That was the title of an email I received from Paul, telling me of his latest change of bike. He’s had quite a few different bikes over the years, especially in recent times. He told us of his history with bikes from when he first began riding, on a little step-through, up until that particular time when he had a Honda Goldwing. At one stage he had three bikes, the Goldwing, a Suzuki Hyabusa and a Honda 900. Then he wrote to tell us how he had swapped the two Hondas for a Suzuki GSX1400 – the third example of that model he’d owned. But more changes were to come. The next Installment saw him down-sizing the fleet again, swapping the two Suzuki’s for just one – the latest Hyabusa. Then I received the email mentioned above. And, as you probably know from the link that got you here, he has down-sized to a Suzuki V-Strom 650. The fact that it is the 650cc version, not the 1,000cc, earned it the nick-name “wee-Strom”. (A friend of mine who also owns a V-Strom was told he should call it a “lower-busa”, which, as Paul had traded a Hyabusa on this, might have been an appropriate title for his too!). Here is the story of the latest change. There has been yet another bike change. This time I have down sized my bike to a bike that I feel very comfortable on. My new bike is a 2010 white DL650 V-Strom with ABS. This bike has been tagged the “wee Strom” – being the little brother of the V Strom 1000. Yes it is very different from all my previous bikes. The riding position is up right and the bike is very light and easy to ride. With a 22 litre fuel tank there should not be any need for regular fuel stops, and this should make the bike a nice little tourer. I have found the seat to be quite comfortable (I could always attach my Air Hawk if needs be on longer trips), the rear view mirrors are great with no vibration, also there is very little wind buffeting with the adjustable screen set about right for my height. The bike has a flat rack where you can mount a top box if required. The reviews I've read all seem to give the bike good reports and the v-twin motor to be very reliable. I wasn't too sure about the styling design at the front of the bike to start with but if that is the only “con” in a long list of “pros” then I think I can live with that! I have fitted OEM hand guards and a set of SW Mototech engine protection bars. I used the R-Jays top box that I had fitted to the Hayabusa. It was sitting in the shed and it bolted straight onto the rear rack of the V Strom. (With help from my dad – it doesn't matter how old we get, us kids can still ask dad for help). There were a few more items on my “wish list”. Funny how that list never gets any shorter! These included an engine bash plate to protect the oil filter and lower engine casings plus a pair of pannier frames to attach a pair of soft pannier bags for weekends away. I added a set of MTD luggage pannier frames. They are manufactured with the purpose of using solid off road style pannier boxes. I contacted Lachlan at MTD and explained what I wanted to use the frames for and he told me a lot of bike owners use the frames for soft pannier bags so he fits a cross member to the frames to support the soft pannier bags better. Lachlan said he would be visiting relatives close to where I live and he would drop a set of frames to my home. That is what I call top service! The build quality and finish on the frames is excellent and appears to be a lot more robust looking than some other frames that I have seen for sale. The frames bolt straight onto the bike at the front of the passenger hand bars and passenger foot peg mounting points, and there is a brace which goes across the top of the bike under the factory rack where my R Jays top box is mounted to (no need to relocate the rear indicators) then there is a rear brace that mounts under the number plate and goes across the width of the bike and attaches to the back of the frames on either side. I have a larger set of Dririder panniers that I purchased from ebay ages ago with the intention of fitting them to other bikes that I have owned (as you know there have been quite a few!). The strapping on the throw over bags fits neatly under the seat and then I have zip-tied the bags to the frames through the loops on the bags with a couple of small combination padlocks through the main zip and end pocket zips which makes the contents reasonably secure. With the Dririder bags attached, the larger bags fit very well onto the pannier frames. I have used a set of Goldwing topbox and pannier liner bags inside the box and panniers and they are a great fit. (That is why us men never dispose of bike gear!). Thanks for the up-date Paul. The V-Strom is a great bike. I know a few people who own them, and all are very happy with them. Just a little bit different to the Hyabusa (!!), but I reckon it’d be more comfortable around town and over longer distances. Glad to see you are enjoying it!
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