A couple of weeks ago, I bought a 2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure.
First off, the engine is awesome. Super flat torque curve. It pulls just as hard at 3k rpm as 10k.
What does this make for? A bike that is way more enjoyable to ride than my 1992 Honda Nighthawk 750. All the power on the Nighthawk is above 5k rpm–it feels dead at anything below that. The ‘Stroms V-twin is just more my style of riding, similar to my 2003 Honda Shadow Spirit 750.
And, safety. After having a few close calls due to rear tire lockups and never using enough front brake, I thought it was time to get a bike with ABS, and this bike has it. I haven’t had it kick in during emergency braking yet, but I’ve made sure that it works! I’ll be much more comfortable riding 2-up.
The price for a motorcycle this capable is great! I feel like I came away with a brand new motorcycle for about half of what I would have paid at a dealer, and a new rear tire to boot.
The range is great–This motorcycle also has a fuel gauge! A 5.3 gallon tank means I should get around 290 miles to the tank if I run it dry. I’ve been averaging about 55.1 mpg over the last couple of tanks, but I have noticed that cruising above 70 mph kills fuel economy, as to be expected.
And, things I don’t like: for a motorcycle this new, where are my LED turn signals, running lights, and brake lights? Motorcycles like this are already strapped for spare wattage, and if I want to add things like heated grips, gear, or auxiliary lights, I’ll need to free up some power. Since the brake light bulb is a an 1157, it pulls about 20 watts when braking. I can get that down to less than two watts using a custom LED array. One of my buddies rides a 2005 BMW 650GS and it has LED brake lights, come on Suzuki!
Another thing: I’ve already bumped into a few things with the saddle bags. This is more my fault than anything, as I’m not used to some wide bags on a bike. Some bikes make it a point to have the hard bags the same or narrower than the handlebars, but Suzuki didn’t seem to care on this one. I’ll just have to be more aware in the future.
And lastly, while the V-Strom seat looks great, and feels great for about an hour, anything longer requires some off-saddle time. I’ve still never ridden a motorcycle with a seat I’m in love with.
And finally, a crappy picture of it: