Suzuki DR650 Short Way Round

29 мая 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Suzuki DR650 Short Way Round отключены

Short Way Round

Suzuki DR650

More photos in the ‘DR650 Preparation’ gallery – HERE

Why a DR650?

Replacing my F650 was an opportunity to take a slightly different approach and incorporate much of what I’ve learnt over the last 4 years. What have I learnt? Well, if you want to travel off the beaten track then weight is the key.

My F650 took me to places I would never have believed possible prior to leaving home but at great expense to the chassis. A lighter bike and kit mean its gentler on its suspension so requires lighter springing which in turn puts less strain on surrounding components – at least that’s my theory. Lady P weighed 300kg + food water. I’m hoping the DR will weigh in around 220kg.

I’m hoping too that it won’t just mean it’s more reliable on the kind of terrain I’ve traversed so far, but that I’ll be able to tackle  routes that I would have considered ‘off-limits’ on my F650.

26/08/10 – Weights: Inc ALL tools, consumables, tubes GPS but with NO fuel =163.5kg.  Fully loaded inc 35l fuel but NO food or water = 217kg. These weights came from the cement works in Moab, Utah.

The original weights were given in lbs – 360 480. The figures are so ’round’ that I later wondered what increments and ’rounding’ figures they used.

Fully Loaded

And in her final incarnation

Another thing I want to ensure is that all tools and spares are carried on the bike and not in my luggage. On many occasions I’ve had the opportunity to ride without luggage but I’ve always been concerned about not having all I needed to repair a flat tyre etc.

A smaller, lighter package will also reduce the cost of airfreight and may make it a feasible option again.

My first choice was a Suzuki DRZ400. Contrary to popular belief you don’t need a big engine to travel the world. Once out of

Western Europe and off the tarmac of Australia the majority of time is spent below 90km/h. Unfortunately it was my short legs that finally made my decision for me as at 935mm the 400 seat is 50mm higher than the 650. It doesn’t sound much but believe me it is when you’re 5’4”!

The DR650 had other benefits too. Air-cooling, adjustable tappets and a three bolt front sprocket all bode well for overland travel. Being Japanese it uses a very small range of fixings (bolts etc) which in turn reduces the number of tools required and will add to the weight saving.

Unlike the F650, it needs no special tool for the steering head bearings and a trial run proved I can break the bead of the rear tyre using just my feet and two tyre levers. That was something I couldn’t do on the F650 so I had to carry a heavy cramp to do the job. My toolkit for the BMW weighed a staggering 5.75kg and whilst I haven’t yet been able to weight it I think the DR toolkit will weigh in around 1-1.5kg.

Why didn’t I leave home on a DR650?

That’s a good question. Looking back it seems that most of our bike research was based around Chris Scott’s Adventure Motorcycling Handbook an excellent source of information but upon looking through it again when visiting Maarten Ilse I noticed it to be fairly dismissive of the pre-’96 DR and barely mentions the post-’97 model (probably because it wasn’t officially imported into the UK).

Of all the other Overland motorcyclists I’ve met, the DR650 has been the equal most popular along with Kawasaki’s KLR650 (8 of each) followed by the BMW F650 and Honda Africa Twin (6 each). This is contrary to the impression given by the book. Every DR650 owner I’ve met has had the same thing to say about them. “They’re bomb proof!”.


There is really no need to go to the lengths I have with my DR to prepare an Overland bike but my bike is my home away from home and there are some comforts I appreciate.

Some of the ideas I’ve incorporated have come straight from the BMW whilst others are those I’ve dreamt up during my 4 years on the road. Only time will tell whether they work or not.

Below is an overview of my DR preparation along with some of the reasons why I’ve done things.


Being comfortable on the bike both sitting and standing is an important consideration in an overland bike. Whilst the seat is the most obvious consideration so is the height and bend of the handlebars, the size of the footrests (if you ride off-road) and the relationship between all of them. If you ride off-road you’ll also need to find a set-up that works whilst sitting and standing.

Seat – Unfortunately, in order to be comfortable a seat needs to be reasonably wide – just what you don’t want when standing. My biggest investment in the DR came in the form of a Renazco rally seat. It’s normal width at the front but splays out slightly further back to give a wider seat when sitting without compromising the standing position.

It’s covered in suede which will not only keep it cool when the weathers hot and warm when the weathers cold, but provides good grip for your knees when standing. I had mine built  1” lower than stock for my short-arse legs.

26/08/10 – The seat has proven to be beyond uncomfortable – its painful; and I’ve ridden a R1 from England to Spain! I’ve been in contact with James Renazco and will be visiting him at the end of next month to try to resolve the problem. He suspects it is because I’ve had it built 1″ lower and am lacking cushioning.

If that proves to be the case then I’m in a real dilemma as I can only touch the ground with the ball of one foot now and I don’t want to have to compromise my suspension. I’ll post again once I’ve visited James.

02/01/11 – I visited Renazco back in September 2010 (See Chapter 23) and after discussing my problems with owner James, he built me a new seat. 1/2″ taller, repositioned seams and and extra layer of foam should have led to a much more comfortable seat. Unfortunately, whilst a small improvement was made, it remains the most uncomfortable seat I’ve ever had and remains my only real gripe with the bike.

Suzuki DR 200 S

In less than 2hrs my thoughts turn from what’s going on around me to how much my arse hurts!

Footrests – My DR came with oversize footrests and a footrest lowering kit fitted. I’ve kept the oversize footrests but removed the lowering kit. I’ve also replaced the OE mounting bolt washers with larger ones to lock-up the rubber mounting and give a more positive feel to footrest input.

Handlebars – My DR came with ProTaper CR High bend bars which I like but the additional 2” risers didn’t suit me and were replaced with 1” spacers (courtesy of the ‘homework’ dept of my previous employer – no names mentioned)

Fuel System, Exhaust and Lubrication

My bike came fitted with a 39mm Flat Slide Kehin carburetor, cut out airbox (link) and GSXR Silencer/Muffler mod (link). Together they improve throttle response and correct the slow speed surging often experienced with the standard set-up. The exhaust system is also several kilograms lighter than stock.

The Safari 30l tank should give a fuel range of approximately 550km and I’ve added a tap for filling my camping stove as I did on the BMW. The aluminium cross brace supplied with the tank is rather poor so I fabricated a steel one. The petcocks supplied with the tank had plastic taps and have caused problems for some so I replaced them with alloy ones.

Another potential problem is getting the last few litres of fuel out of the tank as the carburetor inlet sits higher than the petcocks. Most people create pressure in the tank by blowing into the vent pipe so to maintain this pressure I’ve added a one-way valve. Last but not least I added inline filters to each tank outlet.

26/08/10 – The exhaust mid-pipe and silencer fell off in the San Rafael Desert in Utah (see Chapter 22). The mid-pipe welded bracket had failed and the silencer mount added by the previos owner ripped out of the silencer. I found another silencer on ebay and purchased a Two-Brothers mid-pipe kit from Kientech.

02/01/11 – No problems since fitting the above parts

The Safari tank actually holds 35l/9.5 US Gal

The carburetor breather/vent tubes were fitted with T fittings and extra tube run up to the headstock. If all the breathers were submerged in a water crossing the engine would die. I replaced the cross head screws in the airbox and manifold clamps with cap heads.

I fitted an additional tap with an outlet for filling my camping stove, an addition that worked very well on the BMW.

The paper oil filter has been replaced with a washable stainless steel one.


In a bid to reduce weight I’ve opted to use soft panniers on the DR. They still need supporting to stop them bouncing around and to keep them away from the exhaust and so I’ve used MotoSport  pannier frames and added a couple of loops to enable me to run some extra straps around the panniers. I also added some brackets for fitting a ‘tool tube’ (see tools/spares).

Soft panniers meant finding a new place to carry my laptop and so I’ve used a 1400 Pelicase for which I’ve made a quick-release mounting.

The black plastic came from a chopping board

Suzuki DR 200 S

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