The DR650SEV is marketed by Suzuki as a Dual-Sport motorcycle, I would class the DR650 as a bit of a bush track blaster while being  outstanding in the role of a commuter. 

Big singles are cheap to run.  Check out this little comparison on running costs…….

Service Item Road Bike Big Single
Chain/Sprockets$350

$180

Tyres (set)$500$200
Service$250$140

As you can see there is no denying that big-bore trailies can be much more economical than a road bike.  A good reason for having one of each.

Being a single though the DR doesn’t have the power to let you play any games on the tarmac, unless of course you have full knobblies fitted, which can help provide you with some entertainment on the road.

While the big single is not overly powerful (34 horsepower at the rear wheel), it has earned a reputation as being unburstable.

I have covered over 60,000 kilometres on post 96 (read the new generation DR650SEV) models without so much as a hiccup, small oil weeping problems aside.

How much abuse I hear you ask, how about being held completely pinned to the stop for 184 kilometres between Norseman and Balladonia, while fully laden with extra large Gearsack, backpack and extra large rider to boot.

 

The big DR most definitely deserves its good reputation for reliability.

It comes with overly long gearing 16/41 as stock which makes things difficult in the dirt. Much better to swap to a 46 or 47 teeth rear sprocket. This however means that you will be changing both sprockets and your chain because the DR comes with 525 items, this makes it a bit hard to find a decent range of sprockets to suit. The easiest way is to change everything to 520 or 530 to get the gearing a bit more realistic.

A gearing change makes the bike much more fun, especially in the dirt, while on the street things have also become a bit more lively with wheelies being able to be clutched up in second. The DR’s clutch is also just about untrashable.

 

The brakes are just adequate but I would have expected a bit more stopping power from something which is capable of 150 kph cruising speeds.

 

Instrumentation is acceptable for a bike of this nature.   Consisting of a speedo with odometer and tripmeter, a light for the turn signal, a light for neutral and a light for high beam. 

 

The big DR is much lighter than its forebears though still no featherweight, 147 kilos dry to be exact. Some of this can be trimmed off when going bush however, with the removal of lights, rear pegs, grab rails etc.

Where the DR might win some friends among those of us who are a little shorter than the average bear is with it’s adjustable seat height. Simply take your DR to your dealer and he can lower the seat height by 40mm in no time at all.

Where the DR shines is in long dirt-touring stretches, it is even comfortable enough to do long road stretches, how does Melbourne to Perth in two days sound, it has been done and I have the photos to prove just how silly I was.

 

Seriously though the DR is a pretty comfortable everyday bike and much more practical for riding to and from work on than your sportsbike and pretty much any dedicated road bike. The upright position and wide bars give you plenty of leverage to throw it around and squeeze between the traffic (the bars are higher than most car mirrors) and you can still blow 99.9% of cars away at the lights, 14.6 second quarter mile see to that.

The Electric start makes it a much more practical day to day choice than most of its competitors. When riding in the dirt with a mate on his KLX, I have great fun turning the DR on and off as he sweats profusely while trying to kick start his Kwaka. Good Fun, and yes I am a heartless bastard.

The DR is not a dirt weapon of choice. I have struggled with one at a couple of rounds of the West Australian Natural Terrain Motocross Championship. I knew I wasn’t much good in the dirt, but was blaming the bike anyway.

Recently I made a silly move, I let a young motocrosser named Ben use it in a race and he promptly flogged the entire field! It was only the amateur class but it was up against much more expensive Husky and KTM hardware.  But worst of all I could no longer blame the bike, I just had to face the harsh reality that when it comes to dirt riding I make a half decent road rider.

To put it shortly the DR is a great commuter, not bad for an occasional belt around the bush, is reasonably practical for long-distance touring, is cheap to run when compared to a road bike, and incredibly reliable.

For around $8800 on road with a two year warranty the DR650SEV is a winner, it is a big surprise that we don’t see more of them around.

Maybe it is because they don’t have the dirt cred’ of the XR?

But think about it are you good enough to make full use of that XR? Will you get sick of kick-starting the XR or KLX.

What this lack of cred’ means though is that you can pick up a low mileage late model DR in good condition for between 5 and 6 grand. This is bargain territory here folks.

SPECIFICATIONS

Engine Type: 644cc, 4-stroke, single cylinder, SOHC, 4-valve, air cooled with SACS
Bore x Stroke: 100 x 82mm
Displacement: 644cm3
Compression Ratio: 9.5 : 1
Carburetor(s): Mikuni BST40
Maximum Power: 34 hp  measured
Starter: Electric
Transmission: 5-speed
Final Drive: 525 ‘O’-ring sealed chain
 
Dimensions (mm): 2,255 x 865 x 1,205 mm
Wheel Base (mm): 1,490mm
Seat Height (mm): 885mm or 845mm
Fuel Capacity (litres): 13 litres (including a 3 litre reserve)
 
Front Tyre: 90/90 21
Rear Tyre: 120/90 17
 
Front Suspension: Telescopic, leading axle, oil damped, 260mm or 220 mm of travel, 43mm stanchions
Rear Suspension: Link type, oil damped, spring preload adjustable, damping adjustable
260mm or 220 mm of travel
 
Front Brakes: Single Disc
Rear Brakes: Single Disc
 
Dry Weight (kg): 147kg
RRP: $8,200 + ORC