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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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  #1  
Old 10 Feb 2008
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DR800 vs XT600

My friend wants to get a Suzuki DR800. Anyone had any experience with riding one of these long distance? How do they compare to the XT600? He should get an XT but I think that he just wants a bigger bike than mine.

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Old 10 Feb 2008
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Use the same bikes..

Everyone will tell you, that it depends on what sort of roads you will be travelling on.

The DR800 is very big (haven't owned one - but researched it a lot) - and become impractical if the terrain gets bad. If you search in the Suzuki forum, you'll hear from a few guys whose ridden them.

The XT, is an all round machine, capable of long distances and manageable off road. The sheer AMOUNT of people who chooses this bike, testifies that its a very good choice for adventure travel.

If you're travelling TOGETHER, it will be silly to have two different bikes! Same bikes means you can share tools, parts etc. and save weight and hassle.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamaboy View Post
...I think that he just wants a bigger bike than mine.
Boys will be boys!




Tell him that he can wear SHINIER boots, newer helmet and BIGGER TOOLBOX... that way you can both be equal.
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  #3  
Old 12 Feb 2008
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I like XT a lot (want one in my stable), but to be fair sheer amount of XT600 over DR800 contributed to exlusively by business and not by "which is better". They both superreliable and good bikes, but XT was sold everywhere for looooong time in different "subversions", DR only in third of the world and not aimed at XT600 at all. Check DR650 for that.
DR800 "bigness" dissapears moment you throw away that joke of exhaust (13 kg of pure metal, seriously - 13 kg!) and when you realize it has 24 liter tank. With minor mods mine now is in range of 180 kg dry and runs for 400 km of spirited riding on tank.
I do not agree that DR800 much less practical offroad than XT600, DR is nothing like contemporary big trailees alike GS1200 etc, it actually suprisingly agile. But XT600 stock is 29 kg lighter and I think any additional weight plays against you offroad. However, after some testing my impression is that my 1992 DR800 has quite a bit better stock suspension than XT600 from I tested it agianst (it's certainly thicker) and on high-speed passes there is just no comparison whatsoever - DR is bigger, torquer, hardly notice load and got good rider protection and pure pleasure to ride faster. Top speed of 160+ kmph on DR allows to cruise at 140 kmph with ease 2-up.
XT felt lot weaker when I hit highway.
Stock brakes are better on XT600 (dual disk) in my opinion (I do not run stock on my DR anymore), but owner told me it is not stock dual-disk on XT either (stock is single disk?). Not sure what he meant. I also had impression that suspension travel on DR800 is longer, but I am only learning offroad riding and may be I just did not bottom it out. On tight paved roads I felt no difference in handling.
I think you need to rather look into availability of spares, range, roads to make right choice. But DR is hardly impractical on offroad where XT600 is practical.
Reliability-wise you can check my post in Susuki Tech section for some more details.
I have not done any long distance offroad trips on DR or XT, I hope it will be helpful anyway. I say I would test any bike before making up mind.
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Old 12 Feb 2008
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Unsurprisingly I think, I would urge you to pick a YAMAHA XT600E or Tenere over a bulky DR800. No contest if your looking for a capable reliable long distance bike that will do almost everything well. The DR has the edge on tarmac but the XT beats it everywhere else...
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Old 12 Feb 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kentfallen View Post
Unsurprisingly I think, I would urge you to pick a YAMAHA XT600E or Tenere over a bulky DR800. No contest if your looking for a capable reliable long distance bike that will do almost everything well. The DR has the edge on tarmac but the XT beats it everywhere else...
I love my XT! But Bluesman is right about the speed. I can cruise at 120 Kmph but at 130 it seems unstable. Someone told me it was because of the big ugly fat front fender that the XTs have. It is suppose to do 150 kmph, I know that at 130 it was still pulling hard. 120 is plenty fast enough for me though!

Also parts are much cheaper for the XT and most mechanics can work on them. They have been in Brazil for a long time.

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Bluesman DR is bigger, torquer, hardly notice load and got good rider protection and pure pleasure to ride faster. Top speed of 160+ kmph on DR allows to cruise at 140 kmph with ease 2-up.
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Old 13 Feb 2008
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A bit offtopic perhaps and probably bit long. Sorry.
I am really not an experienced offroad rider, and I have very big respect for people here who really do travel tough places (I am only starting). I did most of my long rides on paved roads, sport/sporty bikes, and by far nothing close to my heroes from this site.

I simply would recommend to your friend - try both bikes and even more that he can get his hands on, and see which one he likes most. I am firm believer in "gut feeling" Then sit down and analyse what it will take him to keep bike running. E.g. - spares, consumables. Then think about 2-up. Then get some factual info on known bugs. And then make choice. I think from what you mentioned XT600 is a better choice. Specially since DR800 is different category - more like Supertenere and AfricaTwin.
But generally. There is obviously "lemon" models of bikes, but generally all Japs quite OK in terms of reliability except known few "parts bins"
My DR800 now at 68000 km, no single part replaced in motor or suspension (except bearings and dust caps - I was just afraid to ride bike with THIS old bearings). No smoke, good compression, not taking oil. I got it second hand, previous owner abused bike but kept engine oil change to 5000 km and valve adjustments to 12000 I think. Rest - he did not touch.
I am really amazed how often people are ignorant to taking basic care of their bikes, and how they make reviews on that experience. I do not think that right principle is to select bike that can be ignored service-wise for longer time. But that's probably because I am mechanic in soul and feel offended every time I see ignorance to piece of machinery that somebody put bit of his life into.
My other bike - VTR1000F is at 48000 km. Only bad thing with motor I had - I crashed in France and broke side cover
My other bike - CB600F (sold) did 35000 km, never missed a bit.
My first real bike VT250F did 17000 with first owner and 18000 with me. Yep, I fixed one thing - painted it
My first bike - Dnepr-boxer (Soviet) would only do 1000 km between valve adjustements needed, but those bike really are piece of .... because of quality of materials and making. Still, I did 5000 on it before giving up.
But "lemons" do exist. Any model, any bike.
As for high-speed stability - my DR "weaved" a lot with me onboard after 150 kmph. All my friends tested it, and had absolutely no weave at any speed. Then I tested their bikes - Pegaso, DR650 - weave. So - turns out it was preload of rear shock. Loose it a bit and most probably bike will stabilize. Not guaranteed, but no harm in trying.

Last edited by bluesman; 13 Feb 2008 at 11:04.
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Old 13 Feb 2008
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Wink Empathy with the engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesman View Post

A bit offtopic perhaps and probably bit long. Sorry.
I am really not an experienced offroad rider, and I have very big respect for people here who really do travel tough places (I am only starting). I did most of my long rides on paved roads, sport/sporty bikes, and by far nothing close to my heroes from this site.

I simply would recommend to your friend - try both bikes and even more that he can get his hands on, and see which one he likes most. I am firm believer in "gut feeling" Then sit down and analyse what it will take him to keep bike running. E.g. - spares, consumables. Then think about 2-up. Then get some factual info on known bugs. And then make choice. I think from what you mentioned XT600 is a better choice. Specially since DR800 is different category - more like Supertenere and AfricaTwin.
But generally. There is obviously "lemon" models of bikes, but generally all Japs quite OK in terms of reliability except known few "parts bins"
My DR800 now at 68000 km, no single part replaced in motor or suspension (except bearings and dust caps - I was just afraid to ride bike with THIS old bearings). No smoke, good compression, not taking oil. I got it second hand, previous owner abused bike but kept engine oil change to 5000 km and valve adjustments to 12000 I think. Rest - he did not touch.
I am really amazed how often people are ignorant to taking basic care of their bikes, and how they make reviews on that experience. I do not think that right principle is to select bike that can be ignored service-wise for longer time. But that's probably because I am mechanic in soul and feel offended every time I see ignorance to piece of machinery that somebody put bit of his life into.
My other bike - VTR1000F is at 48000 km. Only bad thing with motor I had - I crashed in France and broke side cover
My other bike - CB600F (sold) did 35000 km, never missed a bit.
My first real bike VT250F did 17000 with first owner and 18000 with me. Yep, I fixed one thing - painted it
My first bike - Dnepr-boxer (Soviet) would only do 1000 km between valve adjustements needed, but those bike really are piece of .... because of quality of materials and making. Still, I did 5000 on it before giving up.
But "lemons" do exist. Any model, any bike.
As for high-speed stability - my DR "weaved" a lot with me onboard after 150 kmph. All my friends tested it, and had absolutely no weave at any speed. Then I tested their bikes - Pegaso, DR650 - weave. So - turns out it was preload of rear shock. Loose it a bit and most probably bike will stabilize. Not guaranteed, but no harm in trying.

Thanks Bluesman, some wise words there so it is not a long post at all - full of good information.

I don't think you are off topic at all BTW
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