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First bike help

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by rikcook, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. I am looking at buying a Suzuki DR650. I will be working in the mines and will use the bike to ride too and from Rockhampton (120km each way) once every 5 days...so too Rocky once in 5 days then back in another 5 days.

    I will also ride back to Brisbane 620km and then back to Rocky once a month or so.

    So all up in a month probably 2000km roughly.

    • Is this bike goign to be able to handle this kind of work?
    • Will it sit at highway speeds well enough?
    • Will it be cost effective to run?
    • How often do they need to be serivced? Is this expensive?

    As you can see, I am very new to this so have a few questions. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
  2. Yes

    Yes. Dollar 20 or 30 cruising speeds are no sweat at all.

    Yes. As much as any bike is. Decent fuel consumption, cheap insurance, cheap servicing and skinny (ie cheap) tyres and chain.

    5-6000km intervals (3000 km for the air filter, but mine hasn't needed it so frequently) and No. Service is basically oil and filter. Valve clearance check (screw and locknut so no shims to pay for) and plug change every second time and a general look over. Air cleaner is washable so no replacements. Access is easy so labour hours don't get burned pulling off fairings.

    You might want to invest in a better seat or an Airhawk for the 620 km run and a larger tank would also make it easier. And lower footpegs if you're long in the leg. All are easily available as aftermarket parts.

    Overall though, the DR is fun, easy to ride and probably the best bargain on the new bike market. Buy one now because something so good can't last much longer.

    To add a bit of balance, you might also want to look at the Kawasaki KLR650 which is about the same price but is more road oriented with a fairing and a bigger tank as standard. I'd expect higher spares and service costs though.
  3. Thank you. All that was great. I appreciate you taking the time to answer with so much depth.

    I had thought about the KLR 650 also because fo the larger tank. I have read that the DR is very reliable though so I thought that with a 30l tank might be a good option.
  4. Go the DR, that'll do you great for the highway stretches, the KLR felt a bit cheap to me. You could go a safari tank if you felt like it.
  5. Are you going to go well off road as well? If not, something more road oriented like a 650 V-Strom would be more comfortable for the long runs. But more expensive, a bit heavier and a bit dearer to service.
  6. Or for something better handling/more comfortable on the road than the DR, but still simple, economical and cheap to buy/maintain you could consider what I've got, the Suzuki GS500.
  7. I had an '05 KLR I did 140kms a day on + weekend trip into the bush. VERY good with fuel (400km til reserve), sat happily at freeway speed (though mine was a little vibey through the bars) and we (being Stookie lol ) did all the servicing, changing tyres/chains, etc. Very easy to work on. We decided against the DR as the range was better with the Kwaka and the upgrades we were told that should be done to the DR suspension and subframe after fitting a safari tank seemed to make it a bit less worthwhile and less manageable on the more serious dirt tracks we rode. Stookie had the '09 KLR that (in our opinion) had too much plastic and felt much heavier than mine (similar weight). The '09 and '10 models also had oil burning issues.

    Sorry I don't have much to say about the DR, but does give you a bit more information about a similar bike I guess!
  8. I'll concede the better comfort but I'll put the DR up against a GS on any kind of twisties any day of the week. It's where big trailies really score on the road, given decent tyres.
  9. Whilst I have a great deal of respect for the DR, if the above work is all you are doing it doesn't seem like the best choice. If however you want to get off the beaten track on a regular basis, and the above travel is just because you have to then it's a good choice.
  10. Hmmmm. I don't know about any day of the week Pat, maybe on Tuesdays.....have you got a DR?

    My point was as ibast says, that the DR might not be the best for commuting all those road miles
  11. I'd also vote for the GS500. I mean, big singles are great fun and very usable, but I find simlarly sized, higher revving, multi-cylinder engines to be better for freeway work.

    If you were wanting a bike for around town/suburban and dirt use with occasional freeway use, I'd recommend a large trailie (like the DR650) in a heartbeat. As you're wanting a bike primarily for longer range and duration work on the freeway... I'd be suggesting the GS500.

    The GS500F version is the one with fairings, which will be especially useful if it is very cold or starts to rain. The naked bike can be fitted with a windscreen for more chest protection, but the larger fairings are the go if you really want to get out of the weather.

    Cheers - boingk
  12. I have, and I can attest that, even on the OEM Tralwings, you can lean it over until your elbow touches down. Well, that's how it feels anyway :D. Cavernous ground clearance, the ability to change direction rapidly, low weight and suspension with enough travel to soak up unexpected potholes will see the DR walk away from any comparably priced road bike on any going where its lack of top end go doesn't come into play.

    I will admit though, for the bigger highway miles, the GS is probably a better bet but the OP didn't originally ask that :D.
  13. The bike will mainly be on road, with the odd trip on fire roads but at this stage that is about it. I was looking at a DR becasue the road condition is pretty shit house and I wanted something that I could get off road if i needed too.

    If i am looking at a secondhand bike, what sort of km's are reasonable before i should start to consider rebuilds etc.
  14. Everything else being equal, the bigger the engine capacity the more ks I'd be happy with, as the engine won't have been working as hard. 750cc or bigger would still be worth a look at over 100,000k if they've been looked after, smaller bikes I'd be looking for up to 50,000 but it depends on the maintenance and how they've been ridden. Its a generalisation, but a touring rather than sport oriented bike is more likely to have been ridden sensibly and looked after.
    What sort of budget have you got, and does it have to be a LAMS bike?
  15. You haven't let us know if you have any restrictions
  16. My DR has 30,000kms up, much of it thrashed pretty hard, and it's still mechanically as new. Given a service history, I'd have no real hesitation in buying one with 50,000+ kms on the clock.
  17. Yes, it needs to be a LAMS bike. This will be my first one, other than playing around on my brothers when we were younger.

    I guess that is also part of the reason i thouht a dual purpose bike might be a good option to start with. A little more predicatable and stable to handle.

    I was lead to believe (and this may be well wrong) that the up-keep on orad bikes will be higher.

    For example, tyres need to be replaced more regualrly, service and parts costs are higher, and even not as efficient on fuel?

    Considering it needs to be a LMAS bike and the type of riding i will be doing (ps: touring pace would be more my style also) are there any other suggestions on what I should look at?

    If it plays a factor, I am only 175cm tall and about 82kg.
  18. My sons first bike was a KLR650. We put 17" rims and road rubber on it. He loved it and rode it everywhere, including Wagga to Melbourne (Kal Kalo) on 2 tanks.

    Personally, while it was a fun bike to ride I thought it was very uncomfortable and couldn't ride it for more than 150-200k's before getting sore, but he liked it.

    My advice would be, if you can, ride as many different LAMS bikes as you can and pick the one that you like the most. But, don't get too hung up on your first bike. It's like your first love, all exciting and fun, but won't last long and you'll be looking for something better fairly soon.

    Edit: Oh my son was over 180cm and wieghed less than 70kg.
  19. Realistically, something like a GS500, which is probably the nearest road equivalent to the DR, will have running costs in the same sort of ballpark. Fuel economy will be comparable. Tyres are more expensive but will last longer than the DR's OEM pseudo-knobblies. Chains and brake pads will be about the same. Service costs will be a bit higher due to more valves to check and, IIRC, air filter replacement. Km for km I can't see it being that much different.

    Thing is, running costs are, by and large, proportional to performance. Style and capacity of bike has less to do with it than power output. A 40hp bike (DR) will have about 80% of the running costs as a 50hp bike (GS). There are exceptions to this, particularly for specialist makes like, say, Ducati, where service outlets have you over a barrel, or spares are ridiculously priced, but for common stuff like the Japanese Big Four it holds fairly well.
  20. What? Did he get caught in a spaghetti making machine when he was young or something :wink:?