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Personal impressions on the Suzuki Vstrom 650 (Wee:-)

October 27th, 2019 · No Comments

In this post I want to write about my Vstrom and my relationship with what I think, is a great motorcycle. I Bought my Vstrom July 2017, it was used with 33000 km on it. I have ridden many motorcycles before, but I always owned twins, I had a Supersport Ducati 750, A Super Tenere 750, Motoguzzi NTX 650 and even an old Triumph 650, but prior to the Suzuki I had a Vespa PX 200 for many years. Eventually I started missing motorcycles. The cool and weird Vespa scene had fade off a bit. So, I looked around a bit and was real hung up on the Vstrom.

First Ride

Well you can guess what it’s like going from Vespa to a 650 V twin. It was an amazing feeling. What a rush of adrenaline! I felt right home on the 2014 Vstrom. It pulled like a tractor, with its turquey engine. But have no mistake, as much as it’s a twin, the DL650 engine is a technological pearl. Its smooth as butter and you only feel its alive but nothing bothersome or tiresome. I was so gentle on the throttle, so initially fuel consumption was around 25km to 1 lt. Another thing noticeable right away, is its strait line stability, even on windy days. For me is a must for a tourer.

What is the Vstrom? Street bike? Adventure tourer? Touring motorcycle?

Remember Depech Mode’s song “Get the balance right”? Indeed the Vstrom gives a very balanced package. I think it’s much more road oriented, and going off-road (for me at least) isn’t fun, unless off-road means white trails. Deep sand? mud? dunes? You better off get a KTM 690 or a DR650. The Vstrom is too heavy. But, on paved roads the 650 Vstrom shines its light. It’s got a fairly good seat, high with an upright seating position, you have lots of room (I am 1.80, 90 kg). The strait line stability pays off in highways. On the twisties this stability also pays off, although you have to work a bit to get it to flik from side to side when the pace gets fast.

The 650 engine puts out about 65 ponies. That may not seem a lot, but it’s very torquey and enough to keep you going fast. 0 to 150 is quite fast. If you’re looking to accelerate 150-180 get the 1000 (Which I’ll mention later). I rather keep my driver’s licence.Besides, these are not the bikes to ride ultra fast. Riding two up is fine. I heard some say that if you ride two up regularly, you might as well get the 1000. Again, it depends what you tend to achieve. Just a note, I don’t know many people who like to ride 170 kph on the back of a motorcycle, not to speak wives.

The strong sides of the Vstrom 650
The wee is a very balanced motorcycle. It can do almost anything. Its engine is one of the smoothest, it gives lots of power. With a larger front sprocket (16 instead of 15) I often shift 1 to 3 to 5 and 6th gear. The gear box is fine, no mis-shifting or gear jumping and it’s fairly smooth. The clutch is actuated by a cable, and is very progressive with lots of feel. It’s very comfortable and spacey, it has a fairly good seat for long trips. Fuel tank is large, about 24 litters which can give you a range of minimum 360 km in real life.
The dual front lights are excellent. I really don’t understand why the switch to a single beam (New models) has been made.
The overall package lets you ride in highly congested traffic as well as in highways with comfort.

The weak sides of the Vstrom 650
The brakes could be better. It will stop but you will have to squeeze the lever to get that stopping power, where as the 1000 takes much less the effort. Braking will also cause the front end to dive dramatically.
It does have ABS but not a cornering ABS. Traction control is also missing but any experienced rider can live with that. Suspension is good in everyday riding but is less capable in sport riding or offroad.

To get the 1000 Vee or the 650 wee?
Riding and enjoying the 650 made me think that the 1000 would be more enjoyable and way better. That everything I like in the 650 will be enhanced with the 1000. So, I test road the 2018 1000 and I was very disappointed. Yes, the brakes were much better and the front suspension felt more sporty, but something in the 1000 was BORING. I guess I expected a big adrenaline rush and a killer engine, but it wasn’t anything even close. I could even say that the 650 did not feel weaker in city cruising. Another thing that for me was a deal breaker were the engine vibrations, the kind that is always noticeable. Being a participant in several Vstrom groups, the 650/1000 “competition”, is probably 100% subjective.While some describe the 650 as a scooter compared to the 1000, I think the 650 will not feel weaker in 90% of the time. Some say that if you ride mostly 2 up, you are better with the 1000, while I think the 650 is more than capable for the job. I guess it’s a matter of what you expect from a motorcycle and how emotionally you get attached to it. Bottom line, the displacement here is a negligible parameter in choosing any of the bikes.


Tags: life style · Motorcycles & Scooters


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