The V-Strom Returns to the Fold

Sep 07, 2014 View Comments by

The V-Strom Returns to the FoldIn the spring of 2011, I sold my Suzuki V-Strom 650. Since 2004, I had owned no less than three DL650s. Blue, red, and lastly my 2008, which was yellow and dubbed the “BeeStrom.” It’s safe to say I really liked the DL650. It’s affordable, easy to maintain, comfortable on long distance rides, off-road capable, and extremely reliable. But after eight years of Stromin’ I decided it was time to give something else a try.

What followed was a succession of bikes—all of which were intended to fill the void left by the V-Strom.  First up was a near pristine 2000 BMW R 1100 GS. When I got it in May of 2011, the original owner had logged a whopping 2,100 miles, averaging less than 200 miles a year. It was as if the GS came out of a time capsule in terms of condition. I spent a month or so getting acquainted with the bike and found it to be quite comfortable and, being a BMW, I assumed reliable. But I have a tendency to use (some might say abuse) my motorcycles and I just didn’t have the heart to take the GS off pavement for fear of damaging a bike that probably deserved to be in a museum somewhere. We spent one summer together before I sold it. Next up was a 2010 Harley-Davidson 883R. Owning a Harley was a first for me and it certainly wasn’t at home off pavement, however the price was right, and I always liked the retro-looking 883R. While I did quickly grow to like the Harley for what it was and found it to be enjoyable, even on longer rides, I really missed the ability to get off the beaten path and by late 2012, the 883 was headed to a new owner.

Enter the Triumph Tiger 800. I had seen the Tiger at a trade show and liked the way the bike looked, and it seemed like it would fill the void well. The hunt was on for a lightly used Tiger 800. Surprisingly it didn’t take long to find one, and in a few weeks it was parked in my garage. We spent most of the 2013 riding season together and in spite of the bike’s good looks, eager power plant, and ideal riding position, somehow the Tiger just never “grew” on me, and I knew it would soon be in need of a new home. Simultaneously, in late 2013 I happened upon a 2006 Buell XB12X Ulysses that was in great shape. I had always liked the Ulysses’ style and after owning the Harley the previous year, I was familiar (somewhat) with the power plant and liked the no-maintenance belt drive. In no time I grew to love the Uly. It was the kind of love where I found myself going out to the garage just to look at my steed. The XB12X is powerful, comfortable, and surprisingly good off pavement. I did, however, question taking her out on a longer trip as I knew that the early Ulys were known to have some “bugs” (electrical gremlins, ECM problems, and rear wheel bearing problems, to mention a few). I enjoyed riding the bike so much I mostly ignored these potential issues.

Fast forward to April of this year and a cross-country move was being planned. This meant it was time to thin the herd, and I parted ways with the Uly, vowing to replace it with a newer model year once I got settled. By mid-July I wasn’t having any luck finding the elusive 2010 (last model year) XB1200 as only a few hundred were produced. During this time I looked at other makes and models as potential replacements and in the end came to the less than stunning revelation that for me, the Suzuki DL650 is the best all-around road bike.

I am glad I spent time with all the motorcycles that came my way over the past couple of years, but I am even happier to be back in the saddle of my “new to me” 2012 DL650 and looking forward to the many journeys that lie ahead.


Want to receive free Touring Tips, reviews, deals and contests, and additional content? Sign up for your free newsletter now!

Tags: , , , , , , Categories: Back Road Biker

About the author

I've been called a "Free-Spirit", "A Lost Soul", and "A Wanderer" for as long as I can remember. I prefer to think of myself as a Traveler. Most at ease when I am in motion, two of my favorite things are arriving somewhere new, and heading off for somewhere yet unexplored.