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DR-650 test pilot: bike wanted...little help?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by boingk, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. Hi all, at the moment I'm making definite plans for riding around Australia early next year. The steed of choice at the moment looks like it will be a late model Suzuki DR-650. I know its a single, and I know many find them uncomfortable. I do not, and they appeal to me enough to keep after the trip as an every-dayer, thus my choice.

    That said, I can't seem to find a test ride of any...the local dealership has one as floor stock only and I'm definitely looking to actually ride one before I commit to owning one. I've ridden a DR-Z400E for a few months and liked that but would like to experience the 650 itself.

    If anyone knows of a dealership in the ACT region that is doing test rides for the DR-650 then please let me know (willing to travel). Likewise, if you feel like letting a reasonably experienced, fully licenced test pilot do a quick loop on your DR-650 then that'd be great. Hell, I'll even throw in a 6-pack of your favourite alcoholic beverage.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this everyone, means a lot.

    Cheers - boingk

  2. Try Aussie section of www.advrider.com there's a heap DR650 owners on there

    What about a KLR?? Touch more road orientated, but a bit better set up for touring

    IMHO, best bang for buck, Wee Strom, $10K ($11K ABS) ride away hard to beat, unless you want to regularly ride fire trails
  3. Cheers Toecutter, but I really am after something a touch more dirt oriented. In a perfect world, I'd find a low-milage DR650 from the last year or two and pay a few grand under the on-road retail price. I've looked at the KLR and all I can see is a larger fuel tank, liquid cooling, a windscreen and 35kg of extra weight. Not worth the price difference IMO; I could probably fit out a DR650 with panniers, screen and tank for less than that difference.

    The Wee doesn't particularly appeal to me long term, or on the round trip...even if it may be a bit more suited to distance riding.

    Thanks for the input though man, and the site link!

    Cheers - boingk
  4. I doubt you'll find a year old one for a few grand under retail because the starting price is so cheap. However, they look like a great base bike for this type of thing. You definitely need to take one for a good long ride because that seat looks like it'd cut you in two over an extended period. Aftermarket seats are available.

    Advrider has two really good threads on the bike.



    And general:


    There are also various bike build and ride reports in there as well that aren't connected to those two threads. Good luck getting through it all.
  5. I'm actually having trouble finding ANY for sale at all on the secondhand market - another good indicator that this is the sort of bike I'm after. Reliability and hassle-free ownership are top priorities for me, seeing as it'll be carrying me plus gear around the country.

    Thanks for the threads guys, helps a lot! Interesting to see the amount of modifications some people have done to their bikes - big tanks and panniers seem like my kinda style.

    Cheers - boingk
  6. I've been looking and looking for an adventure tourer type bike and I keep coming back to the DR650SE as well. Everything else seems to be too tall, too expensive to risk falling over on dirt roads or both.

    FWIW I can't find one to test ride anywhere either!

    So far I'm looking at these options (but I'm sure your list will differ).

    IMS long range plastic tank.
    B&B bash plate.
    B&B rear carry rack.
    Sargent seat.
    Cee Bailey screen.

    I'm yet to sort out the panniers but leaning towards the Andy Strapz soft luggage, will need to work out some side pannier support bars (there are a variety of these but not sure which ones work well with this type of soft luggage), the Andystrapz side pannier supports and rear rack seem good but are fairly exxy.

    You might also want to think about the Safari tank which has even more capacity but I was worried about the bike being too top heavy.

    You can save money by fitting the accessories yourself but I'm time poor so I'm just going to get a dealer to do it, there are a couple who specialise in setting up DR650's.
  7. I can't recommend the Andy Strapz stuff enough.

    I know people have already asked you this but are you SURE you want to ride a DR around the country? I've read two great ride reviews from ADV who did the trip on DR650's and both recommended a road bike instead.
  8. If I wasn't on the other side of the country, I'd let you have a thrash of mine. I couldn't get a test ride either. I suspect the bike is so cheap, the dealers don't make much on them and so aren't inclined to stuff about more than they absolutely need to to sell 'em.

    Compared to the DRZ, the 650 is a big, friendly, fat labrador of a bike, which is no bad thing for something to ride around Australia on. I've done 4-500km in a day on mine and it wasn't too bad, apart from the high pegs, which would be less of an issue for someone shorter. You certainly can do distance on one, but I wouldn't regard it as optimal if your route has mostly bitumen. Then again, I used to do 600km in a day on a Honda Step-Thru, so my POV on what makes for a sensible touring bike are a bit skewed. The only thing I'd be wary of is the tank range. Mine goes onto reserve at a fairly constant 195km (all bitumen, half highway, half traffic, fairly aggressive riding), which would leave you very marginal between roadhouses across the Nullabor and, doubtless, elsewhere, especially if you had a headwind and/or ethanol blended juice. A big tank or an extra few litres on the rack would be a must.

    I, too, looked at the KLR but found it felt tinny and cheap compared to the DR, with too many tacky, shiny covers and not enough metal where it would count. Compare the swingarm designs for instance. That water pump hanging out in the breeze, just waiting to get wiped off in a stack didn't appeal either. That said, lots of folk love them.
  9. There's one for sale in the paper here (Orange nsw, bit paste Bathurst), I can PM you the add if you want.
  10. Orb, that'd be great if you could forward me the ad, as at the moment I'm weighing up buying an unknown quantity for a trip in excess of 16,000km... or buying on finance.

    Yeah, but I'm insane. Also, I have a property out of town and wouldn't mind being able to ride around town weekdays and go dirt weekends. I'm taking the long view here.

    PatB - you summed what I'm thinking: its a low revving, low-tech, low-fuss kinda bike. With lotsa torque. Thats what I'm after. The big tank would be my first modification, I've found 5 and 6 gallon tanks in the US that'll work out at around $350 shipped. Seems like an alright deal. I'll probably add a reserve to that on the rack as well, depending on where I'm headed.

    Cheers - boingk

    EDIT: If I know a long, unbroken stretch is coming up I could always keep an appropriate rear sprocket with me and change it before setting out. That way I could easily up the cruise speed and still have the option to change back to regular gearing afterwards.
  11. On the tank, remember US 6 gallon = UK 5 gallon = 22.7 litres

    And most talk is about changing the front sprocket...so maybe to do with chain length??
  12. Mine's on standard gearing and would easily cruise at 130. Should I ever take it to the NT of course :D.

    Accepted wisdom on ADVrider is to go down a tooth on the front, although I get the impression they're talking about tight, nadgery tracks rather than Aus style gravel roads. A front sprocket is cheaper and easier to carry and change than a rear one.
  13. Yeah, not sure the stock housing will easily accept a 17t front though? And 130km/h sounds fine to me, any more and you get increasingly bad fuel economy... plus mental fatigue.

    If this is the case then I'll most likely keep stock gearing.

    - boingk
  14. PM sent. If you get to drastic with sprocket changes you might need to carry a second chain with you as well. Plenty of threads on adventure rider with mods and projects for the 650 (I think someone's already mentioned that in the thread somewhere, but meh)
  15. i've had my dr for the last 5 months and 11k kms, i love it.
    i'd give you a ride if you where around hear.
    i managed to test ride one back to back with a klr, but i felt the dr had a little more poke and was a lot more fun to ride
  16. Bit more poke than the KLR hey? Must be down to the lower weight I guess.

    Can't wait to have a proper, larger bike. I'm riding around on a CBR250R at the moment, and as fun as it is with its good handling and crazyily rev-happy engine... I can't help but want something more suited to my 6'2"/90kg body.

    - boingk
  17. KLR I know of for sale here

    MRA's membership secretary is selling his with 500k on the clock (buying a house)