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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
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  #1  
Old 20 Jun 2014
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DR650 - Opinions wanted on RTW list

Hello there Ladies and Gents,

Steve from Australia here. LONG time lurker on the forums here. I’ll hopefully be around here for quite some time, as come December I’ll be shipping a DR650 to South America and starting a rtw trip of approximately two years!

Aims:
The Bike – Lightweight & Reliability, will hopefully be able to handle any trail / offroad section.
The trick? I’m trying to configure my luggage setup to allow for a passenger (on paved roads) for periods of up to a week or two.

The Trip – Exploration of all those places I’ve seen on the many blogs here, focusing on meeting people from all walks of life, all cultures, and hopefully I’ll get to use my TEFL qualification to teach English on the odd occasion. No time limit bar the weather, following the sun.



Right now I’m still at the planning stage, hopefully I’ll be picking up a decent DR650 in the next 4 weeks and preparation can begin in earnest with a gluttonous wave of online ordering my credit card will absolutely love.

I’ve put together a list (wishlist maybe) and would really appreciate any info from the experienced crew on here. I’ve put up a mirrored post on advriders/horizonsunlimited.

This list is mainly about the bike and equipment, still to come is a list regarding visas / border crossings / events or POI’s / website, blogging and general route planning.

I’d really appreciate any comments on any of the listed items below, early stages still so many changes are bound to occur. (yes, it’s obviously unfinished regarding riding gear / camping)

Thanks all,

Steve
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  #2  
Old 20 Jun 2014
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Sydney
Posts: 23
and here it is...

1. ELECTRONICS
1. Trailtech Vapor Speedo
MX1 Australia - Product Details
2. For above – need dash?
MX1 Australia - Product Details
3. GPS / Mounting – Gamin Montana 650
4. 12v / auxiliary power – check shortwayround for info.
5. Headlight – replace bulb?
H4 Kits - relay kit.
6. Spotlights – 10 watt LED
DR650 Aux light mounts - ADVrider
7. flexible buell indicators – LED?
8. Battery – Shorai Li-Iron?
9. Grip heaters
VSM Vince Strang Motorcycles DR650 Grip Heaters
10. Stator
Suzuki DR650 Parts, Accessories, & Performance - ProCycle


2. MECHANICAL ETC

1. Carby – Stock? Breather vent tubes?
2. Airbox?
07 DR650 Kientech airbox mod ? - ADVrider
3. Oil filter – Scotts stainless reusable
4. + In line fuel filter?
5. Braided brake lines – front only
VSM Vince Strang Motorcycles DR650 Brakes
6. Stator rewire???
7. Rear suspension – Rebuild OEM shock
8. Front? Big job to swap forks. Req? Maybe just –
9. Sprocket? Two x
10. Auto chain oiler
Scottoiler
11. Remove chain roller
12. Output shaft seal – retainer fitted
13. Remove clutch and side stand safety switches
14. Chain – Swap ?
15. Magnetic sump plug
16. Tool kit
17. Spares
18. Wheel bearings
19. Cush drive bearing
20. Change above to sealed?
21. Rimlock

3. BODY
1. Strip and weld gussets to subframe / luggage rack – Paint / Powdercoat?
2. Safari Tank - 30L
Suzuki DR650SE 30 litres | Safari Tanks - Safari Tanks
Replace ally brace with steel
3. Bark Busters
4. Bars – Pro Taper CR High Rise
5. Remove Speedometer
6. Build new plate for dash?
7. Side stand – weld wider plate
8. Bash plate – B&B
B&B Off-Road - Suzuki DR650 Bashplate
9. Windscreen – screensforbikes
Suzuki DR 650 96-14 οΏ½ Screens For Bikes
10. Custom seat – Sargent
Sargent World Sport Adventure Touring Seat Suzuki DR650 1996-2009,2011-2013 - RevZilla
11. Engine case armour?
Suzuki DR650 Parts, Accessories, & Performance - ProCycle
12. Replace rear wheel? 18inch?
DR350 interchangeability wheel question. : General DR650 Discussion
13. Change out rim tape – check shortwayround

4. LUGGAGE
1. Top - Pelican 1600
Pelican 1500 with Foam Black
Need to work out size
2. Run power to pelican?
3. Luggage plate for top box?
B&B Off-Road - DR650/DRZ400 Luggage Plate
Wolfman Suzuki DR 650 Top Rack
4. Tank Panniers – Soft
5. Rack to mount above
6. Tankbag – Waterproof / Backpack conversion

5. CLOTHING
1. 3 Synthetic T-shirts
2. 2 Light Trousers
3. 3 Pairs Socks
4. 2 Long Sleeve Shirts
5. 3 Underwear Shorts
6. 2 Casual Shorts
7. 1 Pair of 4 Season Socks
8. 1 Water-proof Jacket
9. 1 Sandals (Teva)
10. 1 Thongs
11. 1 Runners / Hiking boots


6. RIDING GEAR

7. CAMPING

8. PERSONAL
1. Cameras, lots of cameras.

9. What the?
1. Swingarm water tank?
2. Passenger setup!
3. Hidden storage – key / money etc.


Links
Parts + Accessories + Performance = ProCycle
VSM Vince Strang Motorcycles DR650 Shop
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  #3  
Old 20 Jun 2014
mollydog's Avatar
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Sounds like a good plan ... and a very comprehensive list of mods. Some I would do, some I would skip. My DR is at 55,000 miles (88K kms), done 6 Mexico rides (Cent. Am. and Baja). Also ridden Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Idaho and all over California. It's a 2006, still doing well.

There is SO MUCH information about the bike ... bit overwhelming. Learn what you can, set her up best you can ... most of all ... Have Fun!

I'm sure you've thought of costs ...one big expense will be shipping your bike from Oz to S. America. Maybe $2k ? when all said and done?

Seems like you prefer to do full prep on your bike while you're still at home? fair enough. But you could buy a new-ish, low mileage DR650 used in the USA for around $3K to $4K usd and save on the shipping. Just ride South from USA.

Many used DR's here will already have MANY of the items you list. If you can find a place to hang out for a couple weeks (free?) ...
you could probably do some of the up grades and add ons to the bike you buy. ProCycle and others would have everything you might need and shipping is 2 days away. So ... just an idea. Plenty of lightly used DR's here for reasonable prices.

To learn everything about the DR650 and the many mods out there ... go to the BIG ADV Rider thread:
the DR650 thread - ADVrider
A huge thread. But go on, ASK if you need to find something or need a tutorial or just need advice. LOTS of good DR guys there, including a few Aussies and Kiwis who really know their stuff and know the DR well!

Also try the Bike Specific thread on the DR. More specific info on the DR:
ADVrider - View Single Post - DR650SE information index- what say ye?

The last forum is a DR650 one, less useful and not very active but you can get good info:
www.DRRiders.com

Hope you're trip comes off as planned. Let me know if you have questions about the DR. My bike is lightly modified but has worked out well for travel.

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  #4  
Old 21 Jun 2014
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Location: Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 51
Steve,

Glad to hear you're considering a DR. Mollydog has a good point about buying a stock one (or travel prepped one) outside of Oz too.
I guess that decision will be yours in the long Run.
In the meantime, please check out our RTW trip from Last year at Round the World 2013 on motorbikes .....or better still, i have started listing the mods to my DR at MotoExped - Bike build .....i still have a long way to go with that bike build blog but i hope it helps you out a little mate.
If you have any questions please PM me or email me from the Motoexped site and I will happily reply

Kindest regards

Nevil
MotoExped - Home
Round the World 2013 on motorbikes
Nevil | Nevil Stow | Travel Blog
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  #5  
Old 21 Jun 2014
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 51
Steve,

Also check out my buddy Gipper's site at Gippers Travels .
He has a wealth of knowledge on DR's too.

Hope this helps

Nevil
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  #6  
Old 21 Jun 2014
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Location: Various in Ontario, Canada (no fixed address)
Posts: 35
We are currently on tour in South America. For what it is worth, have a look at our bike prep list:

DR650 Modifications List - Trans-Continental Mambo

We are running a little on the heavy side and would lighten things up in the future in terms of gear but our trip has mostly been a paved road trip. A few strong opinions:

* signal lights: I haven't tried everything but my partners old DR came with DRC LED signals on the rear and they were terrible in terms visibility compared to amber stock. We switched them back to stock. Current bikes are stock but since we are running Pelican cases there is little chance of breaking them. I know about the Buell's but have not experience with them.

* lots of people on DR forums push the tail light (DRZ) mod. Partner's old DR came with this mod. It sucked big time with duffel bag and Pelican cases (at least in our case) and a mod that I definitely avoided on our current builds - even using a brake modulator. Yes, the stocker is fragile I would rather figure out how to reinforce it than do the DRZ mod since it really detracts from visibility (or can, depending on setup). I believe that Tuckers to TDF (on ADV) also reported that they regretted this mod for safety reasons. If your setup isn't obscuring the tail light, maybe not a big issue.

* Horn: I am a big believer in upgrading the horn. On my KLR I used a Stebel nautilus but it seems sensitive to altitude (or perhaps it was damaged). Never was 100% during Andean sections (South America trip #1) and sounded like a dying duck at times. It failed eventually (perhaps from not using a vent tube) and was replaced. Was having trouble fitting Stebel on DR so are using PIAA Sports horn. Not bad. Not as loud Stebel but much better than stock. We use our horns quite regularly in these parts

* LED aux lights: We have a decent set of LED auxiliary lights. We use these for the occasional night driving where situations permit, but also for daytime use *lots* for warning flashes, or just *on* like today, a national holiday, with parades of impatient drivers passing each other dangerously. Because of the LEDs, we haven't bothered with any expensive bulb replacements. I had an expensive PIAA headlamp and it died a quick death compared to simple, stock bulb. Not impressed. We have had no bulb failures to date on any bulb.

Note that is some parts of the world, people just don't drive with the lights on, even motorcycles, even at night. It is just the culture. It may well be the case that if one was to "overdo" the stock lighting you might end up having people flashing you all of the time as they are politely trying to inform you "that you have your high beams on". Beyond this being annoying, it could add interference to this flashing of the lights communicating, such as speed traps, cows on the road, etc. Similarly, when I run my LEDs during the day, I get flashed constantly here is Latin America. In North America, I rarely get flashed. Food for thought, anyways.

Also, I experimented with LED tail light replacement bulbs, and from the ones I tried, I wasn't impressed. I had both fitment and visibility issues compared to stock.

I regularly run a heated jacket (90W) and heated grip elements, and sometimes with LED lights and really haven't had a lot of electrical capacity issues. We do have the upgraded stator. I was "worried" about capacity issues and consider converting everything to LED but, in practice, not really necessary.

* Center stand. A controversial topic. I had toyed with the idea of using one of the "stilts" solutions for changing flats but I am glad that I went with a center stand. It is useful for flats, working on the bike, etc. We use them almost everyday for packing, and for parking the bike in tighter places (in fact, using the center stands as I write which made the hostal operators happier since it saves space) . IMHO, worth the weight, but other have different opinions.

* Some sort of chain auto-oiler? Daily chain maintenance can be tedious. Using a spray can, especially w/o a center stand is going to get old very quickly.

Also:

* Handle bars: you list a preferred style. Perhaps you have already sorted out your preference. If so, good for you! I went through 4 or 5 bars before I found the "correct" one, which includes for and aft positioning with Rox-Risers. Bar ergonomics was probably the most finicky aspect of my setup. I am glad I spent the time as I can ride pretty much all day w/o discomfort. I don't think my partner got her setup "quite right" - it is close but she complains sometimes about a sore wrist, shoulders, etc. I say this as someone who has had repetitive injuries to my throttle wrist and was quite susceptible to pain. For example, when bought this DR a couple of summers ago and road it home for 2.5 hours, my wrist was *not* happy (neither was my butt) and probably hurt the next day still. Today we just finished a 6hr/500km ride and besides a bit of fatigue from wind blast (might choose a bigger windscreen next time), I could barely tell that I had been riding for a good chunk of the day. I tend to avoid 12 hour ride days nowadays

* foot peg lowering. I am about 6 feet tall. I am using the ProCycle foot peg lowering brackets. I don't know if I would have chosen to use a DR as a travel bike if I wasn't able to lower the foot pegs. This, of course, is absolutely personal opinion but something to consider if you are on the taller side. I lost the rubber vibration dampers due to this mod but never give it a second thought.

* Montana GPS: I have this one. It is "OK" but not w/o issues. It reboots sporadically (way to often for me to be impressed), and zoom and some other functions are a PITA (!!!) as calibration is never quite right. I have my partner my refurbished Zumo 550 and am a bit envious of how well it functions compared to the finicky Montana. That said, the Montana has a lot of nice things about it. I would consider shelling out for a Toura-Tech mount. I have never used it but the damping effect and security features are a peace of mind. If you don't go this route, perhaps consider the locking RAM mount knob. Using this and the security torx security screw you have "decent" security in terms of "grab and go" scenarios. How many people carry around a security torx screw driver? You can probably safely run to the gas/petrol station bathroom without much fear.

That said, I can suggest a useful mod to their powersports cradle. In my experience, the Montana was getting vibrated to its death on the DR with a RAM mount. It is conjecture, I suspect that I ran a fair risk of having the unit fail due to vibration. I couldn't go above about 100km an hour without having warnings about a loose battery, which I did cushion with some foam. What I eventually did was buy four rubber isolating mounts to screw between the RAM mounts and cradle. They work like a charm. They are little rubber cylinders with male/female fasteners. Similar to these. Looking at photos, they look to be the same as what the Touratech mount uses but the cost was about USD$10 for all - and took 5 minutes to install and I am *very* happy with the results and have vastly improved the vibrations. The GPS tends "flop" around a bit heavy corrugation with this mod, but I suspect that overall it is "healthier" than to have it "buzz to death" over the long run.

* Spares: it depends where you are going and availability will, of course, change depending on location. Some things like bulbs and bearing can be found "everywhere". These are common items. Maybe consider bringing one of each for road-side failure, and replenish ASAP. Other things like parts for your brakes (rebuild kit), fork and damper/shock internals are harder to find. For example, we have Cogent Dynamics rebuilt shocks. We are carrying the internals for a full (or close to) rebuild. The labour can be found (even if a Skype call has to be made to the vendor for specifics) but parts are obscure. Luckily, the Progressive shock on my KLR (previous trip) began to leak once that bike was back in Canada instead of abroad as I had no parts and this would have been a real PITA to deal with.

Feel free to add ask questions.

That's my CDN$0.02.
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  #7  
Old 21 Jun 2014
Gipper's Avatar
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Location: Banff,Canada/Poole,UK
Posts: 751
You don't have to go nuts with this whole list - the essentials are suspension, seat, tank, protection.


1. ELECTRONICS
1. Trailtech Vapor Speedo - good bit of kit - id buy silver as black gets hot in sun and has crapped out until it cools
MX1 Australia - Product Details
2. For above – need dash? - Don't bother, make your own
MX1 Australia - Product Details
3. GPS / Mounting – Garmin Montana 650
4. 12v / auxiliary power – check shortwayround for info. Use BMW/ Powerlet plugs/sockets as they do not vibrate loose
5. Headlight – replace bulb? - Definitely upgrade bulb, GE Nighthawk H4 better
H4 Kits - relay kit.
6. Spotlights – 10 watt LED
DR650 Aux light mounts - ADVrider
7. flexible buell indicators – LED?
8. Battery – Shorai Li-Iron? - Nevil really likes these, I have a Yuasa Hi capacity and its been fine.
9. Grip heaters - Definitely!
VSM Vince Strang Motorcycles DR650 Grip Heaters
10. Stator - Nevil had some issues with his upgraded Procycle voltage regulator with the high output stator, CBR600 MOSFET V/R is the way to go, if you upgrade stator
Suzuki DR650 Parts, Accessories, & Performance - ProCycle


2. MECHANICAL ETC

1. Carby – Stock? Breather vent tubes? Stock BST with Procycle jet kit, drill slide, 150 or 155 main jet with needle on 4th clip works well, fit extended fuel screw and fit Procycle breather filter.
2. Airbox? - Cut it and find a GSXR exhaust with Keintech mid pipe, buy a can you don't have to repack!
07 DR650 Kientech airbox mod ? - ADVrider
3. Oil filter – Scotts stainless reusable - good bit of kit, great for travelling light.
4. + In line fuel filter? -Yes
5. Braided brake lines – front only - worth doing to improve the DR's fairly weak brakes - the rear is not as important, but it does improve the bite.
VSM Vince Strang Motorcycles DR650 Brakes
6. Stator rewire???
7. Rear suspension – Rebuild OEM shock - get someone to do it locally or if you can Nevil and myself (and lots of others) really love the Cogent rebuilds, fit it and forget it, no problems!
8. Front? Big job to swap forks. Req? Maybe just – Cogent DDC drop in valves and suitably heavier spring rates
9. Sprocket? Two x - carry a 14 and a 16
10. Auto chain oiler - Scottoiler hooked up to carb vacuum (for petcock) if its sandy I turn it off, on asphalt I turn it on, job done.
Scottoiler
11. Remove chain roller - first thing a DR owner should do
12. Output shaft seal – retainer fitted - yes
13. Remove clutch and side stand safety switches - second and third things a DR owner should do
14. Chain – Swap ? - start with a new chain, don't bother carrying them in South America.
15. Magnetic sump plug - yes
16. Tool kit - Use good quality lightweight tools
17. Spares - don't weigh the bike down with too many, mount spare cables, fit new pads, carry spares, take spare spark plugs (iridium work well)
18. Wheel bearings - start with new bearings and carry spare
19. Cush drive bearing - same as 18
20. Change above to sealed? - don't have to but it will help
21. Rimlock - not needed unless you are doing some serious riding

3. BODY
1. Strip and weld gussets to subframe / luggage rack – Paint / Powdercoat? - if you have time and money you can, but not essential - strengthen the rear left grab handle/ luggage mount tab - it is weak
2. Safari Tank - 30L - Id probably go for the Acerbis 25 litre tank, the Safari is heavy and ruins the steering lock
Suzuki DR650SE 30 litres | Safari Tanks - Safari Tanks
Replace ally brace with steel - worth doing, but ive had no problems with the ally one so far
3. Bark Busters - yes
4. Bars – Pro Taper CR High Rise - yes
5. Remove Speedometer - yes, if you fit Vapor
6. Build new plate for dash? - yes homemade as per 2
7. Side stand – weld wider plate - yes, helpful on soft surfaces
8. Bash plate – B&B - yes, best one out there
B&B Off-Road - Suzuki DR650 Bashplate
9. Windscreen – screensforbikes - they get good reviews
Suzuki DR 650 96-14 οΏ½ Screens For Bikes
10. Custom seat – Sargent - or Corbin, both good
Sargent World Sport Adventure Touring Seat Suzuki DR650 1996-2009,2011-2013 - RevZilla
11. Engine case armour? - yes
Suzuki DR650 Parts, Accessories, & Performance - ProCycle
12. Replace rear wheel? 18inch? - 17 inch tyres easier to find
DR350 interchangeability wheel question. : General DR650 Discussion
13. Change out rim tape – check shortwayround

4. LUGGAGE
1. Top - Pelican 1600 - 1500 works well
Pelican 1500 with Foam Black
Need to work out size
2. Run power to pelican? - handy to have
3. Luggage plate for top box?
B&B Off-Road - DR650/DRZ400 Luggage Plate
Wolfman Suzuki DR 650 Top Rack
4. Tank Panniers – Aerostitch work well with larger gas tanks
5. Rack to mount above
6. Tankbag – Waterproof / Backpack conversion - Giant Loop Fandango works well on DR

5. CLOTHING
1. 3 Synthetic T-shirts
2. 2 Light Trousers
3. 3 Pairs Socks
4. 2 Long Sleeve Shirts
5. 3 Underwear Shorts
6. 2 Casual Shorts
7. 1 Pair of 4 Season Socks
8. 1 Water-proof Jacket
9. 1 Sandals (Teva)
10. 1 Thongs
11. 1 Runners / Hiking boots


6. RIDING GEAR

7. CAMPING

8. PERSONAL
1. Cameras, lots of cameras.

9. What the?
1. Swingarm water tank? - Not tried this, I use an MSR Dromedery 4 litre bag
2. Passenger setup! - An Air Hawk cushion will give your passenger some more room
3. Hidden storage – key / money etc.



Wolfman luggage is well made. Also consider a centre stand for ease of work on bike and I like the Superbrace fork brace.


Turn the Carb fuel inlet 90 degrees to the left with a larger tank to make sure it drains the tank to empty and prevents vapour locks



Its worth fitting a separate fuse box for all the electrical add ons, switched through a relay with ignition so it cant flatten battery

Forget synthetic clothes, use Merino wool, it doesn't stink like synthetic clothing in the heat and it wears well. Take a pair of closed toe sandals that you can hike in, don't take too much footwear.

Clothing wise I pack:
1 x HUBB T Shirt
2 x Icebreaker Merino T Shirts
1 x Icebreaker " long sleeve top
1 x Icebreaker " long johns
3 x Merino underwear ( SAXX are great)
3 x Socks
1 x zip off trousers
1 x swim shorts
Goretex Paclite jacket and trousers (that fit over riding gear)
Lightweight down jacket
Keen sandals with closed toe (yes I wear socks and sandals when its cold, it doesn't look so bad with a closed toe)
Toque/beanie
Ball cap
Buff



Carry less weight and enjoy the ride more!
__________________
Cheers
Grif

'09 Suzuki DR650
'00 Discovery Series 2 V8
'95 Defender 90 300 Tdi Overlander
http://gipperstravels.blogspot.com/

Last edited by Gipper; 21 Jun 2014 at 20:34. Reason: cos I have a bad memory ;)
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  #8  
Old 21 Jun 2014
mollydog's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
We are running a little on the heavy side and would lighten things up in the future in terms of gear but our trip has mostly been a paved road trip. A few strong opinions:
Strong opinions are good ... and hard earned.

Perhaps the wrong bike? For mostly pavement ride maybe a roomier Vstrom 650, Tiger 800 or another more comfortable street bike? The DR's not a great big man bike, is really best with a light load. Are you riding Two Up? Or on 2 DR's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
* lots of people on DR forums push the tail light (DRZ) mod. Partner's old DR came with this mod. It sucked big time with duffel bag and Pelican cases
Maybe your duffle is TOO BIG or poorly mounted? Many (hundreds) use the DRZ250 tail light with success. The stock tail light will separate and LEAK. A common shortcoming. Talk to Shu on ADV about this and where he got a FREE spare from.

Oversized rack/bags and too many add-ons may cover the DRZ tail light. Also ... do you ride so much at night to be so concerned with turn signal lights and such? Pretty much a Cardinal rule: Don't ride at night. Be safe out there! I have Buell signals up front, stock in rear. Ok for me.

Full load, tail light well exposed. I don't hang a ton of Crap off the back of my bike. Neatness counts, taillight quite visible at night, and with Jacket, pannier an helmet illumination ... not too bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
I believe that Tuckers to TDF (on ADV) also reported that they regretted this mod for safety reasons. If your setup isn't obscuring the tail light, maybe not a big issue.
The Tuckers are BMW people and did a 100 things wrong on their bikes. They carried 100 lbs. more than they needed and never went off road. IMO, not much credibility ... well, he IS a used car salesman!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
* Horn: I am a big believer in upgrading the horn. On my KLR I used a Stebel nautilus but it seems sensitive to altitude (or perhaps it was damaged).
Many of those BIG aftermarket horns fail.
I learned that 15 years ago. Also ... they don't FIT easily on the DR and can break off (off road) if they don't fail first. Also need a BIG dose of voltage to work 100% ... not the DR's strong suit. A quality Disc horn is fine. Honk less,
drive aware.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
I had an expensive PIAA headlamp and it died a quick death compared to simple, stock bulb. Not impressed. We have had no bulb failures to date on any bulb.
PIAA are crap and the stock H-4 bulb is dangerous and inadequate. I've used a 35W HID system (cost $30) for 3 years, about 20K hard miles of my DR. Zero problems even doing serious off road hammering. I carry a spare system. Use same system on my Tiger 1050. Great.

Running blinding Aux lights in daytime is inviting a head on collision. Target Fixation. In the USA/Canada drivers are used to daytime headlight-on vehicles. Not so much in Latin America. Bright lights can fixate drivers, especially drunks (plenty on the weekends) ... they'll head straight at you. Use caution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
I regularly run a heated jacket (90W) and heated grip elements, and sometimes with LED lights and really haven't had a lot of electrical capacity issues. We do have the upgraded stator. I was "worried" about capacity issues and consider converting everything to LED but, in practice, not really necessary.
Do you own a Warm & Safe jacket?

Before I went to my HID system I ran my battery dead several times running Grips on HIGH (30W) and my Gerbing (77W) at 100%. Daytime I kill headlight when running Gerbing and grips. Doing this I can run 12 hours, no problems.

At night I have to run grips on LO, Gerbing at 75%. I have stock stator. Too many failed after market stator stories. Hope yours holds up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
* Center stand. A controversial topic. I had toyed with the idea of using one of the "stilts" solutions for changing flats but I am glad that I went with a center stand. It is useful for flats, working on the bike, etc. We use them almost everyday for packing, and for parking the bike in tighter places (in fact, using the center stands as I write which made the hostal operators happier since it saves space) . IMHO, worth the weight, but other have different opinions.
For your situation the center stand is fine. Very convenient. But if planning more OFF ROAD travel, then every kg. has to be considered. My DR650 is a dual sport bike and is used as such, so no center stand on mine. Riders have to decide on this ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
* Some sort of chain auto-oiler? Daily chain maintenance can be tedious. Using a spray can, especially w/o a center stand is going to get old very quickly.
Chain oilers are good for riding in constant rain. In fair weather use ... they just make a huge mess and risk oiling your tire. I can't tell you how many riders I've reminded that their rear tire has oil on it ... they hadn't even noticed.

I don't mind cleaning and oiling my chain daily. It gives me a chance to look things over "down there", you know, the place BMW guys NEVER go to!

I've found so many little issues from just cleaning my chain. You see your tires, chain, sprockets, spokes, wheel, various nuts & bolts, wires ... all kinds of things get a quick check. Sure, it's tedious ... But I'm at 55,000 miles (88K kms) and never once had a breakdown other than running out of fuel or a flat.
On the road, your bike is your life line. So a certain amount of time needs to be devoted to it. Many don't do this ... I'm no Safety Nazi or maintenance nut, and sometimes I'll skip a day. But if I have the energy I'll spend 10 minutes on the bike. That's all it ever takes, most times, after all, it's a DR650!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
* Handle bars: you list a preferred style. Perhaps you have already sorted out your preference. If so, good for you! I went through 4 or 5 bars before I found the "correct" one,
Wow, Picky Picky Picky!
But riding position ergos are important. I guess I got lucky ... but then I knew what I needed before I ever took the stock bars off. I also retain the rubber dampers ... I hope you did too. (Pro Taper, CR HIGH, 1" riser)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
Today we just finished a 6hr/500km ride and besides a bit of fatigue from wind blast (might choose a bigger windscreen next time), I could barely tell that I had been riding for a good chunk of the day. I tend to avoid 12 hour ride days nowadays
Wind screens just make MORE noise.

Riding long days needs working up to. You can't start out riding 12 hour days, but can get there the more you ride. If boring, long stretches, I typically do 10 hours days ... but I'm used to doing these distances.

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Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
I lost the rubber vibration dampers due to this mod but never give it a second thought.
I'd recommend riding a stock set up, compare vibration. I have ... to me it's clearly noticeable. Remember those 12 hour days? Vibration = Fatigue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
Other things like parts for your brakes (rebuild kit), fork and damper/shock internals are harder to find. For example, we have Cogent Dynamics rebuilt shocks. We are carrying the internals for a full (or close to) rebuild. The labour can be found (even if a Skype call has to be made to the vendor for specifics) but parts are obscure.
These are parts I wouldn't carry. That Cogent shock will easily go 25K before it needs service. Very unlikely to fail.

It's not a Progressive shock. BTW, shock techs basically DO NOT exist in most of Latin America ... some may tell you they can rebuild your shock ... but most haven't a clue ... but in the big cities they are getting there, slowly.

I would bring spare rear brake pads ... but not front pads. Front pads, especially on long tour, a new set will last over 15K+ miles. Rear pads can wear quickly, especially mud riding. If calipers are serviced correctly and fluid bled every six months NOTHING on those calipers will fail. I've sets from '96 still working perfectly. Note the name on them: Nissin.

Proper servicing is all they need on a 20K mile ride. No parts need be carried other than rear pads. Start with NEW front pads ... should do 20K on tour unless you brake really hard .. or drag the brakes.
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  #9  
Old 21 Jun 2014
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Great post Grif ... I agree 100% with just about everything.
Just a new notes and ideas:

==I'm not a fan of BMW sockets. Prefer plain old universal SAE plugs or coaxial plugs. Can be adapted to any format.

==Headlight? I'm sold on my HID kit. $30, super bright, 3 years on mine. I carry a complete spare system (bulb, ignitor, ballast ... packs small) I have 35W HID, less draw than stock 55W, NO heat. Every Watt helps! Super bright ... 3 times brighter than stock ... very few drivers flash me.

==I would try the Shorai (or similiar Li-Iron) but if it fails, no big deal, go back to standard MF sealed Battery. If it works it's a PLUS PLUS as it's smaller and lighter than standard battery.

==Scott re-usable oil filter? What's the long term consensus? Anyone done oil analysis after four or five oil changes and 20K miles? Honestly, not sure I trust them ... but Man, sure can't beat the convenience. Prove to me they actually filter as good as a paper filter!

==Great advice on suspension Grif! Plus ONE!!!

==As some know, I'm a CHAIN and Sprocket NUT case. Definitely start with a brand new chain ... go with the BEST DID X ring chain you can buy. Probably good for 20K miles if you treat it right.

For 15T sprocket, I like Suzuki OEM. JT are OK ... bring 3 spare front sprockets, different sizes as Grif said. The rear sprocket should last "about" 17K to 20K miles if you're lucky. Carrying a spare rear is a PITA ... but a spare would be TOUGH to find on the road. You decide. Thing is, if you change out the front sprockets every 8K miles or so ... then not only will your chain last much longer ... but so will your rear sprocket. (with good maintenance) Lots of rain and MUD riding can change all above numbers ... do the best you can!

==Spares. Grif covers it very well. The key is to start with NEW stuff. Can't recommend ALL BALLS bearings. Cheap Chinese bearings. Use a brand name like Koyo or stock. Also, as Grif says, start with new Cush Drive rubber cushions and anything else with miles on. I have carried a set of OEM fork seals for the last 30,000 miles, never needed. YMMV. Hard to predict what will wear out and fail. Luckily, if you don't thrash your DR650 ... probably nothing will.

==I don't think you need to carry spare cables if your cables are NEW to start ... or in perfect condition. Just my opinion. The original cables on our old '96 ... are still good. (throttle, clutch) The clutch is the main one to watch. My '06 with 55K miles ... cables still perfect.

==I agree with Grif, more 17" tires available than 18", and more brand choice too. Stay with stock 17". Don't get too clever listening to all the advice on the forums. Listen to guys who've ridden a DR to where you're going ... and got back!

== Lastly, I would think carefully about luggage. I hate solid mounted top boxes if riding off road. Same with hard panniers. If you use soft panniers, use lightweight racks, don't over load the bike with crap hanging off everywhere. MINIMIZE.

Many take TONS of camping gear ... end up hardly ever using it. I don't camp in Latin America. Too many cheap hotels ... and camping can be isolating. Nor do I cook on the road. I might make Tea or Coffee, that's about it. Each his own ... but I read reports everyday where the bike is overloaded with very seldom used camping gear.

Best and only really good camping is in Southern Chile and Argentina. Mexico and Cent. America are mostly NOT GOOD for camping. YMMV. Good luck on the prep!
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  #10  
Old 23 Jun 2014
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I have a BMW socket on my home made dash, a USB socket on the bars, SAE that goes to top box for charging and coaxial socket for Lisa's heated clothing.The BMW socket/plugs aren't as good as SAE, but its good to have a few different options.

With the Scotts I don't think it filters quite as well as a paper filter, but it sure lets the oil flow much easier and combined with a magnetic sump plug I think its OK for overlanding, I use paper filters normally and between both of them id say there is marginally more particles on mag sump plug with the Scotts, the key is to do short service intervals, I try to change oil every 3-5,000 kms if I'm travelling, oil is cheap compared to an engine rebuild.

Chain wise, as Mollydog says, buy the best quality DID X ring chain you can, I forgot to mention with your spares to pack a few split links, I use rivet type and carry a Terra X chain tool which can drive out a pin, clamp on the plate, drive in a new pin and peen the rivet and its very small, great bit of kit. If your chain set is coming to the end of its life, plan ahead and order one to be ready when you get somewhere, In the USA I couldn't get one for 2 weeks and finished our trip on a completely shot chain. Not many people carry them on shelves any more, Colombia would be the easiest place to find one as the cops ride DR650's.

Mollydog, with your HID kit, is the beam pattern still the same ?
That is my main issue with the stock headlight, the beam pattern sucks, on high beam it does not illuminate the ditches to the side and low beam just doesn't do much, I try very hard not to ride at night when overseas, but sometimes you do have to.

IMO I like the independence that having camping gear gives me, I can set up by the side of the road and not have to worry about having to make it to the next overpriced hotel/guesthouse (after you've been through Chile you'll know what I'm talking about).
I'm not a huge fan of cities, to me they serve a purpose to see the sights, get a feel for the locals culture, buy consumables for the bike and sort out administration, then I'm happier out in the countryside and in smaller towns, but that's just me, I don't even like going to London when Im in the UK!

A compromise for Central America would be to carry a hammock and a mosquito net, quite comfy once you get the hang of sleeping in them, but totally useless when you get to Patagonia
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  #11  
Old 23 Jun 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gipper View Post
I have a BMW socket on my home made dash, a USB socket on the bars, SAE that goes to top box for charging and coaxial socket for Lisa's heated clothing.The BMW socket/plugs aren't as good as SAE, but its good to have a few different options.
Options are GOOD!
Sounds like you're way ahead of me on this! Once I start running more gadgets I'll need to upgrade, maybe add a fuse block and different formate connectors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gipper View Post
With the Scotts I don't think it filters quite as well as a paper filter, but it sure lets the oil flow much easier and combined with a magnetic sump plug I think its OK for overlanding, I use paper filters normally and between both of them id say there is marginally more particles on mag sump plug with the Scotts, the key is to do short service intervals, I try to change oil every 3-5,000 kms if I'm travelling, oil is cheap compared to an engine rebuild.
No question, oil changes are good. Where do you find quality oil on the road? Synthetic? MC specific? I have found it OK in Mexico and Cent. Am, but eons since I rode bikes in S. America.
So, what's the plan there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gipper View Post
Mollydog, with your HID kit, is the beam pattern still the same ?
Yes, beam pattern is the same, far as I can tell. As mentioned, it's easily 3 times brighter than stock. 100% agree on night riding, but sometimes you have no choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gipper View Post
A compromise for Central America would be to carry a hammock and a mosquito net, quite comfy once you get the hang of sleeping in them, but totally useless when you get to Patagonia
plus one on the hammock. I lived in one when I lived in El Salvador and Guatemala, used it camping at Tikal and other places. I still own a Cotton
Mexican "Matrimonio" hammock.
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  #12  
Old 26 Jun 2014
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Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Strong opinions are good ... and hard earned.

Thanks!

Perhaps the wrong bike? For mostly pavement ride maybe a roomier Vstrom 650, Tiger 800 or another more comfortable street bike? The DR's not a great big man bike, is really best with a light load. Are you riding Two Up? Or on 2 DR's?

There are two of us on DR650s. She finds the KLR too big for her - unmanageable. I have a KLR which I rode down from Canada to Argentina in 2010. It was just manageable on some of the off-road sections I went on but generally comfortable. Since we were already taking one DR, we opted to take a second for the technical benefits of taking the same bike. While we have not done as much "off-road" as I anticipated, the DR was a pretty good choice for her, although I know at times she wishing she is on a 250 (until riding at highway speeds). Also, we built out our bikes with Africa in mind (not happening right now - Maybe later). If I was to go Euro, I think I would choose KTM in SA since KTM dealership relationships vastly outnumber BMW, and others. From my understanding, KTM parts, even for big bikes can be had quickly, while most BMW parts are being shipped from Germany. This is not a first hand guarantee of fact!

It turns out we are seeing less DR650s on the road as service vehicles than I did four years ago. New gen KLRs, V-Stroms and Honda Tornados have much more prominence on the western route (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina), or so is my observation. Actually, DR 650s aren't really all that present except for Colombia. We have seen a lot more V-Stroms and KLRs for sale to the public than DR650s (perhaps none) which may suggest that it would be easier to get parts for those other bikes. If your are choosing a DR650 for generally parts availability in SA, you may be receiving deprecated advice.

Please do not take this advice as 100%, but reasonable observation. I would say that I am speaking in a 1:10 to 1:20 availability of the DR650 compared to KLR and Tornados. YMMV. So far, we have not seen a single DR650 in Argentina, none in Bolivia except heavily farkled ones indicating US origin (mind you, Venezuela donated a bunch of KLRs a couple of years back - the guy who assembled these bikes did some work on my KLR in 2010), Peru, not many, Ecuador - not many. Colombia - not many, but some, I think the most on our trip. But probably more aging Suzuki Freewinds on the road in Colombia that DR650s. In Colombia, which is a "reasonable" retooling country for South America (a good place to "refresh" your bike), I can't recall seeing a DR650 for sale. Yes to DR250, DL650, KLR650, lots of KTMs big and small, and was told that BMW parts come from Germany (waiting). Don't take my word as fact. If you are reading this well in advance of a trip, unless you *know* that the DR650 is "the bike for you", use all of this as fodder for your selections process. Keep in mind that a DR650 isn't supposed to fail. (Neither is a KLR or DR-Z with the appropriate "reliability fixes").


Maybe your duffle is TOO BIG or poorly mounted? Many (hundreds) use the DRZ250 tail light with success. The stock tail light will separate and LEAK. A common shortcoming. Talk to Shu on ADV about this and where he got a FREE spare from.

Oversized rack/bags and too many add-ons may cover the DRZ tail light.

What I failed to mention is that we are using Happy Trails SU racks which use brackets to put the turns signals further back. This is probably part of the problem, but the PMB rack still obscures the smaller tail light from different angles, specifically from the side.

Also ... do you ride so much at night to be so concerned with turn signal lights and such? Pretty much a Cardinal rule: Don't ride at night. Be safe out there! I have Buell signals up front, stock in rear. Ok for me

Day time viz is my topic of discussion. Strong sunlight is a major issue. The DRC type LEDs (and others), in my opinion, can be insufficient during the day. Perhaps people have different types of visual perceptions, but the solid bright amber stockers catch my attention more than LEDs, on most bikes so I can tell. I've ridden about two weeks with her and the DRZ tail light, and now +8 months with the stock and, IMHO, the stock is somewhat more visible. In both case she was using the brake light modulator. When you add something like the HT SU rack and/or PMB rack.


Full load, tail light well exposed. I don't hang a ton of Crap off the back of my bike. Neatness counts, taillight quite visible at night, and with Jacket, pannier an helmet illumination ... not too bad.

The Tuckers are BMW people and did a 100 things wrong on their bikes. They carried 100 lbs. more than they needed and never went off road. IMO, not much credibility ... well, he IS a used car salesman!

Never met them. They left around we did, but were "on a mission" and travelling faster than us That said, I am not sure the being a fan of one bike or another changes their observations pre- and post-mode. Were they not running Happy Trails SU racks and HT panniers?


Many of those BIG aftermarket horns fail.
I learned that 15 years ago. Also ... they don't FIT easily on the DR and can break off (off road) if they don't fail first. Also need a BIG dose of voltage to work 100% ... not the DR's strong suit. A quality Disc horn is fine. Honk less,
drive aware.

What you say is true: Drive Aware. I would say this ten times over before telling people to use their horn. That said, for someone doing any sort of long distance travel, even if favouring off-road routes, especially in the Americas, you are going to be riding on the road a lot as well. It terms of the use of the horn, I am not a big user generally. I am not an "angry honker" (actually, to busy dealing with the swerve, to honk horn). But, there are cities and countries out there that expect you to honk at intersections - might as well be heard, no? I have also been in a number in instances where I really benefitted from having a loud horn. I am from a big city with bad rushhour traffic, people with a minivan full of kids, on the phone, etc. Even when "I was paying attention", there are points where I have been trapped in forward and aft traffic as someone brainless drifts into my line to find only half a should to my side. The only way out of situation is to use the horn. I have also been nearly forced off of US interstates by inattentive semi-drivers who *assumed* that it was clear as he let the first bike pass and starts to pull out (with little notice to use) forcing me into an insufficient shoulder. There are similar analogues for Latin America. "Loud pipes don't save lives. But loud horns do". Loud colours help too . YMMV.

PIAA are crap and the stock H-4 bulb is dangerous and inadequate. I've used a 35W HID system (cost $30) for 3 years, about 20K hard miles of my DR. Zero problems even doing serious off road hammering. I carry a spare system. Use same system on my Tiger 1050. Great.

Considered HID but chose not to due to concern about failure rate, and beam pattern. Too afraid of our local cops. Not empirical -- don't have a strong opinion. Have used the NiteHawk(?) ones with success but they burn out more quickly than stock (carry spares).

Running blinding Aux lights in daytime is inviting a head on collision. Target Fixation. In the USA/Canada drivers are used to daytime headlight-on vehicles. Not so much in Latin America. Bright lights can fixate drivers, especially drunks (plenty on the weekends) ... they'll head straight at you. Use caution.

Point about target fixation is relevant and a good one. It *might* pertain also to super-bright headlights. That said, from my experience, there are many, many occasions where one is basically "already the target". When we and our opposing (and now same lane) traffic, and they *assume* that we are doing 1/2 the speed that we are, and that we are narrow enough (and going slow enough) to skirt onto a gravel or degraded shoulder, flashing some decent lights are useful. I prefer to use handlebar LED lights as it better indicates that we are *different* than 125cc motorcycle. Different countries seem to have different driving cultures, and the hazards present themselves in different ways. Costal Peru, for example, when a driver decides to pass, he or she is probably not going to have a change of heart even though there is nothing special about the particular passing point, and the road is dead straight and otherwise not heavily populated. As the motorcycles (indicated by a single headlight), you are at the bottom of the pecking order and better plan your escape route onto the shoulder - paved or otherwise. The other day we we riding along on a holiday in Argentina. Every fifth car or so, during a certain stretch, was edging out to pass. Yes. We road with our LEDs on. It seemed to cause people to change their minds in terms of passing more quickly. Yes. There is a risk of target fixation, sure, but that may be the lesser of two evils. In places like Guatemala and the Andes, fog (or clouds) can be an issue. With the absence of dedicated fog lights, LEDs IMHO have been useful.

Do you own a Warm & Safe jacket?

Yes. We both have one. Very happy with them. I have used a different brand, in vest format, in the past, but the jacket (format!) is much sweeter.

Before I went to my HID system I ran my battery dead several times running Grips on HIGH (30W) and my Gerbing (77W) at 100%. Daytime I kill headlight when running Gerbing and grips. Doing this I can run 12 hours, no problems.

We haven't yet killed our batteries with heated gear. As of late, I have often been running the grips and jacket at full. (Full jacket because it is cool here and Motoport mesh kevlar breaths "too well". If it is downright cold we thrown on windproof outer wear and turn the jackets down). Sometimes we have LED aux lights on as on as well. That said, we have (LED) battery monitors and start to moderate if there is an issue. We also make it a point to turn off our heat about 20-30 minutes in advance of arriving somewhere with the expectation that we will recover some charge.


At night I have to run grips on LO, Gerbing at 75%. I have stock stator. Too many failed after market stator stories. Hope yours holds up.

Me too!

For your situation the center stand is fine. Very convenient. But if planning more OFF ROAD travel, then every kg. has to be considered. My DR650 is a dual sport bike and is used as such, so no center stand on mine. Riders have to decide on this

"Off-road" is a loose definition. OP may or may not have really defined plans yet. Even more to the point, if you are manually oiling your chain (OP suggested two years), that is a *lot* of time using the "tri-pod" stand if a center stand is not in use (perhaps 500-700 times? over two years). As long as you carry the extra bolts, it would be easier to get rid of the thing (or post it elsewhere for a certain section), if you decide you didn't like it, rather than deciding to add one later. For for thought.

In our situation, when we have been taking harder off-road sojourns (i.e. riding up volcanoes in Ecuador), we have been leaving most of our gear at the hostal, etc., and making it a day trip. This is a pretty common scenario. Again, it depends what you want to do and how you want to do it. And when you are doing it. In one instance, in 2010, I made it up and down one volcano without much issue (drier). This year it was difficult getting said bikes down the same volcano. Actually just a poor choice to attempt it as only MT-21 (not K60 or TKC80) type tires would have been appropriate (IMHO). In the end, I really doubt that the centerstand made very little difference. Mind you, during volcano #1 in Ecuador I got a massive nail through my rear tire. Tripod stand would have worked but centerstand was welcome.



Chain oilers are good for riding in constant rain. In fair weather use ... they just make a huge mess and risk oiling your tire. I can't tell you how many riders I've reminded that their rear tire has oil on it ... they hadn't even noticed.

I don't mind cleaning and oiling my chain daily. It gives me a chance to look things over "down there", you know, the place BMW guys NEVER go to!

Cleaning is important. Pulling out a tripod stand to manually oil your chain is a good amount of work. OP and others can decide. You best bet is at the petrol/gas station. Not every place you stay at will appreciate you doing this sort of work.

I've found so many little issues from just cleaning my chain. You see your tires, chain, sprockets, spokes, wheel, various nuts & bolts, wires ... all kinds of things get a quick check. Sure, it's tedious ... But I'm at 55,000 miles (88K kms) and never once had a breakdown other than running out of fuel or a flat. .

Cheers! A very good idea. I will never admit that I am perfect on this account, but I try. Usually when we stop for the day, start for the day, get gas, stop for a baΓ±os break, food, etc. I have a poke around. Actually, my significant other often gets "annoyed" with me as I fixate on different areas of the bikes and *assumes* my weird looks means that there is a problem. Equally, keeping the bikes *clean* is assistive here. It is easier to find "stuff" on metal if you are not looking for "stuff" on dirt, grime, etc.

On the road, your bike is your life line. So a certain amount of time needs to be devoted to it. Many don't do this ... I'm no Safety Nazi or maintenance nut, and sometimes I'll skip a day. But if I have the energy I'll spend 10 minutes on the bike. That's all it ever takes, most times, after all, it's a DR650!

*Nice*

Wow, Picky Picky Picky!
But riding position ergos are important. I guess I got lucky ... but then I knew what I needed before I ever took the stock bars off. I also retain the rubber dampers ... I hope you did too. (Pro Taper, CR HIGH, 1" riser)

My PT CR Highs are sitting on the shelf ready for sale (pre-mounted for HDB) - their sweep is to tight and is giving me wrist impingement She couldn't use them either - similar ouchies - wrist strain after an hour or so. I have just had good look with ATV bends (I have monkey arms). I believe she is running Windham. Its not really "picky". It seems to me that "grip position" is the most "honed in" part of an MC. More specific than footpegs or seat which "automatically" adjust at certain angles. If your hands, wrists, and arms are not comfortable, you could be ruining your trip, or perhaps a good chunk of your life. I have "lucked out" with a decade or more of doing computer for for a living, but carpel tunnel is not something that I wish to have.

Wind screens just make MORE noise.

Riding long days needs working up to. You can't start out riding 12 hour days, but can get there the more you ride. If boring, long stretches, I typically do 10 hours days ... but I'm used to doing these distances.

I am going to stop you here.

Where did the metric of a 12 hour day come from?

With all due respect, this is HU. OP hasn't explained to much about himself from my recollection, but I question whether on HU that *we* should be coaching people to travel long days. What for? I am a "relative" newb having only spent in total a year on the road when I factor in multiple trips, but from my recollection, those who are *much* more experienced than me almost always recommend travelling "slowly".

In terms of windscreen, I have ridden the DR650, as well as my previous DR-Z, without a windscreen. We hail from a cool weather riding country. We ride near or below freezing which you will do lots if you are riding in the Andes. I fail to see why one would ride a DR650 (all of the time) on a long trip without a windscreen. While I one rect TCI), the Madstadt adjustable system seems interesting.


I'd recommend riding a stock set up, compare vibration. I have ... to me it's clearly noticeable. Remember those 12 hour days? Vibration = Fatigue.

*For me*, at 6', I am not interested in raising the foot pegs (for travel -- would loose the bike first). Vibrations at the pegs are a non-issue Never thought about vibes at the feet until this post.

These are parts I wouldn't carry. That Cogent shock will easily go 25K before it needs service. Very unlikely to fail.

Could be but NC Rick suggested that we carry spare parts. And that he would be open to remote support via Skype. We weren't about to argue with the engineer

It's not a Progressive shock. BTW, shock techs basically DO NOT exist in most of Latin America ... some may tell you they can rebuild your shock ... but most haven't a clue ... but in the big cities they are getting there, slowly.

Could be, but I would rather have a couple spare parts since they weight so little. If one did find a good suspension tech it is a breeze. Or else you might wait a month (or more) and pay for the shipping and some arbitrarily choosen duty for the new shock".

I would bring spare rear brake pads ... but not front pads. Front pads, especially on long tour, a new set will last over 15K+ miles. Rear pads can wear quickly, especially mud riding. If calipers are serviced correctly and fluid bled every six months NOTHING on those calipers will fail. I've sets from '96 still working perfectly. Note the name on them: Nissin.

Andes in South America make the Rockies look like the bunny hills. YMMV. That said, you *can* get your size. Really no need to carry spares x 2, but 1 might be smart.

Proper servicing is all they need on a 20K mile ride. No parts need be carried other than rear pads. Start with NEW front pads ... should do 20K on tour unless you brake really hard .. or drag the brakes.
*
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  #13  
Old 26 Jun 2014
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Hi Steve. We are sitting here in Buenos Aires waiting to ship two DR650s back to North America. Are hanging out with one dude who is from Sydney and got into talking. From the looks of things with Vince Strang, did you know that that Aussie made items such as Pivot Pegz and the DR 650 Safari tank, and probably Bark Busters, are *cheaper* to buy in the US than Aussie! We might be missing something here, but you might want to shop around a bit

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Originally Posted by stevesgonewalkabout View Post
and here it is...

SNIP
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  #14  
Old 26 Jun 2014
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Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
Actually, DR 650s aren't really all that present except for Colombia. We have seen a lot more V-Stroms and KLRs for sale to the public than DR650s (perhaps none) which may suggest that it would be easier to get parts for those other bikes. If your are choosing a DR650 for generally parts availability in SA, you may be receiving deprecated advice.
That's interesting, good to know. I'd heard local Police were using DR's in places ... but things change. Some HUBB members (Ecuadorians and Colombians) claim there is now a Suzuki assembly plant in Colombia. I heard they are putting DL650's and DR's together for regional sale ... but can't confirm. It would be a shame if no parts are around for your DR's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
In Colombia, which is a "reasonable" retooling country for South America (a good place to "refresh" your bike)
Yes, this confirms what i've heard too. I would hope to be able to get hold of common expendables: Tires, tubes, battery, brake pads and perhaps get some welding or repairs done if required.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
Day time viz is my topic of discussion. Strong sunlight is a major issue. The DRC type LEDs (and others), in my opinion, can be insufficient during the day.
I'm sure your stock tail light will be fine ... I've seen a couple guys break them off riding off road ... and the separation issue is a pain. I don't use LED (maybe I should?) bulbs in tail light or signals. Just stock.
Conspicuity is important for sure!

Tuckers:
As you say "... on a mission". Sounded to me like they suffered mightily the whole trip and just wanted to get it done, get all the passport stamps and get back to Orange County and their swimming pool. I stopped following them early on once I saw their travel style.

Good comments on Horns. YES, at times you need them .. and in certain cultures they are essential! It's just tough to mount a big one on the DR, a couple have failed after a year or two or rough going off road ... actually in the last 5 years I've lost 3 horns ... GONE ... never noticed them fall off. GONE. Back to high quality Disc horns.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
Considered HID but chose not to due to concern about failure rate, and beam pattern. Too afraid of our local cops. Not empirical -- don't have a strong opinion. Have used the NiteHawk(?) ones with success but they burn out more quickly than stock (carry spares).
HID don't often fail ... especially good for the DR as they use LESS watts and give LOTS more light. Beam pattern is perfect and if aimed properly, no one flashes me!
I hate HOT, high amp "Super Bulbs". Your 3 prong plug will melt. I've not burnt a bulb in 55K miles. (tail light or signal either .. just one speedo light)

Yes, in Thailand oncoming traffic coming at you .. expect you to move over and ride along the 2 ft. wide pedestrian path ... or in the Paddy! Unbelievable .. but just standard practice there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
Yes. We both have one. Very happy with them. I have used a different brand, in vest format, in the past, but the jacket (format!) is much sweeter.
Warm & Safe are nice, and very well made. But are not the Warmest and draw 90 watts. For the DR, this is a concern. My Gerbing jacket is warmer than W&S ... draws 77 watts. (I have both) W&S have a new one ... 60 or 65 watts I heard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
We haven't yet killed our batteries with heated gear. As of late, I have often been running the grips and jacket at full. (Full jacket because it is cool here and Motoport mesh kevlar breaths "too well". If it is downright cold we thrown on windproof outer wear and turn the jackets down). Sometimes we have LED aux lights on as on as well. That said, we have (LED) battery monitors and start to moderate if there is an issue. We also make it a point to turn off our heat about 20-30 minutes in advance of arriving somewhere with the expectation that we will recover some charge.
Very smart to shut off accessories before arrival! (I do the same) Sounds to me like that extra 50 watts on your stator are working well. Do be aware ... try not to stress out your Batt too much in remote area.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
"Off-road" is a loose definition. OP may or may not have really defined plans yet. Even more to the point, if you are manually oiling your chain (OP suggested two years), that is a *lot* of time using the "tri-pod" stand if a center stand is not in use (perhaps 500-700 times?
I don't carry a Tri-Pod stand. I just stand the bike more or less straight on side stand and clean and oil a section at a time, moving bike a bit after each oiling ... or sometimes just adding a bit of oil. If really cleaning I remove left pannier for access to chain/wheel. I used a stand for a while, not needed.

But for long travel, a center stand is best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
Equally, keeping the bikes *clean* is assistive here. It is easier to find "stuff" on metal if you are not looking for "stuff" on dirt, grime, etc.
Exactly!
Clean is good ... especially around the drive line, wheels and tires.
All critical day to day essentials to keep an eye on.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
If your hands, wrists, and arms are not comfortable, you could be ruining your trip, or perhaps a good chunk of your life. I have "lucked out" with a decade or more of doing computer for for a living, but carpel tunnel is not something that I wish to have.
Great point about Carpal Tunnel. This is something I am always explaining to riders. Sounds like you guys are very well tuned into this ... it will pay BIG dividends on those too long days. I was a microphone Boom operator on TV/Movies for 10 years ... Carpal Tunnel is also an issue doing that job ... I also rode sport bike for years ... until I couldn't!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
I am going to stop you here.
Where did the metric of a 12 hour day come from?
Not sure. I think I just pulled it out of thin are ... but I have ridden plenty of 12 hour days, but usually shoot for 10 hours. Going at a slower pace is always better, unless crossing Colorado, Nevada or Montana or trying to out run a storm or on a deadline.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
What for? I am a "relative" newb having only spent in total a year on the road when I factor in multiple trips, but from my recollection, those who are *much* more experienced than me almost always recommend travelling "slowly".
Slowly is always better, no question. But it's good to have the endurance and ability to go long if you should have to.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkles View Post
In terms of windscreen, I have ridden the DR650, as well as my previous DR-Z, without a windscreen. We hail from a cool weather riding country. We ride near or below freezing which you will do lots if you are riding in the Andes. I fail to see why one would ride a DR650 (all of the time) on a long trip without a windscreen. While I one rect TCI), the Madstadt adjustable system seems interesting.
YES! If you can manage to get your screen smooth and quiet ... then it's ALL GOOD. With me and the DR, I've do mostly HOT weather riding ... so a screen there blocks cooling air ... but you're right .. for Canada or the Andes ... a screen would be a luxury ... maybe a life saver. I've ridden through snow in our California Sierra many times as well as in Colorado ... a screen would have been welcomed.
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Old 26 Jun 2014
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Various in Ontario, Canada (no fixed address)
Posts: 35
[QUOTE=mollydog;470755]Great post Grif ... I agree 100% with just about everything.
Just a new notes and ideas:

==I'm not a fan of BMW sockets. Prefer plain old universal SAE plugs or coaxial plugs. Can be adapted to any format.

For me, this is a tricky call. The "Cigar/Cigarette" sockets are the ones that Powerlet are trying to explain to us as being unreliable and big. Probably true. I have seen a bunch of people use those USB cylinders that take one or connections that just drop into a cig socket. Available and cheap. You get to charge one or two phones off of a single dropin cartridge for something like USD$6. How much does it cost of a Powerlet cable for your phone, and then Ipod, and then something else. They are expensive! $25+ depending on where you live. For 1/10 of that you can buy one or more of those cables, and a couple more bucks buys you a double USB to Cigar socket adapter. Now, if you haven't decided to (over-) do Powerlet sockets, it is a direct connections. Or you can drag around a Powerlet-to-Cigar dongles (yes, I have had failures and had to fix the dongle so I could use the pump!). Don't buy into the hype! One Powerlet might be useful, but count that actually use cases. Each tine you add an adaptor you increase the possibility of failure.

==Headlight? I'm sold on my HID kit. $30, super bright, 3 years on mine. I carry a complete spare system (bulb, ignitor, ballast ... packs small) I have 35W HID, less draw than stock 55W, NO heat. Every Watt helps! Super bright ... 3 times brighter than stock ... very few drivers flash me.

Interested, will watch.

==I would try the Shorai (or similiar Li-Iron) but if it fails, no big deal, go back to standard MF sealed Battery. If it works it's a PLUS PLUS as it's smaller and lighter than standard battery.

Cold weather performance is advertised. Takes a bit. After one accidental discharge, and cold start, didn't feel like a miracle battery. Ran it in DR650 and DRZ400. Would I use it again (locally)? Yes. At time of departure, for long trip, did not feel tested enough.

==Scott re-usable oil filter? What's the long term consensus? Anyone done oil analysis after four or five oil changes and 20K miles? Honestly, not sure I trust them ... but Man, sure can't beat the convenience. Prove to me they actually filter as good as a paper filter!

This is a tricky one. If we were to carry paper filters and change each time we would be at around 16 paper filters between the two of us. We like to start changing oil at 3000km and max at 4000km.


==Great advice on suspension Grif! Plus ONE!!!

==As some know, I'm a CHAIN and Sprocket NUT case. Definitely start with a brand new chain ... go with the BEST DID X ring chain you can buy. Probably good for 20K miles if you treat it right.

Pretty sure that your advice had directly led to our chain and sprockets choice.

For 15T sprocket, I like Suzuki OEM. JT are OK ... bring 3 spare front sprockets, different sizes as Grif said. The rear sprocket should last "about" 17K to 20K miles if you're lucky. Carrying a spare rear is a PITA ... but a spare would be TOUGH to find on the road. You decide. Thing is, if you change out the front sprockets every 8K miles or so ... then not only will your chain last much longer ... but so will your rear sprocket. (with good maintenance) Lots of rain and MUD riding can change all above numbers ... do the best you can!

I concur with the multiple front sprockets. It makes sense. Any time we are riding in mountainous areas, or off-road tracts, we like to switch to 14 tooth. We did not bring 16 tooth sprockets. We never really found 15 tooth sprockets insufficient, but wouldn't exclude 16 for the next time. With regards to 14t sprockets, why not add an extra one. By definition, they are going to work harder than stock. They also wear more than stock by definition, and are harder to find than stock.

==Spares. Grif covers it very well. The key is to start with NEW stuff. Can't recommend ALL BALLS bearings. Cheap Chinese bearings. Use a brand name like Koyo or stock. Also, as Grif says, start with new Cush Drive rubber cushions and anything else with miles on. I have carried a set of OEM fork seals for the last 30,000 miles, never needed. YMMV. Hard to predict what will wear out and fail. Luckily, if you don't thrash your DR650 ... probably nothing will.

Guys, it depends on your range. I haven't done a "RTW". I suspect that if I was riding down to South America, I would choose to do some replacements before starting the next hop (either side of the hop)., say Africa. You can get most things sent anywhere. Hell, I have seen more stores in Latin America carrying SPF bearings than back in Canada. Bearings are commonplace items.

==I don't think you need to carry spare cables if your cables are NEW to start ... or in perfect condition. Just my opinion. The original cables on our old '96 ... are still good. (throttle, clutch) The clutch is the main one to watch. My '06 with 55K miles ... cables still perfect.

YMMV. I chose to buy some Motion Pro clutch cables in 2010. One clutch cable broke pre-trip (under a week prior). I assumed it was random. The second clutch cable popped in Colombia *exactly* where my new friends did not want me to stop due to FARC activity - I passed just after federal elections. The cable was prerouted and took about 15 minutes to swap out - back to original! (Would not be the case if it was not pre-routed). I believe that these cables where faulty. Vendor nor manufacturer had much to say. I brought it up with the vendor but nothing much came of it. I did not chase them either That said, I will buy MP tools, but not parts that I stick to my bike. I might still have the cable head in which the solder let go revealing a hole all the way through the cable head.


Anyway, what is the reason for not prerouting a clutch and pull cable through frame? Easy insurance, no? Keep in mind that you waiting for a truck, without.


==I agree with Grif, more 17" tires available than 18", and more brand choice too. Stay with stock 17". Don't get too clever listening to all the advice on the forums. Listen to guys who've ridden a DR to where you're going ... and got back!

Agreed. Don't believe the hype. Most 18 inchers will be too narrow. You are back at square one
.

== Lastly, I would think carefully about luggage. I hate solid mounted top boxes if riding off road. Same with hard panniers. If you use soft panniers, use lightweight racks, don't over load the bike with crap hanging off everywhere. MINIMIZE.

OK. So above poster does not recommend hard luggage. Fair enough. To each his own. There is sense here. You have suggested that you would like to do an RTW with a lot of off-road. You probably have a computer and a camera, and probably want to hang on to them. What makes you feel comfortable? Where does this stuff go when you take a piss? When you go eat lunch? When leave your bike unattended as you sign into a hotel?

Many take TONS of camping gear ... end up hardly ever using it. I don't camp in Latin America. Too many cheap hotels ... and camping can be isolating. Nor do I cook on the road. I might make Tea or Coffee, that's about it. Each his own ... but I read reports everyday where the bike is overloaded with very seldom used camping gear.

Don't overdue camping gear. I also consider basic camping gear part of my "I got sick and have to boondock on the side of the road gear".

"Latin America" is a diverse place. To make any statement about cost associations universally would be incorrect, and "cheap" is relative. Per person per night? USD$7, $USD10, $USD15, $USD30. I personally have got stuck with paying +USD$100 in the past having to find a place that would take a bike overnight having excluded what I saw as my other options. Now we are travelling two for much longer period.

IMHO, the choice to camp is mostly personal opinion. For example, "back home" if you just hate camping, why start now? That said, for us Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, we learned to camp from an young age. If you are doing a whirlwind tour, probably not bother. If you are heading to the "more expensive" SA countries (Argentina, Chile, Brasil), you might find that these countries are beyond your travel budget.

For motorcycles, if you follow the RV, car and truck people, you will probably be able to camp. Look up the camping section at Life Remotely and similar sites. We stayed at a whole bunch of the places they (LR) recommended in our tent and were generally pretty happy about it. For us, we prefer to camp when we are staying more than one night somewhere. We stayed at many places for 3-4 nights in our tent for what it would have cost for one night in a room. We started to camp in Mexico on the Baja, camped mostly on Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Colombia and Bolivia. If we were travelling in "their" summer, we would be camping more further south.


Best and only really good camping is in Southern Chile and Argentina. Mexico and Cent. America are mostly NOT GOOD for camping. YMMV. Good luck on the prep!

We haven't camped in Southern Chile or Argentina (bit cold right now, and planning for home). We have great memories of most of our camping locations starting in Mexico. Sometimes you can find yourself staying for close to a week at the same price as one night in a room.

If you decide to camp, and cook a lot, you can always do this in "waves". By this, I mean that if you decide to bring the most simple pot and stove (suitable - you do you fuel for this - your gas tank, hint hint), you can always buy a bigger pot or frying pan when you know that you are going to use it for a while, and toss it later.

We like to have options. We have arbitrary landed ourselves in "gringo" areas in costal Mexico with "back home" rates for hotels (+$100-250) and food (+USD$20 - yikes!). Or USD$7 for a tent spot, ahh.

***A tent is not for everyone*** What a tent can provide:

* Cheaper accommodations
* less tarantulas than the place next door
* 100% mosquito-free compared the expensive bamboo cabaΓ±as
* 100% less scorpions
* 73% less venomous snake bites
* 110% more stars than other dwellings
* 33% percent more air than similar tropical dwellings
* 0% chance of less rain.
* 85% chance of better pricavy
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