Ok, so here it is the long awaited (not sure by who) review on how the bike and gear has preformed over the first 20,000K’s.
Being on the bike and wearing riding gear everyday is very different from being at home when a weekend ride is the norm and there’s plenty of time for maintenance and cleaning. Little things happen along the way and if you plan and pack well there’s usually something tucked away to get you out of trouble.
Here’s a little reminder of the preparation before shipment to Europe.
BIKE PREP BEFORE SHIPPING FROM AUSTRALIA
Work done at 31,500km – 19/1/2015
– oil and filter change / air filter check and general service
– replaced chain and sprockets
– replaced front and rear brake pads
– replaced front and rear tyres with Pirelli Scorpion Trails
– check over and thorough clean before shipment to Athens
– installed a couple of Australian stickers
– packed gear into panniers/topbox ready for shipping
– ensure any spares or special tools have their place
How the Review Rating System Works:
😃= could not be happier and met expectations
😊= happy with performance but not over the moon
😏= expectations kind of met
😟= give it back if I could
😠= should not be on the market let alone the bike
The plan was to carryout our own oil/filter changes between 8,000 to 10,000km’s as it won’t always be convenient when scheduled oil changes falls due, besides the bike is being used daily and the oil will not deteriorate from age and unless your treating your bike extremely hard a few thousand K’s extra shouldn’t do any harm.(I hope)
Note- when travelling in Europe using the same oil manufacture can also prove a little difficult.
Date Odometer Km’s done Oil Top Up
19/01/15 31,500km 8,600km Shell mineral No 😃
10/05/15 40,100km 9,700km. Motul Fully Syn No 😃
09/07/15 49,800km. Still going Yamlube Semi Syn Fingers crossed
TYRE PERFORMANCE INFORMATION
Pressures used: Frt/38psi / Rr/42psi – Bike GVW with rider & pillion = 450kg’s (est)
Date Odometer Km’s done Type Comment
19/01/15 31,500km 10,200km Pirelli Scorpion New for trip 😟
21/05/15 41,700km Still going Michelin Anakee 3 Fitted in France 😊
(LHS of rear tyre tread wore much quicker on Pirelli, thought this may be due to weight distribution although care was taken in this area but the Anakee 3’s fitted in France have not replicated this issue as yet at around 9,000k’s)
Blown headlight globe 😠: low cost and easy to replace 😊
SUZUKI DL650 VSTROM
Date Odometer Km’s Travelled Ave Fuel Use Comment
12/07/15 50,300km 19,800km 4.4 Lt/100km 😊
SUSPENSION and CHASSIS
Standard DL650 suspension and chassis with no modifications
Front – untouched from factory 😊
Rear – Preload screwed up to maximum 😏
Shocker Compression adjustment 3/4 turns in “H” direction
Note – On inconsistent undulations on Irish roads (very rough) rear suspension bottomed out at higher speeds from time to time but considered this acceptable for load carried
Original pads replaced with metallic type before shipping and currently showing 60% wear 😊
This trip the brakes have been given a little more thought than the 2011 trip. The last 700km’s travelled in UK back in 2011 were done with the front and rear brake pads worn to the metal baking plates and cost a new set of front rotors on return to Australia. The reason for not fitting new ones were my calculations on wear were 750km’s short and bike dealers don’t keep them in stock anyway and we would of had to wait at least a day for delivery, no time for that !!
(Note: Metal to metal braking is not recommended, the noise can be very embarrassing pulling up at traffic lights)
For this trip a spare set of pads are being carried just incase.
Overall the Brake performance from new is not startling but adequate for the Vstroms performance and load carrying capabilities, showing no signs of fade or inconsistency on long down hill switch back type descents found on most European Alp roads. The ABS function can be a nuisance on dirt roads but no doubt has its benefits in other situations.
Standard setup and exhaust
One of the highlights of the 650 Vstrom, strong performance and great torque from a mid size engine which delivers good fuel consumption at the same time. If riding in the torque and power range (somewhere between 3000 to 5500rpm) it delivers stress free and smooth performance which equals relaxed riding and but can be surprisingly quick if need be.
Now showing 50,000+ km’s and no oil top ups required between services which are given slightly over manufactures 6,000km recommendation this engine is a cracker..😃
CHAIN AND SPROCKETS Over the 20,000K’s the chain has been lubricated regularly and only required 4 small adjustments with a 1/4 turn of adjusting screw on each occasion. So no complaints in this area considering the load and riding conditions including beach, some off road and plenty of wet gritty back roads plus the odd mono or two. (Thanks to the boys at Powerhouse Motorcycles for recommending this chain) 😃
COMFORT AND ERGONOMICS
From riders point of view:
Life’s pretty simple and uncomplicated up front, no switches for fancy electronic suspension adjustments, engine mapping, electric windscreens, heated seats, surface to air missiles etc etc…..
The standard seat suits our riding style with long days or hoping on and off at frequent intervals when touring interesting locations. Riding position on the Vstrom is a very upright one with reasonably wide bars its very easy to manage in most situations which saves energy for the extra long days !!
While your backside might become a tad sore after 300 or so km’s it’s nothing a 15min power stop won’t fix😊
From the passengers point of view:
Jo’s point of view of the passengers seat is it rates very highly and her opinion should be respected after travelling well over 100,000km’s on the back of the two 650 Vstrom’s we’ve owned (without a hint of a bike riders worst enemy – MONKEY BUTT). Many of these kilometres have seen Jo having a little nap on the back and because of this has seen a lot less of Aust, NZ and Europe on our travels which she attributes to her relaxed way of pillioning 😃
Things that work and things that don’t
Helmets – Rider: LS2 Dual Sport – has needed some minor maintenance 😏
Pillion: Shoei Neotech – well built & flip front works well 😃
Jackets. – Macna Jura: very comfortable, minor issues but excellent Manufacture warranty & backup 😊
Pants – Draggin jeans, great reputation but have aged quickly with fading and inner comfort mesh rolls up while in use, a little disappointed for price of item😏
Boots – Forma: including new waterproof leather treatment, have performed well but toes get damp in medium rain 😏
Gloves – Aldi specials: low cost but very comfortable and fit well (not water proof)😊
Thermals – Aldi again: low cost and exceed expectations 😊
Pacsafe Bag – A must to carry your important documents when travelling, our 4 year old bag had some wear, bag replaced without question so great manufacture back up 😊
Communications – Aldi units, worked well initially but 1 microphone is now deceased 😟
Givi topbox – Been with us for 2 Vstroms, great unit and no trouble 😃
Givi small tank lock bag – Purchased for trip, very useful and well built 😃
Givi adjustable windscreen – works well & in my opinion a must if bike is used frequently 😃
Givi engine protection bars – Well built, fit well but haven’t been used in anger yet 😊
Givi pannier mounting frame – Monokey units are the less heavy duty type but do the job 😊
Kappa (Givi) panniers – Easy to fit/remove from Mtg frame but leak water in medium rain😟
Oxford heated handle grips – Work well, easy to use and reliable 😃
12v accessory outlets – A must for today’s hitech world of smart things 😊
Bash plate – A must! When loaded the bike has very low Ground clearance 😊
Centre stand – Scrapes (reduces ground clearance) at times But a must for chain maintenance ease 😏
Hope this has been of interest to anyone thinking of an extended trip, my opinion is the old adage of “you get what you pay for” is mostly correct but it’s not always the case. Good luck !