Any problems with the DR650?

Hi folks. I am in the market for a dual sport bike and I have a great Suzuki dealer in my hometown. I was wondering if there are any reliability issues with the DR650. The Kawasaki KLR650 has a couple of problems such as the "doohickey" as well as poor front braking. Any issues like this with the DR?

Any input appreciated.

There are no special issues that i am aware of.

Note that 1996 is the first "new" DR650 with the addition SE - which has electric starter, is lighter etc. So there may be some issues with the 96's

Otherwise it is a reliable model. The suspension is a bit on the soft side, and it will need the usual thumper mods (airbox, dynojet open silencer) which will make it perform much better than original but I havent heard of any major specific problems.


Someone will pipe in with the head gasket problem...which if I understand correctly, went away in '04. I own an '04, have just under 3,000 miles on it, and LOVE it....wish it wasn't as heavy as it is, but it's a great all around bike!!


Thanks guys!

just have to say that i also have a '04 dr650se(probably about 5000 some odd miles haven't checked the odom. lately) and love it. and no problems to date, well with the exception of the stock deathwing tires. change those bad boys. i still unfortunately have mine and need some dunlop 606's before i ride again. also same feelings on the weight of it but as i understand there's not many, if any, 650's to choose from that are much lighter. also one thing you might want to consider is dropping a tooth on the front sprocket. course it all depends on what you are going to be mainly riding on, roads or off roads. stock it's a great all around bike that you can mod to your liking. and it's big :cry: that's what sold me... oh hell yeah, 650.

I had a 2001 model. The cylinder base gasket leaked oil. I loved the bike until it put me in the hospital for 17 days straight. Don`t ride it in the dirt like a real dirt bike especially with the stock TIRES!

Hey there,

I love my 99 Dr650, what a great bike. I ride in the city while i go to school in Calgary. Then in the summer i throw on the knobbies and ride the trails! I have had it for 15000 kms and just needed to replace the base gasket as one of the other posts did. Other than that i did the fork seals a year ago. Hope that helps!

I've had 2 DR650's. 1994 and 1996. I got about 6,000 trouble free miles on the '94 before a friend put a rock through the case and toasted the engine. The '96 was probably the most reliable bike I've ever owned. Compared to my XR400 it was a tank but I enjoyed that bike very much. I put about 10,000 miles on it before I sold it, and at times I beat the tar out of it but it just kept on going with not even a hiccup of a problem. A friend of mine bought it and he loves it. I commuted with it to work and even did some organized dual sport events on it. In my mind, you can't beat the DR650 for reliability and practicality. :cry:

I have a '97 with over 40,000 miles on it. Never sees the dirt (too heavy for me) 19" front rim, SRC fork brace, JE h.c. piston, mild cam, and jet kit. Ride it fairly hard, as it is usually the only non-sportbike in my riding group. I can't say enough about this bike, as it's THE best all around street bike I've ever had. I sold my FJ1200 because I'd rather take the DR on long trips (1,150 miles in 21 hours once). My head gasket has had a little oil residue on it for the last 35,000 mi. (no worries) :cry: May tear down & inspect soon, as it's starting to sound a liitle rattly (tensioner didn't help).

I have an 04 with 2k miles and no problems. I have replaced the tires as the OEM tires are useless off road (good on the road) Dynojet kit, opened up the airbox, and a 14 tooth primary sprocket. Mostly ride Forest Service roads and some trails. Works well for me, would buy another.

yeah ya know what, i looked at my odometer yesterday and i don't even have 5000miles on it yet. 3461 is more like it, lol. close though i guess.

Wow guys. Thanks for all the great feedback. Looks like a DR is in my future. :cry:

My 2002 is huge fun. I've replaced the stock fork and shock springs with Progressive Suspension springs, modified the carb and air box, replaced the stock tires, installed a large IMS gas tank and dropped the counter shaft sprocket one tooth. The stock stealth muffler works great. The only problem has been a leaky base gasket, but that's cured now when I installed the new steel gasket. I follow the little direction arrow to lots of neat places off road and on. Although it certainly isn't a motocross machine in the rough, it is reliable, miserly on fuel and great fun to ride long distances.

other than parts being almost impossible to find...

Your not kiddin there.... I cant believe the lack of aftermarket products for such a fun bike....

Ive got 8k miles(very hard miles) on my '98 and no serious problems. I did have to replace the gasket for my cam chain tensioner, and have rebuilt my rear shock twice. Its definetly not a MX bike, but its the PERFECT around town bike and NOTHING could be funner on dirt roads and exploring "where that two track lane/trail goes". Im due for my first valve clearance chack/adjust, but I have the service manual and it doesnt look to bad.

Mods so far that i would recommend.....

14t front sprocket -- 5 min and 11 bucks(top speed drops from 100mph to 96mph -- lots more fun in first and second though)

Dynojet jet kit -- 1 hour and 56 bucks - Lofts front wheel easier, pricy but worth it(get an impact screwdriver for float bowl screws) Mine is a Moose branded Dynojet kit(dynojet stickers included)

Drilling airbox -- 10 minutes and FREE(more time if you want it pretty with dremel) Works well with DJ jet kit

K&N air filter -- 10 minutes and 50 bucks Works well with DJ jet kit

Kenda K270 tires -- 55 bucks apiece(Nice knobby that does suprisingly good on street after broke in) good 70% dirt/30% street tire

Kenda K761(not the 671) -- Still in the box, havent tried em yet, but looks to be a good 70% street/30% dirt tire. I like the tread pattern

IMS 5 gal fuel tank -- Havent installed it yet, but this thing is huge. Imagine a 5 gallon bucket in the shape of a gas tank.

All I can say is that if you get this bike your gonna have a blast :cry: I tell people all the time how great this bike is and they just dont get it. Its the best "all around" bike for the money ive EVER RIDDEN. Ive ridden most everything and owned alot of them. One thing you should know though... A friend of mine has a XR650L and have to honestly say that its a better off road bike. It even seems to be built a little bit better. All that being said, I still like the DR650 better for the type of riding that i do on it.

I have an 04 dr650. What is this dynojet kit your talking about. This stuff is all new to me. First duel sport bike and I have only had it for 4 days. Picked it up used and it had 670 miles on it. I was thinking about changing the muffler with a slip on. Were can I find a Q series FMF for this bike.????Thanks for reading my post. Sorry I have so many questions. CHeers BUbba

I've ridden the pants off mine for 9 years. It's a 96 and the only trouble I've had is a tensioner gasket that is starting to leak a little.

Get the suspension revalved and resprung, get rid of that HUGE stock muffler and replace with a FMF Q, slap in a DYNOJEt kit and some mt21'/s and you're good to go.

If you ride a lot on the street consider an aftermarket seat like a Corbin or a Sargent. The Stock seat is a butt beater.

If you ride a lot on the street consider an aftermarket seat like a Corbin or a Sargent. The Stock seat is a butt beater.

Indeed! That seat will trim your trip down to a minimum.

I am very happy with my Suzi DR650. Mine is still stock. If I make any changes the seat will be first!!!

I've got a 2001 with 48,000 miles on it.

I had a few base gasket problems in the first 3 months, but that was under warrenty.

at 27k, the stator developed a short, I think because I hadn't changed the oil in a while and it was low.

Other than that, I've haven't done anything to it other than Brakes, oil and Chains. (I'm thinking it might be about time to check the valve clearence and the base gasket is starting to leak again, but who doesn't leak after that many miles?)

My DR650 exhaust pops and farts like crazy on deceleration. Will rejetting cure that?

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