1996 - 2008 Suzuki DR650
If you are looking for an exceptional combination of off-road agility and smooth street performance, you’ve come to the right place.
1996 - 2008 Suzuki DR650
Engine:four-stroke, single cylinder, SOHC, 4-valve, air/oil cooled
Horsepower @ RPM:43 hp (32KW) @ 6.400 rpm
With the DR650 Suzuki offers a very affordable package which combines off-road agility and smooth street performance offered by the lightweight single-cylinder. If you are looking for adventure and if you think that fun begins at the end of the road, this is the one for you.
Before we start talking about a bike I believe we first have to know how it ended up being a bike. With the DR650 it’s a simple task. In fact, the base idea of creating the DR650 was very simple: Suzuki needed a big offroad bike. In the late 1980s they did had the DR600 but it wasn’t quite powerful enough for customers who knew there were bigger machines on the market, like the Honda Dominator650. They started developing a new, bigger bike which would offer all the satisfaction needed and this is where DR650 enters the scene. The bike arrived in the early 1990s in two different versions: DR650 Djebel and DR650RS. They shared the same mechanics but the looks were quite different. The RS was a lighter model, featuring a small exhaust system, quite different from the Djebel (also called DR650R Dakar). But the most obvious difference between the two is that the Djebel didn’t feature the RS model’s fairing and it had a dirt bike styled higher front mudguard.
Both DR650 models were basically an enlarged DR600 (bigger bore and longer stroke) with upgraded frame and suspension sharing the same 21 liters fuel tank and a massive aluminum luggage carrier.
Suzuki continued developing the DR650 and in 1991 it presented the DR650RSE with electric start with automatic decompression system. The bike also got fat, it was big everything but with a purpose and that purpose was the electric starter which needed a larger battery (12 Ah instead of 5) and more efficient alternator (200 W instead of 180) causing an extra weight of 15 kg (33lbs).
In 1992 they changed some features of the bike: this model got a smaller fuel tank (17 liter instead of 21) and the aluminum rear carrier was replaced with a smaller one. The changes, among with other refinements, made it possible to give the model 8 kg (17, 6 lbs.) lower dry mass. The exhaust system was enlarged for better low-rev torque and the rear suspension was improved. This is also the year when Djebel changes name to DR650R.
The model wasn’t significantly improved until 1996 when it was revised for better handling and less weight. They had to sacrifice power for a better low-rev delivering, making it more comfortable to use. The smoother and yet less powerful engine was made by upgrading the exhaust system again and increasing the bore by 5mm (0. 196 in.) and shortening the stroke by 8mm (0.315 in.). The new engine ran very smoothly and didn’t vibrate nearly as much as the engine of the RSE. The same engine featured a new oil cooler that year.
It was clear that the bike was on a diet: the seat was narrower, which means it wasn’t so comfy when riding long distances, the fairing reduced to a small top fairing without a windshield and the suspension and the frame were totally new and improved. All this changes made the bike 25 kg (55lbs.) lighter than the DR650SE.
Through the years it kept being produced and ridden by people all around the world, without major changes. The colors kept changing every year, but the product remained the same.
In 2008 the Suzuki DR650SE features a lightweight SOHC four-stroke engine tuned for strong low and midrange power and fuel efficiency with a single counterbalancer system.
It has gone a long way but it was worth is! 2008 Suzuki brings us a reliable and very enjoyable bike, the DR650SE.
Suzuki developed the DR650 as a competitor for Honda’s 650 Dominator. They just had to increase the engine’s capacity because of the insufficient power. Then the bike started becoming a rival for the other single-cylinder dual-sport motorcycles on the market like Kawasaki’s KLR650 and Honda’s XR650L. Suzuki and Honda are better off-road but Kawasaki’ KLR650 has a bigger fuel tank (which means cruising long distances).
I will conclude by letting you know that each and every motorcycle is very good as long as you think very good at what you are going to do with it. If you fell like going across the States (with the opportunity to blow some dust) you probably need the KLR650 but if you love off-road with the ability to perform very good on the streets you need the DR650SE or Honda’s XR650L.
Suzuki tried to keep everything as simple as possible when it designed the bike. Always wanting to satisfy customers, the DR650SE includes a unique adjustable seat height for shorter riders. The bike features a painted fuel tank and painted stainless-steel exhaust system, giving a very modern and attractive look together with the side panels and plastic handguards. The bike will be available in two appropriate colors, black and blue but I am almost certain that it will be muddy and dusty all the time and nobody will ever see the difference.
The bike is a great technical achievement. With a compact and lightweight SOHC 4 stroke engine tuned for strong low and midrange power and fuel efficiency together with the single counterbalancier system you know you benefit of more than 20 years of developing and improvements.
Suzuki mounted an efficient SACS air/oil cooling system with additional piston-jet cooling and engine oil cooler. Also the durable Suzuki Composite Electrochemical Material minimizes cylinder size & weight and improves heat dissipation.
A Mikuni 40mm “Slingshot” carburetor has the task to feed the engine and the painted-steel exhaust system, tuned specifically for strong low and midrange power, makes sure the engine breathes properly.
This motorcycle also features: a wide-ratio 5-speed transmission with O-ring sealed final drive chain, electric start with automatic decompression system and a low-maintenance, digitally controlled DC-CDI ignition system which provides accurate ignition timing and more consistent spark at all engine speeds.
On the Suzuki DR650SE everything has its pre-established purpose. Let’s take a look at the bike’s chassis features like the very useful adjustable seat height which can be lowered 40mm (1.6 in.) with suspension modifications performed by a dealer or the compact and lightweight frame. The use of thin-wall/large O.D. tubing reduces weight while increasing frame rigidity.
The front of the bike presents a fork which combines the best characteristics of conventional and inverted designs: Smooth and progressive action. Large diameter, thin-walled tubes reduce unsprung weight while maintaining high rigidity-minimal below-axle extension. Also at the front, a lightweight 290mm diameter disc brake with 2 piston caliper for excellent braking power.
At the back it’s all about stable damping performance provided by a link-type suspension with piggyback-style shock absorber and adjustable compression damping. Let’s not forget the lightweight aluminum swingarm which contributes as well. The rear disc brake features a lightweight drilled rotor and two piston calipers.
Still not satisfied? Maybe you’ll be after you hear about the special designed tires with on/off road tread pattern fitted to 21” front and 17” rear wheel or the full on-road lightning system with bright 55/60 watt halogen light.
Ok, some people are more demanding and that’s why Suzuki has a list of Optional Accessories which includes: Gel seat, Skid plate, Rear rack and a Side stand (for lowered seat height option)
That’s it my friend, you have to like it know. Give it a try! For a real thrill, top into the big single’s awesome torque for this bike will let you accelerate hard out of corners and power you across wide-open terrain.
Riding the Suzuki DR650 will always be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. On the road, the bike performs exactly the way it should: it delivers a great amount of lo-to-mid range power and the suspensions make you feel like you’re riding a Cadillac instead of a DualSport motorcycle though I can’t say the same thing about the seat which becomes annoying after approximately 60 miles. This bike was not created for speed but it can put some decent mph on the speedometer if you push it a little. I sure know I did and I managed to ride the bike with 90 mph on my way to the woods.
This kind of bike is more likely to be used off the road and I don’t wonder why. It shines out there. There’s nothing compared to the adrenaline rush offered by the engine’s great amount of torque when you accelerate out of corners and power your way across various terrains.
It is easy to maneuver, reliable, it has a good power to weight ratio for its class and it will certainly make you crave for another dusty run.
If you need to cover long various terrain distances in a short amount of time than this is the machine you need. And guess what? It does come cheap! With a MSRP of $5,099.00, this is a quick fix to your transportation problems. These bikes have always been cheap to buy and we all now that maintenance is not a tough issue.
I would conclude by telling you that the bike is an absolute joy to ride both on and off the road but I prefer to let you give it a try and make your own opinion.
Engine and Transmission
Engine: 644cc, four-stroke, single cylinder, SOHC, 4-valve, air/oil cooled.
Bore x Stroke: 100.0 x 82.0mm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Fuel System: Mikuni BST40
Lubrication: Wet sump
Final Drive: #525 chain
Overall Length: 2255mm (88.8 in.), low seat setting 2235mm (88.0 in.)
Overall Width: 865mm (34.1in)
Overall Height: 1195mm (47.0 in.), low seat setting 1155mm (45.5 in.)
Seat Height: 885mm (34.8 in.), low seat setting 845mm (33.0 in.)
Ground Clearance: 265mm (10.4 in.), low seat setting 225mm (8.9 in.)
Wheelbase: 1490mm (58.7 in.), low seat setting 1475mm (58.1 in.)
Dry Weight: 147kg (324lbs)
Suspension Fork: Telescopic, leading axle, oil damped, 10.2 inches of travel, (low seat setting 8.7 in. of travel)
Suspension Rear: Link-type, fully adjustable spring preload, gas/oil damped, adjustable compression damping, 10.2 inches of travel, (low seat sitting 8.7 in. of travel)
Front Brakes: Single hydraulic disc
Rear Brake: Single hydraulic disc
Front Tires: 90/90-21 54S
Rear Tires: 120/90-17 64S
Fuel Tank Capacity: 13 liter (3.4 gal.), 12 liter (3.2 gal.) CA model
Color: Black, Blue