I bought another motorcycle this weekend.
It is the last weekend one would think I would make a thousands-dollar impulse buy – we are in the process of selling a house, making an offer on another, soon to be packing, moving. Not to mention the pre move-in remodeling at the new place that is looming. So I have way too much on my plate as it stands. Then my wife was involved in an altercation with a jersey barrier that totaled the family car over the weekend (The jersey barrier’s OK. As are all loved ones and other humans involved. Not the car though.) As I was running around like the proverbial decapitated chicken Monday, talking to adjusters, standing in line at the tow & salvage lot on the bad side of town, lining up a rental car, I get a surprise email. I had replied to a couple of Craigslist ads over the weekend, during a lull, “just looking”. Perhaps I was thinking about the new longer commute which starts next month. Or maybe it was spring fever. The bike was only a few blocks from where I was at the moment, and the owner was willing to meet right away. Next thing you know, I’m shaking his hand across a 2006 Suzuki V-Strom.
It was the test ride that had me sold. The seller let me tool around Tucker for a few miles. For a bike that, compared to the SV I’m used to, is so big, tall, and “top heavy” (more or less an optical illusion), it is surprisingly nimble, stable and very comfortable. The thing that had me initially interested (besides the fact that V-Stroms for sale are few and far between around here) is that it came with “adventure” luggage, SV Motech low-profile quick release luggage mounts, and the engine guards. Purchased separately – and these items are inevitable must-gets if touring is on your dream list – the cumulative cost would have run in the additional hundreds. As priced, it was as if these farkles were thrown in for free. For the bike that was at the top of my wish list all along. Once i transfer a few of my upgrades from the SV on to this (yet to be named) new bike, I should be able to sell the SV and call it a wash. More or less.
The V-Strom has the same basic 650 engine as the SV. It has been retuned (detuned?) to place the torque more towards the middle of the range, and less at the top end. As I understand it, the cams are less pointy, and the flywheel is heavier. I am no mechanic, but I can deduct that to mean the opening and closing of valves is less abrupt, thus making throttle response and engine feel less “snappy”, and engine breaking less pronounced, respectively. That’s the impression that got on the ride as well. But by no means does it feel underpowered. It’s all there, and it does what you need it to do, just with a lot less buzz and frantic urgency. More impressions to follow, as I grow on this bike. Better pictures too – these are the ones from the ad.