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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 2 Sep 2005
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Suzuki DR650 - a lemon

Even though I risk stepping on some toes here it needs to be written: owning two of these bikes for about a year and having just completed the Scandinavia loop I must say that I can't recommend this bike. Here is why:

Steering bearings gone at 45000, both bikes. The replacements didn't last 5000 km, but not a Suzi part.

The engine refuses to run below about 3000 rpm. That means we are forever changing gears and 5th can't be used below 80 km/h.

The worst: the chain thrashes like mad at constant speed between about 100 and 125 km/h, meaning we have to vary the throttle all the time when riding long straights like motorways. This is worse the heavier the bike is loaded.

Cam shaft and follower going through the hardening at 42000 km. Comment from shop: "Normal for Suzuki."

Chain roller broken off (by thrashing chain?), taking a piece of frame with it. There is now a jagged hole in the frame...

Seat uncomfortable as hell.

On the positive side:

Fuel economy 4 - 4.5 l/100km with Supertrapp exhaust.

Low and light. Handles well and tight turning circle.

There you have it. Can I have my shaft drive back now?

[This message has been edited by beddhist (edited 01 September 2005).]
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  #2  
Old 2 Sep 2005
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Well I was wondering about that, that just leaves with the Kawasaki 650 or the Honda 650 to pick from.
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  #3  
Old 2 Sep 2005
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Still less breakages than a GS. The steering head bearings on my GS dont last much beyond 20k kms, the gearboxes last about 30k km, fork seals about 2k kms and I know its not as good as a DR in the dirt, but my clutch is still going strong after 60k kms??? I suppose it'll be next.
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  #4  
Old 2 Sep 2005
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Simmo,

how do you ride your GS?

On my G/S, I replaced the steering bearings at 130,000 km, only because I was in there, (upgrading the forks to R100GS) not because they needed it.

My gearbox - original went about 110,000km before breaking. Standard is to replace all bearings at 50-60,000 miles.

Fork seals - never. (G/S has gaiters on the forks. ALL fork-gaiterless bikes eat seals.)

Clutch - replaced at 150,000km. Still had a few k left, was working fine, but the RMOS (rear main oil seal on the crank) was leaking so replaced it all.

All this was 2-up 99% of the time, rtw.

So, what are you doing with it?

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[This message has been edited by Grant Johnson (edited 02 September 2005).]
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  #5  
Old 2 Sep 2005
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Hi Grant

yeah I wonder as well. I just ride it really...its pretty slow so I probably thrash it. My fork seals last for one decent ride before succumbing to the weep, thats usually about 1200kms of twisty bitumen, dirt and trails, some small creek crossings and a few drops. They have gaiters.

The old girl has real trouble doing stoppies and needs a helping hand to do a burnout!

I find if I am riding it hard I need to get the carbs balanced as well as the cables stretch also!

I have to keep an eye out because things fall off, such as the bolt holding the gearlever into the gearbox. Luck would have me notice before I lost it...its stayed on since....Mirrors drop off, etc constant monitoring of the engine oil level. It is very high maintenance as distinct from expensive.

It has only done 20k since the last Gbox rebuild and once again I have some bearing noise, although I suspect its the clutch pushrod bearing, this was replaced in Turkey.

If I was alone in these special features I would put it down to the bike, but almost everyone I know who uses these bikes, rather than rides them to the local cafe, has the same issues.

Vincent, Ralphino et al.

The old XT 600 that is usually along for the ride and is the same age just keeps on going with chain lube and oil changes, it is also usually travelling much faster on the dirt as well.

Since comming back from the trip I dont have to ride it gently to preserve it, so yes I probably thrash it...but thats what bikes are for innit?

At least my frame hasnt broken in half like Chris, Ken and Ralhpino. Then again I am now contemplating a quick ride up to Ulmurra from down here (2000kms each way)and I can show Ken the schwinehundt for his opinion. Might be a competeition as to who gets to light the rag in the tank..only joking..and if I didnt have this bloody bike to love I would have to hate something else.

Although I have noticed that as I slowly replace things with other than BMW parts eg IKON shocker it gets better

I dont have an issue with people using them its just the lack of any perspective when they describe there qualities. Which while occaisionally charming are also utterly infuriating at times.

I think I am the opposite of Margus!

When are you comming out to Oz again Grant? I will lend it to you!
Har Har Har (thats an evil laugh)
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  #6  
Old 2 Sep 2005
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Ah, some reality - it's a pleasure no they aren't perfect, unfortunately some people seem to think they are - and the hype can make them out to be. They do a great job in many ways, but have their flaws too.

WELL maintained they can be immensely reliable - but like most bikes, if not more so, you DO have to know their weaknesses - and attend to them before they break.

I once sold a new BMW to a guy, only to have him come back a couple of months later with it SQUEAKING!

We pulled it in, checked the oil - and there was NONE on the dipstick. Drained it - and there was a couple of tablespoons left.

Filled it up and it was fine. Fortunately.

When asked, he said, "Oil? It's a BMW, why should I check the oil?"

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  #7  
Old 2 Sep 2005
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Hi Simmo

The only possibility I see, is that your BMW must be a taiwan/korean copy of the famous and very respected german maker.
They copy cloth, parfum, cigaretts and many other things...so why not a bike !!
Are you sure it´s an original?
Seriously, take a look under the engine, if it´s written "hyong sung", then I would propose you make a second test called "hammer test",
this is quite barok but ment to verify that no one wrote hyong sung just to make the owner have doubts on german quality.
So you need a hammer of about 10kg, if when you hit YOUR cylinder it falls off:
Its a hyong sung !!!!!

Cheers,

mou ah ha ha ha
Matt

(this is a joke, don't hit your cylinder)
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  #8  
Old 3 Sep 2005
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Boy, i'm actually thinking of switching from a f650 to dr650. Everyone has said the DR reliability was great.
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  #9  
Old 3 Sep 2005
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Quote:
Originally posted by beddhist:


Steering bearings gone at 45000, both bikes. The replacements didn't last 5000 km, but not a Suzi part.


Cam shaft and follower going through the hardening at 42000 km. Comment from shop: "Normal for Suzuki."

Chain roller broken off (by thrashing chain?), taking a piece of frame with it. There is now a jagged hole in the frame...

Seat uncomfortable as hell.

.]
...45000 km an a single japanese bike, these problems don't suprise me at all. Steering-head bearings are usually dry, or at least partially greased from the factory,you should be happy they lasted that long. When you replaced them, did you replace the race? If not, may as well leave the old ones in. I'm also suprised the cam-shaft lasted this long. This would probably be a good time to check the head, make sure you don't drop a valve into your high rpm engine. Your rings are probably due for a change, and maybe a cylider too.Seriously, 42000 km on a high rpm single? I would expect nothing less than what you experience. Factors that may prolong engine life? Good clean fuel and constant oil-changes, and maybe some luck mixed in
Thrashing chain? Sounds like either a quality or maintinence issue to me. Your not one of those off-roaders who uses oil, are you ??
The seat? Well, the proofs in the pudding there.
Simmo, do you have a GS with the Marazzocci forks? If so, your bushings need to be replaced. Pull out your spings and shake the stanchions, see if there is any play. My left, the compression side, has developed the same problem after 100,000 miles, not bad if you ask me So far after 100k: 2nd transmition bearings (plus one recent pall-spring )one set of heads, 2 carb re-builds, one set of rings, one set of lifters. Bottom end and cylinders still look like new.Just name one machine that can beat that!
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  #10  
Old 3 Sep 2005
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For some reason Suzuki is afaraid to grease berings. That is the reason your steering head bering went out so soon. In fact I need to pull my DR-Z apart and grease mine.
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  #11  
Old 3 Sep 2005
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Now theres a challenge Matt! I reckon that a Hyosung 650 would be more or as reliable than a BMW anything. Slabs at ten paces.

Especially if you were to factor purchase price as part of the equation. If a 7000AUD Hyosung lasts 50k kms and a BMW F650 lasts 100k kms, you could have two Hyosungs for one F650. Then if you were to say they both had two year warranties then you could get 4 years of warranteed Hyosung for the same price as two years of warrantied BMW. That way even if something did break you wouldnt have to pay for it for an extra two years.

Of course I am allowed to by a new one without penalty, this way it would equal the price of a BMW F650 should it manage to get to 100k without problems.

Mind you I think all bikes should be able to do 100k kms without anything other than regular servicing, oils and filters, cars can. Its just they are built as toys not transport nowadays, I suspect the Hyosung might be more transport than toy.

I have hit the cylinder with a hammer Matt, but it was rubber. I have also kicked it and even dare I say it...%#&& at it....now it is leaking oil again. You French like your BMs dont you. I was there a few months ago and they are everywhere. Have a magret de canard and some artisou cheese for me while we get the sponsorship together for the reliability challenge. Maybe we could start from Beddhist's place after a spot of bordeaux. What about an appelation controller for bikes reliability levels, we could be the judges and have to keep and test the latest bikes over long distances.

Mr Ron, I dont have Marzochi forks. Mine is the earlier one with the top triple clamp made out of tin foil for extra rigidity. Some machine's that could match your reliability record woulld be a GS1000 or a GSX1100 or a GPZ1000RX or just about any Honda...its just people dont care enough about them once the values are shot, shall I go on.

OK s drunk and sleep had....Have we hijacked Bed's post.

Iris and Trui had a good run from their DR's



[This message has been edited by simmo (edited 04 September 2005).]

[This message has been edited by simmo (edited 04 September 2005).]
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  #12  
Old 4 Sep 2005
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Hi
After 74000 miles around the America's my girlfreinds 98 DR650 is still going strong, i changed the head-race bearings after 55000 miles,there was no grease on them, had a chain roller break allowing the chain to flap about a bit under load,resulting in a damaged chain slider and a gouge in the swingarm, had a few minor faults with the electric's, ie the stop switch gave out. but the only real problem we've had is the needle jet ware's in the slid, but this seems to be a design fault with the carb slide its self, if any one no different please let me know.
The bike its self is fitted with a clark 5-1/2 gallon tank and has big Darr ally boxs
on the back.It gets an oil change every 6000 mile and the air filter and plugs are cleaned.Dispite getting some very very rough treatment at times, it starts ever morning and has yet to let her down, in my veiw the DR650 makes a very good overland bike its strong and durable and has plenty of power,only change i would make, if your not in need of top end speed stick a bigger rear sprocket on it, this gives full use of the gearbox and stops the chain slapping about. If you look about there are a few cheap DRs on the market now. My girlfreind is out riding about in south america as i write, and i've had to come back to the UK just to get spares for my 86 Tenere.....
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  #13  
Old 6 Sep 2005
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Congrats Simmo,

You´ve been quite sadistic with such a bike.
ha ha ha
Well I admit having been a bit hard against Hyong Sung..they´re actually brilliant technically and superior to some other makes..
According to french playmobike magazine it´s a killer !!

Concerning DR´s, I think it could be Suzuki not greasing the bearings enough.
Also, avoid power washing..often the case of dry bearings and axles.
When servicing..I recomend using synthetic grease, this way it will resist better.
Timken bearings is excellent choice(inventors of steering ings).

Cheers,

Matt


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  #14  
Old 6 Sep 2005
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Quote:
Originally posted by Matt595:


Concerning DR´s, I think it could be Suzuki not greasing the bearings enough.
Also, avoid power washing..often the case of dry bearings and axles.
When servicing..I recomend using synthetic grease, this way it will resist better.
Timken bearings is excellent choice(inventors of steering ings).

Cheers,

Matt

Good point Matt! I've learned this the hard way with my old KTM dirtbike, replaced every bearing due to water contamination. Now, i only use garden-hose preasure in a mist, and scrub with a toilet brush and car-wash. I use WD-40 for heavy grease areas like the chain and swing-arm covered in chain-wax. Fortunately the Beemer doesn't have these ghastly oily-appendages. I only have to contend with dried mud and the bugs
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  #15  
Old 28 May 2006
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Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmo
The steering head bearings on my GS dont last much beyond 20k kms,
My friends who run a Yamaha shop tell me that this is common these days, caused by poor manufacture of the frames. Apparently the whole in which the bearing race sits is very slightly oval. So when the bearing is pushed in it also changes shape and becomes oval. This is not visible to the naked eye, but causes the load to be concentrated in two places wearing the bearing out quickly.

Their solution: they only ever buy special bearings that are slightly smaller, so they are not pressed into the frame, but rather just drop in. To secure them they use some kind of glue, so the race can't move. No more problems... so they say.

I still believe that the bearings I bought were crap, as their replacements have now lasted a lot longer. Plus, I make sure they are lubed and not tight. (Years ago I uncrated brand new Hondas and their bearings were already shot. Seems the factory tightened them with an air wrench...)

To get back to the DR: I kind of got used to it. Modified the seat, big tank, next is a different ratio and I'll be off on my half RTW.

61000km on the clock, I must be crazy. (But then, on my India trip I started with 90000 and did another 90. But that was a CX500.) Engine still runs like a new one, uses almost no oil. Wish me luck!
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