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Topic: New DR650 shakedown ride report  (Read 22200 times)

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« on: June 17, 2011, 03:20:52 AM »

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.

The Mods:
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)
- voltmeter
- 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

Preparation:

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.

The ride:
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 Bike:
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 :-)
GRN


Edit:  Added picture at top for front page listing.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2011, 04:59:51 AM by GRN » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2011, 07:15:59 PM »

Great writeup. Thanks Thumbsup Cool
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2011, 07:36:45 PM »

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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2011, 11:34:07 PM »

Nice write up and set up on the DR  Thumbsup.  I'm on my second year with the DR and they do grow on you pretty quick.  I've not done any big trips yet, but I've done day trips ranging from interstate, twisties, dual track, and some wide single track all on the same ride and tires.  They really can handle what ever you throw infront of them, maybe not the fastest or flashiest, but they'll handle it and get you home with a grin.  Nice pics in the link too.

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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2011, 12:56:15 AM »


Nice write up and set up on the DR  Thumbsup.  I'm on my second year with the DR and they do grow on you pretty quick.  I've not done any big trips yet, but I've done day trips ranging from interstate, twisties, dual track, and some wide single track all on the same ride and tires.  They really can handle what ever you throw infront of them, maybe not the fastest or flashiest, but they'll handle it and get you home with a grin.  Nice pics in the link too.



Thanks, man. I'm really pretty blown away by just how good it is carving twisty paved roads... I didn't expect that at all. Even with the 50/50 skins and the 21" front on I found myself attacking corners pretty aggressively w/ great confidence, where the tires were the primary limitation. A second set of rims w/ a 19" front and tires designed for the job will transform it into a great street machine... won't be winning any 0-60 records, but I won't feel inclined to slow much once I get there either  Wink
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2011, 02:11:00 AM »

Yes, they do make the road feel very wide in the corners  Cool.  

I've been looking at the 19" front rim for a while now. I'm sure it'd be hoot on the pavement, I'm just concerned about how it will handle our deep, soft sand here in the desert.  I'm running Michelin T63's now and for a more offroad oriented tire they grip very well in the twisties.  Pretty good in the sand even with the rounded profile on the sides.  

If you want a little more punch check out http://mxrob.com/ .  He's done more R&D with the DR carbs then Suzuki I think.  He had some good suggestions when I was sorting my CV carb and slip on. I'm good from below sea level to 8,000 feet now and still pull 45 mpg however/wherever I ride the thing.

Mods on these things are just addictive. As you said, they are a great platform.  They just seems to respond to every tweek in a positive way.

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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2011, 02:42:58 AM »

I'm holding off on the engine/carb/exhaust mods 'til I'm out of warranty next year... and a little more punch would be a bonus for sure. Thanks for the info, filed appropriately!

If I go for a smaller front wheel, it will be a complete second set of rims for quick swaps between decidedly road and off road skin selections.

The current handling is WAY better than I expected, two sets of rims and a quick spring swap for different missions will very literally make this bike exceptionally competent for just about anything short of MX duty... I'm very pleasantly surprised!  Thumbsup
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2011, 03:07:10 AM »

Nice work. That's one good-looking DR.  Thumbsup
A friend put one of those Britannia Composites fairings on his F800GS and it's a nice piece of work.
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2011, 03:35:32 PM »

Thanks for the really excellent post.
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2011, 10:37:18 PM »

I bought a used 2003 with 10k on it last Summer. Put on my panniers, a better seat and bigger tank right off the bat. Within two weeks of purchasing it took a trip and put on 4500 miles over two weeks riding the AlCan to the HUBB meeting in Nakusp and back. Ran and handled great, hauled enough camping gear between the DR and my wife's f650 for us to live off the bikes no problem. Not a single issue and with a seat upgrade surprisingly comfortable. Averaged 400-500 miles a day.

Previous owner was a super nice guy and I think he thought he was riding a lot but I didn't have the heart to tell him I did half of the miles he did in 7 years in just a couple weeks, heh.  Bigsmile

Tire tip for the DR650, Mefo Explorers seriously rock on this bike.

Stock suspension is a bit soft and with any weight in the panniers (and I pack really light...) with the long sidestand it's a bit tippy when parked, I highly recommend a shorter sidestand for travelers and need to do this mod myself.

Before the DR I had an F650GS Dakar for my travel bike and I prefer the DR by far. Easier to work on, feels more durable and more fun to ride...
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2011, 02:11:13 AM »




Stock suspension is a bit soft and with any weight in the panniers (and I pack really light...) with the long sidestand it's a bit tippy when parked, I highly recommend a shorter sidestand for travelers and need to do this mod myself.



Sounds like you would be better served by upgrading the suspension... a light load shouldn't sag the suspension that much. I pack dense, may not look like much on mine in the pix but it's all of 80 lb or more (pans, duffel, tool tube) with a full suite of real tools, recovery gear, 2 quarts of water and emergency fuel, camping gear on board. When I step off the bike the suspension recovers well and keeps a good angle w/ the stock length stand.

How much rear preload have you got dialed in?

Have you measured your sag?

The shorter side stand is recommended for DR's utilizing the lowered mounting setting on the stock rear shock, where is yours set?
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2011, 07:44:34 AM »

Fortunately ... and unfortunately, there are lots of tire options for that kind of riding, and lots of people who will tell you their opinions on those tires Wink

Great write-up.  The DR650 is underrated in my opinion - especially if you're going to put some elbow grease in to it like you did.  I suspect they make a wonderful mixed-terrain touring platform, given their relative light weight, low seat, and aftermarket support.

I particularly like your Lynx fairing conversion.

You're making me sad that I focused my WR on duty instead of keeping it a 50/50 bike.  Lol

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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2011, 08:47:31 AM »

Greg,

Nice write-up!
I notice that they're relatively cheap on the used market, and a lot have low miles as well.  Any idea why that might be?

Steve
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2011, 09:02:23 AM »


Fortunately ... and unfortunately, there are lots of tire options for that kind of riding, and lots of people who will tell you their opinions on those tires Wink


I got one of those opinions too! Recently replaced the T63's, which I got to play in the snow, with anankee2's. Really don't feel the need anymore to get the 'tard rims. The ananks are *great* on the road, even wet road. Quite, SMOOTH, and sticky. They still handle the gravel well, and I don't see much mud ever. The T63's rear would slide a bit when carving, not in a scary way, but noticeable. The anak feel like you've set an edge on your skis and just cut.

As for the carb mods, the rejetting is not so much about power, but the throttle response, no dead spot, although perhaps unplugging and adjusting the idle pilot would get you most of that. Still get 56mpg on a trip, about 50 around home.
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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2011, 09:02:59 AM »


Greg,

Nice write-up!
I notice that they're relatively cheap on the used market, and a lot have low miles as well.  Any idea why that might be?

Steve


Prolly because the KLR gets all the love.

Great write-up. Loves me the big DR's  Thumbsup
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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2011, 09:48:26 AM »

Where are the crashes? Headscratch Smile
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« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2011, 09:50:32 AM »


Where are the crashes? Headscratch Smile


 Lol DR's don't crash  
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« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2011, 09:53:08 AM »




 Lol DR's don't crash  



Apparently they don't get dirty either.  Bigsmile
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« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2011, 10:07:14 AM »

Very informative   Thumbsup
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« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2011, 10:21:29 AM »

I had a DR650 back in 2000.  Bought it because I wanted to ease back into motorcycling after a 10-year hiatus.  On the sprockets I went down in the front and up in the rear, and put a set of knobbies on it.  It would go anywhere, climb any hill, and wheelie nicely too.   Bigsmile

Would love to have another one to park next to the Bandit.  

I've come to the conclusion that I need 4 or 5 motorcycles to reach actualization and be truly happy.  Bigsmile
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