Saga of the DR650 and 2017 in quick review

Been nearly a year since I posted here on the blog.  Not sure why…I think life just gets in the way sometimes and the with all the rides and things, I get so far behind in updating the blog that I just say the heck with it and don’t bother with it at all.  I’ll try doing things a little different this year.

So, 2017 for a quick review:

  • Bought a DR650, a more off-road oriented motorcycle
  • Rode to the Pacific Northwest on the Alaska-ridden DL650, which was a trip of 6,991 miles with the serpentine route I rode (guess I could do a ride report on that later)
  • Came back and decided with almost 70K on the bike, to sell it and upgrade to the generation 2 DL650
  • Sold the beloved DL650 to a guy that wanted a bike to ride mostly to work within the city and occasionally take out of town
  • Put about 3,100 miles on the DR650 and sold it (reasons below)
  • Purchased a 2012 DL650, the generation two bike with the newer body style, which I managed to put about 3,500 miles on it the rest of 2017
  • Got in probably eight separate overnight and multi-day camping trips with some friends and the motorcycles

The DR650 I purchased earlier in the year was obtained because I always wanted to ride one and check out its abilities but didn’t know anybody locally that had one.  Also, my number one bucket list ride desire is to ride to Ushuaia in South America.  This ride has a lot more dirt, gravel, and mud riding than what I typically do here in the states.  I’ve already gotten my wife’s agreement to do this four-month long ride if I can figure out a way to pay for it and still cover needed expenses back home; so it made sense to get a DR and see if it was a potential motorcycle to use if I did ever manage to go ride that far south.

As I mentioned in last year’s posting, I bought it from a woman that had ridden it all over North America and has taken great care of it.  While I had it, it did have a cam chain adjuster gasket start to weep that was taken care of and a few other normal other maintenance needs.  I rode it numerous times to southern Indiana, where more accessible curves and hills against that contained a lot more harder dual-track roads.

Taking the DR650 through stream crossings and into places I wouldn’t feel comfortable with my more touring-oriented DL650, I found I really enjoyed it.  Riding on gravel and dirt was a lot more fun and it showed me that this model bike would be perfect to take down to Central or South America if the chance presented itself later.  Throw some semi-rigid side bags on it to carry gear, it performed just fine.What I didn’t like about it is the old-style fuel system, a carburetor, since I don’t like working on motorcycles.  Also, this isn’t the best bike for interstate speeds; in fact, it is a pain to ride at over 60 MPH or so.  It’s a very “buzzy” type of bike to ride long distances at fast speeds.  It would be good for the slower speeds south of the US border, but it would suck on the interstate for days getting out of the country.

All-in-all, I think the Suzuki DR650 is a good bike overall and a great choice to ride down south.  Besides the interstate system in the US, doing long stretches of the Pan-American Highway in Peru, or the notoriously windy Route 40 in Argentina, it’s going to a bike that would be a blast to ride to Ushuaia.

I gave a lot of consideration to keeping the DR650, but for the typical riding that I do not, it would have spent a lot of time in the garage.  While I did ride it a number of times to get better acquainted with it, I realized it would not get ridden as much later overall.  So, to free up space, I sold it to a guy that wanted a good running bike to play with on his farm.  If Ushuaia ever looks like it really can happen, I’ll pick up another good used DR, do some modifications to it, and head out down the road with it.

Hopefully, this post gets me fired up again to get this blog going once more.  I think it will.  Lots of plans for 2018 riding and motorcycle-related posts, so plenty of opportunities to provide content.  For now, the focus is to think about warm springtime temperatures again and hoping this winter passes by quickly!

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