A Short Review: Suzuki V-Strom 650 vs. 1000

This is probably the most asked question by anyone looking at the Suzuki V-Stroms. “Should I get the 650 or the 1000?”

For starters, you will not be disappointed by either one in their current configurations. Let me start at the beginning of my search.

There are plenty of scenic pullouts on the Great River Road in Illinois--right next to the river.

In 2007, I had been writing for a motorcycle travel magazine as a freelancer, and every time I went out on their suggested route, I would end up on a gravel road. That’s not an issue … unless you’re riding a cruiser. I decided what I needed was an adventure bike or a dual sport. To keep this short, you can read two reviews I wrote about the V-Strom 650. The First 1,000 Miles is about how I and why I chose the 650, and The Next 5,000 Miles is about how I used the bike in all scenarios.

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So, I bought a 2008 Suzuki V-Strom 650 and put 67,000 miles on it before trading it on a 2015 V-Strom 650. I put about 12,500 miles on the 2015 after I finished riding all 48 states, and before trading it on the 2017 650. Then, in June of this year, I stumbled upon a fantastic deal for a used 2014 V-Strom 1000, and snapped it up. For the past four months, I have been riding both the 2017 650 and the 2014 1000. In all, I am probably approaching 100,000 miles on V-Stroms.

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Are you still with me? Actually, I love both the 650 and 1000, and if I had to choose just one, it would be a tough choice, but there are some differences. As my motorcycling trends change, so may my choice.

The changes Suzuki made to the 1000 beginning in 2014 were significant, and in 2018, more improvements. Here are my assessments based upon what I own.

The 2017 Suzuki V-Strom DL650

Cycle World called this the most capable bike, and the best bang for the buck. I couldn’t agree more. It will do solo or two-up rides around the country. I have ridden to all 48 states on a combination of my 2008 and 2015 650s. It will go down the Interstate at 75 mph all day long and not give one hiccup. It is lighter than the 1000 and smooth. Very economical to operate. The newer 2017 has a more powerful engine, and gets about 60 mpg. I was getting 60+ in the 2008 and 65+ on the 2015. Put gas in it and go. Change the oil and filter, tires, chain and sprockets when maintenance is due. It is a fantastic commuter bike, or one to explore on.

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In a nutshell, it is a great bike to commute or explore on. The 650 will do it all, including a ride across the Continental Divide in Wyoming at South Pass City.

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The 2014 Suzuki V-Strom DL1000

Suzuki made some great advances with the 2014. It has plenty of power, and ridden with a reasonable throttle twist, I am getting 54 mpg on average. It has a stock touring windscreen and provides better wind protection than the 650, but windscreens are one of those personal things that can be changed easily. It is about 30-pounds heavier than the 650, but very maneuverable. Suzuki says it requires premium fuel, but it will run on 87 octane, should you have no choice of fuel when needed. It seems to run better on the premium. It will go down those gravel roads, too. Where it shines is on the highway. Maintenance is just like the 650, do it regularly, and this bike will last a long time.

In a nutshell, it is a great touring bike, but it will also do it all from commuting to grocery shopping, camping, fly fishing adventures, and some gravel roads.

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DL650 or DL1000? What are you primarily going to do with the bike? Go with that one. Explore or commute: 650. Tour: 1000. Either way, you will not be disappointed, whether you are riding solo or two-up. Either one will do it all.

Now … just what does Suzuki have in mind for the 2020 DL1000?

See you on the highway.

Brent

A Simple Ride

“Honey, I’m going for a simple ride. I’ll be back in a little while.”

“Okay. Be careful.”

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And with that, I rolled the motorcycle out of the garage, started the engine for a warmup, put on my riding jacket, helmet and gloves and straddled the bike. Pulling away from the house, through the neighborhood, and out onto the county road to see where it might lead me. It’s just a simple ride.

What constitutes a simple ride? Around the block? To the store and back? Thirty minutes of country back roads? What does it mean? To me? To you? Lots of questions about a simple ride.

What do you expect to feel when you ride? Exhilaration? Adrenaline rush? Do you push yourself and the motorcycle to reach these sensations? Speeding down the highway flat out, or cruising through the curves with twists and turns and white knuckles? Hearing the roar of the engine with rapid acceleration? Or, are you looking for something else?

The county road flows through the countryside like a river of asphalt. Blue sky above, leafless trees ready for Spring and starting to bud out. There is no other traffic. It’s just me on the motorcycle on the road, rolling along at a moderate pace. The road twists and turns into the valley to follow along the river lined with trees. The sun shines down, casting shadows of trees on the pavement. Music only in my head seems to create a music video, perhaps a piano solo or maybe a guitar. It’s euphoric.

There is a Zen quality to a simple ride. To be a part of the environment. To sense the presence of something bigger than myself. To feel a part of that harmony that we are connected. For we are.

A simple ride? There’s nothing really simple about it.

See you on the highway.

Brent

A Short Ride-About

The weather has improved rather dramatically, and the motorcycles are out and about. I was one of them.

2015 V-Strom DL650 at Morrow, OH.

It’s hard to ignore 50+ degree weather and a little time to ride. So, I quickly planned a route, and fired up the V-Strom. Two hours later, I had a big smile on my face. I have so missed motorcycling over the past few months.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Dreaming of a motorcycle ride

This is the third snow storm to hit our area this week. It’s not nearly as bad as the Northeast, but the roads have been treacherous.

Meanwhile, I’m dreaming about a motorcycle ride.

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Soon. Spring is coming soon.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Slingshots at a dealer near you

I went to my favorite motorcycle dealership, Clinton County Motorsports, to wish friends a “Merry Christmas.” And, I was hoping to see the new Polaris Slingshot. And there it was, right inside the door surrounded by display material enough to fill a Christmas stocking and then some.

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Immediately, the vehicle strikes you as awesome sexy, like something Batman would be driving. It’s nearly 79 inches wide—wider than my Highlander. Wider than a Corvette, according to Jason, one of the sales people.

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There’s a trick to getting into it. The steep sides and cavernous foot wells, make for an interesting entry and exit, which would definitely be easier for someone who is regularly practicing Yoga. It will take longer for “old guys.” The key is to slide the seat all the way back and step in with both feet before sitting down and sliding the seat forward to reach the controls. A reverse procedure will get you out.

According to Brad Copsey, CCM sales manager, they have sold or taken deposits on seven units. Four are on the road and three are with deposits including this one on the floor. It’s starting off as a hot seller.

Also on the floor, a 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650. Now, that’s more my style.

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My wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I haven’t said anything yet! Smile

See you on the highway.

Brent