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8 Great Used Adventure Motorcycles Under $5,000

Spending a lot of money isn't a requirement to have an amazing adventure.

Published on 04.10.2015

2. Suzuki V-Strom DL650

Adventure bikes for sale - V-Strom DL650
The comfortable, versatile and supremely reliable V-Strom 650 has been called “the best bike you can buy.”

Powerplant: 645cc Fuel-Injected V-Twin, 6-Speed trans.
Horsepower: 63.2 hp
Torque: 41.2 lb.-ft.
Fuel Capacity: 5.8 gallons (22 l)
Front Suspension Travel: 5.9 in. (150 mm)
Rear Suspension Travel: 5.9 in. (150 mm)
Seat Height: 32.3 inches (820 mm)
Dry Weight: 479 lbs (217 kg)
Price Range: $2,900 to $4,455 (2004-2009 models)

The Telegraph of London called the Suzuki V-Strom 650 “the best bike you can buy.” The New York Times called the bike “unremarkable, in a nice way.” Are they talking about the same bike?

Indeed they are. The versatile Suzuki V-Strom 650 can handle many different types of riding terrain but excels in none. It is comfortable, function focused, supremely reliable and easy on fuel. Reports of V-Stroms going 100,000 miles or more are fairly common. Strap some luggage on it, throw a passenger on the back if you like, and you’ve got a bike capable of crossing continents, provided you don’t venture too far off the asphalt.


The “Wee-Strom,” as fans of the middle-weight version of the V-Strom refer to it, debuted in 2004 as Suzuki’s entry into the growing adventure segment. Its detuned V-Twin engine came from the SV650 sport tourer and puts out respectable horsepower for a 650cc. The power won’t snap back your neck, but the engine’s torque comes on early in the powerband, making it a lively ride.

Suzuki designers gave the V-Strom DL650 a generous 5.8 gallon fuel tank. With gas mileage around 54 mpg, that means the bike can cover more than 300 miles between fill ups. The Wee-Strom has always been more popular than its bigger brother, the DL1000 V-Strom. Some say the 650’s engine is smoother and more tractable.

Issues To Be Aware Of: With just under six inches of travel front and rear you won’t be pounding whoops off-road. The suspension is soft and road biased. The only adjustment you can make is preload on both ends. The exposed exhaust needs a guard to protect it against rocks and other off-road debris. Some riders complain about the airflow off the windscreen but there are aftermarket screens available to help.

Author: Bob Whitby

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21 thoughts on “8 Great Used Adventure Motorcycles Under $5,000

  1. Let me address the last sentence of this fine write-up. The neutral sending unit itself isn’t the trouble, it’s the fasteners that hold the nsu in place. They can become loose over time, and, in very rare cases, fall out and do damage. The fix is pretty straightforward, but it does require pulling the clutch cover to access the two screws and either chemically or physically retaining the fasteners.
    The countershaft seal failure is far easier to prevent by using the retainer found on the DL650. Suzuki sells this part for about $15, and its a five minute job to install. New DR650’s already have the retainer in place, I believe.
    Some have expressed concerns about the third gear failures that have been documented. It is a very, very rare occurrence, but those few times it’s happened, it’s often totally destroyed the engine. A new, and much more robust gearset is available from the aftermarket, but it’s almost prohibitively expensive and labor intensive for most DR owners to attempt the upgrade to prevent a problem that statistically probably won’t ever happen.

  2. Being an owner of a 02 Triumph Tiger 955i I must make a couple comments.. First off they are indeed fantastic adventure bikes and are a bit road biast due to the weight. They handle fantastic and the power delivery is sublime. Shifting is very notchy, and if you come from a Jap bike you might even think its broken, but you get used to it and eventually start to like it as part of its character.
    Its a great bike for fire trails and can do fantastic power slides, but I wouldnt take it on serious trails.

    Best part is the price, the factory equipment (removable bags if you have them are amazing) heated grips, center stand, but the gas milage is way way up there. I get about 45mpg average on fast paced twisty road driving and combine that with 6.3 gallon tank it can go high 200’s without even trying.

    Great bike, Mixes the luxury of the new adventure bikes with some of the classic sound and characteristics of a triumph.

  3. Just wondering. Why does most of the bikes have their engine hp written here , and KLR650 has the real wheel dyno hp? DR650 and NX650 both also do only 37 hp on rear wheel 😉 and the KTM 640 goes up to 46 at most times

    • There are no official crankshaft hp numbers from Kawasaki for the KLR. If you see that number somewhere I would take it with a grain of salt 😉

  4. Why does KLR 650 have a rear wheel power here while other singles have their engine power? stock NX and DR also show around 37 on dyno. KTM 640 goes as far as 45 usually.

  5. I second K.Olsen’s response about the DR650’s NSU issue. It’s just loose screws that are easily remedied. I Lock-Tite’d mine at 8600 miles. The bike has 33k on it now and hasn’t had an issue ever. I replaced my countershaft seal at 30k (first time it leaked) and it’s been fine too.

    The DR650 is THE BEST inexpensive adventure/dual sport bike you can buy, period. Yes, I’m biased. It’s a blank slate for customization. Customize it to your heart’s content. If you don’t want to do that, then it’s not the bike for you; go buy an excessively heavy KLR650.

    As for the V-Strom, I have one. It’s way better off-road than you’d think. Just don’t pound those whoops. Put a good skid plate and crash bars on it and go have fun. I’ve ridden some fairly technical trails on it just fine. I also added an ABS cut-off switch for a few bux.

  6. Why no love for the Funduro? It’s engineered superbly and rock solid, and I’ve done some loooong trips and covered difficult terrain on mine, without encountering a single problem. How did the F650GS (a great bike itself) vastly improve on the Classic?

    • The Funduro is a fine bike and a great adventure mount. The only reason I chose the F650GS instead was because it is a more modern design and has more aftermarket support. The Funduro would cost less than an F650GS, which might make it a better choice for some riders.

  7. The BMW F650GS Dakar with a retuned fully adjustable USD fork, axle adapters, retuned fully adjustable rear shock and some body protection is an unstoppable little machine. This and the 660 Tenere with same mods are in my opinion the best and most capable ADV bike under 800CC for capability and reliability.

  8. How about an option to “view all” on one page? — I’m sure these are good articles. But clicking through one image after another after another after another gets old fast. It’d be cool to have the option to see them all on one page and just scroll through them. I’d be a LOT more likely to go through the whole article rather than just the first 2 or 3 images.

  9. Pingback: Transalp 700???? I just don't get it! - Page 4

  10. I’ve owned 3 of the bikes listed (2006 955i Tiger, 2009 DR650, 2012 KLR 650) and babysat another (year? Transalp). I concur with the descriptions in the article. The Tiger was so top heavy and it wiggled a bit in high speed sweepers but was otherwise a very useful and fun bike. I let it get away from me once unloading it from my toy-hauler and it toppled over and scratched the tank. Once it started to tip, I couldn’t stop it. I have to say though, I never fell in love with it. I did a bunch of mods to my DR (FMF pipe, jet kit, K&N, air box mod, smaller countershaft sprocket) and absolutely loved it. I have regretted selling it from the minute it was gone. My only complaint really was the small gas tank. I currently own a KLR (EM torsion spring doohickey, K&N, Jet Kit, Lexx slip on and waiting on skid plate and crash bars) and love it. I think it’s really under appreciated. I use it 50/50 on road and Arkansas forest service access roads. I have a 2016 FZ09 for my street bike. I’m old now and ride a lot slower so the KLR works fine for me. I had a friend of a friends Transalp in my barn for about a year and rode it a few times. It was really plush and a little gutless but I liked it a lot. I didn’t like all the easy to damage and hard to replace bodywork (I know I have a 2nd gen KLR, but replacement plastics aren’t rare) . I wouldn’t buy a TA for myself.

  11. You can get good used KTM 950 Adventures now for under $5K. I bought one last year for $4500. I’ve owned and even raced a few of the bikes on the list. None comes close to the 950 as an adventure bike.
    fun fun

  12. Pingback: Suzuki V Strom 650 - V-Strom 650 For Sale - Suzuki Motorcycles - Cycle Trader

  13. Pingback: Ktm 640 Adventure For Sale – Wallpaper Site


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