V vs Wee Strom

I’ve been riding a 2003 DL 1000 since it was new. The bike has about 85,000 miles on it and it’s been a great bike. Recently I was up in Colorado on vacation and rented a 2009 V-Strom 650. I wanted to get a sense for that bike to see if I made the right decision in getting the 1000 over the 650. It was great to ride the DL 650 and answer that question for myself

Notes DL 1000 DL 650
Comfort Both bikes have the same build on them. The ergonomics for me seemed equivalent between the two bikes. Once I got bar risers (1 inch up and 1 inch back) I was a very happy camper on the DL 1000. The DL 650 didn’t have bar risers and I didn’t feel the same pain that I did when getting the DL 1000. Part of that may be that the handle bars are slightly different but i can’t overlook strengthening the neck and shoulder muscles over the life of the DL 1000. star star
Power Most of the riding for the DL 650 occurred between 8,000 and 12,000 feet. There were several sections of roadway that I chose not to pass on as the DL 650 does not have the same kick in the pants passing power that the DL 1000 does. My hunch is the bike would perform better at sea level, but I can’t confirm. For reference I’m probably 250 lbs of payload on either bike: me, gear, and stuff. star
Agility The DL 1000 is about 50 lbs heavier than the DL 650. The DL 650 “felt” lighter in the turns. This particular DL 650 didn’t have ABS on it which is the same feature set as my 1000. I almost never feel squirm from the rear wheel when I’m out and about but did a number of times on this DL 650. I usually run Michelin Anakees or Metzler Tourances. This bike had Shinkos which I haven’t had any experiences on the DL 1000. It is a discount tire so not sure if or how that affects performance. I did a tiny bit of dirt, and felt the 650 was easier to roll with but the Shinko tires had way more aggressive tread on them than I typically have on the DL 1000. star
Build Quality The DL650 in my opinion has enjoyed a higher level of engineering investment than the DL 1000. It’s clutch doesn’t chatter, the fuel injection is spot on, and ABS is an option. The former two issues have known fixes, but these sorts of issues should be addressed by Suzuki. This test ride confirmed what I’d known all along. The DL 650 just has more polish on it. star
Features From the factory the DL 1000 has a few more options, but you also pay more for the bike. The 1000 has:

  • Hand Guards
  • Oil Cooler Guard
  • Better chain adjusters
star
Fuel Economy DL 1000: I see about 38 mpg pretty consistently. DL 650: I don’t have a good estimate here, but I only had to fill up once each day assuming I started full and rode 300+ miles. Most DL 650 users report 45-55 mpg on their bikes. star
Which gets my money? DL 1000. I love the bike. It has it’s warts, but I still love it. Most of my riding has been long distance touring on the street with a few steps in the dirt. For that purpose, the DL 1000 has been the better bet for me. I’d like to get into more dirt riding at some point. I’d be thinking KLR if I had the luxury of two bikes or the DL 650 if I could only afford one. star

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