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Offline LuckyStriker

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LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« on: March 25, 2008, 02:01:20 pm »


More than 3000km behind me and time to share my impressions with you fine folks of the cyber sphere.
As most of you know I previously owned a R1200GS Adventure before I got the DR650. Therefore I will base all comparisons on that bike and other bikes I have spent time on such as the KLR.

Modifications: The very first thing I changed was the handlebars. Then came the long-range tank followed by a bike computer, bash plate and carrier rack.
I also removed the rear foot pegs, chain roller and front reflectors.



The Tank:
When first I saw the DR650, I was surprised by how small the tank was. It holds 13litres of which 3litres are reserve, giving it an estimated range of 260km. That is enough for anywhere in South Africa as long as you head straight from one town to the next, with no fooling around in-between.
Replacing it with a larger tank is a must if you plan to cross the border. I fitted the 33litre Safari tank which should theoretically give a range between 660- and 700km. Many say that you will never need that much petrol but I say it‚??s better to have the option and not use it than running out of fuel just once.

Dimensions: The bike is positively tiny compared to a 1200GSA. I will list a few dimensions (compared to the 1200GSA and KLR650):

.DR650SE1200GSAKLR650
Length:2255mm2210mm2294mm
Width:865mm915mm960mm
Height:1195mm-1348mm
Wheelbase:1490mm1511mm1480mm
Ground clearance:265mm-211mm
Seat height:885mm915mm889mm
Dry weight:147kg223kg175kg
Front wheel:90/90-21110/80-1990/90-21
Rear wheel:120/90-17150/70-17130/80-17
Fuel capacity:13litres33litres23litres

Speed & Power: The bike is surprisingly quick and can hold it‚??s own against most other 650 thumpers. When it comes to top speed, the engine fails to impress though. A headwind will slow the bike right down to 100km/h no matter how you twist that throttle. A tail wind will allow it to zip along at a 155km/h but I don‚??t recommend you stay at that speed for long as the engine feels stressed.
A good cruising speed is around 120- to 130km/h when the engine drills along without complaint.
Power is sufficient. I could get up any hill and dune I have tried thus far. Acceleration is brisk and to date no car has managed to out accelerate me from a traffic light.

The rides thus far: Most of it has been commuting, which explains the low odo count.
I have only done three trips; one to Katbakkies pass, another to Middelpos and one to Tietiesbaai. The longest I stayed in the saddle was about 150km in one straight sitting.



Handling: A great handler! Wobble free at speed and sharp steering in the dirt. It handles like a pig compared to my mate‚??s YZ125 2-stroke, but compared to anything else it‚??s as light as a butterfly.



Pillion: Lifting a passenger is basically out of the question unless it‚??s to the shop and back. The rear section of the seat is very uncomfortable and cramped. The bike is also not big and powerful enough to transport two people and their luggage for extended periods of time and speed.

Comfort: Comfort is secondary to function. The seat is NOT comfortable but after spending a while on it will at least toughen up your butt to handle around 100km per sitting. Fortunately the seat is fairly long and you can move around it to alleviate certain dead spots before you get monkeybutt.



Weight: It‚??s great to have a bike that weighs so little (147kg dry). You tend to ride places you wouldn‚??t before, because you don‚??t fear getting stuck anymore.



Finishings: If there is only one reason to go for a Suzuki over a Chinese/Korean/Indian brand it is build quality. Even compared to Kawasaki‚??s KLR, the DR looks good. The metal looks purer and the panels fit better. The DR may be Spartan but nothing rattles and nothing falls off.



Protection: The small oil cooler has a protection bar as factory standard. Everything else is exposed and need some protection. Especially the sump.



Brakes: I wish it had better brakes. They are pretty bad and I don‚??t ever want to find myself in a situation where I have to grab a handful. The bike also likes to nose dive something fierce. It is sometimes better to slow down using the rear brake and just warm up the single front disc until you are ready to use it to stop the bike completely.
As bad as they are on tar, they are great on dirt. Locking up the rear before powering through a corner is safe and without surprises. Even if you use the front brake on dirt it won‚??t suddenly deposit you on the ground.

Heated grips: Haha‚?¶
I don‚??t even think the alternator is strong enough to power them.

Wind Protection: Contrary to what you may have read in some publications, the wind isn‚??t such a problem. I am quite tall and slender and I don‚??t have a big problem with the wind. Sure it pushes against the neck but the 120km/h realistic cruising speed limit of the bike makes this a non-issue.
The pain in your arse drowns out all other feelings of discomfort and I for one have never suffered a crick in the neck because of the DR‚??s lack of wind protection.

Exhaust Note: She‚??s pretty quiet, reminding you of a sewing machine fitted with a muffler, operated inside a closet by an on-duty assassin.

Instrumentation: There is nothing to keep you busy on the long trek. All you get is a lying Speedo (around 20km/h incorrect at top speed), Odometer, Trip meter, Neutral, Turn and Bright idiot lights.



So I retrofitted the bike with a Trailtech computer. Now I have a Speedometer, Odometer, Trip meter 1 + 2, Lap timer, Stopwatch, Clock, Ambient temp gauge, Engine temp gauge, Rev counter, Rev warning light, Temp warning light, Top speed indicator/warning light, etc. Tetris or Solitaire would have been great but sadly lacking.



Attention: Nobody really notices you. Some people actually look away as you approach. My mother feels sorry for me and has offered to loan me money.
Very few people will admire the bike and congratulate your choice in machine. Be ready for female rejection.

Conclusion: It‚??s not for posers. It‚??s primitive but reliable. If you buy one I recommend you pull it onto the lawn and get a deck chair, open a beer and just sit there staring at it for a while. Try to think of all the good things about it.
You can cross the Sahara in the same places other will bog down. You can waddle through swamps that will kill bigger bikes. You can pull it out of ditches where others will have to dig. You can fix it in deepest darkest Africa with the help of a cattle herdsman while others will have to call for rescue.

Pros: Finally a bike that you can absolutely rely on! Is it bullet proof? Probably not, but it‚??s a damn sight easier to maintain yourself and it won‚??t let you down if you take care of it.
Cons: It‚??s small and ugly‚?¶



I am not sorry I bought it. When I‚??m away from the bike I detest it a little but once I‚??m on it I love it to bits.
My wife has offered to buy it from me and use it as her personal commuter and weekend weapon, which makes me very, very happy. This means we can keep the DR and I can blow my money on the new Yamaha Tenere.
I will always love the DR and 10 years hence I will hold it up for scrutiny and proclaim (right or wrong) that THIS was the last true DS bike ever built.
Viva DR, Viva!
« Last Edit: March 25, 2008, 03:13:48 pm by LuckyStriker »
 

Offline the_wes

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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2008, 02:06:20 pm »
awesome report, thanks for this! you make me want a DR!

and i see you have found my playground:


 

Offline Captain Zef

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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2008, 02:28:41 pm »
Baie mooi
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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2008, 02:29:06 pm »
cool stuff LS

now lets go and do sani pass  ;D
 

Offline Stofstreep

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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2008, 02:35:06 pm »
WOW!
Very nice LS. Your not a salesman perhaps?
I almost went out to buy one ;D
Thanks!
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Which ones you'll have to eat.
 

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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2008, 02:47:21 pm »
nice write up

guess u aint selling then ......

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Offline JourneyMan

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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2008, 02:48:28 pm »
Sorry. Wanted to vote Yes.  :rolleyes: :redface:
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Re: LuckyStriker’s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2008, 02:55:28 pm »
.DR650SE1200GSAKLR650
Length:2255mm2210mm2294mm
Width:865mm915mm960mm
Height:1195mm-1348mm
Wheelbase:1490mm21511mm1480mm
Ground clearance:265mm-211mm
Seat height:885mm915mm889mm
Dry weight:147kg223kg175kg
Front wheel:90/90-21110/80-1990/90-21
Rear wheel:120/90-17150/70-17130/80-17
Fuel capacity:13litres33litres23litres

Dude - seriously, I know they are big - but bloody hell, that is RIDICULOUS!  >:D

I'd like for you to elaborate on your experiences of the '08 KLR against the DR.  I've read the TB topic, but I remember it being a little non-commital.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2008, 02:56:39 pm by InsiderDirtRider »
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Offline LuckyStriker

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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2008, 03:08:23 pm »
Dude - seriously, I know they are big - but bloody hell, that is RIDICULOUS!  >:D

I'd like for you to elaborate on your experiences of the '08 KLR against the DR.  I've read the TB topic, but I remember it being a little non-commital.

hehe, whoops

KLR vs. DR ...mmm, let me think...
I'll try not to bore you with a huge paragraph of text

I honestly understand why the KLR sells so many more units than the DR does.
It really is a more complete adventure package.

But in that TopBike shootout between the (XT), KLR and DR there really was no advantage in riding the KLR.
And for the money the DR made so much more sense than the XT.
The KLR costs just about the same as the DR but the DR is better put together and impressed me more even though it offered less in the way of extras.
Of the two bikes (DR & KLR) I think the DR is more offroad capable. Which is not to say that it is an offroad bike, just more able to go offroad occasionally.

My comments sometimes sound scathing towards the KLR, It's not meant to be so.
I'm just trying to give the DR a day in the sun. It really is a underrated/unknown bike that deserves a soft serve cone with a flake in it. Poor thing. ;)
 

Offline Beemer Man (RIP)

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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2008, 03:12:03 pm »
Nice one LS, I know the reasons why you put on the bigger tank were sound, but man its vrek ugly!! ;D ;D
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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2008, 03:53:02 pm »
I think its awesome-niceone LS,thanks
www.astonesthrow.co.za

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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2008, 06:16:01 pm »
"operated inside a closet by an on-duty assassin"

 :D
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Offline Stofstreep

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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2008, 06:37:14 pm »
It really is a underrated/unknown bike that deserves a soft serve cone with a flake in it. Poor thing. ;)

Bwahahahaha! :D :D
Where do you get this stuff!!
Very sharp! :D :D
Be careful of the words you say.
And keep them soft and sweet.
For you never know from day to day.
Which ones you'll have to eat.
 

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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2008, 06:59:12 pm »
OK my soapbox stuff,

Due to a happy change in "picture" a TOP OF THE RANGE WITH ALL DA BLING, decides to go sub human real DS Bike cross incontinent etc etc, now its great but not quite.

Dear Sir, its a great bike, would love one, you chose it answering the questions you asked, for the right reasons, maybe you asked the wrong questions, I fink its a great bike, ugly is as you see it  ;D ;D     
 
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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2008, 11:23:20 am »
Nice report LS. I have, after reading this report, gone out and renegotiated for that DR800. GOT IT!!! at a excellent price.

Now I also have a DR!! :P :P :blob6:

Will get it in a few weeks time and then the dirt roads await!!
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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2008, 08:50:43 pm »
awesome report, thanks for this! you make me want a DR!

and i see you have found my playground:



Under the R300 flyover next to Bellville ? That DR is nicely sorted now do a lekker trip !
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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2008, 09:00:00 pm »
Yeah, i must admit LS - that bike needs a nice long testing trip as much as my ass needed a Corbin seat  ;D

H
 

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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2008, 08:26:38 am »

Under the R300 flyover next to Bellville ? That DR is nicely sorted now do a lekker trip !

yup yup

some nice trails there, some sand, and river crossings that involve massive ditches / kloofs

short trails though, but fun
 

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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2008, 07:22:42 am »
Reported problems (faiilure to proceeds) with DR650rs - LoneRider has a few .. listed over on HU or Advrider. The one he has not listed is the neutral light switch coming loose. Oh and teh steering head bearins not being lubed from teh factory.

Other stuff.
I'd like a wider range to the gear box. (slow speed stuff.)
And a stronger rear frame (for luggage)
And external damping adjustment to the front forks. (Ideally upside downs!)

I've heated grips and a GPS - all going at night ... in city traffic. Not a problem on the DR650. Now if you tried to run an aditional light you might have a problem? 200 watts does not go far.

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Re: LuckyStriker‚??s DR650SE Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2008, 05:27:16 pm »
Nice one LS.
My DR has done 21 000 odd kilos so is now nicely run in (I got it with 14000 on the clock).
I have the following gripes, impressions and comments:
Seat is brutal - sheepskin and cycle pants helps but I have a broken tailbone so will never be comfortable on a DS bike
Fuel consumption reaches 20km/l now and then but is usually around 18km/l
Tank range - I frequently have to carry a red addis 10L container strapped to the back of the bike when going somewhere remote - it damages the plastics and I must make a plan.
Chain is now stuffed on 21000km's I'm planning to gear it down a bit so it spins up better on gravel!
The KT966 tyres are good and I got about 5000 out of the rear which is now also stuffed. Will replace with same.
I had some punctures before I changed to KT966's and heavy duty tubes.
Brakepads is now also finished.
The headlight is broken from a stone.
The chain roller did break of as predicted by LeCap (why oh why did I think my bike is special and won't do this?)
Bike doesn't use oil or have any mechanical issues, servicing is dead easy with the 2 spark plugs being the most expensive at R153 each. Oil filter was R40.
Off road I have never longed for anything else.
On road I have gotten pissed off (mostly when I didn't see them and got a fright) when cars overtake me and wished for more speed.
Other bikers, cars and almost everyone avoid you like the plague (good or bad depending on your personality!)
I don't think I'll ever sell mine, maybe get something faster for the tar!
DR's are not everyones cup of tea!