The new motorcycle is an upgrade from my 5-year-old Gixxer 155 BS4.
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Finally, took delivery of the VStrom SX on Saturday in the champion yellow shade. I have named the bike ‘Nikko’, meaning ‘Sunshine’ in Japanese as I really like the yellow shade. Below is a summary of how I purchased this bike
What I was looking for
What I considered
KTM Adventure 250: Even though the bike had a long travel suspension but was stiff at lower speeds and felt worse than my Gixxer 155. Maybe it works better at higher speeds, who knows? So rejected this as the primary need is not satisfied.
Xpulse 200: I had ridden this a few times in the past. Suspension is great for bad roads. But it was too soft for higher speeds and handling is nowhere close to Gixxer 155. Also, the bike did not look like a proper upgrade as the power was less and the design was meh (subjective).
Himalayan/Scram: The ticking time bombs from RE are infamous for their issues in almost every single part right from the starter motor to the ‘snapping’ chassis. Although the suspension is plush, the bike is too heavy for what it is and the design looks jugaad, not premium. The Himalayan ownership thread at times will look like a ‘support group’ where owners share how they are learning to live with the bike. I had test rode this 5 years back before buying Gixxer, did not like it then, and not been much changed till now, so gave it a pass.
Honda CB350: This one is different, I mainly considered this for the flat pillion seat. Went to the Big Wing Honda dealership at Indiranagar, Bangalore (After the V-Strom test ride) and took a ride with a pillion. I really liked the look of the bike, especially in the new ‘Matt Massive Grey’ colour.
But the dual rear suspension was a very basic setup and the pillion got tossed, even over minor bumps during the test ride. Since I liked the absolute road presence of the bike, I enquired with the Salesperson about the suspension setting, he said it was already at its softest. So walked away.
How I decided
I took two solo test rides of the V-Strom SX from Ninestar Suzuki and Orion Suzuki. I immediately liked the commanding view, the comfortable seat, the upright posture and the splendid ride quality with the softer suspension setup. The bike was imposing and turned heads everywhere. The bike was also properly BIG. I got quotations from both showrooms.
I came back with my wife to test the pillion comfort. She found the comfort to be excellent. But she felt the pillion seat to be too tall to board so we left without booking.
Then we took the cb350 test ride mentioned before. Though the seat was easier to board, the pillion comfort was not good. So I decided to rent out the VStrom SX.
I rented out the VStrom SX from Royal Brothers, HSR for 2 days. The guy there told me that the clutch plate was replaced but the bike had run for only 14000 km, maybe it was abused. He asked me to ride in the right gear for the speed. The clutch was too heavy due to whatever they had done compared to the TD bikes.
On day 1, I took the Strom through heavy Bangalore traffic on Saturday with a pillion in the below route:
- HSR to Koramangala,
- Koramangala to Indiranagar – via Sony Signal and Intermediate Ring Road
- Indiranagar to Phoenix Market City – there was a traffic jam even in the mall parking.
- Then back to my home via Outer Ring Road.
This was a long ride within the city almost 80 km mostly in traffic and pothole-ridden roads. Below were the observations:
On day 2, We were 95% decided, the bike exceeded expectations in terms of comfort in city riding. I thought of taking the bike to Hosur via electronic City flyover.
The traffic was heavy due to the day before Diwali, so took a U-turn under Anekal flyover without continuing to Hosur and returned the bike to Royal Brothers HSR after riding about 150kms. I decided to book the bike.
The bike had all the things I was looking for, the sharp handling in curves at a high seating perch, makes this lightweight fun motorcycle feel like a Mini Super Moto, which was a bonus. We also found a workaround for pillion boarding, by stepping up on the Rider’s left footpeg to get onto the pillion seat. So it was a no-brainer to book.
Orion Suzuki quoted 5000 more for my old bike but the handling charges were 2500 rupees higher compared to Ninestar Suzuki. So booked the bike in Ninestar Suzuki, Hosur Road. The booking experience was smooth.
The on-road price was 2.73 lakh in Bangalore. But with the festive offers of free insurance worth 14000 an exchange bonus of 7000 and a good exchange value for my old bike, I paid around 2.05 lakh for the new V-Strom SX, which was a good deal.
Took the bike home after the necessary paperwork and pooja, Pictures are below.
I would recommend this bike to all the 150cc bike owners who are looking for an upgrade, the bike captures the sporty feel of the 150cc bikes but it takes it up a notch with outstanding rider/pillion comfort, soft roading capabilities and outright performance.
Will keep updating throughout the ownership.
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