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  #1  
Old 18 May 2010
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Thumbs up RTW DR650 Build - COMPLETED

I've been on the road for 4 years now and have recently replaced my BMW F650 with a Suzuki DR 650. I've put the build info in the 'Suzuki' tab on my website -

Short Way Round

There are more photos in the 'DR650 Preparation' gallery.

Adam
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  #2  
Old 19 May 2010
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Thanks for the link to the DR650 prep, I'm currently prepping a DRZ for South America and there were ideas that I'd not considered.
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  #3  
Old 19 May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spangler View Post
I've been on the road for 4 years now and have recently replaced my BMW F650 with a Suzuki DR 650. I've put the build info in the 'Suzuki' tab on my website -

Short Way Round

There are more photos in the 'DR650 Preparation' gallery.

Adam
Hi Adam
many thanks for this very thorough write up. Hope you have good remaining journey.
cheers
Chris
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Old 19 May 2010
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Great write up there. The bike looks fab and some great prep work.

I've just prepped my DRZ400 for a UK-Capetown. I originally wanted a DR650 but couldn't find one ANYWHERE in the UK.

The only ones knocking about here are battered imports or the older steel framed models.
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  #5  
Old 19 May 2010
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Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
Great write up there. The bike looks fab and some great prep work.

I've just prepped my DRZ400 for a UK-Capetown. I originally wanted a DR650 but couldn't find one ANYWHERE in the UK.

The only ones knocking about here are battered imports or the older steel framed models.
I thought all DR650's had steel frames?
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Old 19 May 2010
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Originally Posted by Steve Pickford View Post
I thought all DR650's had steel frames?
Maybe you're right.

I know they changed the frame design from tubular to a spar design in 1997. I wasn't sure if it was still steel. I just assumed they would of gone to alloy.

Either way, If I saw a low mileage newer model, i'd snap it up..
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  #7  
Old 19 May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
Maybe you're right.

I know they changed the frame design from tubular to a spar design in 1997. I wasn't sure if it was still steel. I just assumed they would of gone to alloy.

Either way, If I saw a low mileage newer model, i'd snap it up..
Hey Ted, mines for sale, preped for travel I'll ship it to!
2006 Suzuki KDr650 Adventure - ADVrider
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  #8  
Old 19 May 2010
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Originally Posted by Mr. Ron View Post
Hey Ted, mines for sale, preped for travel I'll ship it to!
2006 Suzuki KDr650 Adventure - ADVrider
That's bloomin beautiful... I wish I could afford it !

Sorry to had to cancel your trip.
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Old 20 May 2010
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I had a chance to look at Adam's build more closely this evening. Awesome job, very well thought out! Looking forward to the ride reports in the near future. One question though, what is rim tape, do you mean the rubber ring that covers the spokes on the inside of the rim? What is the advantage of using 5 layers of duct tape? i personally hate the stuff. My experience has been it becomes a sticky mess in the heat and becomes hard to deal with.
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  #10  
Old 20 May 2010
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Well done bike is built the way I like it and how I built my ELUKKA.
Just keep weight down and center of gravity low this is basic rule how to keep vessel's upright and sailing.
Also nice blog thanks.
Looking forward to your stories and RR's.
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  #11  
Old 20 May 2010
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Well done & thanks for sharing it with us!
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  #12  
Old 21 May 2010
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Hope you're enjoying your travels through the US. Great job on your DR, loved the electrical mods. Neat, tidy and smart!

Any idea what your DR's total weight (loaded) is up to now?

What is your MPG average? Many with the FCR carb have had trouble getting good fuel economy with that carb. How's it doing?

Couple comments from your Blog! (Excellent!)
(to Ted and Steve) DR's have always had steel frames. Ted's correct, they did change it in '97 to make it STIFFER, but lighter. (how dey do dat? )

Bead Breaking:
Good job breaking the bead with feet only! but some tires are tougher than others, especially if they have been on a while. I had trouble with a Distanzia (after 10K miles) Had to take to a tire shop. I'm thinking some tubeless radials can be tough to break on the DR. All my 50/50 tires I've been able to do with good moto boots and a couple good irons. I'm now using proper tire lube when mounting ... might help breaking bead?

Chris Scott: I don't think he ever rode or owned a post '97 DR650. Can't imagine why he would 2nd guess the DR350? (see Mondo Enduro/Terra Circa) DR350 was always good, the DRZ400 is even better. All reliable. No fault to Chris, he can't cover everything, after all.

Seat: Love the Renazco seat! How is it working out for long days?
I noticed you're bark busters are set a bit low (ideally parallel to ground) and your levers seemed a touch high? By now I'm sure you've worked this out. I like my levers below the bark busters:
1. so they don't ever touch them and no need to cut or bend = better leverage.
2. helps straighten out wrist angle when standing (less numbing/cramping)
But ergos are personal, so just a thought here.

Foot Rests: This is one thing I would not have done. The rubber dampers quell quite a bit of vibration to your feet. Vibration equals fatigue.

Top Box: Excellent! Very clever slide & Lock set up! Nice! Lets see if it will hold up on wash board at speed!

Rim Tape: used to do this in the 70's. Old desert racer thing. Spokes back then were not as stable, would come loose and punch through and flatten the tube. (old Triumph's, Bultaco's, Huskies)

On race bikes I used just one layer of tape and a FRESH rubber band strip over it, never a problem. But we use Rim Locks, the DR has none (thank God). If the spokes are tight, should be OK. I change the rubber band about twice a year. (they dry out)

520 Chain:
I guess over the long term, visiting many countries, the 520 size makes more sense. But keep in mind, a 525 chain (of good quality) will out last an equal 520 chain by about 20%, mas o menos. I've got 22,000 miles on my current DID 525 chain. Still going. But the 520 is great for gearing options and world wide availability. Big Thumpers are hard on chains, thus my preference for the 525.

Chain oilers:
Great on road and in rain. In serious dirt I run my chain dry. Less grit, sand. A dry chain runs clean in dirt. Oil just makes a mess and actually causes more wear. In constant dirt riding I clean daily with WD40 (if possible) In the desert I let it run dry. X-ring chains are very tough ... if you use the right one.

Switch gear, Headlight re-wire, Grips, GPS hook & accessory hook up, et al:

I think you should go into business doing this! I would pay a skilled tech to re-do/re-design my wiring, headlight, switches and wire in accessories for an overlanding set up. IMO, this is a valuable skill many riders would pay for. Excellent work! (very few I know do this sort of custom electrical work in the USA) Many riders bodge this up and end up with probs down the road.

Safe travels, hope the weather cooperates for Alaska.
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  #13  
Old 21 May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey D View Post

Couple comments from your Blog! (Excellent!)
(to Ted and Steve) DR's have always had steel frames. Ted's correct, they did change it in '97 to make it STIFFER, but lighter. (how dey do dat? )
If you increase the diameter of the frame tubes, you can reduce the wall thickness, leading to a reduction in weight & increase in rigidity. Same principle was used on USD forks in in the 90's as the stanchions got bigger etc.
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  #14  
Old 1 Jun 2010
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Answers to questions/comments...

Interesting to hear some of you are preparing DRZ 400's for big trips.
I think it's a very underrated bike with great potential. It was my first choice for my F650 replacement but ultimately it was the seat height that swayed me to the DR650.

Glad to hear my post has been of use to you and thanks for your appreciation and comments of support.

OK, I'll run through your questions/ comments in the order they were posted...

Mr Ron - 'What is the advantage of using 5 layers of duct tape?' - Regular (rubber) rim tape can break up and cause punctures. The duct tape won't. I learnt my wheel prep routine from Ady Smith and when it comes to enduro prep/riding they don't come much better.

Micky D:

Weight - I took the DR to the cement works scales in Moab and these are the figures:

360lbs (163kg) - Including ALL tools, 2 x spare inner tubes and ALL consumables (ie the contents of my tool tube) and the GPS but NO fuel and NO luggage.

480lbs (218kg) - As above plus 35L fuel and all my luggage but NO food and NO water.

The difference between the two weights is a little less than I'd expected and with hindsight I should have asked what increments the scales ascended in.

Fuel - The DR has averaged 19km/l over the last 10k km. It has been as low as 16km/l in the headwind across Oklahoma but the last few tanks have returned 21km/l.

Bead Breaking
- It took two tyre levers as well as my boots and some patience but it wasn't too difficult. I've since replace a Michelin T63 and again no problems. I won't be using any tubeless radials so hopefully I'll be OK.

Chris Scott - Absolutely, I agree. It was my own fault for not looking further but then as Touring Ted discovered, DR650's are a rare find in the UK.

Seat - I'm rather dissapointed with this. It's not so much as uncomfortable - it's painful! It appears to be the positioning of the seams which dig into the backs of my legs. Build quality/materials are great but I'll be contacting Renazco. I was hoping it might break-in but after 10k km it hasn't.

Levers - After 12 years of British Championship Road Racing, 3 years of enduro, a season of Supermoto and 140k+ km's RTW, I'm pretty sure I know where I want my levers and why!

Footrests - Each to their own but I prefer the more positive feel I've achieved - at the moment!

Top Box - Thanks.Only time will tell...

520 Chain - Even in the 'western' world most dealers will have to order a 525 chain. Elsewhere forget it, you won't find one. 520's however are available everywhere.

Chain Oilers - 'To lube, or not to lube? That is the question'. This subject always brings up opposites of opinion so I follow my own experience which is that the day I let my chain run dry on a dirt road is the day I'll encounter tight/kinked links and will shortly preceed the need for adjustment which of course means wear. I increase the oilers flow rate on dirt roads (the dirt/dust prevent it from spraying everywhere). When I leave a dirt road and know I'm going to be on tarmac for some time I stop and clean the chain with kerosene and a toothbrush which I carry for this very purpose.

I replaced te last chain on my F650 in Sao Paulo some 44,000km after fitting it in Alice Springs. It's life included the sand of the Great Central road, Gibb River Road, the dirt roads on Western Australia's National Parks, all the sand up the Cape Leveque peninsula, the dirt roads of East Timor, Chile's Caraterra Austral and all the gravel of Ruta 40 down to Ushuaia and up to Mendoza. Make up your own mind.

Electrical - Thank You! I'll need to find a way to make a living once I stop riding - anyone need a bike building?

The weather here (California/Oregon) is pretty messed up at the moment. Shame I'm not in Alaska now - the weather is much better up there!

Best of luck to all with your bike building/travel plans

Adam
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  #15  
Old 2 Jun 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spangler View Post
Mr Ron - 'What is the advantage of using 5 layers of duct tape?' - Regular (rubber) rim tape can break up and cause punctures. The duct tape won't. I learnt my wheel prep routine from Ady Smith and when it comes to enduro prep/riding they don't come much better.
I didn't know Enduros were still allowed in the UK these days?? Only heard of one on the Isle of Mann, David Knight writes about riding there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spangler View Post
Seat - I'm rather dissapointed with this. It's not so much as uncomfortable - it's painful! It appears to be the positioning of the seams which dig into the backs of my legs. Build quality/materials are great but I'll be contacting Renazco. I was hoping it might break-in but after 10k km it hasn't.
Interesting. I've heard good things about Renazco's customer service, but don't know about the drop in service. Hopefully he can re-build your seat when you drop by the Santa Rosa shop! He's an hour away from my house. I've had great luck with my Corbin seat, multiple ten hour days, no problem. Most DR riders like the Corbin. My bike came with it on there. Great long distance seat, which surprised me. I've ridden several KTM's with Renazco seats but never long enough to get a sense. Hope you get that worked out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spangler View Post
Levers - After 12 years of British Championship Road Racing, 3 years of enduro, a season of Supermoto and 140k+ km's RTW, I'm pretty sure I know where I want my levers and why!
I didn't realize you had off road experience. I hope you get a chance to take advantage of all the Desert racing going on now throughout Nevada and the Mojave area. Races every weekend somewhere. Follow the course markers or just find your own trails. Fun stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spangler View Post
520 Chain - Even in the 'western' world most dealers will have to order a 525 chain. Elsewhere forget it, you won't find one. 520's however are available everywhere.
Actually lots of Suzuki dealers stock 525's since so many of their bikes use them. Same with Ducati. Out of the US and EU however I agree the 520 is probably best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spangler View Post
Chain Oilers - 'To lube, or not to lube? That is the question'. I replaced te last chain on my F650 in Sao Paulo some 44,000km after fitting it in Alice Springs. It's life included the sand of the Great Central road, Gibb River Road, the dirt roads on Western Australia's National Parks, all the sand up the Cape Leveque peninsula, the dirt roads of East Timor, Chile's Caraterra Austral and all the gravel of Ruta 40 down to Ushuaia and up to Mendoza. Make up your own mind.
Wow, your rear wheel must get really dirty! I'd love to see that 44K kms. chain/sprockets !! ... maybe put it in the museum next to Ted Simon's Triumph.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spangler View Post
Electrical - Thank You! I'll need to find a way to make a living once I stop riding - anyone need a bike building?
Seriously, you could make "kits" for various bikes or do custom "one offs". (KLR, DR, DRZ, XChal, F650 Dakar, XR-L & R ... and on and on) Good switches, add real world usefulness, slick, high tech look and reliable. No one is doing this. I see an opportunity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spangler View Post
The weather here (California/Oregon) is pretty messed up at the moment. Shame I'm not in Alaska now - the weather is much better up there!
Yea, very strange weather here in CA. AK will probably go weird just about the time you get up there! June can go either way ... usually WET!

Good Roads!
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