I have been hinking the same thoughts. I am still in China, and will be for almost anothr year. However, when I return (assuming I can find a job) I will be looking fo another bike.
First the hard part, I am 5'6" (I was at a Honda dealer in Chico, CA looking at a used KLR once and, as I was leaving, the sales man remarked to another, "short F#&%ers should stick to kids bikes."). The nearesst city that I am likely to find employment in is about a 60mi slab ride each way (I actiually tend to "short cut" about 10 of those miles on a two lane twisty road, Hwys' 263 & 96).
This leaves me looking for an inexpensive to opperate (which is not always the cheapest to buy) bike with ABS. I have done all weather commuting without ABS; very simply, I want it on my next bike. It needs the electric power to run a vest (both the Vstrom and the f650 have this).
So, how badly does it wack the Vstroms handleing to lower it, I do a lot of forest roads but very little trail riding and over 95% of my riding is street. The lowering links at Murphs kits only go down 3/4", does that seem to be enough for 5'6"?
Any guestimates of total cost comparisons over 50K miles/ What about total engine and chasis life? (yes, I know that a small car is cheaper. I do not want to drive a car to work)
I currently have a Yamaha V-Star 650. I am okay with power (yes, I would like more... but I am okay with it), The seat hight is great, I can flatfoot it easly, and th etall windshield provides pretty good upperbody wind protection, the lower deflectors help a lot. With that said, some of the things I do not like are that the brakes are terrible. The lights are poor (I have added lights, that helps a lot), and the seating position is hard on my tail.
Any other bikes I should be looking at? None of Kawasakis, commuter suitable, products offer ABS in The States. This also applies to Honda. The only other thing I see is the Suzuki SV650 ABS. However, all I have seen on it is that it is not really a suitable commuter bike.
As a nation we still continue to enjoy a literally unprecedented prosperity; and it is probable that only reckless speculation and disregard of legitimate business methods on the part of the business world can materially mar this prosperity. -- Theodore Roosevelt, Sixth Annual Message, December 3, 1906