My new (to me) V-Strom
A week and a half ago I got a 2006 V-Strom 650. This bike was a replacement for the 2002 919 that I got rid of last summer. I just thought I would post some impressions for anyone who would be interested.
First of all, I loved my 919. I was an excellent bike that I enjoyed riding. A 919 is well built and will last for years. It has lots of midrange power and is fairly easy to ride. But, there were some things I wasn't crazy about. It didn't have enough leg room for me and the seat sucked. I wished it had more storage, a clock, better suspension and less vibration.
I ended up getting a V-strom 650 and I am happier with it. It is definitely slower on any smooth asphalt than a 919 but not by as much as you might think. Acceleration is noticably less but handling is pretty close. On the other hand, it handles bumpy roads better. It has more leg-room, a great engine that is plenty for any semi-legal riding you might do, and a more refined ride. The throttle and brakes are not as touchy as my 919 and it has more underseat storage along with a rack to strap more stuff on the back. I also enjoy exploring the dirt roads I used to ride past. The 919 was a much sharper looking bike IMO but that was reduced by the Givi box I had to put on the back.
Basically, both are great bikes but for me the V-strom 650 is better. It's more comfortable, smoother, more practical and still has plenty of performance for me. I enjoy riding it quickly but also taking it easy and exploring those hard to reach areas. Oh, mpg in the mid 50's is nice too. On the other hand, if you ride above 90 mph don't get a v-strom. Lots of guys won't want to give up the extra oomph of the 919. That's fine for them but I'm happy with my choice.