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Riding A Discount Stripper

This was a long, dreary winter that refused to gracefully melt away. Instead, the cold, wind, and snow rudely persisted well into Spring. When spring break plans began to take seed, I eagerly looked forward to some fun and sun in one of my favorite getaways, Moab, Utah. My original plan was to ride down south, but some unexpected snow and ice the day before departure forced me to reconsider. The new plan was to drive the Tacoma to southern Utah and then to find a motorcycle for some two wheeled adventures. This is what led me to the Discount Stripper.


Discount Stripper is my shortened nickname for this 2007 Suzuki V-Strom 650. Her generally ratty condition was appropriate for the name. She was marred, dented and scraped in several spots. The aftermarket left front turn signal and clutch lever with a broken end showed that she had been laid down a few times. The bike looked beaten up and no doubt suffered from a lot of abuse and neglect.


Still, I had never ridden a V-Strom and was curious to try those fuel injected twin cylinders. Would the Stripper's performance threaten my devotion to the KLR and leave me unsatisfied in the future? Riding her was the only way I would know. A careful inspection came first; the lights all worked, the chain and tires were worn, but acceptable, the engine oil was good and the brakes seemed fine.

With some apprehension I turned the key and pushed the start button. The sound of that two cylinder engine seemed a bit odd but, it idled just fine. I swung a leg over the seat and a quick tap of my left toe engaged first gear. I gently twisted the throttle, eased off the shortened clutch lever and rolled away. "Wow, this seat is really low", I thought as I tucked my legs up and found the foot pegs.


My first impression was the engine seemed a bit "buzzy", but I blamed the vibration and poor ride to the worn Kenda tires. After getting a feel for the bike, we headed for the highway to see the sights. First was a leisurely cruise through Arches National Park. Next came a run out to Potash and back. Later we followed Highway 128 northeast along the winding Colorado River until a thunderstorm with high winds turned us back. At first I wondered if this bike would seduce me away from the KLR but, as the miles flew past that thought just faded away.

The Discount Stripper was a good bike. Her overall performance was fine, and I have no complaints about acceleration, power or shifting. The bad tires and too low seat could easily be corrected. Regardless, this fling with the Discount Stripper left me firmly committed to my KLR and eager to ride my bike when I returned home.