I've now been riding for 6 months since returning after a 20-year hiatus. I've put down over 2500 miles, which isn't necessarily a lot. But for much of the winter my riding has been hit and miss due to weather. I'm really looking forward to the upcoming summer when I can put in some serious miles. Overall I've been happy with my M50. It's been a good bike to re-learn, as well as commute to work. I suspected when I got the bike that the day would come when I would be looking for a different one, but not after only 6 months!
Last fall when I started the search, I was drawn to the cruiser. I didn't really consider a standard, and my style is not conducive to a sport bike. And of all the cruisers in my price range, the M50 was the best choice. Now as I explore the world of motorcycling and gain more experience, I find myself drawn to the possibility of doing longer-distance rides. My goal is to ride from Seattle to Alaska within the next 2-3 years.
The Dilemma (or not)
Despite how much I like my M, there are a couple of issues I have. As all fellow M50 riders can attest, the seat can be less than comfortable after a short period of time. I don't want to dish out another $300 right now on a new seat, so I bought an AirHawk seat cushion. So far it's been a good investment; it makes the ride somewhat more comfortable, but only to a certain point. I still get pretty restless and uncomfortable in the saddle after about an hour. In addition, because of the extra 1/2 inch or so that the cushion adds, my leg now rests against the air cleaner. It's not too much of a problem now, but I wonder about how it would be after several hours in the saddle. Another factor: the pillion. My son complains that his butt gets numb after riding for a while. The seat issue may not be that big of a deal; I would invest in a new seat if it would resolve the issues I have.
But with a sore lower back, I wonder if the riding position of the cruiser puts more stress on the spine as another style. So the other day, I sat on a V-Strom at my local dealer. The position felt good and I liked being up higher. I liked the seat and pillion. But without actually riding one, I am a little hesitant to say it would be a better bike for me. If I could afford a second bike, I would just add it to my M50. Instead, I'd have to trade in or sell in my M50 for the V-Strom.
Having never ridden a V-Strom (or similar bike), I'd like to know how it compares to a cruiser (e.g. my M50).
1. How does the riding position affect the lower back or knees compared to a cruiser?
2. How does it handle compared to a cruiser?
3. How is the seat for long distance travel?
4. Is this bike more conducive to traveling than a cruiser (for example.... Alaska!)
Any other insight would be much appreciated.
2007 Suzuki Boulevard M50 Limited (SOLD, to buy a...)
2007 V-Strom DL-1000