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2007 DR650SE Bent Subframe


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Hi,

I just picked up a used 2007 DR650SE and DR200SE for a song. Ridden gently by a husband and wife a few times and then put into the garage for the last 2 years. They only have 300 miles on them and are virtually brand new (they even smell new).

Everything about them is great except for one problem. While inspecting the 650 before making the purchase I noticed the rear fender was off a bit to the left (about 1/2" - 1"). There were a few minor scratches on the muffler guard and a scuff on the RH side cover indicating to me that the bike had been dropped on the RH side. I asked the seller and he said that his son had indeed fallen on the RH side at slow speed in a pasture and that was the only time the bike had been down. Taking this into account we negotiated a price adjustment and I brought the bikes home with me.

Once home I had my brother-in-law take a look at the subframe. He is a chief welding engineer at a nuclear power plant and has been doing structural inspections of metal and welds for the past 35 years. He said he couldn't find any apparent damage to the subframe beyond it being slightly tweaked to the LH side.

My questions are:

1. Is the subframe on the DR650SE really that weak that the force of basically just having the bike fall over on the RH side could bend the subframe? I've searched the web and have found quite a few postings about other bike bending subframes, but not much on the DR650SE.

2. If there is no other apparent damage to the bike (it tracks straight and true, everything else lines up correctly, all bolts/screws/mounts match perfectly, tank/seat/fender/tail light all line up) should it be OK to ride? I'm assuming other people have bent their subframe and are still riding their bike.

3. Is it possible to "tweak" the subframe back into position? I've read other posts saying that the bike can be held in place using several nylon tie downs and then by attaching a couple of tie downs onto the subframe and pulling it can be nudged back into alignment (assuming ratchet tie downs are used to pull it a little at a time). Has anyone tried this method?

4. is it better to just ride the darned thing as is and live with the bent subframe?

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

-=Cliffhanger_MT

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Welcome man!!

If you haven't ridden dual sports much or if this is your 1st DR you will probably really like it once modded to fit you. I'm really liking mine!

I'm particular so I'd rig something up to tweak it back to where it's not noticeable anymore. Then just forget about it and ride. I suspect the son TOLD his dad he laid it over in the field. Probably took more of a hit than that though.

Pics of the bikes?

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Thanks for the info and thanks for the welcome. I think I'll tweak it back into position sooner or later. Other than the bent subframe it looks and feels like brand new (I suppose it is with only 300 miles on it). I called the dealer that had originally sold the bikes (the previous owner provided me with every single piece of paperwork that came with the bikes when they bought them new in Renton, WA) and he said he remembered the transaction. The bikes were indeed bought new in January 2008 and parked for nearly all of the next 2 years). When I purchased the bikes I spoke with both the parents and the son at the same time and they all recalled when he laid it down. Seems the parents were in a pickup truck crossing one of their pastures and the son was behind them on the bike. He attempted to pass them, hit a hole or rock, and the bike went down. They all said he just kind of flopped over, picked the bike up, dusted himself off, and rode the rest of the way across the pasture. They all seemed sincerely surprised when I pointed out the misalignment of the rear fender to the back tire. I suspect that the brunt of the impact was on the muffler and since it sits at the end of the subframe it had the greatest leverage to bend the frame a bit tot he LH side. Oh, well. I'll see what I can do with some ratchet tie downs and a little elbow grease. Pictures on the way!

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Hi there,

My rear fender is the same, looks to be about 3/4" to the left of center. Now I don't know if it was like that when I got it or if I did it. I noticed it after I was cut off badly one night on my way home from work and woke up in the ditch a while later. Well, I noticed it the next day actually.

I had the bike checked out and everything looked straight and it rides good. I wouldn't worry about it, if it tracks straight when you take your hands off the bars generally you're ok.

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Thanks, Icelander. Yep, it tracks straight and true. Seems to be more cosmetic than anything. Just one of those lil' annoyances, I guess. Perhaps the more I ride it the more I will come to think of it as a, um, "custom" tweak. At the very least I should be able to pick out my DR from most of the others in the lineup (at least from the rear) 🙂

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The fenders are not in perfect alignment on many of these bikes or any dirt bike for that matter. Any slight fall can knock the sub frame off a bit. They are design that way so the sub frame can tweak and not disturb the main frame. Sort of like a 5 mile an hour bumper on a car, most frames are engineered in this way, very common engineering practice. Just bend it back with a tie strap. Be happy the sub frame gave a bit and not the main frame.

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Thanks for all the feedback. It is definitely in the subframe and not the plastic (though I was hoping it might be a bent fender or mount). At some point I'll try to straighten it with tie-down straps. Anybody have personal experience in making this kind of adjustment using tie-downs? Any hints, tips, or suggestions? Thanks!

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If the sub frame is bent I'd remove the fender so you can take some measurements. Depending on how the rail(s) are bent... up/down or side to side.... Up/down can be adjusted with a long bar place under one rail and over the other.. tweak until they are level. Side to side can be tougher depending how far in the tweak is but sometimes just a pipe slid over the rail can do the job. You would want an assistant to stabilize the bike...

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Thanks for the information. I'll keep you posted on how the operation goes. I'll try to take some photos along the way. Who knows? Maybe it will help someone else in the future.

Sun is out. Temps are rising. The hills are calling. Time to go for a trail ride!

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Update:

So, I decided to straighten my subframe. First, I removed the rear fender(s), seat, tank, side panels, and loosened both muffler mount bolts. Then I took a bunch of tie-down straps, found suitable (and strong) points to attach to on various locations on the bike, got everything straight, level, and stable, hooked the straps to 3 beefy pine trees and proceeded on to tweaking the subframe. I attached 3 tie-down straps along the rearmost section of the subframe so as to distribute the load over a broader section of the tubing (I also made sure to loop the tie-downs over both sides of the sub-frame so it would pull evenly on both sides of the subframe at the same time) and started tightening them one at a time. I used 3 straps so I could tighten them individually which would allow me to keep 2 tight and then release one to adjust it and take up slack. This process allowed me to keep tension on the subframe all the time during the straightening process. When making the tweak I made sure to "overadjust" the subframe knowing that the "memory" in the subframe would make it want to spring back into the previous bent position. I didn't want to keep tightening and loosening the tension which would cause the metal to flex back and forth thereby potentially weakening the subframe. Once I adjusted the subframe to where I thought it should be (taking into consideration that it would want to spring back to its old position a little bit) I gently released the tension on the straps and... Bingo! Everything is now back in alignment! I checked all the welds and subframe tubing and can't see any damaged areas at all. Not even so much as a cracked or chipped bit of paint. All mounts, bolts, screws, etc. align perfectly. I reassembled the bike, stood it straight up and down then checked for plumb and level. Everything looked good. I mean, I know it's not 100 percent factory perfect, but I'd say it's 90 percent there and unless a person was really looking for it they would never know it was fixed. I realize it's a rather crude way of correcting the problem I had with my bent subframe, but sometimes that's just how it works out here in rural Montana. Yee-haw!

Edited by cliffhanger_mt
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Good job, I've had to fix one on an XR250 a couple times with tie straps. Probably a few people on this forum that have bent sub frames and don't know it. These 650's are heavy and more prone to bending sub frames. If you start looking closely at most of these 650's you will find many of them are off a bit, the easist thing to do is just shim the rear fender, then the next time you go down, hopefully on the other side, you can take the shimes out...LOL. I don't worry about it anymore. I think i've tweaked the sub frame on every dirt bike i've owned.

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  • 8 years later...

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