February 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm #3719DuBeyParticipant
I haven’t seen them mentioned often, but I was wondering if any of you have thoughts on the Kawasaki Versys or the Suzuki VStrom 650 in regard to a first time bike owner. I’m considering them because I like the upright seating etc, and they suit what I intend to use the bike for, commuting and light touring/camping.
I had been considering a smaller bike, but in general the used bike market around here isn’t the best and I’m worried I’d out grow the something like the Ninja 250 not just in eventual ability, but in what I want to do with it.
Of course this could all be moot in a few weeks if when I take my BRC I turn out to be incapable and an danger to myself and others.February 22, 2010 at 5:33 pm #24619briderdtParticipant
…but the V-strom uses essentially the same engine as the SV650 (which I ride). It was (and still is) my first bike, and I climbed my learning curve on it. It’s been almost a year and a half, and I’m pretty comfortable on the bike, but it was a handful at first. If you’re restrained with the right hand, it should be okay. BUT… Take that MSF class first. I didn’t — I bought the SV650s first, and even ride it a few times before the class (with a permit, so I was legal). Coming out of the class, I probaby would have gotten a different bike, but it’s what I had, and I’m here to tell the tale. As was stated on another thread, the bike’s weight is what you have to overcome first.February 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm #24620DuBeyParticipant
I’m not an aggressive driver, and between the MSF class and my already pretty well thumbed copy of Proficient Motorcycling, I plan on not being a jackass.
Opinions on motorcycles seem to be pretty varied across the board, don’t buy too small, don’t buy too big, V-strom great starter/keeper etc. I’m just trying to gather as much info as I can before I take the class and decide to part with my money!
It’s reassuring to hear success stories though!February 22, 2010 at 6:36 pm #24621eonParticipant
The Versys uses the same engine as the Ninja 650 which is on (if just barely) the recommended list here. One thing to consider is the higher seat height will make it harder to catch and stop tip overs at lower speed.
I would say both bikes are okay to learn on but there is no denying smaller bikes (in size and cc’s) would make life simpler. But, you are not being crazy in considering either bike.
If buying new Suzuki are (or at least were) doing good deals as they try to shift last years stock. Kawasaki has a new model of Versys out this year so there may be good deals on the old style.February 22, 2010 at 11:59 pm #24623SantaCruzRiderParticipant
Having sat on, but not ridden both, I was surprised how different they were. The wee-Strom feels like a big sport tourer, with a nice half fairing and windshield and big fat seats. It’s also long and wide and heavy, coming pretty close in all measures to it’s 1000cc sibling.
The Versys feels and is much lighter, with less girth and a shorter wheelbase. The windshield and fairing are both smaller, so you will be more exposed to the elements. I’ve ridden the Versys and it handles like a much smaller bike (in a good way), but still feels solid and confident. It’s a cool bike that feels very natural and intuitive in its handling.
I think both engines have been detuned slightly from their SV and Ninja platforms.
As mentioned, both have large gas cans and carry their weight up high. Both remain on my list for a future upgrade to a smaller cc commuter. In the end, the wee-Strom might fit MY needs better because of the larger fairing/shield and bigger tank — but I’m just as likely to get the V because it has a cooler looking rear suspension.February 23, 2010 at 4:44 am #24626eonParticipant
I’ve considered both bikes as my next machine so I know a little about them (finally, a subject I know something about ). Even though they are frequently lumped together they are really quite different bikes. As SantaCruz says the Versys is setup more like a sportsbike whereas the WeeStrom is more of a long distance tourer. The Wee is also more suited for off road use than the V due to its larger wheels, though it is by no means a dirt bike. Personally I am leaning towards the V as it will be more fun on short blasts while still capable of distance touring. Look on advrider.com, plenty of detailed threads on there comparing the two (the question has been asked many times).February 23, 2010 at 11:08 am #24632stuParticipant
don’t discount the SFV650 its a really great bike, just like its siblings its torquey on the low end, engine braking is REALLY strong, so strong if your town cruising you can go without brakes (bad habits!), dropping the throttle on it will stop it dead in its tracks its that strong.
its my first bike and I love riding it, I do find its 400lbs wet weight to be heavy but realised, ANY bike I’d be on, if its going down its going down.February 23, 2010 at 3:23 pm #24634IBA270Participant
and a bike that can be had pretty cheaply…Ducati M620, or a Multstrada 620. Reliably, light, FUN to ride…pretty easy to maintain, tons of aftermarket and bullet proof motors. Besides, everyone will think you’re on $15K bike!February 24, 2010 at 3:17 pm #24631CBBaronParticipant
Don’t discount the Ninja 250 as a first bike. They are probably the easiest bikes to find on the used market and are not hard to resell. If you buy used you won’t loose much if you decide to upgrade. The Ninja seems to be the balance between easy to learn size and capability. On the Ninja 250 forums someone just posted their ride report of over 4000 miles in 5 days on a Iron Butt with moving averages near 70 and top speeds near 90.
Still I do like the Versys and Weestrom. They are both at the top of my list for a second bike. I think for a beginner bike they would work but only for a very tall and strong rider as the tall top heavy nature of the bikes will not forgive rookie mistakes at low speeds easily.
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