Friday, March 04, 2011

And Baby makes Three!

A day full of significant events today.

It was my first day of "unemployment" since my last day with Sungard was yesterday.  No worries though, I start a new job as Senior Network Engineer with Pearson Education this coming Tuesday, the 8th of March.

As you know from my previous posting, my trip to Texas had failed miserably in securing for me a second sidecar rig.  Though the performance on the R90 had been great, it's age and transmission issues got me thinking perhaps I needed to go with a newer model Beemer such as an 1100/1150 BMW GS instead for a tug.

Days went and nothing in my searches online found any GS's that were reasonably priced as candidates.

One of my co-workers, Oscar, strongly encouraged me to look at Suzuki's V-Strom models.  He'd checked them out himself a while back and been most impressed.  Me?  I'd always thought dual sport mean BMW GS, as I'd been an early drinker of the BMW kool-aid.  I wanted dual sport as whatever rig would eventually replace Natasha (my Ural sidecar rig whose motto is "so what shall break next?") would have to allow me to ride on snow and mild to moderate dirt roads/trails.

I resisted at first, thinking I would be straying from the path of Teutonic righteousness and light but in the end realized I'd taken major steps off that path with my acquisition of the Russian Ural.

Feverish research and checking out of information online at led to the discovery of a lot of fellow BMW riders who'd defected to Suzuki in their choice of dual sport steeds.  Their tales of bulletproof reliability were a siren song to my ears.  The many pictures of their exploits off road rivaled the ones I'd seen on Beemer forums extolling the adventures of GS riders.  Finally, the clincher was the price of entry was at least half of the cost of going with a used GS.

I started searching for imagery of  V-Stroms with sidecars.  I decided early on that the DL650 would not have the power to pull a sidecar and the long range plan is to attach a sidecar to the V-Strom.  Perhaps something like this:

image src: google
A DL1000 V-Strom with what appears to be an Ural Sidecar
Something similar could be in my future

The motorcycling gods then chose to smile upon me by allowing me to spot an ad on Craigslist yesterday for a Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 motorcycle for sale in Denver.  Several emails and a call later yesterday evening and I had an appointment to meet with Michael L; the man selling the V-Strom.

The Craiglist Ad

For those of you unfamiliar with the Suzuki V-Strom (and until a few days ago, so was I), it's Suzuki's dual sport offering sold in direct competition to BMW's R1200GS Dual Sport.  Pretty much similar specifications but at a much lower cost.

Here's a link to Suzuki's website, for more info and specifications for the curious amongst you:  LINK

As I was "unemployed" as of today, I rode Natasha over to the vicinity of Michael's address in order to be on time for the appointment to check out his V-Strom.  I had some time to kill so I checked out the surrounding area and cruised through nearby Washington Park.

Washington Park, Denver

I met Michael at 12:30 today in the Cherry Creek district of Denver, a very nice and established area of town.  In fact, Michael's condo building was listed in the National Historic Landmarks Register:

He brought the V-Strom out of the garage next door and we spent the next hour or so talking about the motorcycle's history, performance, provenance and such matters one discusses when thinking about buying a motorcycle.

The major selling points for me were the custom Bill Mayer seat that Michael had them create and put on immediately after he took possession of the motorcycle in California.  Michael then rode the V-Strom almost 1500 miles through high heat and desert night back to Denver, making a few stops along the way.  The V-Strom did the trip with not a single problem and with great aplomb according to Michael in a letter he'd sent back to Suzuki Corporate back in L.A.

Michael had also outfitted the motorcycle with engine guards, flush mounted front turn signals (the stock ones tend to break off if you drop the motorcycle) and Suzuki had put in HID headlights for him as part of the setup.  The lights apparently lit up the desert night in an outstandingly bright manner on his return trip from California.

We shook hands on the deal and after transferring of funds and signing of the bill of sale, the V-Strom was mine!  I could see that Michael was having a hard time selling her off, as he knew they're getting scarcer and scarcer and he really had loved riding the motorcycle.  He'd even named her: Vikki, the Strom.  V-Strom, get it?

I assured Michael she would received loving care under my hands and would have a good home with my other two motorcycles.  He also gets visitation rights!  : )   Can you tell he and I got along pretty well right from the start?  Michael, thanks for such a well taken care of motorcycle, remember to bring your daughter along on your visitation of Vikki, I'll give her a ride on Natasha, the Ural sidecar!  

I rode Vikki home, she performed flawlessly and I immediately started bonding with her and her superb riding performance.  I easily saw why Michael enjoyed riding her so much.  Her powerful 1000cc engine propelled me through late afternoon traffic with hardly any effort.  I soon adapted to her throttle response, brakes were excellent and handling was nimble and light.

Once my loving wife got home from work, she took me back to Michael's place in the cage and I retrieved Natasha from where I'd left her parked.  The weather guessers had called for a chance of snow today you see and I wanted to get Vikki in my garage before it hit.  As it turned out, both motorcycles made it home with no snow.

Vikki's odometer reading when I got her home.  Nice gauge display isn't it?

Between getting her temporary tags at the DMV and being engaged by my sons in a "World of Warcraft" game after dinner, I'd lost all the good light for pictures of Vikki now that I am the owner.  I'll post some tomorrow, I promise.

In the meantime, here's one I took while she's in the garage, not great but it'll give you an idea of what she looks like:

Vikki, 4 March 2011

And so, Vikki being a 2004 model, is the baby of my three motorcycles.....hence the title of this posting which was Martha's idea.  Ain't she great?

The plan now is to ride her like she is for a few months, as she's already proven to me to be quite an enjoyable ride.  Sometime in the Fall if not sooner, I'll start work on getting a sidecar for her and a subframe mount from Dauntless Motors probably.  I will, make all efforts, to keep her rideable solo.  I suspect her riding fun factor will cause me to delay her sidecar days for a long time.

Note: for those of you wondering why not just buy a brand new DL1000 for the MSRP of $9799, they're not available for 2010 or 2011 apparently!  I could not find any in the inventories of the local Suzuki dealerships and it seems Suzuki may have quit making the 1000cc model.  I'll have to do some more digging to find out why.  I had spotted an article online where the theory was that in Europe anyways, the 1000cc models were having problems meeting the strict emissions requirements put out by the EU.  


Stacy said...

Congratulations on joining the ranks of proud(?) Suzuki owners. You'll enjoy that V-Strom for sure.

Raftnn said...

Well done, A godd choice u have made there. They have a very reliable reputation over here, and with good cause.

bobskoot said...


The DL1000 V-strom is listed on the Suzuki Canada website

as a 2010 model. There are still new ones available. At our recent motorcycle show in January they had at least 3 on display, all with sold signs on them. There was a problem with emissions and with the downturn in the economy they didn't bring out their new DL800 which was rumoured to be ready to be launched. The concensus was that they would sell out of the DL1000's worldwide then bring out their new bike, possibly even phasing out the DL650 and only have the one model available, but who really knows.

congrats on everything; your new job, your new ride and welcome to the V-strom family

Riding the Wet Coast

Charlie6 said...

Stacy, thanks...its already a lot of fun.

Raftnn, thanks for the confirmation from your side of the world...hope the recent earthquake didn't mess things up for you.

Bobskoot, yeah...the DL1000 is listed on the USA site as well but no luck finding the darn things anywhere near me, new. I've read where riders wish for a 800cc version....I'm just happy to have the 1000cc, no lack of power for the eventual sidecar.

cpa3485 said...

After the disappointment of the other weekend, this must seem really nice. If I were ever to make a change in ride, the Suzuki is definitely on my short list, just probably with the smaller engine. Congrats!

Circle Blue said...

Congratulations on the new bike. I think it will make a great tug when the time comes. It should give you more over the road options while still being able to be a "dirty girl" when called upon. And, you didn't even have to come up with a name.

I love happy endings :-)

Spat said...

We'll at least have you as part of the DAU (Denver Area Uralisti)for a while longer. Suzi should make a good tug can't wait to take a journey with you on 2 to meet your new ride.
Good luck with the new and the old

Jay said...

Congrats are in order! Looking forward to heading out for another two-wheel ride soon!

RichardM said...

That looks like a great bike. And congratulations on the new job. Senior network engineer, eh...


Brady said...

Traitor! (I, of course, own a 650GS) May the fleas of a thousand camels infest you!

Actually, I don't care what you ride, and have heard good things about the V-Strom. I'll be interested to hear your take on the machine after running your Ural for so long. What will it be like to drive unfettered with the concerns of broken engine mount bolts?

I don't think the V-Strom has the same sex appeal as an old Beemer or Ural, but they're cool none the less. Good looking machines, and I trust Japanese machines. (Almost as much as German ones.) Enjoy it! It may be a while before I can experience the thrill of buying another bike, so you'd better do a damned good job, I'm living vicariously .

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

Charlie6 said...

Cpa3485, thanks for reading this stuff, I hear the 1000cc v-stroms are too much in the dirt, we shall see.

CirleBlue, yes, happy endings are a good thing.

Thanks Spat, hopefully Natasha will last me a while longer....

Jay, yes, we must do another two-wheeled ride so you guys can check out Vikki.

RichardM, to the title...that's all it is. I find one must prove and maintain one's reputation technically.

Thanks Brady, no pressure! I'll try and keep your vicariously enjoyment at a high level. I love old Beemers as you know, just time for something less wrench-intensive....

Mike said...

Congratulations on your new ride and new job! Nice bike and I like the color!