didn't bother to properly align the rear sprocket to the front, and over time it will affect the bearings and cause premature chain/sprocket wear. Check the StromTroopers.com website as there was a guy there offering custom spacers to correct this issue.

Doug Klassen said...

Thanks for the comments, folks.

Gary, it took a special trip at just the right time to get those shots. Usually a bit of dumb luck sees me through my lack of preparation but this bike require actual work.

Jac, you're right on as usual. Don't know if I'll make it to CA, I'm more inclined to head north or east come the Spring.

Brent, I knew you'd approve. I thought about the 650 like yours but the lure of more displacement won out.

MQ, Yes, change is good if we go about it with an open mind and the timing is right. I wish all the changes in my life were as pleasant and easy as buying a new bike!

Raftnn & Bobscoot, the bike has more farkles than I listed. The previous owner didn't leave much to do, he covered all the popular bases right down to the brake light modulator.

Grumpy, interestingly, the guy I bought the VStrom from replaced it with a new Concours 14. Thanks for the tip on the chain/sprocket, I'll check into it.


Jac Brown said...

I saw a version of your new bike on the road here in Michigan last weekend. Same silver and black. Once again, a very nice bike, but I can see what you mean about the paint job being hard to photograph.

So the thought occurs. It might be time for a paint project. Since 3 of your 6 ads in your "Buying Swiftly" post had red in the paint scheme, I put forward the suggestion perhaps your Yoshi should pretend to be Italian?

bikerted said...

Got to admit that we've been thinking about a 650 V-Strom for some time. Your glowing report is not helping at all Doug :o)

Doug Klassen said...

Ted, head on over to Brent Miller's blog at dbrentmiller.com. He sometimes thinks about betraying his V-Strom 650 but never quite manages it.

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