• 2004 Suzuki DL 650 V-Strom

    I've had the V-Strom for a year now. Although I had previous dirt biking experience,
    and had practiced riding on the street on an older 175 Yamaha, this was my first
    street bike when we bought it new a year ago last June. Beginner bike? Hard to say.
    I did have some trouble handling it on the ground. It is a tall bike, seat height is at 32.3".
    Not that heavy, dry weight at 418 lbs, (but for a shorter person, I'm 5'4") a bit top-heavy.
    The V-Strom is a standard type bike also considered a dual-sport. The stock tires aren't
    really much good for off-road riding. When these wear out, we'll probably invest in tires
    that are a bit more aggressive. We've added centerstands, crash bars and a skid plate
    to our V-stroms. That was because the side stands have proven to be a little unreliable.
    I didn't realize I hadn't fully extended mine and swinging off the bike in the driveway had
    it falling on me. Ooomph! I've read online where others have had this same negative
    experience which made me feel marginally better. We lowered both the front and rear,
    took the seat in and had it shaved down at an auto upholsterer, and had extra height
    added to the soles of my boots. These solved the height problem for me. I've recently
    had my boots restored to their original height after riding it for a year.
    Borrowing some technical info from a review I found:

    "The engine has tons of torque and pulls strongly from about 3000 rpm up to about 9000 rpm. Acceleration builds very rapidly from about 5000rpm on. Redline is around 10.5k."
    I've had the bike up to 115 mph out on the Utah flats, and probably could have squeezed
    more out of it if common sense hadn't prevailed. Cruising at 115 didn't feel any different
    than cruising at 75. It is extremely quiet and there is virtually no vibration.
    Riding long distances on this bike is a pleasure. My seat isn't as comfortable as it was
    before I had it shaved down but still is better than others I have sat or pillioned on.
    Another negative feature of the bike is the exhaust pipe on one side. This makes
    mounting luggage on it tricky. It needs some sort of bracket to hold the bag out on
    the side without the pipe. We used a rubber snubber that worked but we'll need to
    either make a bracket or get new saddlebags. Cornering, braking and accelerating
    are easy and forgiving for a somewhat inexperienced rider. I haven't had any problems handling it in almost 8,000 miles I've put on it, except for moving it in and around the
    driveway. I've taken it on some demanding routes here in California and handling it
    is fabulous in the twisties and sweepers.

    I've read about this model exhibiting false neutrals in some of the higher gears. Neither
    of us have experienced this on our bikes. However sometimes it doesn't want to go
    from neutral down into first and I understand some bikes are just this way, and I know
    how to handle it so it isn't an issue.

    I think this would be a good starter bike for anyone who is tall and strong enough to
    handle it. Some previous experience would be good but not necessarily needed. Once
    I had the height issue solved, I haven't had any other problems with it. It is still a fairly new model, first year 2004, and we don't see many of them around. Those folks
    we have run into are as pleased with theirs as we are with ours.

    My husband has been riding for over 40 years and owns a large number of bikes
    including a '98 CBRXX and '04 CBR RR, Bultacos, Suzukis, Yamahas, a Cooper
    and so on. He has enjoyed this bike as much as any he owns and brags on it constantly.
    I think many folks wonder how he can enjoy it after riding the CBR's. It's just a plain
    fun bike to ride and maybe one of the best all-around bikes out there. -Ann
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2004 Suzuki DL 650 V-Strom started by AReeves View original post
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