Author Topic: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions  (Read 545 times)

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Offline Brojon

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Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« on: April 12, 2019, 04:51:07 pm »
Hi guys - long time rider, my current steed is a Suzuki Dl-650A.  I picked this one because the Texas roads are pretty rough and literally hammered my last bike by the constant pothole abuse.  Not kidding, withing 6 months of daily commute I flattened a shock and broke through a 1/8" steel topcase bracket.  Thus the "Adventure" bike with longer suspension.
I'm inseam challenged (29") so the DL is a literal stretch for me plus it's just too dang buzzy at highway speeds.  The folks that say they tour on these things must have numb brains to go with their numb butts.
A co-worker showed up with his new Concours and he's just about sold me on it.  Heckuva good looking bike IMHO.  He says he has no issues with the potholes unlike his old bike which was a Bandit I think.  I was floored to find out it only weighs a hunnerd pounds more than my DL650 with twice the engine!
So - instead of reading endless online reviews which are endlessly positive about this bike (a good sign) I thought I'd go to the source(s) and get owner observations first hand.  Here's my particulars:
It needs to be tough and reliable - I'm way too old for more project bikes.
Strictly road - mostly daily 20 mile commute with crazed cagers along with long weekend rides and some planned touring.  I need to research Givi topcase mounts.  I ride pretty much every day and usually clock 15K+ a year.
So I ask - are there weak spots?  Little niggly things that take the luster away?
How easy is maintenance?  I have to take the tank off and half the cowling to just change the air filter on this DL650.
How easy is it to mod? - like extra lights, LED headlamps, loud horn - some bikes the wiring is so tight you can't fish them through.
Anything on the owner wish list?  Anything on the "change this first" list?

Thanks!
Jon

Offline bezier kid

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2019, 06:39:47 pm »
I have a 2008 and it gives off a lot of heat at times.  I guess newer models are better.  Some of the fit and finish pieces seem a little cheap and after market to me (small trunk on the gas tank and inner fairing covers).   The stupid oil leaks (fixable) and the saddle bags that fly off unless you pin them.  the really hard-to-find and adjust middle throttle body screw.  Some of the fairing locking tabs break after a few years.  A few recalls.  Plan on spending an hour to remove all the plastic in the front and the sub frame crap and if you do have a stupid oil leak, plan on getting dirty.  TPMS batteries suck.  My front tires always cup no matter what.

Other than that I would buy it again in a heart beat.  I started on standards and sport bikes.  I do feel like I have a great mix of both worlds on this machine.  It's heavy until you start moving.  It is reeeeaaaallly powerful and super comfortable.  Indiana roads can get bad in the spring.  I think I replaced fork seals at 65K.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2019, 06:57:46 pm by bezier kid »

Offline Brojon

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2019, 06:58:47 pm »
Thanks for the honesty!  I've heard the Gen 1's leave a bit to be desired - especially the heat.
My plan is to get a late model 2015 up.
I have an aftermarket TPMS on my VStrom and the batteries have held up pretty good.  If the OEM is that bad I can always switch out with mine.  I do like 'em - my Anakee 3's are fantastic tires but the rear  bleeds down so I have to top it every week or so - the TPMS makes it a no-brainer to keep tabs.

Offline joliver

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2019, 08:23:48 pm »
I have a 2015 and I love it. I have 30,000 km without an issue. If I was single I would have 100+ on her. Live in northern Canada and we have some spooky roads as well. The traction control really saved the day on a steep sandy road.
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Offline ZXtasy

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2019, 11:11:28 pm »
It is a great bike once personalized, I like to ride it aggressively so can not imagine lowering it. But with your inseam, even lowered, it is top heavy when fully gassed. I hope you get a chance to sit on some to evaluate. That being said, I personally know 2 very short legged people that managed non-lowered tall bikes (KLR-650 and ST-1100), with style and aplomb. It just takes a system, practice, and determination.
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Offline khager01

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2019, 11:59:24 pm »
I have owned 2 DL650's a 2007 and a 2012.  I put 60K+ miles on the 07 and 75K+ miles on the 12.  I now own a 2017 Concours that I have put 19K on it in about 1 1/2 years.  1st of all the Concours is 200 lbs heavier not 100.  The V-Strom is 472 wet and the C14 is I believe 692 lbs with bags and wet 672 lbs w/o bags.  The weight is not an issue when you are moving and it handles really well, but you do need to be careful in low speed parking lot maneuvers and doing tight U-turns, especially with someone of your height and inseam, might want to invest in some canyon cages or some kind of tipover protection,  although if you can handle the DL which is quite top-heavy for a bike of it's weight, you should be able to handle the C14 it's not quite as top-heavy so much as it's just heavy.  For the record I am 6'0" with a 32" inseam.   I live in TX too and I know what you mean our roads suck, especially in areas that have a lot of drilling activity, I don't feel the C14 handles potholes as well as the DL.  On the DL I am faster on tight technical bumpy backroads, the longer travel suspension is just better at soaking up the bumps.  On smooth roads with wide sweepers I am definitely faster on the C14.    This bike has a lot more wind/weather protection than the DL, which is good and bad.  Definitely better in the winter, not just the wider windshield but the fairing blocks almost all the wind off your lower legs.  It doesn't get hot no engine heat per se, as they did a good job with the fairing redesign, but when it's 90F and you want a little breeze on your mesh riding pants well you aren't going to get it.  100F or above you don't want it anyway!  Really good rain protection though, you can almost ride without a rain jacket and not get wet as long as you are moving,  and the adjustable windshield is really nice, I keep it down in the city especially when warm to catch some wind, and raise it all the way up at highway speeds, I keep the vent halfway open which knocks down the turbulence considerably which is a helluva a lot better than the DL, which as you know has a lot of turbulence.  I just did my first major maintenance, valve adjustment, removed and flushed radiator, spark plugs etc..  and I will say it takes about twice as long as it did with the DL. Now granted I have canyon cages and you have to remove those to be able to get to the valve cover.   It's not just the plastic you can see but there are a lot of rubber heat shields that route the heat out and away thru the gills that you see on the side fairings, plus sub-frame that holds the fairings.  Air filter is actually pretty easy to change you don't have to remove all the plastic, just the glove box and 1 top plastic piece.  So after the 1st valve adjustment the valves don't move that much if any in my experience,  I checked several times but only had to adjust them once on my two DL's and that was the 1st time at 15K.  So with that being said and with iridium plugs I will wait longer before I go in again.  Air filter needs to be changed at 11K miles but that is no problem vs. the DL where you had to remove tank and plastic.  Plenty of room under the plastic to route wiring and add whatever mods you want.  Space is kind of limited under the seat but that seems to be normal these days with all the electronics.  I have taken my DL off on 4 wheel drive trails which is something I will not be doing on the C14.  One thing you will need to get is a radiator guard and a fender extender.  The C14 has a much larger radiator and it sits a lot lower than the DL.  I hit a large rock on HWY 1 in CA and it skipped off the side of the front tire and busted some plastic on the lower fairing, narrowly missing the radiator, it could have been a disaster, so far from home.  I haven't heard of any of the newer models losing a side-case so I think they fixed that.  If your looking used look up under the header about midway between #2 and # 3 cylinders and see if there has been an oil leak.  Mine never leaked but it's an easy fix O-ring on the exhaust cam sensor, just hard to get to and most people defer it to whenever they are going to do major maintenance, not like it leaks a whole lot.  Also these bikes come with a 3 year unlimited miles factory warranty  and you can extend the warranty up to 6 more years really cheap as long as it's still under the factory warranty, which will cover a leaky cam sensor by the way.  I haven't had any problems with mine yet.  Compared to the DL and most bikes this bike doesn't feel as fast on the highway as your actual speed and will earn you a performance award if you are not careful DAMHIK! :))  I believe at 4K rpm it's running almost  90 mph it's silky smooth and purrs like a kitten, and not as much wind noise or turbulence as the DL.  Also the suspension is more tight at those speeds compared to the DL which tends to wallow a lot at higher speeds, and it's not affected by the wind near as much as the DL, so needless to say the C14 is much much better on the highways for long trips and you can still have fun in the canyons when you get there.   At 140 mph it's solid and stable (or so I heard) :))  Another thing I like about this bike is I take the two-lane hwy's or back roads a lot on long trips and I can pretty much pass anybody, at anytime, anywhere.  The DL650 required more patience making passes at highway speeds, and more downshifting.  In the city I prefer the DL, it's just more maneuverable, easier to lane-split when I am in CA, and I am not afraid to drop it off the shoulder, to go around traffic, or cut through a grass median to get out of a traffic jam.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 12:06:06 am by khager01 »
2017 Concours 14
2012 V-Strom 650

Offline Just Cliff

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2019, 12:28:05 am »
It needs to be tough and reliable - I'm way too old for more project bikes.
Thanks!
Jon

Yes, they are extremely reliable.

I have a 2008 and it gives off a lot of heat at times.  The stupid oil leaks (fixable) and the saddle bags that fly off unless you pin them.  Some of the fairing locking tabs break after a few years. My front tires always cup no matter what.


I've never noticed the off my 08, though many consider it a issue. Cam sensor o-ring leak is somewhat common, but pretty easy fix. Though time consuming. I think the bag thing is more from being not latched right. I have never broke a tab & my plastic has been off countless times. The only tires I've ever had cup are Michelin PR3's & 4's. I've had many sets of other brands, only 6 sets between of 3's & 4's.

  Now granted I have canyon cages and you have to remove those to be able to get to the valve cover.   

Canyon cages do not have to be removed to do the valves. Mine have not been removed since they were installed 10 years ago.
Cliff
2008 Concours, 200,000 miles & counting. 
2014 1000 V Strom

Offline khager01

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2019, 01:37:59 am »
[
  Now granted I have canyon cages and you have to remove those to be able to get to the valve cover.   

Canyon cages do not have to be removed to do the valves. Mine have not been removed since they were installed 10 years ago.
[/quote]

Well I do wear a size XXL glove!
« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 01:41:25 am by khager01 »
2017 Concours 14
2012 V-Strom 650

Offline khager01

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2019, 01:52:58 am »
A couple of other things the brakes on the C14 are awesome so much better than the DL650,  better feel and stopping power, I use two fingers now whereas I used to use all four on the DL650,  and the traction control is sure nice to have, I know you don't need it on the Dl650 but grabbing too much throttle exiting a corner is easy to do on this bike.   When I first got this bike I would twist it up the same as I would on the DL in a certain situation and find KTRAC stepping in and saving my a**.  If you are going to grab full throttle in 1st or 2nd you better be straight up and on a dry clean road.   The C14 eats tires twice as fast as the DL650, and the C14 gets 40 mpg vs. 50 mpg vs. the DL650 so it will cost you more to play.  If you have a tame right hand you can average 50 mpg, but then I have got up to 60 mpg on the DL650, so you can count on about a 10 mpg difference.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 02:01:26 am by khager01 »
2017 Concours 14
2012 V-Strom 650

Offline Road Runner

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2019, 10:59:40 pm »
[
  Now granted I have canyon cages and you have to remove those to be able to get to the valve cover.   

Canyon cages do not have to be removed to do the valves. Mine have not been removed since they were installed 10 years ago.

Well I do wear a size XXL glove!
[/quote]

Right you are! I too have canyon cages and can do the valve check and adjustment without removing them.
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Offline Brojon

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2019, 11:02:14 pm »
It is a great bike once personalized, I like to ride it aggressively so can not imagine lowering it. But with your inseam, even lowered, it is top heavy when fully gassed. I hope you get a chance to sit on some to evaluate. That being said, I personally know 2 very short legged people that managed non-lowered tall bikes (KLR-650 and ST-1100), with style and aplomb. It just takes a system, practice, and determination.
Lol - yeah, the VStom is a bit top heavy too.  You learn to instantly spot off camber roads and low spots at stops.  One I run out of leg there's not many options.

Offline Brojon

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2019, 11:19:35 pm »
A couple of other things the brakes on the C14 are awesome so much better than the DL650,  better feel and stopping power, I use two fingers now whereas I used to use all four on the DL650,  and the traction control is sure nice to have, I know you don't need it on the Dl650 but grabbing too much throttle exiting a corner is easy to do on this bike.   When I first got this bike I would twist it up the same as I would on the DL in a certain situation and find KTRAC stepping in and saving my a**.  If you are going to grab full throttle in 1st or 2nd you better be straight up and on a dry clean road.   The C14 eats tires twice as fast as the DL650, and the C14 gets 40 mpg vs. 50 mpg vs. the DL650 so it will cost you more to play.  If you have a tame right hand you can average 50 mpg, but then I have got up to 60 mpg on the DL650, so you can count on about a 10 mpg difference.
Dead on with the brakes - they do not inspire confidence.  I considered upgrading to a 4 pot but decided not to.  That said they have stopped me in many a panic stop when some cager on MoPac isn't paying attention.  The worst is accelerating out of many intersection - slick as glass.
The VStrom still surprises me on occasion - I can get unintentional air in 1st and 2nd pretty easy - I know for fact I'll have to re-learn with this beast.
I plan to put Anakee 3's on anything I buy - they're that dang good.  Noisy but absolutely the longest lasting tire I've ever owned and they haven't yet gotten that "old tire hardness" that makes it imperative to change even with tread left.
My coworker reports he gets around 40 mpg when frisky but on more tame rides he's getting 46-48 so I'm not too worried - still cheaper than my 4Runner.
He's not a lot taller than me and he's able to handle it very well.  In fact he says he's impressed with the low speed maneuverability. lol - makes me wonder how lousy his Bandit must have been.  I'm careful on Uturns with the VStrom because it does tip easy being top heavy so I doubt the Connie will hold any surprises.  I plan to go do a sit down test tomorrow at the local dealer and get a better idea if we'll fit.
So - by canyon cages I assume y'all mean crash bars?  I'm usually a fan myself - so what's recommended?

Offline khager01

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2019, 01:15:09 am »
This is what I have, I've only dropped mine once in the garage while trying to get it up on the centerstand "BAREFOOT" which hurt my foot so I had to let it back down then it got leaned over too far away from me I was not able to hold it back  >:(  so not a real test but the cages did their job. https://www.ebay.com/itm/MC-Enterprises-Concours-1400-Canyon-Cage-Guards-1400-410/303084855158?fits=Model%3AConcours+14&epid=182531432&hash=item469143df76:g:i3EAAOSwjXRXXzJJ

Or if you want the bag protectors too,

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mc-Enterprises-Canyon-Cages-Fairing-Protectors-1In-Tubing-Chrome-1400-410C-Cag/333074638949?fits=Model%3AConcours+14&epid=182514325&hash=item4d8ccba865:g:nLwAAOSwGoRcZnUc
« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 01:28:03 am by khager01 »
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2012 V-Strom 650

Offline Bruiser

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2019, 04:49:44 pm »
My ‘12 has been very reliable, and a hoot to ride. Changing oil and fluids is a cinch, but make sure your wife and kids aren’t around when changing plugs! Major PITA. I had a well known mechanic do my first valve adjustment. Cost a few bucks but worth it! I’ve been told that if you ride sanely, you should not have to do that often
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Offline Brojon

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Re: Howdy! Prospective owner with questions
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2019, 06:00:59 pm »
...valve adjustment...  I’ve been told that if you ride sanely, you should not have to do that often
So I should read between the lines here? ;)
lol - I know I can't help but twist harder some days for the sheer joy of it.