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-   -   DR650SE vs DL650 Wee-Strom for RTW (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/suzuki-tech/dr650se-vs-dl650-wee-strom-38687)

Remy 31 Oct 2008 18:47

DR650SE vs DL650 Wee-Strom for RTW
Hi guys,
I have been reading back and forth quite a few posts specific to both the DR650SE and V-Strom 650, but wanted some direct input from people who have experience with both (Molly Dog, it seems you have both bikes for instance). I am planning an RTW trip leaving in ~9 months and have settled down to one of these two bikes (the initial cost of purchase and set-up is negligible considering its relativity to the overall cost of the RTW trip):

DL650 V-Strom: I currently have a 2006 SV650 that I love, so obviously the Wee-Strom gains favor there. Also, I assume (admitted ignorance associated with the following statement) that 80-90% of my riding will be on roads (tarmac, gravel) where the difference in ground clerance is negligible. It has a sixth gear which I love, and fuel injection so altitude changes require no adjusting. Plus, great power, smooth ride, tubeless tires, etc. Excellent reliability, but if something does go wrong on a more complex bike (water cooled, fuel injected) I'm hesitant to believe I can guarantee knowledge as to what has failed and how to repair it.

DR650SE: On the otherhand, I can set up a DR650 with Safari tank (30 liters!), Aftermarket seat, new suspension, and windshield (Spitfire S-06 or the like). Also, as an admittedly hesitant mechanic, I feel confident working on the simple DR650 versus the much more complex Wee (simple valve adjustment, air cooled). It's light weight, so my small 5'8", 150 lb. self can lift it easy in case of a drop. Plus, as I research more the peripheral expenses (carnet for instance) a less valuable bike requires less expenses as one travels over time. But, I assume it will be a lot more vibe-y with a single cylinder, and even with the windshield I can't imagine it as comfortable as the Wee.

Given my ignorance, and desire to be a smart overlander versus ego-driven overlander, where does one put the value? Ultimately I feel confident that the simplicity of the DR650 will guarantee me peace of mind throughout the trip (in case of mechanical problems or bad road conditions). Yet, given my experience with my SV (superb in all facets), I feel 90% as confident with the Wee-Strom (and I believe my day to day riding will be much more comfortable). It's just the 10% unknown that makes me hesitant. So is it comfort with 10% fear, or less comfort with peace of mind. For those with experience, I'd love to hear your take. Thanks in advance for putting up with my naivety.

skip 12 Nov 2008 07:44

You need to take the bike that you feel best suits the trip you are taking, if your RTW trip is going to be all tarmac then go for the DL650 a good handling bike that sits well on the road, is comftable and can eat up a few miles If you are doing a mixture of tarmac and dirt then take the DR650 its light easy to handle and when you drop it in the dirt there is not to much to get broken or damaged. Both bikes are good but both have disadvantage's so its up to you to decide. Look at were you will ride and may be if you can get to ride both bikes, in the end its your choice. Skip

Hornet 12 Nov 2008 09:42

I had the same dilemma when deciding on the choice of bike, I settled for the DR650. It is a great bike, but you really need to choose the bike that is right for you.


pecha72 12 Nov 2008 17:36

Both are great in their own way, I think there´s no one definite answer, it depends totally on your preferences, and regarding the trip, the routes / roads you´ll be taking. The DL will carry more stuff, and offers more comfort for basically anything that has asphalt. You can tour most of this planet on tarmac, although it will sometimes be far from perfect.

But if you´re inclined to explore the side roads a lot, and have time to do so (because covering the distance will be much slower) then the DR could be better for you. I think the DR will suffer more from the weight that you´re likely to have on board, so it might lose some of its advantage it might have, when the going gets tough.

DL is more like a streetbike, the DR a ´proper´ enduro, and both will have good and bad sides, you just need to decide what you value most. I dont think the maintenance of the DR is really a plus, because the DL is also very trouble-free, even if it is technically more complicated.

bikerfromsark 12 Nov 2008 19:23

Hi I will give an opnion as its what you have asked for. I would go with the DL650(wee strom), Last year I rode to Cape Town from Europe I was on a TTR600 dirt bike. My friend rode a V-strom 1000cc I was amazed, The old saying anybike will do it is very true. We went to lake turkana, which is a pretty hard core route. Certainly the hardest part of my 36'000km trip. I remember feeling anoyed that having his 'street bike' in the picture along with my 'hard core dirt bike' made it look too easy. With a pair of knobbies, (he had TKC 80's) he took it through soft sand, rocks, and ate up the miles so much better than I did on my dirt bike. Even with a wind screen on my bike I was never that comfortable with the long road distances mainly with the noise, where he just cruised protected by the extra fairing. I would take a dirt bike to africa again. But never around the world.- I am actually leaving in about 9months time as well around the world on a africa twin, the wee strom was a real contender, I just loved it when I rode the africa twin, so at a barging price I chose it instead.
Another thing is the power, I always wanted more power with my single cyl. When you are riding in 3rd world countrys, they can drive very fast, normaly with bad brakes-hence all the crashes! So having the power to get out the way is a consideration. I was run off the roads 3 times by sucicidal bus drivers around iringa in Tanzania because they were comming down hills behind me at up to 150kph when I could only get 140. when ever I saw one in my mirors I just left the road into the verge before I was ran over.

I would defently take the twin clinder DL
Hope this helps George

mollydog 12 Nov 2008 20:56

thought I was crazy for doing so .... funny how things change!


ozhanu 12 Nov 2008 21:16

it is nice to read good reports about v-stroms.

when i was planning my trip to morocco my bike options are dr650 and dl650. at the end i choose dl650 v-strom. after my morocco trip i'll take it to iran and then middle east (syria-jordan-lebanon may be israel)

my only concern is the fuel. can the dl650 v-storm can run with leaded petrol? or what mods shell i do to run it with leaded petrol?

i know a lot of people have taken it to iran, pakistan, india and further (ref: petcha72) and some others to africa and south amerika. and i did not read any problems regarding to fuel.


Dingo 12 Nov 2008 23:52

Both are great bikes for travel!

Where are you? I may have a deal for you.


Remy 13 Nov 2008 01:21

Los Angeles.

farqhuar 13 Nov 2008 02:14

Remy, I would definitely take the Vstrom over the DR, but have you considered the oher 650 in the Suzuki range?

I've just finished riding 30,000km from Korea to Italy via Russia/ Kazakhstan/ Scandinavia on an AN650 (Burgman). This included over 3,000kms of dirt and the Burgie covered it all admirably, so don't let anyone tell you need massive ground clearance (I had much less than the average road bike never mind an offroader) or knobby tyres.

The Burgie is a parallel twin laid flat in the frame, CVT box and gear final drive. Contrary to popular belief it has a full motorcycle frame and suspension and can best be compared to something like a Honda PC800.

When you consider that 90% of your riding will be on bitumen - albeit pretty crappy bitumen on many an occasion) it only makes sense that you choose a road bike to do it on. I could hit the occasional 180kmh if required and cruising on 130kmh two-up and fully loaded with luggage is an absolute breeze whilst still only using 4.5l per 100km.

I rarely used the manual ratios in the box (it has 6) as the CVT just made riding that much easier, I was always in the right gear and the engine braking was fantastic for slowing down in the dirt without risking locking up the wheels.

Seriously, there's more than one way to do RTW and you certainly don't need an offroader or a big hairy BMW to do it on.

Garry from Oz.

crazyclimber 13 Nov 2008 10:13

Garry - respect!! :cool4:

MikeS 13 Nov 2008 10:24

I like my DR!
I've just covered 26,000kms on my DR. If I were to do it again (ie over similar rough terrain), I'd use the same bike because I enjoyed having a lighter bike, so much easier to handle than a big heavy bike that will possible suffer more damage when it goes down. I would probably upgrade the suspension and might use hard luggage again as I got a bit fed up using Pacsafes on my soft luggage to the point where it just felt like a hassle getting into my panniers though they were light and more or less waterproof. Because so many people played/touched with my bike, I prefered having some kind of security for my luggage though I know you have to have some kind of compromise when you have lighter luggage. I'd also put a larger rack on the back as I ran out out room for luggage sometimes. Having said that, you can always take off the luggage and go play in the dirt like I did several times!

I was a little apprehensive as to how it would do at high speed once I got to Europe, Germany and the Autobahns etc but found it would sit at 120/140kph no problem. With the screen, high bars, the Corbin seat and my Ortlieb as a back rest, it was pretty comfortable for the long days and never felt it was too slow anywhere.

Finally, I would add that it is really not a bike for taking pillions, if you want to do that, take a bigger bike.

skip 21 Nov 2008 10:35

DR650, no problem
Ive just put 45000kms on my 2006 DR650 with no problems apart from the rear shock feels a bit soft ( i am a bit over loaded i have to say) and i lost the top chain roller 3 days ago, the bolt came lose, found the bolt but the roller rolled down a drain.
no problems what so ever, a bit hard to find oil filter for it out here in Asia. I hope this is of some help Skip

mollydog 21 Nov 2008 17:30

Wow! Mike and Skip :welcome::scooter::helpsmilie::rofl:

D-Fuzz 14 Dec 2008 16:46

I am looking at a V-Strom as well, trying to decide between a 650 and a 1000. The dealer here in town has a 2008 DL1000 with 16,000km on it for roughly the same price as a '09 DL650. Is there any advantage to having the 1000 over the 650? The 650 has ABS and from looking at the Suzuki catalogue, it appears the 1000 does not.

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