For those who don't want the nitty gritty, a link to the pix is at the bottom...
After 30 years of riding, the last 20 or so primarily on liter+ ST bikes (ST1100, ST1300, Sprint 1050), a move to the PNW threw gas on the long smoldering ADV/Enduro fire for me. After about a year of researching different options (and waiting to see what Triumph brought to market), and their subsequent depth of accompanying third party options, the DR650 platform survived the attrition of an ever shrinking list. The idea I had in mind was to start with a platform that I could modify to do just about everything from some moderate trail time with my kiddo, to long legged road and off road ADV touring - all one up this time around.
I started in April with a new 2011 DR650, motomaned the crap out of it for 60 miles, put it on the lift and went to town...
- superbrace/dirt skins
- Ricor intiminators, heavier straight rate springs
- front disc and fork guard
- Lynx fairing/dash w/ dual HID's
- Vapor speedo/tach/temp trip computer
- Zumo 660 (carried over from previous)
- replaced indicator cluster w/ LED's
- Protaper SE KX Hi bars
- Showchrome heated grips
- Moose hand guards
- Folding bar end mirrors that will tuck away in behind the hand guards
- RAM ball bits for camera and SPOT
- IMS 4.9 tank w/ locking cap and StompGrip
- Seat Concepts saddle
- Happy Trails 12" SU racks and 9" Teton Pans
- Removed upper front chain roller
- replaced cheapo plastic lower rear chain guide
- tractor manual tubes mounted to pans for 30 oz MSR bottles for spare fuel (my Int. stove also burns gas)
- 14 tooth front sprocket
- TwinAir filter
- magnetic drain plug and oil filter ring
- Upgraded breather filter
- Standard engine case, oil filter cover, rear master cylinder, bash plate protective bits.
- Ricor rear shock that uses intiminator tech.
- SW-M Centerstand
- Much louder disc style horn (no stebel this time around)
- ER6i buds for noise isolation/sat nav/mp3
Aside from the mods, and reading hours and hours about the differences in riding techniques, I attended a 2+ day riding clinic, "Adventure Camp" put on by Puget Sound Safety. After 30 years of riding, I had no real off road/dirt experience. As a Moto Safety Instructor, and one who has organized a lot of group events, PSS gets an A+ from me for their efforts - it is a great curriculum and the flow and structure of the time spent there was very efficient, effective and enjoyable. It's more or less intermediate dirt bike curriculum with the added twist of bigger bikes - everything from 650 thumpers to R12's. They also add very useful recovery, packing, organizing, cooking and planning mini clinics to break up the long days riding. It also attracted a nice mix of folks, I highly recommend it.http://www.advcamp.com/
I'm also a fan of the recovery kit they have put together, unfortunately the link to it on their site has yet to be populated with info.
I left with a pretty thin agenda… starting from Redmond, WA I wanted to ride the North Cascades Route (WA 20) east, and end up in Idaho with an opportunity to revisit ID 21/75/93 to MT, then back to ID through Lolo on 12. Beyond that it was wide open and took many "where does that road go?" diversions, including one stretch that was dedicated specifically to chasing blue sky for a little break from the rain. I had also worked in several stretches of off road, some as long as 70+ miles, and some were fouled by the unusually excessive snow pack that still dominates most of the west right now. 6 days, 2200+ miles, still sore from smiling a few days later.
The range of capability exceeded my expectations, I'm quite pleased and have become quite fond of this mount in a short period of time. It's not 'perfect' for all in any one form, but it's flexible and easy to transition for longer more dedicated missions - more on that when I get to the suspension.
Riding posture on road is very comfortable and easy on some of my less than new body parts… the standing position off road is great, I could do that all day! I will be looking to add a more substantial foot peg platform, and *might* try adding additional rise to the bars down the road. The StompGrip on the tank in combination with the tank shape makes it a very stable and comfy platform. I quickly got the hang of using the pegs to steer, and maintaining momentum for long, steep ascents. Not much of the riding I did was extremely technical, although I did have to manage a few badly washed out paths, get over some sizable obstacles, one moderate water crossing, a few stretches with melon sized rocks, and a few minefields of laundry basket sized potholes (w/ no clean line - going a hell of a lot faster than I should have been!)… none the worse for any of it. Did I mention that good training is invaluable? :-)
Aside from stellar good looks, the Britania Lynx fairing is a fantastic addition. The HID options give great forward lighting w/ minimum draw, the adjustable screen works pretty well at open road speeds and retracts down out of guillotine mode for off road. The large dash area is a gem - a generous platform for GPS, Vapor, custom indicator bits and voltmeter with room to spare for additional indicator functions and switches. Under the dash is a cavernous space that easily houses the HID ballasts, and a half a metric ton of wiring harnesses. All in all a very nice bit of kit.
I ordered the seat firm knowing full well it would lead to an extended break in… and 6 days straight is 'a' way of doing it… and depending on what day you asked me I might have argued it wasn't 'the' way I would do it again (also having not subjected my ass to that long of a ride in two years). Prior to the trip it only had shorter rides, about 600 miles total. Having a full day off to recover, I had it out for 3 hours the other night and it's feeling much better, no discomfort at all. I get one free "tweak" which I'll wait to call in until after I put another multi day ride in on it.
My fuel economy surprised me, especially in light of the higher revs the 14 tooth front sprocket produced during extended open road stretches of the journey. I averaged 51 MPG on and off road, didn't seem to matter what I threw at it or how hard. One exception fell to 47 after a long stretch of flogging canyons and deliberately, progressively searching for the limits of the tires with hard exit accels. I may try going back to the 15 tooth for the next extended road ride and see if it improves the economy at all, not that I'm complaining w/ the current results.
And the tires… another pleasant surprise. The Trail Wings and often referred to as the "Death Wings"… starting with conservative expectations I was pleasantly surprised at how well they handled a wide variety of conditions and demands. Again, the off road I did wasn't extreme, nor did I push on the road the way I would have on of my previous bikes - but they were predictable and offer plenty of capability as a 50/50 ish tire IMO. That said, I'm looking forward to giving the Heidenau K60 Scouts a shot next, everything I've read so far is quite encouraging.
My larger concern for exposure and vibes coming from more plush and refined ST's was largely put to rest, and the remainder is as easy as throwing the credit card at some Gerbings bits to remedy. I didn't even really think about the vibes until after I got home and started to process my thoughts to this end… so they obviously had no ill effect… or it was just that I was cold, and the seat was killing me! Seriously though, I can't recall thinking about it during the entire ride, so I really doubt making other tweaks will rocket it out into the forefront.
Suspension - IMO, the Ricor inertia activated valving works very well, exactly as advertised, I will use it in future bikes as well. My current setting was fabulous on road, and good off road. For extended off road missions I'm betting I can switch the balance around by putting the stock .40's back in the front and increasing the preload to optimize the sag, it was a little stiff through real rough stuff, and the tattered left shoulder paid for it one day.
Top loading pans are a different animal, and luckily I figured that out through trial and error on the weekend trip to ADV Camp. I tried to make it work w/out multi piece liners, and couldn't have done it worse if I tried… got so frustrated with it at one point I just emptied one of them on the ground to find what I was looking for and repacked the whole mess, back into it's completely useless state! I added Happy Trail segmented liners before this trip (one full length/width that's about 1/3 of total pan depth on bottom, two half length/full width cubes that use the rest of the depth, in each pan), and it was money WELL spent… simple, easy, and the most organized I've ever been with a long ride load. Happy Trails indeed… and great folks to work with to boot - thanks!
I encourage anyone looking for DR solutions to check out ProCycle.com, they have a great selection of 3rd party mods and depth of knowledge of this bike.
All in all, it's great bike for me and my new riding direction… I'm looking forward to putting a lot of miles on it. If anyone has any questions pertaining to bits and pieces I didn't cover, feel free to ask.https://picasaweb.google.com/103375463338190092207/FirstLongRideOnAThumper?authkey=Gv1sRgCPLg9Knb57W81wE&feat=directlink
Speed safe :-)
Edit: Added picture at top for front page listing.