My Life in Bikes 8 – Suzuki DL650 VStrom

2012-08-01 20.55.41I had a bit of time so I thought I should probably add something to the blog. Having recently sold my VStrom, it figured I should probably just write it’s entry for the My Life in Bikes series. It certainly earned it’s place.

I came to the  Vsrom after a fantastic road trip with my brother, swopping  back and forth between his Suzuki SV650 sport and BMW K75RT. I loved the SV’s stonking power delivery but it didn’t convert me to the sport bike world. The BMW on the other hand, was more appealing right up the the Lancashire Border 4 Bike Down Valleymoment it shredded it’s clutch splines somewhere in a Pennsylvania Forrest.

On my return to the UK, I started looking for something to replace the YBR250 I had. I wanted a midsize tourer but hadn’t even come across the VStrom so didn’t even know that engine was already in an adventure tourer. When I came across one in a showroom, it was a done deal.

The DL650, the less powerful but fantastic sibling of the DL1000, is affectionately known as the WeeStrom. Ours was crossing the border into Scotland withing month of us owning it so it gained the name, Wee Hamish.

2012-08-01 20.55.41In fact, in Scotland, two up touring, that bike was in it’s element. It had plenty of grunt and long legs on the motorway. At the same time, it was fantastic fun and brillient on the twisty roads of Yorkshire, our home playground. The Vstrom is known for budget suspension but I assure you, that bike was the best handling bike I’ve ever owned. On good tyres and technical roads, my friends sportier bikes seldom stayed with me. It was comfortable too. Sore bum came eventually as it does on anything but a sofa with handlebars. The upright riding position and fairing were perfect for long days in the saddle.

2013-02-14 20.34.24As with any bike, there are downsides. The Wee’s Achilles heal is, without a doubt, brakes. They simply couldn’t cope with winter. Whenever the gritters started spreading their corrosive horribleness all over the roads, my callipers would begin to bind. I’d be putting new seals and pistons in every year and eventually having to replace both front callipers, forcing me to lay it up for the winter and depend on the YBR125 for commuting.

That was part of the reason I sold it but not the only reason. It was a big bike taking up a lot space in our garage but we weren’t using its size all that often. Ang had passed her test but wasn’t tall enough to ride it where as she could ride the Moto Guzzi Breva, a bike I have a massive soft spot for. The VStrom simply didn’t offer anything we need but was using up resources.

Then, the weekend before it went, I took it for a ride. I was enjoying it I was loving it. I was having second thoughts, almost. However, as we climbed a steep hill on a sharp bend, I met a farm vehicle coming the other way and had to stop across the slope. I’ve always found the VStrom a little tall so with the ground just a little bit further away, I lost my ballance and down we went. It was a sign. It was time to part ways.2015-04-19 09.28.30

I’ll miss that bike. One day, when I’m richer and in need of something with touring intentions, I’ll certainly be looking at a Glee first, assuming I’m unable to own what I really want, a big Guzzi.

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