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Old 22 Dec 2003
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 30
Europe Trip Complete 2003

Hello all on this forum. Long time since I have posted. I completed about 12,000km this summer primarily in East Europe. I have a DR650 96 model that I picked up in London with approx 15000km on the dial. If anyone ever gets a chance to ride in Montenegro I highly recommend the place - an unexpected jewel during my travels. My web site documents most of my exploits.

Anyway - about my bike. I am so pleased with my choice of a DR 650 SE for this journey. In fact I am preping the bike for an assult on Turkey or the Ukraine next summer (job and money permitting).

Mods: The bike had Laser ProDuro exhaust when I bought it. It had Avon Distanzia tyres. The rest was absolutely stock. The bike was in an average state of repair when purchased, and as I didnt have a garage or home (ie I dont live in the UK) to work on the bike properly I just had to do what I could when I could with what I had. The most frustrating think was rusted and corroded bolts.

Additions: I put a Hepco Becker luggage rack on the bike - then just used waterproof duffle bags and a neat waterproof Swiss Army backpack. I made a bash plate for the bike from an old street sign - because I was going off road in Romania (EnduroMania). I replaced the Sprockets, Chain and rear blinkers at the start of my journey. Replaced warped rear brake disc and front brake pads. Replaced clutch in Romania after some heavy duty off road in the Carpathians. I now suspect the bike had been used for SuperMoto in the UK before I purchased it - this would explain a worn clutch and a warped rear brake disc. I have learned my lesson now.

Work Done on Bike on Journey: A couple of flat tyres - nails. Had Czech mechanics check and adjust timing chain and remove some the rusted exhaust bolts that go into the cylinder. Corrosion of bolts and particularly aluminium bolts has been a problem with this bike as it was not maintained so well before I purchased it. I have learned my lesson and now have replaced dodgy bolts and keep everything regularly greased. Also used a Hein Geriicke cable kit to replace the clutch cable on this bike as the old one was rusted.

Mods for Next Tour: Call me soft, but I miss having a windscreen. As this trip was primarily on the road I would have preferred the comfort of being protected from buffetting at high speeds. Can anyone suggest a European supplier of windscreens for such bikes? Big Tank. A big tank on this bike would be very handy. I was getting about 20km per litre out of a 13 litre tank. (So about 250 -260 km per tank). I used the one set of Avon Distanzia for this trip. I am impressed with them. I will use them again for mainly road travel over long distances. Very good in the wet. So so off road. (During Enduromania I changed these tyres for a set of very cheap <35 euro each Romanian off road tyres.) Before I set out on this bike again I will give the electrics a full going over as the blinkers were working intermittently sometimes and required constant attention. A little pain - but annoying after a while - and dangerous in big foreign cities when you are trying to fight peak hour traffic missing a rear blinker.

Overall I found this bike a great compromise - it goes well enough on the road and off road. The bike is a little too heavy for hard core off road riding (but it isnt really for this type of riding). With my mods for next season I will be making the bike more road orientated (European and ex CIS conditions, namely roads in bad repair) by adding the fairing etc. I must ask the question as to why Suzuki havent bought out a "road" version of this bike such as the old DR RSE's. I can see a market for these accessories.

Thanks to Iris and Trui - the info about DR's on their website was great and I will follow up with some of the products they recommend. The suspension on my bike is totally shot now - so I will investigate options for refurbishing and or upgrading springs etc.

So lets keep this forum alive. The DR is a good honest reliable work horse that is in the right price bracket for many of us. The German DR site is excellent - and is probably my main impetus for learning German this year (because they have the worlds best maintained motorcycles, I kid you not!). Anyway, Horizons Unlimited has been invaluable for me during this journey as I set out with basically no lead time to plan for the trip. I just did it! and got my act together on the way - thanks to the info available through this site.


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Old 23 Dec 2003
Grant Johnson's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 1997
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Posts: 4,539

Thanks for the writeup - and good to hear you had a great trip, and HU helped!

Don't forget to send me an email occsionally (with pics!) about your next trip for the ezine.

Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.


One world, Two wheels.
Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.


Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
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