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Water vs Air Cooling

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Friend of mine has a DRZ250 he's trying to unload, and I mentioned I might be interested. I also really wanted a KDX200 like I had years back.

While discussing the DRZ (air cooled) and the newer KDXs (Water), we were "arguing" about the benefits of the 2.

I'd prefer the DRZ as it will be less needy- pumps, coolant, radiators, hoses, etc- they seem like nothing more than extra problems that may fail.

This is nothing more than a trail bike- no racing- not even very "spirited" trail riding!

For racing, the water cooling probably has it's benefits- but what are they? And do they transfer to trail-recreational riding?

I guess I'm just getting old- but part of me wonders how much technology is REALLY needed.

My car does not even have a dipstick (other than me)- can't check the oil without pushing a bunch of buttons and have the computer tell you if there is enough oil. No dipstick? Technology?

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Friend of mine has a DRZ250 he's trying to unload, and I mentioned I might be interested. I also really wanted a KDX200 like I had years back.

While discussing the DRZ (air cooled) and the newer KDXs (Water), we were "arguing" about the benefits of the 2.

I'd prefer the DRZ as it will be less needy- pumps, coolant, radiators, hoses, etc- they seem like nothing more than extra problems that may fail.

This is nothing more than a trail bike- no racing- not even very "spirited" trail riding!

For racing, the water cooling probably has it's benefits- but what are they? And do they transfer to trail-recreational riding?

I guess I'm just getting old- but part of me wonders how much technology is REALLY needed.

My car does not even have a dipstick (other than me)- can't check the oil without pushing a bunch of buttons and have the computer tell you if there is enough oil. No dipstick? Technology?

Certainly water cooling allows for tighter engine tolerances, longer last components due to more consistant temperatures, more consistant jetting Blah, Blah, Blah... but you are right, for a low tech trail bike it does seem a bit over the top. OTOH water cooling components have proven very reliable on all of my MX and street bikes that have them so that really doesn't add to the minus pile on my list.... I guess you are just old. :thumbsup:

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A DRZ250 is similar in cooling to the DR650SE in that it uses an oil cooler. It goes the DR650 one better in technology though and adds dual overhead cams.

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One other aspect of water cooling is power. For example, I believe the DRZ400 has the same HP output as the DR650 in what I think is a lighter (weight) package. I think the 650's torque is greater, though (I haven't checked the specs in a while).

I would think that the KDX produces more power than the Suzuki. For me, I went with the DR650 over the DRZ specifically because it's simpler for the reasons you stated and because the ergonomics and price of the 650 were better (for me).

Of course, slower trail-riding can get an engine hot and the water cooling would help there, although that never seemed to bother my XL350. Overall, I think it's more a matter of features/capabilities -- what bike does more of what you want, and what is more important to you?

Honestly, if Suzuki updated the DR650 to be water-cooled and fuel-injected while keeping its overall dirt/street capabilities and weight the same (i.e., not do what Kawasaki did to the KLX650), I'd probably buy one tomorrow. Most of the bugs of the technology on bikes has been worked out and the reliability is not a big issue anymore (anyone remember fuel-injected cars of the 70's?).

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I won't get into the water over air cooled argument, I just want to say that I sold a good condition KDX this year that I bought new in 1998 and over the past 9 years I have flipped the bike forward, backwards and each way sideways and never had to replace the radiators or hoses. I let a friend use it this year before I sold it and of all the things you could brake, he broke off the petcock lever (not the petcock). Also I have not used aftermarket rad guards.

I'l admit that one of the rad's was dented in from the side a little, but it did not leak or seem to affect cooling. I personaly would not be conserned about liquid cooling. One of the best thing's I did with that bike was to put a moose pipe guard on my FMF pipe as I bashed the crap out of the stock on in less than a month.

"T"

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liquid cooling is by far the most effective way to cool a high performance engine... our DR650s and DRZ250s get away with air cooling because they are NOT high performance engines.. if they were tuned up enough to make good power,they would eventually run into cooling issues.. as it is, we get away with not being liquid cooled because low power+low rpm= low heat..

and I love my low powered air-cooled DR650 just the way it is, thank you:ride:

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Suzuki chose a best of both worlds solution with the Suzuki Advanced Cooling System (SACS). Oversized oil cooler and oil jet under the piston. The engine is supposed to spin more oil around than a regular air cooled engine.

Bu still, a water jacket cools better.

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I just remember back when I had my KDX/KX/PE/Qualifiers/XR's- etc. They were all air cooled, never a problem. And did those bikes have some tough rides!

But, they were probably not highly tuned and the tolerances reflected that.

I remember when disc brakes and water cooling was all the rage- Yup, I am old!

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I remember when disc brakes and water cooling was all the rage- Yup, I am old!

Yep! and I'm right there wit ya.. my first 5 dirt bikes had TWO! shocks in the back !! woohooo!!!!!!!!!:thumbsup:

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Yep! and I'm right there wit ya.. my first 5 dirt bikes had TWO! shocks in the back !! woohooo!!!!!!!!!:thumbsup:

..were they standing straight up?!:thumbsup:

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..were they standing straight up?!:thumbsup:

darn close!!.. and points ignition!!.. ever tickle your Bing in front of a crowd??.. or suffer from a dripping Amal? sad huh?

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You win!

Only Bing I ever had was the Can-Ams.

I remember they would always "load up" when you were going downhill- one of many problems I had with the Can-Ams- great when they ran, but I always had reliability problems. Poor dealer, too, which made things worse.

I remember when I got my KDX after getting rid of the Can-Am, and I dumped the KDX in a fairly deep, very rocky river; the KDX was nearly submerged under water, on it's side, lying at a strange angle... just idling like all was fine: "Bing, bing, bing, bing, bing..."

I laughed because I tried to get the Can-Am to idle STANDING UP, MOTIONLESS (above water!) for 3 years.

Oh well.

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darn close!!.. and points ignition!!.. ever tickle your Bing in front of a crowd??.. or suffer from a dripping Amal? sad huh?

I have! I've also been deluged by a Delorto and been jacked around by a Jikov. :thumbsup:

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I have! I've also been deluged by a Delorto and been jacked around by a Jikov. :thumbsup:

Yes to all four and have had to deal with a side float IRZ. 72 OSSA MAR trials bike, on really big uphills had to shut the gas off before I rode the section or it would flood. If you set the float level so this did not happen then the tickler would not work. Even back then put on a Mikuini and pitched the IRZ.

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