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  #1  
Old 27 Jul 2007
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DL650 subframe & suspension

While preparing the Wee-Strom for a (up to 6 months) overland trip, 2-up, I´d be glad to hear some more experienced riders experience and comments on some issues (or if indeed they are issues, or not!)

- Subframe; has anyone had any problem with it? I think I cannot avoid loading up the bike quite heavily, with alu panniers, top box, pillion rider,
possibly even something on top of the panniers. This must put quite considerable stress especially onto the subframe. Im expecting to ride some
bumpy roads as well, and though I will naturally try to go very easy on them, as this is not an enduro bike, nevermind when carrying such load,
Im afraid its going to take some serious beating somewhere along the way..

- Suspension; as standard, and while riding 1-up, or with my lightweight pillion, its quite adequate though not perfect, but I havent tested it under a heavy load at all.
Do you think I´d be better off, if I changed the rear stock unit (or maybe front as well?) into something thats made to carry more weight? This is an area that I have very
little experience of, so pardon me if I havent understood everything correctly.

And if some changes are recommended, could changing the spring(s) only be enough, or you´d need to change the whole back unit (or whole front forks)? Changing all these must be getting quite costly, too, so I dont want to do it, unless its really necessary.

Im planning to go 90% on main roads, not looking for the tricky stuff, and expecting to go very slowly when we have to. Still, if the standard suspension is near its limits already, when the bike´s loaded (I should be able to see this for myself, too, once I get the panniers fitted in a short while) then I´d figure it will considerably affect riding comfort for the both of us. And if the suspension will start to bottom up in every small or a bit bigger bump, then it will probably put more stress onto the subframe especially, and all over the bike as well. Wont be good, if something cracks, or bits and pieces start to fall off along the way... a guy from Finland actually had a subframe crack on his 640 Adventure when going to Vladivostok, right in the middle of nowhere in Siberia, big problem - and he was riding alone!

The DL may be a nice touring bike, but it surely could use some more ground clearance like, say, an Africa Twin (Ive naturally got the bashplate fitted, wouldnt go without one!)

People seem to be doing some big trips on this bike & the 1000-version quite succesfully, so hopefully theres someone who can share their information.

All ideas, experiences, recommendations, and possibly also some estimates of the costs, would be warmly welcomed! We now have about 2 months until we should hit the road.

Last edited by pecha72; 27 Jul 2007 at 09:07. Reason: (add: 640 Adventure)
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Old 27 Jul 2007
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Pecha,
Try this thread as a start point:-

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...check-in-24476
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Old 27 Jul 2007
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Yep, your right, thats a good starting point, and Ive read the whole thread quite a few times!

But since theres talk of both 650&1000 versions, its sometimes hard to tell, which one theyre referring to. Though they might appear almost the same, I think they do have a different frame and subframe.
They definitely do not have the same suspension as standard, and they have some weight difference, too.

So, I thought I might ask more specifically about the 650.
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Old 27 Jul 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pecha72 View Post
Yep, your right, thats a good starting point, and Ive read the whole thread quite a few times!

But since theres talk of both 650&1000 versions, its sometimes hard to tell, which one theyre referring to. Though they might appear almost the same, I think they do have a different frame and subframe.
They definitely do not have the same suspension as standard, and they have some weight difference, too.

So, I thought I might ask more specifically about the 650.
Hi,
I haven't found problems in sorting out who is talking about which bike, but never mind, if you have specific questions for the "WeeStrom" then why not here.
I don't own either of these bikes, but I have taken an interest in the differences and what may be coming along next in 2008; the 1000 is definitely heavier than the 650 for the obvious reason of the different, lighter engine. Also, they have very different exhausts, single on the 650 and twin cans on the 1000 (another weight difference as well).
After that, I understand, from looking at them side by side in the dealers and talking with the sales staff (oh oh!), that the frames/sub-frames are identical.
Certainly the bodywork is the same. I can't remember much about the suspension but the 2007 DL650 is supplied with ABS as standard (cannot be switched off) while the 1000 does not come with it as standard.

But anyway, I will get out of the way and let the owners tell you how theirs are performing!
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Old 27 Jul 2007
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ok, just a few corrections:

- I think Suzuki actually produces the K7 650 without ABS, too, though the official importer here, for example, only sells ABS-models, so theyre not available except via parallel importers.

- Both frame and subframe in 650 are different from the 1000, I actually started to wonder about this, so I called a friend who works in Suzuki spare parts. They do appear quite similar, but theyre not, and they all have their own sparepart numbers, which proves it. Impossible to tell how exactly they might differ from one another, could be just different locations of some bolt holes, or could be something more significant. The 1000 engine will probably put more stress into the frame in some conditions. But the primary thing is, that they are indeed different.
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Old 31 Jul 2007
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mollydog, thanks for that link.. it really seems to have a lot of info!

I havent heard of any problems with subframes etc. on 650 or 1000 either, so I believe them to be relatively strong. Its just the thought of loading the bike with such huge, heavy panniers, which extend so far away from the bike, especially on exhaust side, that makes me think the subframe is going to be tested quite thoroughly. How the suspension works then, will have a direct connection to how heavily it will be stressed i think. Surely we´ll go slow with that load, but still I think were going to hit some pretty big bumps sometimes.

I would actually use soft bags because of light weight and be able to get them closer to the subframe, but I guess there could be other problems with them.

Do you, by the way, ride on stock suspension & springs on your 1000, on trips that you have described? I hear theres a couple who went to India with a DL1000, and I believe they changed something in that department before setting off, and highly recommended doing so, if going heavily loaded. Not able to compare the 650 and 1000, though, because of their weight difference, and the suspension on 1000 is better, with more adjustments anyway.

Makes me think that if the 1000 could happily use some enhancements, then the 650 would need them even more as its suspension is on the cheaper side overall.
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Old 31 Jul 2007
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Originally Posted by pecha72 View Post
I would actually use soft bags because of light weight and be able to get them closer to the subframe, but I guess there could be other problems with them.

Pecha,
I asked a question along similar lines because I like soft luggage, not least for the massive saving in unsprung weight. Of those who posted and who own and ride the 650, they say that the heat insulator on the silencer does not get very hot and soft luggage can rest directly onto it. I did not ask about the DL1000 silencers (which is a different design).

Cheers,
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Old 31 Jul 2007
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I had soft bags on an SV a few years back, and they were a pain in the ___ to hook up to the bike every morning, and take them off every evening. Plus you need some kind of sidecase-attachment sets fitted, unless you want the back of the bike look like its 20 years old in no time. If they touch any painted or other high-finish surfaces, like fairings or heat shields, those will be gone (not that thats necessarily so important on an adventure-bike, but its good to keep in mind). You can use some film to try and cover them, but they wont keep them 100% intact.

Another minus is that theyre relatively easy for a thief to break into, compared to alu cases at least. Then on the other hand, if you crash, they might be relatively safe for your legs, etc.

All in all I think im still going for alu cases however, just try to find ones that are not the widest possible, and with sturdy attachments.
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Old 29 Oct 2007
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This may be to late for the original poster, but hopefully will be help to others contemplating a DL650.

When it comes to the sub-frame, I put mine to the test. Total vehicle weight, including my big butt was approx. 950-970 pounds. Yes, she was loaded to the gills and then some! "Lobo Rojo" blasted through the roughest of South American roads with no problem. Have no fear on the toughness of the Wee-Strom's frame and sub-frame. Though one word of warning, make sure you loc-tite the bolts that attach the sub-frame to the frame. But I'd guess you would do those along with every other bolt, screw and nut on the bike, RIGHT??? I met one guy that did not loc-tite the sub-frame bolts and nearly lost one!

I can not stress enough how necessary LOC-TITE is. Use it, use it, use it. And carry extra with you.

The engine on the 650 is great as well, even for two up. With my heavy load and days on end of 15,000+ feet in elevation of Bolivia, I was still holding up speed well. In the developing countries, you will almost never be going over 60mph. Now if I were to never leave the pavement, let alone The States(god forbid) and carry a load like I was on my ride to TDF, I wouldn't mind the DL1000. But for me, the 650 is the best RTW bike.

Last edited by rhinoculips; 29 Oct 2007 at 06:02.
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