The DR650S could be the “I-wanna-have-fun” bike you’ll hang on to

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It’s not the most attractive bike in the dual sport stable, though it’s small and scrappy with a 644 cc engine and so much fun to ride. With a glance at the DR650S from Suzuki you might just dismiss it as an enduro bike. That would be doing it an injustice. It’s really a basic adventure bike that will get you off the pavement and into the woods with perhaps more gumption than a real adventure bike. Priced affordably, it isn’t tragic to drop it as it would be otherwise and it is lightweight enough that you can pick it up and keep going.

  • 2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
  • Year:
    2015- 2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    644 cc
  • Top Speed:
    120 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    6599
  • Price:

Suzuki DR650S Design

  • Uncomfortable seat
  • Small fuel tank
  • No electronics
  • Halogen lighting
2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
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2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
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2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
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The DR650S joined the Suzuki dual-sport lineup in 2015, replacing the DR650SE, but the truth is, the only real change was dropping the “E” from the name. It’s still a DR650SE; the “E” stands for electric start, but that designation is meaningless anymore. It’s like saying pneumatic tires are a mention-worthy feature. Not! It’s really only noteworthy nowadays if it doesn’t have electric start. (Who doesn’t love a kickstarter?)

When I mentioned that I was looking at the DR650S, two comments that folks made over and over was it has a small fuel tank and the seat sucks. Ask anyone out there who has one of these and they’ll tell you, so if you plan on some long distance adventure rides, this particular Suzuki may not quite fit the bill without a trip to the accessories catalog for the gel seat and a trip to the aftermarket for more fuel capacity.

As far as I can see, the small fuel tank is the only thing really holding the DR650S back from calling it an entry-level adventure bike, that and Suzuki doesn’t offer bags for it. For the price, if you have to throw on some accessories to make it your own, you are still getting an inexpensive ride. While you’re perusing the aftermarket, consider a set of mirrors if you plan to do a lot of off-roading. The stock mirrors stand prominent and are great for the pavement, but probably won’t last long off-road. They’ll either get whacked the first time you drop it, or get swiped by brush along the trail.

The bike has no electronics, which is a double-edged sword. Simplicity makes it easy to work on, but you don’t get the tech alphabet soup benefits. That doesn’t slow the bike down, though, as far as being ready to go whenever you are. It has plenty of torque for hill-climbing and cruises at highway speeds without sounding like its wound up tighter than Dick’s hatband — both pluses.

Seat height is a lofty 34.8 inches, but that isn’t a surprise on a proper off-road bike with gobs of ground clearance. Suzuki has an accessories kit to drop the seat 1.6 inches, but even that might be too high for the shortie-shorts among us.

Suzuki DR650S Chassis

  • Agile handling
  • Height-adjustable front fork and rear shock with accessory kit
  • Generous 10-inch suspension travel
  • Lightweight, compact frame
2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
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2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
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2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
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The DR650S definitely weighs in at the bottom of the range for true dual-sport machines at 366 pounds, wet. A single-downtube, double-cradle frame made from tubular stock with a rectangular downtube gets things started in the right (light?) direction. I find the double-cradle arrangement to be more appropriate for rough terrain since it doubles as a sort of under-guard for the engine. Not quite the same as a proper skidplate (available as an accessory), but better than nothing, and certainly a better arrangement than a stressed-engine frame design that leaves the engine well exposed and vulnerable to terrain strikes.

Stock ground clearance is 10.4 inches, but this isn’t carved in stone by any means. Suspension height at both ends may be lowered through the use of an accessories kit, necessarily with a concurrent reduction in seat height and ground clearance. The suspension itself is definitely set up with true off-road work in mind, and the DR605S is not a soccer-mom equivalent.

Suspension travel is right at 10.2 inches front and rear, which is definitely in dirt-bike country, and the rear, coil-over monoshock comes with adjustable compression damping and preload for a little bit of ride flexibility. To increase the effectiveness of the suspension, Suzuki runs lightweight brake discs and hollow axles to help keep unsprung weight to a minimum, and reduce the amount of work the shocks have to do in order to keep the wheels on the ground.

A twin-piston front caliper binds a 290 mm front disc, not exactly the biggest disc available, but rather large by off-road standards. I expect this is to provide adequate braking effort on paved roads with greater available traction than you find on the dirt, and this keeps the DR from being just a dressed-up dirt bike. Another dual-pot caliper acts on the 240 mm rear disc to complete the brakes, and the lack of ABS or brake-linking keeps the operation simple and honest.

At 21 inches, the front wheel is definitely sized for serious off-road riding where large diameter front wheels are desirable, and arguably necessary. A 17-inch rim brings up the rear, and both wheels run an aluminum rim and hub with stainless-steel spokes. For years, off-road riders have preferred laced wheels for the extra give they provide, and Suzuki gives riders what they want at the hoops.

Suspension Front/Travel: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped/ 260 mm (10.2 in)
Suspension Rear: Link type, coil spring, oil damped
Rear Wheel Travel: 260 mm (10.2 in)
Caster: 28° 30’
Trail: 111 mm (4.37 in)
Brakes Front: Disc brake, single floating rotor
Brakes Rear: Disc brake, single rotor
Tires Front: 90/90-21 M/C 54S, tube type
Tires Rear: 120/90-17 M/C 64S, tube type

Suzuki DR650S Drivetrain

  • 644 cc, air- and oil-cooled engine
  • Mikuni BST40 constant-velocity carburetor
  • Tuned for performance in the low- to mid-range
  • easy-pull clutch
2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
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2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
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2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
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An air- and oil-cooled, 644 cc thumper engine powers the DR650S. Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong with a simple engine like this. No water jacket or radiator to complicate things, no fandangled contraptions like ride-by-wire or traction control just waiting to fail and leave you stranded on the road/trail/service department. What could be more basic than a single-cylinder, air-cooled, carbureted engine? That’s right, the mill aspirates through a good, old-fashioned, Mikuni BST40 constant-velocity carburetor. You don’t need to be a rocket surgeon or own the first piece of electronic diagnostic equipment to set things aright with this carb if things get wonky. Keep that in mind if someone with a gizmo-bike decides to give you a hard time about your tomato-can, air-fuel control.

The jug measures out at 100 mm x 82 mm — typical for one-lungers to run oversquare — and it runs a relatively low compression ratio at 9.5 to 1, so I expect mid-grade to be the highest you will have to go at the pump. A five-speed, constant-mesh tranny and chain drive complete the drivetrain.

Never one to miss an opportunity for some proprietary acronyms and ever-so-basic of techno alphabet soup, the factory packed in its Suzuki Advanced Cooling System (SACS) that squirts oil onto the bottom of the piston crown, then runs the oil through a cooler to carry off the waste heat. As usual, we see the Suzuki Composite Electrochemical Material (SCEM) treatment in the bore that reduces wear and friction while maintaining good heat transfer capabilities. The result is cooler internals in the engine, and a cooler engine is good, m’kay?

Engine: 644cc, 4-stroke, air-cooled, single cylinder, OHC
Bore x Stroke: 100.0 mm x 82.0 mm (3.93 in x 3.23 in)
Compression Ratio: 9.5 : 1
Fuel System: MIKUNI BST40, single carburetor
Starter: Electric
Lubrication: Wet sump
Clutch: Wet multi-plate type
Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh
Primary reduction ratio: 2.178 (61/28)
Final reduction ratio: 2.800 (42/15)
Final Drive: Chain, DID525V9, 110 links

Suzuki DR650S Pricing

2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
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2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
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2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
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MSRP on the 2020 DR650S is $6,699 and it comes in Solid Iron Gray. Suzuki covers your dual-sport beauty for 12-months with an unlimited mileage, limited warranty and offers extensions through Suzuki Extended Protection (SEP).

Warranty: 12-month, unlimited mileage, limited warranty with extensions available through Suzuki Extended Protection (SEP)
Color:
└ 2015: Solid Special White No.2 / Solid Iron Gray
└ 2016: Solid Black / Solid Iron Gray
└ 2017: Solid Black
└ 2018: Solid Special White No. 2
└ 2019: Solid Black
└ 2020: Solid Iron Gray
Price:
└ 2017: $6,499
└ 2018: $6,549
└ 2019: $6,599
└ 2020: $6,699

Suzuki DR650S Competitors

2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
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2015 - 2021 Honda XR650L
- image 864704

Since Suzuki is one of the Big Four, I felt it was appropriate to go to another of that august company, so I went with Honda and its XR650L.

Honda XR650L

2015 - 2021 Honda XR650L
- image 864717

At a glance, it’s clear that both of these machines were built primarily for off-road performance, and the paved-road capabilities were back-burner considerations. The aesthetics are remarkably similar. Like a brother-from-another-mother, the Honda entry runs with a long-stroke front end, as evidenced by the high-mount mudguard.

A rally-style headlight housing, turn signals, and mirrors see to the street-legal gear up front with handguards to protect your hamburger shovels. Just below, and at the leading edge of the fuel tank, Honda diverges a bit with a pair of cheek fairings that I’m sure are meant to help channel air across the engine’s cooling fins. Honda’s 644 cc, four-stroke plant runs in a one-lung configuration and churns out 40 horsepower and 47.2 pound-feet of torque against 44/40 from the Suzuki, so the power figures are pretty much a wash. Honda comes off looking a couple-hundred bucks prouder at the checkout with a $6,899 sticker, but that slim of a margin is unlikely to buy Suzuki any business at $6,699.

Read our full review of the Honda XR650L.

He Said

My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, “Sorry Suzuki, I really ain’t feeling the DR at all. Although I like the simplicity, it looks a little too much like a day-tripping dirt bike than a dual-sport proper, especially side-by-side with the Kawasaki. It’s probably good for what it’s good for, but striking out on multi-day, off-road adventures is certainly not at the top of that list.”

She Said

“Unlike my husband, I’m feeling this bike. Maybe it’s the mechanic in me that likes the simplicity. If you like to tinker with your own stuff without needing expensive diagnostic equipment, this is your Huckleberry. It’s light and scrappy and while the numbers don’t look impressive on paper, you can really feel them in the seat when you twist the throttle. Spend a little money in the accessories catalog and the aftermarket to make it your own and this could be the ’I-wanna-have-fun’ bike you’ll hang on to.”

Suzuki DR650S Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 644cc, 4-stroke, air-cooled, single cylinder, OHC
Bore x Stroke: 3.93 in x 3.23 in (100.0 mm x 82.0 mm)
Compression Ratio: 9.5 : 1
Fuel System: MIKUNI BST40, single carburetor
Starter: Electric
Lubrication: Wet sump
Clutch: Wet multi-plate type
Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh
Primary reduction ratio: 2.178 (61/28)
Final reduction ratio: 2.800 (42/15)
Final Drive: Chain, DID525V9, 110 links
Chassis:
Suspension Front/Travel: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped/ 10.2 in (260 mm)
Suspension Rear: Link type, coil spring, oil damped
Rear Wheel Travel: 10.2 in (260 mm)
Caster: 28° 30’
Trail: 111 mm (4.37 in)
Brakes Front: Disc brake, single floating rotor
Brakes Rear: Disc brake, single rotor
Tires Front: 90/90-21 M/C 54S, tube type
Tires Rear: 120/90-17 M/C 64S, tube type
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 88.8 in (2,255 mm)
Overall Width: 34.1 in (865 mm)
Overall Height: 47.0 in (1,195 mm)
Wheelbase: 58.7 in (1,490 mm)
Ground Clearance: 10.4 in (265 mm)
Seat Height: 34.8 in (885 mm)
Curb Weight: 366 lbs (166 kg)
Turning radius: 8.2 ft (2.5 m)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.4 US gal (13 L) / 3.2 US Gal (12 L) California model
Electricals:
Ignition: Electronic ignition (CDI)
Headlight: 12V 60/55W (H4)
Tail Light: 12V 21/5W
Details:
Warranty: 12-month, unlimited mileage, limited warranty with extensions available through Suzuki Extended Protection (SEP)
Color:
└ 2015: Solid Special White No.2 / Solid Iron Gray
└ 2016: Solid Black / Solid Iron Gray
└ 2017: Solid Black
└ 2018: Solid Special White No. 2
└ 2019: Solid Black
└ 2020: Solid Iron Gray
Price:
└ 2017: $6,499
└ 2018: $6,549
└ 2019: $6,599
└ 2020: $6,699

Further Reading

Suzuki

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Read more Suzuki news.

Allyn Hinton
Allyn Hinton
Writer and Associate Motorcycle Editor - allyn@topspeed.com
If it had moving parts, it had Allyn's interest from a very early age. At age 11 when bicycles were too simple to hold her interest any longer, her father found her taking apart the lawn mower. When he asked why she was doing it, she replied, “I need to see how it works.” That curiosity and mechanical drive served her well over the next 40 years as she pursued careers in both the automotive and motorcycle industries. Having shared her love of motorcycles with her now husband, biker TJ Hinton, Allyn brings that love and knowledge to TopSpeed as writer and associate motorcycle editor.  Read full bio
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: suzukicycles.com, powersports.honda.com, bmwmotorcycles.com, kawasaki.com

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