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In the zone, and wanting more

Saturday I went on a mid-day practice ride on Marmot Road, but it was far too short. I wanted more. Sunday, mid-afternoon, I tackled the NF46 run to Detroit to make up for it. My bike was running good, the conditions were excellent, and I was in the zone.

And I wanted more.

It was the fastest, smoothest run I’ve had on that route to date and it felt incredible. I found myself feeling as if I was beyond the capabilities of my bike. The Suzuki V-Strom 650 has been described as “perhaps the most shockingly competent bike” available by the press, and for good reason. It is very capable and versatile, and in my opinion, the single best value in motorcycles today.

Part of the problem with that versatility is the tendency to become a Jack-of-all-Trades and a master of none. The V-Strom can be customized to be an outstanding dual-sport machine, rivaling the BMW GS series in capabilities — at substantially lower cost and arguably better reliability. It can’t be customized to be a true road machine, however, at least not in comparison with some other bikes that are available. Horsepower is the biggest limiting factor. You can add a few hp here and there but nothing substantial. Suspension upgrades are rather limited as well.

I am finding that I get a lot more smiles from carving up a run of paved twisties than I do taking my V-Strom off-road. In fact, riding off-road makes me somewhat nervous and I ride rather cautiously, mostly from lack of experience (it’s not the bike’s fault, in other words).

So despite putting 43,000 wonderful, trouble-free miles on a fantastic bike, I’m feeling the increasing desire to switch to a more road-oriented bike.

Right now I’m researching the Yamaha FJR 1300. More to come…

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