Long term update: Is XT worth extra?

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The V-Strom seems to be a popular bike and I often get sent questions from owners or potential owners. Here are the most recent and my answers.

Bill: I find there is a lot of buffeting, have you considered taking off the screen to cure it? 
AD: I’ve tried it on your recommendation and it’s an interesting idea, but I’m not convinced. Maybe it just takes some getting used to. My buffeting has improved a little since fitting a Powerbronze screen (£75) anyway. But more importantly, a steady blast of icy air directly pummelling my chest for 100 miles isn’t much fun.

Rasty: I just came back from a tour of Europe on my Strom. It was great, apart from the uncomfortable seat. What have you done for comfort on long journeys?
AD: I’ve never had a problem with the XT seat. If anything, the only uncomfortable thing about the Strom’s the bar position. They could do with being twisted closer to me, something I need to attempt one weekend. You could always try an AirHawk cushion (£184.99), which does wonders for your rear on long jaunts.

Jason: I ride a 2011 Honda CBR600F, but a back problem is forcing me to look at a more upright bike. What are your thoughts on the V-Strom so far?
AD: I ride around 500 miles a week on the Strom and I’m comfortable the entire time so I doubt you’d have any problems. My only concern is that you’ll find it lacks a bit of power compared to the Honda, which makes 32 horses more than the 68bhp Suzuki. But you can still have a blast because the Suzuki is so easy to ride and it’s great fun trying to squeeze the most out of it.

Daniel: Is it worth spending the extra £600 on the XT model? I heard that spoked wheels offer more comfort. The only way I’ll go off-road is unintentionally.
AD: If you are not going off-road then definitely opt for the standard model. The off-road kit that comes with the XT like bars and sump guard aren’t necessary for the road. And no, spokes don’t offer more comfort than aluminium, it’s an off-road only gain because spoked wheels are easier to repair if they suffer damage.