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Old 02-23-2013, 06:26 PM   #1
grsa
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Tested Three Bikes -Suzuki Honda Kawasaki

Trying to decide between the following and here are my impressions.
Daily commuter bike and longer touring.

Kawasaki Versys. 2009 460 miles
Comfortable seating position. Gearshift and brake pedal is forcing me to tuck my feet in, not the most comfortable position for shifting and braking. Spunky engine that will wind up quickly and have plenty of power. Wind protection is decent. Seating is comfortable but I did feel a bit of vibration in the seat and pegs.
Brakes seem decent
Two up, not too bad but complaint about the engine vibration.
On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest I would rate it a 3

Suzuki V-Strom(650)-2011 4500 miles
Very comfortable seating position. Shifting and braking excellent. This model has ABS brakes and they seem to work real well. Wind protection very good. Seating is comfortable and did not feel near as much vibration as on the Kawi. During the ride I did notice a distinct odor which almost smelled like oil burning so not sure what the deal is with that. I did mention it when brought back.
Engine power very good linear power band.
Two up, comfortable. Rear seat more comfortable
This particular bike had been upgraded to Ohlins suspension which can be adjusted on the fly.
On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest I would rate it a 4.1

Honda NC700 2012 150 miles
Got on this 2 up as well and before getting out of the parking lot both remarked WOW. Smooth Smooth Smooth.
Very comfortable seating, shifting excellent, braking could use another disk or ABS.
Wind protection good. Not as good as the Vstrom but good. Again smooth without much vibration. Good engine power. Won't take you +120 but it does get up to speed 80+ fast.
Power band is very linear and did I mention smooth. I do also like the abilty to stuff a camera or helmet where the gas tank normally is (shades of a scooter)

On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest I would rate it a 4.2
Will have a decision to make soon (need to test the FZ8 but the lack of wind protection is a negative).

Narrowing it down to either the honda or suzuki unless something else strikes me.
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:29 PM   #2
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Glenn either get a real bike or stop wasting your time riding "vacuums"
V-storm is the only I think would suffice here
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:30 PM   #3
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How does the FZ8 fit in to that grouping of motorcycles?
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Glenn either get a real bike or stop wasting your time riding "vacuums"
V-storm is the only I think would suffice here
HAHA.
I do like the v-strom and figure it would be the most versatile. Honda cause of gas mileage and ability to stuff the photo gear in a fairly safe place.

Quote:
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How does the FZ8 fit in to that grouping of motorcycles?
FZ8 only because several people mentioned they really liked it during the Yamaha test days. Would at least like to give it a shot. I don't think Yamaha has any bike that compares to the other three, with the exception of a tmax.
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:06 PM   #5
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FZ8 only because several people mentioned they really liked it during the Yamaha test days. Would at least like to give it a shot. I don't think Yamaha has any bike that compares to the other three, with the exception of a tmax.
Well the Super Tenere (sp?) I think is Yam's only DS in the same genre but $10,000 more expensive than the ones you rode. FZ8 will want to be ridden hard.
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Well the Super Tenere (sp?) I think is Yam's only DS in the same genre but $10,000 more expensive than the ones you rode. FZ8 will want to be ridden hard.
I want to stay with a mid range and Super Tenere does not fit the bill. So the FZ8 likes to be wound up, may not the best choice? Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:18 PM   #7
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Well the Super Tenere (sp?) I think is Yam's only DS in the same genre but $10,000 more expensive than the ones you rode. FZ8 will want to be ridden hard.
THE FZ IS A COMFORTABLE SPORTBIKE. IF I GET ANOTHER BIKE IN ADDITION TO MY R1 IT WILL BE A NEW FZ1. THEY ROCK!!!!!
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:21 PM   #8
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With sticking with the "ADV" style you seem to want.

I think I'd go with the Versys.

Neither will take you on a goat trail, both will suffice on gravel, tire dependent.
I personally would go with the VS, just for the looks alone. Not much different between the two, other than the VS drivetrain is a bit more in the pants, better.

Wow, those are about the only two bikes that fill that spot. Well, maybe toss in the Tiger 800....I'd take that one. They are about the same price. IIRC
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:31 PM   #9
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ETA: ooops, the Tiger(12,5k) is a bit more than the VS (7995 base), VStrom (not the 1000) is right around 10k

Now I would get the VS if on a budget, you still need luggage and good camping gear, not to mention other for better motocamping.
IIRC the Metzler Tourrances all fit the three.

If 13K is not an issue, I;d go with the Tiger, stroked out 675 triple.....yeah.....superb engine.
Go with the Vstrom if you think the Victory Vision is a pretty bike.
I will say the Vstrom has a very dependable record. Seems to take a beating and keep going, kinda like a KLR.
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:40 PM   #10
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Somehow one of the voices in my head is saying, ditch the bags get a tail bag along with a super triple.. wonder what that is..
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
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ETA: ooops, the Tiger(12,5k) is a bit more than the VS (7995 base), VStrom (not the 1000) is right around 10k

Now I would get the VS if on a budget, you still need luggage and good camping gear, not to mention other for better motocamping.
IIRC the Metzler Tourrances all fit the three.

If 13K is not an issue, I;d go with the Tiger, stroked out 675 triple.....yeah.....superb engine.
Go with the Vstrom if you think the Victory Vision is a pretty bike.
I will say the Vstrom has a very dependable record. Seems to take a beating and keep going, kinda like a KLR.
Have heard a few people mention that the vstrom is a great bike and dependable. Have a triumph right now and love the triple. I guess I could put a triumph scrambler in the mix. I asked about testing but they are very picky about letting you test a new bike.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Have heard a few people mention that the vstrom is a great bike and dependable. Have a triumph right now and love the triple. I guess I could put a triumph scrambler in the mix. I asked about testing but they are very picky about letting you test a new bike.
Scrambler!

I have seen them do some pretty cool mods for those to be REALLY neat ADV bikes. 7/8ths bars, semi-knobbies.....suspension, luggage...yeah, I would not have one issue with that...as long as I was not wanting to rail on Beartooth pass.

Eastern NC gravel mountain roads and stealth camping..... yeah!
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Somehow one of the voices in my head is saying, ditch the bags get a tail bag along with a super triple.. wonder what that is..
If I am catching what you are saying I like that idea. Always good to have a tail bag on a ride. But you may be talking about an actual bag.
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grsa View Post
Trying to decide between the following and here are my impressions.
Daily commuter bike and longer touring.

Kawasaki Versys. 2009 460 miles
Comfortable seating position. Gearshift and brake pedal is forcing me to tuck my feet in, not the most comfortable position for shifting and braking. Spunky engine that will wind up quickly and have plenty of power. Wind protection is decent. Seating is comfortable but I did feel a bit of vibration in the seat and pegs.
Brakes seem decent
Two up, not too bad but complaint about the engine vibration.
On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest I would rate it a 3

Suzuki V-Strom(650)-2011 4500 miles
Very comfortable seating position. Shifting and braking excellent. This model has ABS brakes and they seem to work real well. Wind protection very good. Seating is comfortable and did not feel near as much vibration as on the Kawi. During the ride I did notice a distinct odor which almost smelled like oil burning so not sure what the deal is with that. I did mention it when brought back.
Engine power very good linear power band.
Two up, comfortable. Rear seat more comfortable
This particular bike had been upgraded to Ohlins suspension which can be adjusted on the fly.
On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest I would rate it a 4.1

Honda NC700 2012 150 miles
Got on this 2 up as well and before getting out of the parking lot both remarked WOW. Smooth Smooth Smooth.
Very comfortable seating, shifting excellent, braking could use another disk or ABS.
Wind protection good. Not as good as the Vstrom but good. Again smooth without much vibration. Good engine power. Won't take you +120 but it does get up to speed 80+ fast.
Power band is very linear and did I mention smooth. I do also like the abilty to stuff a camera or helmet where the gas tank normally is (shades of a scooter)

On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest I would rate it a 4.2
Will have a decision to make soon (need to test the FZ8 but the lack of wind protection is a negative).

Narrowing it down to either the honda or suzuki unless something else strikes me.
can't speak on the versys but here's my take on the other two. (w/o the salesman bit)

VSTROM-it's a tank compared to the honda. but a tank in a good way. it's built sturdy and with a purpose. the 650 and 1000 twins are awesome little motors. these bikes are a heap of fun, guilty fun i might add. i almost hate to be seen on such an ugly bike. but as far as filling the role, the vstrom does a better job as an adventure bike than the nc700. but if you aren't going to do any true adv riding then that point is moot. as was said brakes; good. wind protection; good. seat; comfortable.

NC700X-textbook honda characteristics. smooth, linear power, predictable handling. styling is definitely a little of a departure from the honda norm. this bike looks good, not gonna win any beauty pageants, but i like it. the honda accessories that can be sold with this bike are nice too. windscreen, crash bar, hard bags, hard trunk, acc socket, heated grips, wind deflectors, center stand etc etc. little disappointed with the horsepower and braking power. i think this bike could definitely benefit from like 10 more hp and another brake disk. kinda almost kills it for me with this bike. the one redeeming factor is that it's a honda. do the basic maint and it will last forever.

now let me throw another contender in the mix if i might. go check out the KTM 990 SM T. or even a super duke 990. we have a used one at work that gets whored out a bunch. i hated it at first, then i got used to, then i didn't want to get off of it. it has a set of akros on it and even with the baffles in the noise it makes is pure .

Last edited by brian1570; 02-23-2013 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
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can't speak on the versys but here's my take on the other two. (w/o the salesman bit)

VSTROM-it's a tank compared to the honda. but a tank in a good way. it's built sturdy and with a purpose. the 650 and 1000 twins are awesome little motors. these bikes are a heap of fun, guilty fun i might add. i almost hate to be seen on such an ugly bike. but as far as filling the role, the vstrom does a better job as an adventure bike than the nc700. but if you aren't going to do any true adv riding then that point is moot. as was said brakes; good. wind protection; good. seat; comfortable.

NC700X-textbook honda characteristics. smooth, linear power, predictable handling. styling is definitely a little of a departure from the honda norm. this bike looks good, not gonna win any beauty pageants, but i like it. the honda accessories that can be sold with this bike are nice too. windscreen, crash bar, hard bags, hard trunk, acc socket, heated grips, wind deflectors, center stand etc etc. little disappointed with the horsepower and braking power. i think this bike could definitely benefit from like 10 more hp and another brake disk. kinda almost kills it for me with this bike. the one redeeming factor is that it's a honda. do the basic maint and it will last forever.

now let me throw another contender in the mix if i might. go check out the KTM 990 SM T. or even a super duke 990. we have a used one at work that gets whored out a bunch. i hated it at first, then i got used to, then i didn't want to get off of it. it has a set of akros on it and even with the baffles in the noise it makes is pure .
Brian, I saw a KTM today and I just thought it was very tall, however I did not actually sit on it. May have to give that a shot.
Good comments on the honda and Vstrom.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:45 PM   #16
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Brian, I saw a KTM today and I just thought it was very tall, however I did not actually sit on it. May have to give that a shot.
Good comments on the honda and Vstrom.
exactly why i hated them at first. felt very tall and awkward. takes some getting used to. but i mean they have their heritage in the dirt, and if you just pretend you are on an overgrown dirt bike then it all starts to makes sense.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:49 PM   #17
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Brian, you work at stubbs in sales? What is your thought on the GSX650F you have there? Don't like the can on the side but other than that your thoughts. Also probably will not be doing much if any back roads, as I am contemplating if that changes than the vstrom is by far the leader of the three I rode.

Will stop by there next week.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:16 PM   #18
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If that Wee were a '12, I'd pick it over the Honda. The NC700X is such a versatile package, and Honda changed the engine design paradigm, in favor of smooth and super efficient street riding, in stead of high RPM boy-racer shriek.

If you are looking in this range, you really ought to check out the Street Triple. I know it's not an adv tourer, but it's such a great all-around middleweight that handles brilliantly. Now that the '13s are out, you might find some good deals in a late model pre-owned.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Brian, you work at stubbs in sales? What is your thought on the GSX650F you have there? Don't like the can on the side but other than that your thoughts. Also probably will not be doing much if any back roads, as I am contemplating if that changes than the vstrom is by far the leader of the three I rode.

Will stop by there next week.
meh that bike just doesn't do anything for me. technically it's a great bike, doesn't look terrible, decent power etc. and that particular one only has 43 miles on the odo. i'd let it go for 4400 to an MH member so it's a steal. but just to let you know i did have a customer take a swing at it today so it may be gone by the time you come by. but if it were me i'd take the gladius over the gsxf. asking 6500 for an 09 with 1900 miles.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
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If that Wee were a '12, I'd pick it over the Honda. The NC700X is such a versatile package, and Honda changed the engine design paradigm, in favor of smooth and super efficient street riding, in stead of high RPM boy-racer shriek.

If you are looking in this range, you really ought to check out the Street Triple. I know it's not an adv tourer, but it's such a great all-around middleweight that handles brilliantly. Now that the '13s are out, you might find some good deals in a late model pre-owned.
ok now the salesman in me has to mention the CB1000R, plus it's just to wicked not get an honorable mention
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