- 1988 Honda NT650 Hawk
- All versions of the Montesa Cota trials bike
- All models of the Honda Transalp XL600V
- Yamaha's SRX Series (250, 400, and 600cc)
- 1992 Yamaha 850 TDM
- 1977 Yamaha IT175D
- BMW R 80GS Paris-Dakar Special
- Honda EXP-2
- Yamaha XT350
That wouldn't be fair. In fact, I own one of my 10 favorites and it could be my last motorcycle. This affair started with the first edition, the 1999 Suzuki SV650, which I rode for almost 50k trouble-free miles before trading it for the newer, more multipurpose, fuel-injected version, the 2004 V-Strom. In fact, if you look at the picture of my SV you'll notice that it was heading toward becoming a V-Strom before I sold it. Now, approaching 50k miles on the V-Strom, I'm as happy with the DL650 as I was when I saw the first version of this motorcycle at the Cycle World Motorcycle Show in 2004.
go here. Or check out the June 2009 North Dakota Tour blog entries or the August 2008 Nova Scotia tour stuff. Eventually, I hope to do something with my 2007 Alaska pictures and video, but that might be a lost cause. The V-Strom has taken me places I've always wanted to experience. Five guys on V-Strom 650's toured from the tip of Venezuela to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and, other than damage caused by hitting a British Colombian moose at speed, all 5 bikes and guys made the trip without incident.
The V-Strom 650 is everything I expect and almost everything want in a touring motorcycle. It gets reasonable mileage (43-58mpg, depending on conditions and speed). The stock suspension is almost dirt-capable. The motor is tough, starts easily and reliably at any temperature or altitude, and fairly easy to maintain. The brakes are powerful, reliable, and predictable. It's comfortable for long miles. The V-Strom is capable of mounting luggage that will hold all of my stuff and has room for my grandson or my wife. It handles well on freeways and limited-access dirt roads. The top speed is faster than I need to go and all-day cruising speed is anything between 55 and 95. The headlights are the best I've ever experienced. The stock exhaust system is stainless steel and quiet as a cage.
So, without any question I put this bike on my top-ten list. Some of the other bikes may fall off of the list, but the V-Strom will be there for a long time. It would be disloyal to do otherwise.