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Old 08-25-2014, 09:01 AM   #1
Defconfunk OP
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The emotional conflict of swithcing bikes

This is a bit or a ramble. To be honest, I'm not really looking for input, I'm more writting this to get my thoughts clear, and maybe to have some commiseration.

For the past five years, I've owned a 2005 SV650N. The previous owner put a full yosh exhaust on it with a power commander, and I've followed suit making it as perfect for me as possible: hard bags, puig fly screen, heated grips. It's a good, nay, great bike. I love it. I pat it affectionately as I walk pass it in the garage (don't tell me wife, though I think she suspects).

I love how when I look forward I don't see any bike ahead of me, it's like I'm flying. I love how narrow it is, even with the small side bags. I love the sound, the power, and the feel of wind on my chest.

Oh, and it is cheap as chips to own.

So why on earth would I want to change bikes? Well, it gets really uncomfortable after a couple of hours in the saddle. Even with breaks, a 400km day is a really long day. And it does not like gravel roads at all. Hard packed dirt is okay, but the instant there is loose gravel the bike gets very very unhappy.

A few years ago I would go for a dozen one day rides with my Dad or friends during the summer. As my side job became more successful, my riding was reduced to commuting and a single long weekend ride every year.

I've made the choice to scale back my side gig in order to have more time with family and other pursuits (which includes day tripping again). With that in mind, I've been thinking of other bikes that will let me get out on the dirt roads, put in long days comfortably, keep up with my Dad (my Dad rides a Multistrada 1000, and while we ride at a very conservative pace, we have gotten very used to the passing power of our bikes), while still being a good commuter. I also want something comfortable for a passenger, but that is a very low priority, since my wife refuses to ride passenger on North American roads (I keep hoping that will change).

Two bikes is not an option for me.

I've considered a thumper, and ridden a DR650, but I know myself well enough to know I want something with more passing power, and water cooling (my commute can have me at a stand still for a long time in 35C weather).

I've considered the smaller BMW and Triumph beasts (F650/700GS Twin and Tiger 800) and both would be excellent, but both are priced well out of my budget, even used.

I've considered a Scrambler, but it is air cooled and not comfortable for my legs.

I've considered a Ulysses, but the lack of HD support going forward, and air cooling stop that.

Which leaves me with the V-Strom. My Dad had a 650, which I put some time on. I had serious buffetting issues (apparently I am at exaclty the wrong height for the stock screen) and far more importantly, I found the bike to be entirely soul-less. It was a perfect appliance, but utterly lacking in the je-ne-sais-quoi.

Recently, a DL1000 came up for a reasonable amount. It is loaded with the bells and whistles I want (luggage, heated grips, touring screen, and power commander ). I am taking it for a test ride on Wednesday. If I don't absolutely love it, I won't buy it, simple as that. And even if I do buy it, I realize I'm just changing one set of compromises for another. I'm doing the equivalent of moving from a little rag-top to an SUV.

Should I fall in love with it, I'll probably buy a moose racing fly screen, so I can have a wind-on-my-chest commuter (rag-top SUV) and with a few minutes work, a multi-day tourer.

But it will still be a heavy bike, with a lot of bike in front of me. It will still cost more in gas, insurance, and tires. And once I sell my SV650, I will never be able to get it back. And I'm grown-man enough to admit that kinda scares me.

I really see two options for myself:
1 - stay with the bike I love and just accept that day long trips are gonna hurt, and route planning will require a careful eye on road surfaces.
2 - Get the DL, put on a low screen, and get out as much as possible to build a relationship and memories with the bike as quickly as possible.

So yea, here's to the emtional conflict of simultaneously loving what you having, and always wanting more.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:10 AM   #2
jon_l
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I had a DL650, and I felt the same as you about it.

I don't see why a DL1000 would be any better on gravel than your SV. Couldn't you cange tires on the SV to something more gravel-worthy?

Perhaps a better seat and lower pegs would allow you to keep the SV?
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:16 AM   #3
VicRattlehead
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defconfunk View Post
This is a bit or a ramble. To be honest, I'm not really looking for input, I'm more writting this to get my thoughts clear, and maybe to have some commiseration.

For the past five years, I've owned a 2005 SV650N. The previous owner put a full yosh exhaust on it with a power commander, and I've followed suit making it as perfect for me as possible: hard bags, puig fly screen, heated grips. It's a good, nay, great bike. I love it. I pat it affectionately as I walk pass it in the garage (don't tell me wife, though I think she suspects).

I love how when I look forward I don't see any bike ahead of me, it's like I'm flying. I love how narrow it is, even with the small side bags. I love the sound, the power, and the feel of wind on my chest.

Oh, and it is cheap as chips to own.

So why on earth would I want to change bikes? Well, it gets really uncomfortable after a couple of hours in the saddle. Even with breaks, a 400km day is a really long day. And it does not like gravel roads at all. Hard packed dirt is okay, but the instant there is loose gravel the bike gets very very unhappy.

A few years ago I would go for a dozen one day rides with my Dad or friends during the summer. As my side job became more successful, my riding was reduced to commuting and a single long weekend ride every year.

I've made the choice to scale back my side gig in order to have more time with family and other pursuits (which includes day tripping again). With that in mind, I've been thinking of other bikes that will let me get out on the dirt roads, put in long days comfortably, keep up with my Dad (my Dad rides a Multistrada 1000, and while we ride at a very conservative pace, we have gotten very used to the passing power of our bikes), while still being a good commuter. I also want something comfortable for a passenger, but that is a very low priority, since my wife refuses to ride passenger on North American roads (I keep hoping that will change).

Two bikes is not an option for me.

I've considered a thumper, and ridden a DR650, but I know myself well enough to know I want something with more passing power, and water cooling (my commute can have me at a stand still for a long time in 35C weather).

I've considered the smaller BMW and Triumph beasts (F650/700GS Twin and Tiger 800) and both would be excellent, but both are priced well out of my budget, even used.

I've considered a Scrambler, but it is air cooled and not comfortable for my legs.

I've considered a Ulysses, but the lack of HD support going forward, and air cooling stop that.

Which leaves me with the V-Strom. My Dad had a 650, which I put some time on. I had serious buffetting issues (apparently I am at exaclty the wrong height for the stock screen) and far more importantly, I found the bike to be entirely soul-less. It was a perfect appliance, but utterly lacking in the je-ne-sais-quoi.

Recently, a DL1000 came up for a reasonable amount. It is loaded with the bells and whistles I want (luggage, heated grips, touring screen, and power commander ). I am taking it for a test ride on Wednesday. If I don't absolutely love it, I won't buy it, simple as that. And even if I do buy it, I realize I'm just changing one set of compromises for another. I'm doing the equivalent of moving from a little rag-top to an SUV.

Should I fall in love with it, I'll probably buy a moose racing fly screen, so I can have a wind-on-my-chest commuter (rag-top SUV) and with a few minutes work, a multi-day tourer.

But it will still be a heavy bike, with a lot of bike in front of me. It will still cost more in gas, insurance, and tires. And once I sell my SV650, I will never be able to get it back. And I'm grown-man enough to admit that kinda scares me.

I really see two options for myself:
1 - stay with the bike I love and just accept that day long trips are gonna hurt, and route planning will require a careful eye on road surfaces.
2 - Get the DL, put on a low screen, and get out as much as possible to build a relationship and memories with the bike as quickly as possible.

So yea, here's to the emtional conflict of simultaneously loving what you having, and always wanting more.
I know the quandary you're in well. I myself have gone through a number of bikes and gotten rid of some that I truely loved but just weren't well suited for the riding I was doing.

As a side note, some of the best bikes I've owned and ridden for being stuck in miserably hot traffic on were air-cooled bikes. Sure they get hot but so do all bikes and you never get the "firey winds of Hell" blowing on you when a cooling fan kicks on. Despite being stuck in 95-100deg (35-ish C) heat on 1500-2000mi road trips I've never had a single one of my air cooled bikes overheat or even bat an eye at it.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:29 AM   #4
Defconfunk OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jon_l View Post
I don't see why a DL1000 would be any better on gravel than your SV. Couldn't you cange tires on the SV to something more gravel-worthy?

Perhaps a better seat and lower pegs would allow you to keep the SV?
I've tried a corbin seat, and went back to the stock with a sheep skin cover. So far it is as good as it gets for my butt. Meanwhile, I put in 8 hour riding days on a DR650 with a corbin seat, and had no problems. I think the leg position has a lot to do with it for me. Lower pegs may help, I've never tried lower pegs on the SV.

To the best of my knowledge, there aren't any dirt worthy tires in SV sizing. Some (like the Buell's stock tires) are close, but require moving the fender. It seems like a lot of work for not a lot of improvement.

Going but just my experience on the DR650 and the DL650, I think a lot of my increased comfort on gravel comes from the riding position. Again, lower pegs may actually help there...

Quote:
Originally Posted by VicRattlehead
As a side note, some of the best bikes I've owned and ridden for being stuck in miserably hot traffic on were air-cooled bikes. Sure they get hot but so do all bikes and you never get the "firey winds of Hell" blowing on you when a cooling fan kicks on. Despite being stuck in 95-100deg (35-ish C) heat on 1500-2000mi road trips I've never had a single one of my air cooled bikes overheat or even bat an eye at it.
Good to know.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:43 AM   #5
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easy answer: own multiple bikes!
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:00 AM   #6
CanadianX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jon_l View Post
I had a DL650, and I felt the same as you about it.

I don't see why a DL1000 would be any better on gravel than your SV. Couldn't you cange tires on the SV to something more gravel-worthy?

Perhaps a better seat and lower pegs would allow you to keep the SV?
Have not owned either bike but my buddy has a SV and I have ridden a few on and off road miles with guys on DLs. I think the SV has a bit more sport bias so the front is more weighted and quicker turning with a small front tire and your riding positions, although not full on sport isn't a neutral and up right as the DL. I think these qualities make the DL a better dirt road bike.

As far as flipping the SV for the DL it seems like your riding style is changing and although you love the bike you might be happier and riding more trips on a well set up DL. The buffeting issue blows. I was in the same boat on my GSA, just the wrong hight and although I moved the windscreen up and down I just couldn't find a good spot. Added a laminar lip and drop the windscreen a bit and voila good clean air over teh helment for me and my passenger. A little adjustments to make it right.

Now the last sentence hits home as I have my 690 set up for me, love it but for no good reason I am thinking of trading it for a 500 exc, lighter, more off road capable, cheaper to add range etc. It has it's downsides and one of them is having to go through the whole process of setting the bike up for me, suspension, lower pegs, bar risers to say nothing of gettting used to the much higher maintenance requirements.

Good luck with the decision.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:20 AM   #7
Steveo1o9
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Unfortunately I imagine all of us who can only afford one bike go through this quite regularly, as there is really no bike able to do it all. I myself own a FZ1 and while I love it I just can't seem to do real long days on it comfortably. I have caught myself looking at more adventure style bikes, but could not afford to own both. While it would be extremely hard to part with my FZ I find that it is slowing not fitting my riding style.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:20 AM   #8
Garry
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Originally Posted by jon_l View Post
I don't see why a DL1000 would be any better on gravel than your SV.
19" front wheel on the DL vs 17" front on the SV. Plus the DL has a longer wheelbase and more relaxed steering geometry.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:52 AM   #9
Fixcinater
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I had a GS500 from '01 (bought it new as a left-over from '00) through to this summer when I finally accepted I wouldn't be riding it much in the future.

I probably should have sold it 5 years ago but like you, had it pretty well set up and was emotionally attached after all the research and work I put into it. Rare full black Yosh system, pod filters, suspension modded, rearsets off an F3 Honda, quick turn throttle, etc etc. Lots of fun tearing around town on it, but no gas gauge, tight cockpit, loud pipe, all in all it was intense and demanding to ride and a bear out on the freeway for more than an hour.


I got a DL1000 ('04) in January of this year and I can ride all day. I'm 6'6 and with the Givi screen, I get some buffeting but having the Madstad bracket, I can adjust it around to fit current wind conditions and whether I want to sit upright or try and tuck under the stream. It didn't kill me on a 830 mi day coming back from Norcal to San Diego, and I was comfy all the way to Alaska and back on it this summer.

It's got the stock pipes so is very quiet. That plus it's overall lack of quirks makes it sort of "soul-less" but it has helped me realize that I'm not as interested in WHAT I'm riding anymore, but more interested in the actual act of riding. It's a tool and gets out of the way mentally, it does exactly what I ask, and it's cheap to maintain/crash/own overall.

Would I prefer to have something with some more soul? Sure...but I need other things (comfort, reliability, solid luggage, etc) more than the excitement AKA: drama.


Your mod list on the SV is pretty short so it shouldn't be too bad to get a DL set up exactly how you need it. Experiment with a cut-down stock screen if you want more blast or swap screens until you find something that works. My brother's DL650 has an MRA set up and it's better for me than my Givi touring so I'll find one of those eventually but it's not critical.
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:04 AM   #10
mrbreeze
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If you get the DL1000, you will have a new problem. You will not be able to quit riding it.

There is TONS of aftermarket stuff for both the DL1000 and the DL650. You can change windshields, seats, lower the pegs, raise the bars to your hearts content.

I have the DL650, 2013 model, and I am here to tell you - it's a bad ass. You just need to crank that throttle a bit more, maybe downshift for a quick pass. The other day I was easily cruising down a 2 lane twisty black top. I checked my speed - 79mph!

It will cruise the interstate at 90 mph easily. There are a lot of things you can do to it to personalize and "make it your own". Use your imagination. I am in the process of slowly stripping mine down. I am thinking about a shorty windshield (tinted, of course), aftermarket exhaust, custom seat. I am even thinking about having it repainted (it's gray, now) and changing to Woody's spoked wheels to get a 17 incher up front. I don't know how I am going to pay for all of it...

The point is, you can make any bike work for you.
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:24 AM   #11
Defconfunk OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fixcinater View Post
I had a GS500 from '01 ... I probably should have sold it 5 years ago but like you, had it pretty well set up and was emotionally attached...

I got a DL1000 ('04) in January of this year and I can ride all day. I'm 6'6 and with the Givi screen, I get some buffeting but having the Madstad bracket, I can adjust it around to fit current wind conditions and whether I want to sit upright or try and tuck under the stream. It didn't kill me on a 830 mi day coming back from Norcal to San Diego, and I was comfy all the way to Alaska and back on it this summer.

It's got the stock pipes so is very quiet. That plus it's overall lack of quirks makes it sort of "soul-less" ...

Would I prefer to have something with some more soul? Sure...but I need other things (comfort, reliability, solid luggage, etc) more than the excitement AKA: drama.
Thanks Fixcinater. You've gone through pretty much exactly what I'm going through, so it is good to hear it worked out for you.

I am hoping that the 1L engine (with Power Commander) will give it the personality and soul ("drama" is exactly the word) I am hoping for. I love how my SV builds power in the mid band. Something linear bikes (like the DL650 and EX500) simply don't do. With the PC, I should be able to set a mid-band focused power curve which will give it the character I'm looking for.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:27 PM   #12
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I think its ok to change out bikes as your riding style changes and evolves. If u dont, you'll always be wondering, what if.

My first was a suzuki m50. It was the coolest sounding, and funnest thing ever, I waxed it once a month, rode around with my buds and loved it to death. But after several 200mile trips I was hurting and knew I wanna go further and off the pavement, and this bike was holding me back!

So, I traded it for the strom, and a whole new world of adventure opened up to me. I have now explored half of my state, seen some very interesting things at the end of mysterious gravel roads that would not have been an option on the m50.

sure I miss my m50, it played a very significant role in my riding at the time that I owned it because it was the perfect bike at that point in my riding journey, but as my needs/wants changed, so did my tools to achieve them.

Good luck w your decision
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Defconfunk View Post
Thanks Fixcinater. You've gone through pretty much exactly what I'm going through, so it is good to hear it worked out for you.

I am hoping that the 1L engine (with Power Commander) will give it the personality and soul ("drama" is exactly the word) I am hoping for. I love how my SV builds power in the mid band. Something linear bikes (like the DL650 and EX500) simply don't do. With the PC, I should be able to set a mid-band focused power curve which will give it the character I'm looking for.
A PC, full system, maybe adjustable cam gears (available for DLs?), any sort of ignition advancer and/or retard-eliminator to bring responsiveness to the forefront should get you close with some adjustment to attitude to bridge any remaining gap.

If not, look at the Thinstrom for weight reduction ideas, and if you can swing it, an SV swap...(do-able but not easy from the looks of it).
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Old 08-26-2014, 03:50 AM   #14
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The dl650 should be a much more comfortable upgrade. 450 kms on a tank, and can venture on some dirt roads. The bigger strom will be several hundred a year more in insurance and will weigh another 80lbs.

You may not get emotional about riding the strom, but you'll love what it brings to the table.
I don't get attached to any bike.... life's to short to be uncomfortable for a day ride trip. The bike would be gone as soon as I hunted down a replacement.
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Old 08-26-2014, 04:42 AM   #15
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what emotions, its just a vehicle.
no time to contemplate non-essentials, ride on
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