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Seconded...

My girlfriend just got a new Vstrom 650, and I've been breaking it in.

The thing is friggin amazing. On any road, in any niche, there is a bike thats better. But I have NEVER experienced such all around goodness.

The engine has as much power as you need (it handles 2up on the freeway just fine, actually, and can out accererate 99% of the cars on the road). The handling is impecably neutral and suprisingly fast. The gas-tank is huge. Potholes don't exist. Comfort is amazing, vibration almost nonexistant. Gravel parking lots are no problem, and I'd guess that anything which is actually called a road (as opposed to a dirt trail) would be happy territory.

As a "do everything" bike, this beats out my VFR, by a large margin.
 

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THe standard of the competition...

Eg, THIRD went to the best-handling 600 supersport with the fairing ripped off: a tarmac eating monster...

Second went to the most competent all-rounder I have ever witnessed: Smooth, comfortable, weather protected, suprisingly agile. No matter the road, it will gobble it up, one up or two, in comfort. It's very amazing, I like my Girlfriends Vstrom 650 more than my VFR!

And first place is the famous honda hornet, sell-by-the-boatload in europe...
 

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You won't go wrong with the Vstrom

I have a VFR, I had a 500 ninja, and my GF just got a Vstrom 650

The Vstrom is an amazing bike, if something happened to my VFR, I'd replace it with one of these.

It's amazingly agile (somwhat more so than my old 500 Ninja: the difference between modern cheap suspension and 15 year old cheap suspension), it sops up teh road crap, has a stronger motor, much more comfort, and the huge tank.

Not to mention, the EX500 is a buzzy-little-beast, the Vstrom is amazingly smooth.
 

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Uhh, Honda Has...

CBR600-RR: Hardcore supersport

CBR600-F4i: Supersport with better ergonomics

Hornet (faired): 1/2 faired standard

Hornet (unfaired): unfaired standard

CB600: 1/2 faired 600cc tourer, complete with available ABS

Different GENERATIONS of the same engine/family to do the different roles. Of course, the 1/2 faired horent and the cB600 are europe, not US.
 

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VStrom Vs SV

The VStrom uses a different frame (its the DL1000 frame with a different motor-mount adaptor).

True, the DL gives up 50 lbs and 5 hp to the SV, but...

The SV doesn't have the ergonomics, the wind protection, the 5.8 gallon tank, the long travel suspension, remote preload ajustment (a godsend for pillion duty)....

On a twisted backroad or the track, the SV will blow past the Vstrom. But as a real world bike?

The VStrom will cruise faster than an SV (real wind-protection), and more comfortably than either an SV or SV-S, for either one or two. The VStrom cuts through potholes and crap like they don't exist, and comfortably goes down gravel driveways/roads.

The SV is actually fairly sports-biased, especially the SV-S, with teh almost GSX-R ergonomics. The VStrom is a much more "biased towards nothing" bike. I doubt it will sell well in the US (but those who buy it will be very happy), but I'd expect it to sell by the boatload in europe.

I'll snag a ride this weekend (probably) on an SV-S so I can do a full impression.
 

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Generational...

Keeping the old gen engine around (Katana & Bandit -> old GSX-R 600) has very little cost associated with it, especially if the bike was designed when the old-gen engine was still new. So much of the bike is the design and tooling cost, and of the engine as well, that keeping things constant saves a ton of money.

Oh, after a while you'd want to replace carburation/analog instruments with significantly cheaper EFI and digital (or stepper-motor "analog") instruments, but that can wait until you redesign the entire bike.

Yamaha was doing the same thing with the Fazer (YZF-600R engine), its that they had to update it to meet euro emissions regs, and in the process decided to use the R6 mill as the starting point instead.

Probably the major reason why the Hornet/Hornet S/CB600/CB600S are still using the older gen (carburated) CBR mill is that Honda is able to get them to pass emmisions, so they haven't had to redo things, and therefore don't want to.

The other factor, which I'm suprised hasn't been done, is put space in the engine case to add a counterbalancer. Leave the balancer, balancer berings (and the gear for it on the crankshaft?) out in the hypersport, but put it in for the other models.

Could you imagine a 90+ hp 600cc engine without vibration?
 

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State Farm...

State farm writes based on displacement, not bike type, at least in my experience. Thus state farm is actually really CHEAP for a 600 supersport, its just "Yet another 599cc motorcyce".

I'm paying 1/2 the cost!)

They get around the squid-factor by mostly not writing motorcycle policies except for car customers.
 

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Re: State Farm...

I think the major cuts are

<450cc

<1100 cc

or something along those lines.

If so, I hope the rumors are true and aprilia does make an RS450. I'd be so all-over-that if I fit!
 
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