After my teenager days on a Vespa three years ago I decided to go back into the motorcycle fun. I got myself a Honda Shadow Aero. It was a great bike for two years, but the sitting position was not ideal for me. Someone suggested me to switch to the on/off-road style, because it supports the natural curve of the spine. I looked around, BMW and Moto Guzzi were my first choices but they were expensive. A BMW rider suggested to me the V-Strom. I loved the style and look right away, did some online research, chatted with a few eurodudes who use the V-Strom for commute and long rides. I opted for it. Since May, 2010 I have a gorgeous orange V-Strom 650, new for $6,450.00. After almost 18k miles in one year and three months here is my opinion. Keep in mind I'm not the most experienced biker, I know the Vespa and Honda Aero. I'm fully satisfied with the V-Strom and the 650 engine. My sitting position is great, no lower back issues at all, throttle and torque responds good in town and on highways . Actually this can be a very reactive bike, plenty of torque and 6-speed gear, so use good judgment. Personally I never squeeze the gears or allow the rpm. to high. The CG is high, so I needed to get used to a tall bike. Fuel consumption on the highway riding around 60-65 mph. is around 57 mpg. I've been riding on I-44 between Oklahoma City and Lawton. The V-Strom holds the 75 mph. limit easy, with 5800 rpm and around 48 mpg. The rear tire lasted 14k miles, the front tire 17k. I do occasionally have a passenger. We made a trip from Lawton, OK to Palo Duro Canyon in Texas with no problems at all, including baggage. Our average speed on Texas farm roads and highways was 50 mph. The passenger seat is very comfortable. I lube the chain every 200-300 miles. The original windshield is useless. I added GIVI crash bars, MRA vario wind screen (this is a +++), Motech center stand (a must to ease your lube job), handle bar covers and the Air Hawk 2 cushion seat (this is a +++) and a KAOKO throttle lock. I may add some additional lights from PIAA. Again, I'm very happy with the V-Strom. I don't see a personal need to have the 1000cc engine. I bring it in for maintenance every 3,500-4,000 miles, religiously check my tires for proper pressure and use a bright green vest most of the time. On July 9, I was involved in an accident against a Chevy truck, riding 25 mph. The crash bars did an excellent job and my Nolan 42 helmet did an excellent job.