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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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Old 31 Oct 2008
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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.
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Old 1 Nov 2008
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Not knowing where you going start and the rout your going to go is a bit of problem.

Both will do the job I think both have done RTW. But so can a SV650 people have done it with R1 off road.

For me Id take the DL650 I ride one day to day. I dont like off roading and for dirt roads fully loaded down the DL will do grate job.

If your looking to go off road and like to go with DR650 grate bike for that.


Patrick got some shots of his bike and a bit of a ride report.
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Old 1 Nov 2008
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The DR650SE will make your day on the 10 - 20% left over after the 80 - 90% of good roads. Every single one. Not more. Not less. The DR has an edge looking at DIY servicebility. It's as simple as a hammer.

Don't worry about vibrations, I think the DR650SE is the smoothest single ever built, puts a KLR or F650 to shame in this compartment not to talk about a 640KTM.

The DR's seat is more of a concern but there is nothing you don't get used to, or Mr Corbin or a sheepskin rug and cycling pants won't resolve.

I would not even see a windshield as a necessity on a DR. It does not give you weather protection like a Pan European or GW and you will most probably travel at speeds around 100km/h with a loaded DR which are quite bearable with the OEM mini - shield.

The DL allows for higher average speeds than the DR.

If you want to play in the dirt a bit and not be limited by "road too difficult" go for the DR.
If you're in a tight schedule and want to go RTW Jules Verne style go with the DL.
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Old 1 Nov 2008
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The Wee is good on tires, easy on chains and sprockets and gets good fuel economy. It may get a bit banged up on your trip but mechanically is just about trouble free. Take care of the chain, keep oil level FULL, maintain your battery and keep on eye on your tires and that is about all to think about.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 20:05. Reason: pics
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