joneeez

Other high mileage DR's?

31 posts in this topic

I'm fresh to TT so I haven't been able to read every post there is to read yet. Anyway my problem is I've noticed a distressing number of 10 year old low mileage bikes. I'm talking 2,000 to 5,000 miles! I have a '94 dr350ser that just rolled over 143,000 mi. It's bone stock except for a jet kit and 3.7 gal fuel tank (come on Suz 2.1 gal? pleez!) At 25,000 it broke the mag side crank bearing because the cage came apart. It did that a week before the 1 year warranty was up (great timing huh?!) I lost track of tires at about 60 or so. this bike has seen almost every back road in Ca. It made a 70mi. daily round trip to work year round for three years. This is not a challenge, it just hurts me to see "motorcyclists" with fully licensed and lighted dual sports headed to the offroad area in the back of the truck!

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Wow! Congradulations!!

I have a 1990 DR250 bored out to 350 I just bought with only 3800 miles on it!

I can't believe that people have owned this bike and only put that many miles on. I drive it every day now and use it as daily transportation. I've put close to 100 miles on it this week alone.

I love the bike, it fits me perfectly. I also have a Katana, but I am not driving that right now. Aside from the nasty weather we get and the frigid winters (Vermont) I'm going to put on as many miles as I can.

I know up here it's hard with the weather to put any kind of miles on a bike. Winter is a 7 month break in the riding time...

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My 2000 DR650 had just 687 miles on it when I bought it in June

I've put over 2000 miles on it since, I ride around 300 miles a week to work and back

Had my first high speed near miss today on I-5 going to work!

Little sh*t came right over into my lane, but I was prepared for it, I was looking right into the truck at his girlfriend as she started freaking out and trying to tell him that I was occupying the lane at the time.Guy about lost it when he finally swerved back over.

Then on the way home from work tonite I was running about 70 going up Mt. Sexton when I came around a corner and a semi was trying to pass another semi doing about 20mph. Needless to say I left about 50 feet of rubber up there! Weird, I just could not judge the distance that well, and I was on top of him before I knew it

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Nice I Have A 1991 DR650S With 21,000 Miles BONE STOCK Would like To Put A Pipe Or Somethin On It Need Some New Stuff And Was lookin For Someone IF Anyone Does Make a Kit For The Dr650 a big bore kit or something well if anyone knows of n e thing let me know :thumbsup:

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I have to ask.. what kind of oil are you running? :thumbsup:

Not sure who you are asking, but I'm currently using Mobil 1 MXT4

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I have a street legal '95 DR with with around 5,000mi. Amoung other things, I have it geared down for the woods. If I'm driving more then 30 minutes to get to the trails, I will trailer the bike. The bike is too buzzy for me for longer trips, I just don't enjoy it. I also have a street bike that I would rather use if the trip involves only road riding of any length. As such, I'll be long dead before my bike reaches 100k.

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I have to ask.. what kind of oil are you running? :thumbsup:

Not sure who you are asking, but I'm currently using Mobil 1 MXT4

My point was that whatever it is, it's doing its job. :devil:

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He is one of my good friends he uses castrol GTX in his bike since day one. He's also really anal so his bike gets regular maintenance. It helps that it's a really good design.

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My 2000 DR650 had just 687 miles on it when I bought it in June

I have a 1990 DR650SL with only 6005 miles on it. I'm preparing to start putting more on. The reason the miles are so low is because I went to college, then moved to other places for work, and the bike was stored in my parents garage for most of the bikes time off the assembly line. I hope to have it running within a week or two.

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Ok, here's the history. I've run Castrol GTX 20w-50 in it from day one. Pretty much any quality oil will do as long as it's changed regularly (3 to 5K mi. like the book says.) I picked Castrol only 'cause I am a John Force fan and it's widely available. I bought this bike from a dealership I worked for. It's an early '94 and I bought it in Aug. '96. The thing had 6 miles on it from being pushed around the shop all that time! It had never been fired, still a virgin. :thumbsup: It was immediatly pressed into service as daily transpo 'cause I had 35mi. of street and 4mi. of muddy dirt road to get home on. First mod was ordered the next day; that 2.1 gal. gas tank had to go! After a week of trying to ride on wet clay, dirt gearing was ordered (13t front 54t rear, 7000 rpm @ 70mph. Still on the bike to this day.) From then on I just rode it... everywhere. At 25k that bearing let go. Sounded like a rod knock and I just knew that motor was junk! When autopsied I found the bearing on the mag side had come appart. The balls still looked new and the races showed little wear but the cage self destructed. No other harm done. Weird. Monday bearing? Anyway, since the motor was appart I decided to do a little port work and polish the piston and combustion chamber (take off all those sharp corners that glow and set off your fuel before you're ready,) all paid for by Suzuki warranty! Working for a dealer as a mechanic was really cool. After that, tires, chains, oil and gas. Last year I finally treated it to a jet kit. Wow! Different bike! No top end gain but now it does easy roll-on wheelies. That's it! Now you know how to do 140k mi. on a DR350, just that easy. Only problem is Suzuki didn't put enough numbers on the odo to proove it. Dammit.

Don't ride it like you stole it.

Just ride it.

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I have one high-mile DR-350, a 1993 model closing in on 43,000 miles. No, not in the same league as yours, but at least respectable. Heads never been off, no internal issues. A leak at the clutch gasket near the kickstarter was the biggest issue. Well, and the front caliper locked up in storage. Basically I use the bike for transportation when I'm between other bikes / vehicles. Most of the miles have been at over 6,000 RPM on the Ohio Turnpike commuting.

MPG runs between 50 MPG and 80 MPG, typical is just over 60 MPG though.

Currently the carb has an air leak on the throttle shaft, making bike hard to start. Jesse Kientz has a solution, but I haven't installed his fix yet.

But compression is at 160 PSI, oil consumption is very low (sorry, don't have a figure), valves hold their adjustments, so the engine seems fine. I'll likely pull it this winter and have it freshened up by Jesse Kientz. I could do the work, but don't have the time, and figure he's seen lots of them inside so I'll gladly pay for his expertise. I'll probably also replace wheel bearings, suspension bearings, and steering bearings this winter. Oh, and touch up the frame. The paint tends to flake off the welds.

Mine was purchased new by me, has plastic Clarke tank, and some other small mods. Engine, suspension, and brakes are stock. Gearing is one tooth up on the CS.

Another friend has a DR-350 with the odometer in the 30,000 mile plus range, but I don't have an exact number. I'll see him in a week, he lives about 200 miles away.

Best,

Doug Grosjean

Luckey, Ohio

douggrosjean@wcnet.org

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Doug, at 140,000 mine's still pushing 160psi compression on the original rings. Sounds like yours is just broke in not broken, so why spend the money to "have it freshened up" unless you plan on doing performance mods (hmmm! :thumbsup:) Just do the maintenance and RIDE IT! You've got a good start already, :devil: so keep it up, and just RIDE IT!

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Just do the maintenance and RIDE IT! You've got a good start already, :thumbsup: so keep it up, and just RIDE IT!

Joneeez,

This is a post I had handy sent to a list I’m on for the Concours. Somebody was looking for a dual-purpose bike, asking opinions. My DR’s history is toward the bottom half.

Best,

Doug Grosjean

Luckey, Ohio

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Another option depending on your requirements is a low-mile early 1990’s Suzuki DR-350. You can find 10 y/o examples with less than 10k miles on them for pretty cheap. Some have been really trashed off-road, but you should be able to weed out the bad ones and find one that’s nice.

I bought mine new in 1993 as a cheap commuter to complement my Suzuki Samurai 4WD, and possibly as a fun toy. At the time I lived about 60 miles from work, so the difference between 25 MPG and 65 MPG (typically commuting MPG on the DR-350 is 60-65 MPG, but I’ve had many tanks in the 70’s and several at 80 MPG) was a couple gallons each day, times however many times I used the bike in a month.

I bought the DR-350 instead of the KLR-650 because:

**Smaller engine meant better MPG.

**Lighter weight (about 80 lbs. less than the KLR650), which translated into better off-road performance.

**Smaller engine meant cheaper insurance in my case.

**The DR-350 is air/oil-cooled instead of the KLR’s radiator, water pump, and hoses. I felt that was an advantage, too. Fewer parts to go bad. If the engine lasts only 50,000 miles due to being air-cooled, I could live with that.

**The DR-350 has a gear-driven counterbalancer instead of the KLR’s chain (and it’s attendant doohickey failure mode). Chains stretch, gears don’t. Gear-driven balancers seem to stay smoother longer, based on other bikes’ histories I’ve seen in dealerships.

**The DR-350 was kick-start only, which I preferred. Note: a year later they went to electric starting, my buddy Joe has an electric-start 1994 with a kick added on. You can have both.

**The DR-350 is magneto-CDI ignition, which means it’ll run even with a completely dead battery, since the battery isn’t used to generate sparks.

**The DR-350 had 11” of suspension travel at each end, compared to 9” on the KLR.

**The DR-350 was simply more dirt-oriented in so many ways, which was what I preferred as well.

In the first several years I had it, I rode it 22k miles the first year and about 12k miles the second year, about 5k miles the third. Then I started riding the BMW R100rs, then traded that for the R11rs, and the DR sat a lot.

Around 38,0000 miles, I replaced the clutch cover gasket due to a leak. I think that was about $7.00; was leaking near the kickstarter. I suspect it will leak again some day for the same reasons, ie, the kickstarter shaft is supported by the clutch cover, and flexes a bit when the kickstarter is used, scrubbing away at the gasket little by little. IMO, the factory should have put a locating dowel there….. shrug.

When my BMW R11rs was wrecked in 1999 (after 68,000 miles in about 2.5 years), and the insurance company drug their feet on settlement, the DR was pressed into service again. It needed a new front caliper and a battery, due to sitting a lot in a damp garage from 1997 to 1999. This time around, the DR-350 reached 41,600 miles before I bought my Concours and the DR went back into semi-retirement.

When the Concours blew a head gasket this past July at 91,000 miles, I pulled the DR-350 out of the barn. It hadn’t been run in 4.5 years and was covered with plywood, horse supplies, and yellowish barn dust (straw, I assume). I checked compression, and with just my leg pumping the kickstarter it developed 160 PSI. I put new gas in, got it going. Sitting had taken a toll on the carb and various other parts. I replaced carb parts as needed (slide diaphragm developed a hole while sitting…. carb has a slight air leak around throttle shaft, compensated for with slightly richer needle), the petcock, spark plug, and installed new tires and new chain. Oh, and bought a battery after I had it running. Then took it on a 350 mile trip two-up with Jean-Luc, the Ohio Underground Tour.

Overall it’s been a very good bike. Most of its life has been spent commuting on the Ohio Turnpike at 6,000 RPM or more. It’s been in 3 organized dualsport rides in southern Ohio (ridden to 2 of them and back) where it was up to it’s axles in mud, and ridden over large fallen trees, forded creeks. It’s been used to explore abandoned RR grades around here. It’s pulled Jean-Luc’s sled around the yard in a foot or so of snow. It’s been used to commute 60 miles each way with temperatures down into the teens. Oil consumption is very low, I don’t have a number. It’s the best-shifting motorcycle I’ve ever ridden, only the KTM-950 Adventure is as good. Valves hold their adjustment at least as good as the Concours’ valves, but are far easier to get to. No cooling system hassles, no battery hassles, no corrosion on the starter button making it hard to start. Wheel bearings, steering bearings, swingarm bearings, and rear suspension bearings are all original. Suspension is original. Engine all original and stock, other than an aftermarket jet needle. I have a 3.3 gallon Clarke tank (at up to 80 MPG at legal speeds, it’s not as small as it seems), Aerostich tank panniers, and some other soft luggage on it for commuting right now.

Other than hard-starting for some owners (who knows why, when mine is right it starts good), there aren’t any common issues. There’s a DR-350 guru named Jesse Kientz, I’ve talked with him about mine, and he seems extremely knowledgeable on the machine. Aftermarket support is out there, one example is www.kientech.com (Jesse Kientz). Most of the aftermarket support is aimed at big-bore kits and making the bike handle better in the dirt, but there are some touring options (larger plastic tanks and soft luggage). Brakes are great stock, firm lever and great feel and great performance. Handling is unreal on a twisty road; it’s so light you just give a push on the bars and you’re turning NOW. Headlight is better than my Concours. Suspension, being so long-travel, is plush. Leaping off a 12” curb is nothing, nor is jumping up over a curb. Speed bumps? I don’t recall ever hitting any, though I must have at some time. Oh, now I remember – they’re fun to wheely over. Potholes disappear. The travel is a bit soft, though – landing from 3’ up or more is a pretty heavy thud. In the dirt, bearing in mind I’m not that good, I’ve stayed with guys on 125cc MX bikes on the straight and easy parts. Once they start turning and jumping, then I’m lost… On the street I’ve stayed with sportbike-riding friends on twisty roads riding at a spirited pace, as long as the speeds don’t go over 80 MPH. If they do, they just walk away from me. Lots of traction in the rain with dual-purpose tires, they seem to refuse to hydroplane. They will slide if you lean far enough. Parking lot tipovers, if they happen in the first place, tend not to damage things. The bike has gone sliding down pavement, oh, twice. Once when I rode off the sidewalls, and once on ice. Neither time did it sustain any damage worth worrying about, some scrapes on the number plate was all. Since the color is molded in, it didn’t matter. Been down many times off-road (like I said, I’m not a great rider off-road), and damage has been nil since I replaced the stock turn signals with flush-mounts from a sportbike. Pick it up and keep going. Deepest water I ever crossed was a flooded viaduct with a stalled Jeep Wrangler in it (I assumed it was stock, and used the Wrangler as a depth gauge). I don’t have a measurement, but my exhaust (just below the seat) was under water at the deepest point. I’d guess it was around 3’ deep. The Jeep driver was still in his vehicle, and looked ticked. So was the cop who gave me the ticket for going around the barricades and operating a vehicle on a closed road….

Yes, it’s had a storied life.

Downsides: in rain of less than 40F, I think I experience carb icing. The sidestand switch failed (I bypassed it rather than replacing it), and the vacuum petcock failed (replaced with manual off dirt-only model). The stock seat, like much of the rest of the bike, is designed for dirt first. As such, the seat is the worst seat I’ve ever had on a streetbike. Funny thing is it’s never uncomfortable in the dirt.

I’m now up to almost 43,000 miles and am using it for commuting again, and riding it in the dirt occasionally. The engine has never been open other than for the clutch gasket replacement, and all internal parts are original. I expect to hit 50,000 miles before the snow flies. Around 50,000 miles I’ll pull the engine and ship it to Jesse to have it freshened up, as a pro-active measure. Probably re-bore it, re-ring it, replace cam chain and guides, replace valves and guides, and have it looked over internally. I’m kind of curious about what he sees in there, and actually I doubt it’ll need a re-bore. But what the heck, while it’s open I may as well…

Right now I’m planning a trip to Colorado on it in 2005. Maybe 2-up with Sharon. It may or may not get trailered if Sharon goes, or we may buy the KTM 950 Adventure and take that instead. But I’m not worried about the DR-350 being capable, I’m just concerned about comfort for the passenger.

The KLR-650 is definitely more street-oriented, much more comfortable seat than the DR (I have ridden one), and more powerful.

The DR-350 has a smoother engine, has a plusher suspension, better brakes stock than the KLR, better MPG then the KLR, is cheaper to insure, lighter and much more dirt-oriented then the KLR-650 with it’s lighter weight and longer suspension.

Like the KLR, DR-350s have been ridden around the world as tourers. They’ve been raced off-road at various races around the world. They are lightweight and easy to work on, if / when you have to. Tires can be changed by hand, and are cheap. Handling on pavement is fantastic.

If MPG, brakes, insurance, and initial cost aren’t issues for you, then it boils down to the KLR being quite a bit more comfortable and powerful on pavement, and the DR-350 being quite a bit more capable in the dirt.

Both are pretty cool, both are a lot of fun, both have a following.

Best,

Doug Grosjean

Luckey, Ohio

PS: Grinning, but since 1993 I’ve put 42.5k miles on the DR-350, 20k miles on the BMW R100rs, 68.5k miles on the BMW R11rs, and 91k miles on the Concours. If I didn’t have such promiscious tastes, the DR-350 would be at what – 220,000 miles? <g>

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Reason I'm wanting to pull the motor and have it gone through is because I'm concerned about the little engine dropping a valve with all the miles. Plus I'm fairly sure the cam chain guides could use a look as well.

Just trying to be really proactive, as SO and I are talking about using it on a dualsport tour of Colorado in 2005, retracing a trip I did on 4WD trails back in 1980 on a KZ-650. I don't want it giving trouble then.

If interested, one day of the 1980 trip is at:

http://www.concours.org/co/rpt8008_grosjean.htm

I also have my Alaska / NWT trip on the BMW R11rs up. Lots of dirt there, but I took the bike that was most comfortable and the DR stayed home. Would be fun to do it again on the DR:

http://www.ibmwr.org/pastevnt/grosjeanalaska/alaska.html

Best,

Doug Grosjean

Luckey, Ohio

douggrosjean@wcnet.org

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Great post Doug! IMO this is what bikes are truly for, the adventure and expriences they can provide. Most of the time the destination is not important. Even if you're just commuting to work you can find ways to make it interesting. I found that if I start to work 20 minutes early I can squeeze in a 15 minute dirt session through the riverbed between two towns. After leaving mud all over the parking lot I was given my own special parking space out back of the shop! Personally, I think it was envy. Anyway, your post lists all the same reasons I chose the DR. I think Kawie was trying to make a BMW with the KLR only not as well built. They also had some valvetrain problems. At $1500 more than the DR, the XR400 was also out. At the time they were too new and unprooven to justify that kind of cash and all the 650's were just too big to be ridden on anything other than dirt roads. So now I have a '94 DR350SER with 144,000 miles and I plan on riding it with just regular maintenance until something breaks or it's so worn out it just won't go any farther! Anyone want to buy a 250,000 mile DR in a few years?

P.S. offroading a KZ650? Hmmm :thumbsup:. A work buddy wants to buy my beater Yam XS1100 to put a hack on it and tour the Nevada desert. He says he needs the hack to carry fuel and supplies and his dog! I guess it's no worse than those masochists in Motorcyclist riding a Hon CX500 around the world. 17 years through 98 countries!

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Joneeez,

Here's a link to a pic of my DR, taken in front of an old-fashioned gas station the other night:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=63196&stc=1

On off-roading the KZ-650, we were just stupid. Didn't think the roads would be as bad as they were, after the first one was so easy.

Seriously, one of those things I'm just glad to have survived.

Oh BTW, am re-thinking freshening up my 43,000 (will hit 43k Monday) motor. Going to take it in for a leak-down test, and do an oil analysis on it first. If all the numbers come back good, the DR will get good suspension instead of freshened-up internals.

Will keep you appraised.

Doug

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Joneez,

Am up to 46,000 miles on the DR-350, as of last night.

Leakdown test was at 50%, and compression is 160 PSI.

But I have my doubts about the leakdown figure, as it just doesn't seem right that an engine with 50% leakage would run well and start well (which my DR-350 does).

I worried about a burnt valve after the leakdown test, but clearances haven't changed at all in several tens of thousands of miles.

Finally I just disregarded the entire test. Sigh.

Haven't done an oil analysis yet, probably won't bother. No point in having too much information, especially if the info can't tell me anything meaningful.

Not much else to tell. Corbin seat and Happy Trails sideracks due in next week, Kouba link due in today.

In two weeks, my 10 y/o son and I will take the DR on a 400 mile w/e trip, hunting ghost towns in Ohio's Appalachia region via dirt roads and abandoned RR grades. Used to be a big lumber and coal area, but those industries have died, leaving stuff behind in the woods: foundations, cemeteries, RR grades, etc. Should be fun.

Hey, it'll be October. If that's not a good month for hunting ghosts, I don't know what is...

Best,

Doug Grosjean

Luckey, Ohio

douggrosjean@wcnet.org

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