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Old 10 Jan 2004
jp4 jp4 is offline
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02 DR650 Comments - Tips

I own an 02 DR650 (bought it new in Mar 03) an really enjoy the bike. I chose the DR because I like to ride hard off-road, but have about a 1 hr road ride to the trails I wanted a 650 given my road time. The KTM 640 was my first choice, but too expensive ($11500 v $6500 for the DR CDN $).
COMMENTS ON THE DR - Great power - Excellent brakes, pads wear quickly mind you - Too soft suspension (I'm 175lbs and ride hard), I'm not sure whether I need to replace springs up front, or if oil height adjustment will work, I think I can dial in the rear w/ preload and the compression adjuster, any suggestions? Stock TrailWing tires are down right dangerous in any kind of mud! I plan on replacing them w/ Dunlop D606's.
TIPS - Place a 3" piece of plastic tubing over the speedo cable where it rides over the lower triple clamp. Also, grind down the casting line on the lower triple clamp where the cable goes over it. The ridge chafs on the cable and wears through it. I caught the problem right away. Met a guy who didn't and spent ~$700CDN for a new cable. Outrageous!
Buy a skid plate. I waited and paid the price in the form of a banged up frame tube. Given the low ground clearance when used off-road a skid plate is mandatory. I bought one from Moose. A bit tricky to install, but better and cheaper than Suzuki's offering (Moose $100, Suzuki $160CDN).
Any suggestions or experiences w/ the DR appreciated. JP
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Old 12 Jan 2004
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I've recently bought a used 99 model, which I understand is identical to the current model apart from a few cosmetic differences and the headlight.

My bike had fitted, from new, a hard plastic cover over the speedo cable, starting just above the instruments and continuing most of the way down the fork leg. I'm surprised to hear yours didn't! I know two other DR owners with '02 and '03 models and theirs both have the cover too. Perhaps Suzuki Australia recognised the problem?

Anyway, you asked for tips and comments, and I have some:

-The rubber-mounted footpegs can, when the bike is dropped, strike the frame tubes. My RH peg has actually punctured the frame with one of the serrations from a hard fall. If you trailride lots, you may want to consider removing the rubber spacers and hard-mount your pegs to prevent that.

-The stock levers are cast aluminium. They will snap if dropped. Fit brush guards and/or replace your levers with aftermarket steel ones that will bend, not snap.

-The bike comes with 525 sprockets and an endless 525 chain. Firstly, 525-section stuff isn't very common and your gearing options are limited. Secondly, 525 stuff is more expensive than more common sizes. Thirdly, every Honda XR/Suzuki DRZ/Yamaha WR has 520 chain/sprockets, so these are much more widely available. Finally, 520 and 525 chains have the same breaking strain. I've just replaced the 14/41T525 sprockets on my bike with 14/43T520, and saved myself AUD$100 in the process. And unless you carry a chainbreaker and you're not afraid to use it, an endless chain is a stupid idea on a dirtbike. Even if you keep a 525 chain, replace the original with one with a split link so you can work on it in the field.

-The fuel range is barely adequate. A larger plastic main tank will increase both range and crash durability. An auxilliary tank on the rear is only a good idea for touring, it would be vulnerable on trails.

-I've installed an inline fuel filter (transparent) for those times when the only fuel in town is sold from a shop that was last painted in 1947 and probably had its last delivery of fresh fuel at the same time
99 DR650SE
Bathurst, NSW
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Old 17 Jan 2004
jp4 jp4 is offline
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Thanks for the reply.

Re the speedo cable. It has a plastic protector from the instrument cluster down to the lower fork leg, but it is still not enough to protect it against the casting line on the lower triple clamp. The line was quite sharp (ground it off w/ a DREMEL) and was causing rapid chafing.

Re the rubber mounted pegs. My LH peg pushed into the frame rail (didn't puncture it) during a crash. Does hard mounting the pegs inrease the vibration through the feet?

Re the chain and gearing. I'm not a big fan of the endless chain either, but will live w/ it until it needs to be replaced. I will replace it w/ a master-linked 520 when it's junked. Thanks for the tip about using a 520.
My bike is geared 15/42. It just a tad too tall in the tight stuff. I'd like to lower it just a bit so that I could torque along in 2nd gear in tight woods, but still have a comfortable highway cruise. Should I raise 1 tooth on the rear, or drop 1 tooth on the front (those are the correct approaches to lowering the gearing, they just achieve different final reductions, right?)?

Any suggestion on suspension fixes? I believe our bikes come w/ the same forks, not sure about the shock or linkage rates?
On my bike both ends need stiffening. I ride aggressive and fast (grew up racing MX) in everything from tight woods to wide open double track and fire roads. I weigh 175lbs (80KGs). I'm going to try raising the fork oil height (will stick w/ stock 10w) in 5 ml increments. If this doesn't work I'll replace the springs w/ the next stiffer spring rate available. Any idea what that might be? I'm not even sure what the stock ones are. For the rear I'll try preload and the compression adjuster. Any idea what a good preload/sag measurement is for these types of bikes? I know on a motorcross bike 100mm is usually a good starting point (measuring from seat bolt to axle bolt loaded/unloaded). Have you made any suspension mods? Where do you get set-up info? I've not seen any publications that seriously test and offer recommendations for dual-sport machines.

Any info greatly appreciated. Happy trails.

P.S. I know it's the middle of summer down under. By way of comparison it was -23C here overnight, high expected of -13C and 10cm of snow for today! I'm only dreaming of riding.

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Old 1 Feb 2004
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Hi guys
I have a DR 650 SE model 96 and I enjoy it stillI think there are only a few modifications good: A steel flex brake hose front side, White power suspension system front and rear, will give you much better conection to the road and you can even ride with 2 persons on it incluiding lugagge.
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Old 29 Feb 2004
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I just bought an '03 DR650, and am going throught the same 'mod' process....
(Actually just getting started!)
A couple of good message boards are MaximumSuzuki.com, and ThumperTalk.com
It seems the hot set up is to drop to a 14 tooth sprocket on front. It does take a little modification with a grinder!
(Haven't done it yet)
http://www.dual-star.com has some DR650 stuff, including some suspension upgrades.
http://www.koubalink.com has upgraded springs for the rear shock.
Racetech does also.....front and rear.

[This message has been edited by PeteSC (edited 29 February 2004).]
<A HREF=\"http://www.BanditAlley.com\" TARGET=_blank>

[url http=http://banditmotorcycles.com/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/index.php]DR650 BBS[/url]
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Old 29 Feb 2004
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In Europe 525 chains & sprockets in varying sizes are widely advertised. I have read a chain comparison for DID chains somewhere claiming a much higher strength for the 525 chain.

I have also read several opinions, at least one from a German dealer, who advised against 14 teeth front sprockets. Apparently, they put too much strain on the chain due to small diameter.

Salut from Southern France, the bikers' paradise,


Europe to NZ 2006-10
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Old 9 May 2008
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add air to your front suspension

Uld school maybe but it works great to assist those spongy front springs.
I was told replacing the front springs was a must to have good suspension offroad.
I decided to try adding shradder valves to the fork caps on my 06 dr 650.
you can get the pipe thread shradder valves a pipe thread tap for it and the proper drill bit for that tap for less than $20 dollars.

The install takes less than an hour and remove the caps from each fork leg with the bike on a stand or hoisted so the front tire is off the ground.
be sure to use teflon tape on your threads and dont run the tap all the wat down or the threads will be loose.

I used 7psi in each leg and increased the preload on the rear stock spring to the max(9.5" from top to bottom of spring) it works great for me
Im 6' 230# and the improvement was great and cheap just like i like it
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Old 9 May 2008
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14 tooth front vs 15

[quote=PeteSC;38126]I just bought an '03 DR650, and am going throught the same 'mod' process....
(Actually just getting started!)
A couple of good message boards are MaximumSuzuki.com, and ThumperTalk.com
It seems the hot set up is to drop to a 14 tooth sprocket on front. It does take a little modification with a grinder!
(Haven't done it yet)
Dual Star - The original Motorcycle Adventure Outfitters™ has some DR650 stuff, including some suspension upgrades.
Kouba Link has upgraded springs for the rear shock.
Kouba Link
Racetech does also.....front and rear.

I agree the 15 tooth is too tall in first gear, and the 14 tooth makes everything about the bike much better below 80mph cruising speed (you can still make it over 100mph with the 14 tooth) but the vibration from the higher rpms make your arms get tired faster... but nothing major on 100 mile length trips.

I personally like that much better for the shorter trips with the 14 tooth.
Since I ride 80 miles down the highway often i put the 15 tooth back on and unless im going to do a lot of tight stuff found that the torque it has will still easily pull hard enough to break traction on the dirt even lugging the motor in third gear on the fire roads going up cajon lots of fun

The sprocket change can easily be done from 14 to 15 or 15 to 14 in about 10 minutes and only have to adjust the chain no mods necessary on my 06 model dr650

The biggest drawback other than the added vibration over 80 mph due to rpms being higher is that with the 14 tooth the chain will wear the slider guide on the swingarm out quicker since it is a lot closer to it all of the time so it contacts it more often.
I think the perfect blend would be if you had a 44 rear and a 15 front since that would still be a higher ratio than 14/42 and lower than 15/42 not sure if they make the 44 tooth rear though

Last edited by ace2; 9 May 2008 at 04:04. Reason: added some corrected some
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