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Thinking about a DR650SE

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Hey guys. I'm thinking about buying a DR650SE for use mostly on the street but some fire roads and a few trails too.

I currently have a Honda XR650R and a KX500. I've been riding dirt for years, and really want to get into the dual sport riding with my friends who have dual sport bikes, and sell the two dirt bikes.

A friend of mine told me to check out the DR650. So I did, and I love it! But I have never ridden one, just seen it at the Suzuki website. It's a sharp looking bike, and electric start, I like that alot.

Now, my question, how is reliability, power delivery, street manners, and on the trail? Any information about this bike would be appreciated from someone who owns one. Thanks !!!!

L.L.

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Hey guys. I'm thinking about buying a DR650SE for use mostly on the street but some fire roads and a few trails too.

I currently have a Honda XR650R and a KX500. I've been riding dirt for years, and really want to get into the dual sport riding with my friends who have dual sport bikes, and sell the two dirt bikes.

A friend of mine told me to check out the DR650. So I did, and I love it! But I have never ridden one, just seen it at the Suzuki website. It's a sharp looking bike, and electric start, I like that alot.

Now, my question, how is reliability, power delivery, street manners, and on the trail? Any information about this bike would be appreciated from someone who owns one. Thanks !!!!

L.L.

Look at some other threads here for more info.

But the DR650 is a really nice DP bike.

It has less power than your XR650 (at least if it is not an XR650L which is a US version with the dominator engine). But with some easy modifications (airbox mod + dynojet) and maybe a slipon the engine is really nice.

The DR is known for reliability, good DP manners i.e. both on and off road.

It is not an enduro bike of course, so if you want to do pure trail and dirt riding look at the DRZ400 instead or something like that (a light 400 or similar)

However, the DR is one of the best compromises between road and trail that I have ridden..

/K

Current bike DR 650 se -97

Former bikes: Ktm 620 -94, Yamaha TDM 850 -99

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I'll probably be selling mine soon. It is a great bike for what it is, I am just going to start doing some racing and it is far too heavy for that. I have an '03 with tons of goodies on it and it has never given any hiccups other that when I overfill the tank (goes goes into the vent and caused to run rich on rough terrain) PM me if you are interested.

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I have a DR650 and a WR400. I think the DR is the best kept secret in Motorcycling. It is good everywhere, on the street and on the trail. it's low tech and super reliable, I've ridden mine on the interstate and on national DS rides and everthing in between for 9 years and I could not be happier. Spend $1,000 on suspension work and an aftermarket tank and pipe and you could ride a hare scramble on it. Get a $50 windshield and an aftermarket seat and you can cruise the highway @75 all day.

The XR650L can't do highway

The KTM LC4 vibrates like crazy and the motor blows up.

The KLR650 can't do dirt.

The DR is the cheapest and best big bore DS, and I've ridden them all.

The only thing it can't do is jump more than 10 ft, you'll need a dirt bike for that!!

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"The only thing it can't do is jump more than 10 ft, you'll need a dirt bike for that!!"

lol, i love that :)

ps. get the dr650se you won't be sorry :) <...waiting for my kickback from Suzuki now...>

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Thanks alot guys! I was hoping to hear good news about this bike, and it sounds like it's a great DS bike.

I don't want it for jumping, racing, or anything like that. I did those things for years on my XR650R and KX500. Ok, so that's it then, my XR and KX are hereby up for sale, so I can go buy a DR650. thanks again for the info!

L.L.

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the unltimate dual sport is the drz400. Wish I'd got one of these. Instead i'm happy with my dr650.

It's all all all about weight weight weight.

The drz weighs less that the dr650 AND it is more powerful at certain rpms. The drz can have motard wheels on it -(drz400s) and the dr650 is no comfort machine ANYWAY so get a drz400 or if you are really going to do trails get a 250cc ktm or yamaha or other.

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isn't the weight difference only something like 40 pounds between the 650 and the 400 though? i'd still rather have my 650. i ride alot of woods too. not just fireroads but some pretty tight woods trails. and that was with the stock deathwing tires also. i just got some new rubber and need to get them on and try them out. dang cold weather anyway...

yeah just checked and it comes out to like 33 pounds difference. heck that's not all that much really.

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Yeah, I looked at the 400s, but honestly, they were a little too pricey for me. For the kind of riding I'm going to be doing now, which will be a lot of twisty country roads, fire roads, and some trails, I think I'm gonna go with the 650. '

I've had my fun with the serious off-road bikes like my XR and KX, and now I'm just ready for a nice, comfortable, torquey DS bike.

Thanks again for all the responses, this forum is great!

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Yeah, I looked at the 400s, but honestly, they were a little too pricey for me. For the kind of riding I'm going to be doing now, which will be a lot of twisty country roads, fire roads, and some trails, I think I'm gonna go with the 650. '

I've had my fun with the serious off-road bikes like my XR and KX, and now I'm just ready for a nice, comfortable, torquey DS bike.

Thanks again for all the responses, this forum is great!

Hmm, suprised no one mentioned this....the seat SUCKS!!!! I bought a Suzuki gel seat on ebay, but the stock seat is nothing but a glorified 2X4. The first time I tried to go 120 miles on the interstate, I just about DIED the seat sucks so bad! So, get a gel seat if you are planning on trips over 30-40 miles non stop. I love my DR, but the seat, and the tires leave a lot to be desired.

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I love the seat.

I depends on what you compare it to - compared with my last bike a TDM850 - it sucks.

Compared with another off-road i had, a KTM 620 -94, it is marvelous ! :)

Then again i wouldnt use a DR650 for touring :p

Taking 200-400 km day trips (125-250 miles), on the right roads/trails, is no problems though :)

/K

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I love the seat.

I depends on what you compare it to - compared with my last bike a TDM850 - it sucks.

Compared with another off-road i had, a KTM 620 -94, it is marvelous ! :)

Then again i wouldnt use a DR650 for touring :p

Taking 200-400 km day trips (125-250 miles), on the right roads/trails, is no problems though :)

/K

Well, ok....but how old is your seat? I bought my bike new, and after two trips at 120 miles each, I could barely walk!!!!!

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Well i have a 1997 year model - you mean that the seat has become softer during the years ? :p

In that case the Ktm, which was a well ridden 1994 should have been really soft - it wasnt :)

I dont think the years actually means too much, if it is in good condition. But as I said - it depends on what you compare it with, and what you are used to.

You should stand up a lot anyway - especially when trail riding :)

/K

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i tend to agree. i don't mind the seat at all. i do alot and i mean alot of long distance riding throughout the summer and i got sore a couple times but i must've gotten used to it or something. but the stock tires have alot to be desired unless you're sticking strictly to pavement. once you hit anything other than tarmac you'll know it. but even at that a new seat(if you feel the need) and a set of rubbers is all you'd need to, imho, make a great bike just about perfect.

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Theres alot above I'd have to agree with. I own an '01 650 and am very happy with the "over all" performance of the bike and thats where it excels, doing everything reasonably well. Its not going to blast in the dirt like your XR or KX and its not going to cruise the highway like a goldwing but it can go anywhere you want to take it and it is damn reliable! It is the "Jeep" of motorcycling!

It has alot of power and with a few simple mods will roost all over the DRZ's on the fire roads but when the whoops get rough, the DRZ400's are alot lighter and faster.

The suspension improvements that R little spoke of are valid as I have ridden with Rich and along with other riders on DRZ's and comparably dirt capable bikes, have killed myself trying to keep up with him!

Keep in mind though that while the suspension improvements are evident and should be done, it is also obvious that Rich is a really good rider too!

As for the seat the stockers postion is probably the best for offroad riding although the gel seat that Suzuki sells and that I have on now lowers the height making it easier to get a foot down.

Both seats work well if all you do is trails because 1/2 the time you'll be standing on the pegs. The stocker is like sitting on a 2X4 for extended road trips.(I once did a 5 hour road trip that left my privates numb for a day and a half, not good :p ).

The gel seat is a little softer,flatter and being so, wider, so its not riding up your butt as much. :)

Where you got sore with the stock seat after 2hours in the saddle, it takes 3hours with the gel seat. Again thats for road riding. Off road you can ride all day, you'll be up on the pegs and watching the trail,thinking about anything other than how the seat feels.

For the road, this bike is good on everything but freeways and parkways. It has the power to keep up but gets buzy at 70 - 75mph and tops out at 105mph (95mph with a 14 tooth front sproket). At 325lb.s, while a bit heavy as a dirtbike,its light compared to a streetbike and can be blown around a bit in parkway trafic(especially with knobs DOT or not).

I have a big cruiser for highway travel and theres a big differance. Speeds that stressed me out on the DR feel relaxed and easy on the cruiser.

Thats not putting the Dr down though.

Remember its a Jeep not a Lincoln. For everything else roadwise the 650 handles very well and is certainly better than the DRZ400(which my friend owns and I routeenly blow away on the pavement :D ).

Finally,if you get one, get a better set of tires before you take it anywhere off road. The trailwings are terrible off road and it will mean the differance between falling and not falling. Really!

You'll like the bike! :)

Mike.

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Cool man! Thanks for the long reply! I was about to start a new post and ask about the gel seat, but you answered my question.

I went to the Suzuki shop today, and they had one '05 DR650SE, in blue, which is the color I will get. I lifted it off the stand, and sat on it, and it's not top heavy or overly tall. Feels great, and looks great! I like your comparison to a 'jeep'. I think that is exactly what I am looking for in a new bike. I've already experienced the instant and insane power of the KX500, and the monster torque of the XR650R. Both are great bikes, and extremely fun to ride, extreme acceleration is their thing. Cool bikes, I like them both. But! They are both very tiring to ride, and all of my friends have street legal bikes, either cruisers, or dual sport bikes, and I am left out of riding with them, with those dirt bikes.

My main goal is to get a bike that is reliable, doesn't cost a fortune, looks good, and will do backroads, dirt roads, and fire roads equally well. And of course produce at least 'some' power. Preferably low end and lower mid range torque, which is my favorite type of power. You know, a bike that will get up and go without having to rev it to death. haha.

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I have the Dr 650 and the bike is a very good all around bike. I did change the seat to a gel seat or I should say the previous owner did. I still have the deathwing tires, which suck in the mud. I need something with more knob to them. I'll try the Dunlop 606S I guess. I just picked up a 14 tooth sprocket to gear it down a bit. I'm surprised at what I can do with the bike on the few trails I have been on. The weight is down low and I feel as if I can throw it around more then I thought I would be able to. On the freeway I cruise at 80 no problem at all. The bike can handle like a sports bike in the turns, large fun factor. Very good bike I would give it a big thumbs up. I also checked out the 400, but I did not like the high seat and the 2x4 feel. The 33 pound weight was no big factor for me. I figure most of that is down low anyway. Plus the weight is nice on the road which is were I spend most of my time. I was out on some fire roads today in the mountains, this bike is seventh heaven in that environment. I did do a jump at one point when I side tracked onto a trail, This bike can't jump HE HE. No it can jump it just comes down a little shorter then I expected. HE HE, BUBBA

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Just a quick( :) ) supliment to what I wrote above adding the mods that I've done to my DR650 so far.

TIRES; Dunlop D606's,outstanding traction offroad but sing on the pavement. Metzler Karoo's and Kenda 50/50's are good and don't sing.

GEARING;14 tooth JT front sprocket,at $15 the best improvement for the buck! makes the bike more peppy and it handles tight trails and sand much better.

TURN SIGNALS; stock signals stick out way too far and cost $50 each, short stalk aftermarket signals go for $7 - $10. The first tree you side swipe will make this point clear.

HAND GUARDS; the stock flag guards do nothing! A good set of Accerbis (or like brands) metal reinforced plastic barkbuster hand guards will save you and your levers. Adding these also shorten the bar width by about 3" by eliminating/replacing the stock bar ends. That makes a differance when woods riding.

SKID PLATE; I've got the factory plate and have slammed railroad tracks hard enough to break the headlight bulb,but it protected the case.

PETAL ROTECTORS; I have a set of cables from moose that link the shifter and brake pedal to the frame proventing stumps and brush from jamming between and busting them.

MOOSE CROSS BAR PAD; saves teeth

LUGAGE RACK; the factory unit I have is very helpfull for an average ride but on a wild dual sport run nothing stays put so a small back pack is better for carrying things.I got a small one from Walmart that has a camel back built in.

SHORTENED REAR(black)fender piece; looks alot better and is less likey to bust off.

DR250 TAIL LIGHT; besides making the bike look ALOT better,it doesn't come apart like the big stock piece when the trail gets rough.

GEL SEAT; more forgiving for the backside.

POWER!; good air in,mean air out! Air box top cut out,back fire screen removed,K&N air cleaner,Dyna jet kit with 170 main jet and the slide drilled. Finally a FMF Q-pipe and all this added up to a HUGE boost in power!

Also note that I weighed the stock pipe and the Q-pipe. The Q-pipe was eleven pounds lighter!

Now if my truck would just stop breaking (just put a trans in to the tune of $2000) and home related problems would give me a break(the septic system needs repair :) ) I might be able to get the suspension done!

I've included this to give you an idea of some of the things that can be done. You know until typing this up I really didn't realize how much I had done.

And Oh yeh, I never said I wasn't long winded. :p Happy riding!

Mike.

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