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Discussion Starter #1
As noted in another post...I am selling my DR650 due to mechanical issues.
My wife and I are both sad to see it go as it was our "go to" bike for 2-up adventures. My 2001 TW served us well, but there's nothing like a BIG thumper to move you around...especially if you have to travel the slab for a portion of your trip!

I got to thinking about something in the 350-400 class but I'm unsure if Yamaha (NOT getting another Suzuki) has anything in that range as Dual Sport/Enduro.

SO what are my options?
As I said, I don't want another Suzuki...but I would do Yamaha, Honda or even Kawasaki (NO KLR's).
400cc is where the insurance rates change around here....so that is the biggest I would go.
 

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Here's what happened to me this year. Started with 2015 new generation KLR which didn't last long. My god what a over weight tank. Sure it was good on the road but seriously not a dirt bike in my 50 years experience.

Sold the KLR and got 2013 DR650. Boy from the hype online one would figure it to be the best bike on the planet. Well for me it was a big POS. Problem after problem with zero reliability. Sure maybe I got the one and only bad one. But I've owned a couple V-stroms, DRZ 400's and the 650 all got sold in short order. Will NEVER buy another Suzuki. I've learned my lesson finally.

So I'm back to Honda and a 2017 XR650L. Have owned several over the many years and NONE have given me any issues. Awesome power, great suspension and hammer like reliability. I would highly recommend one. Never made much sense to buy a 400 for the same money and size bike. Cause you can never have enough power, IMHO. Especially if your riding 2 up.
 

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The XR650L has remained unchanged for so long for a reason. Just like the TW, they got it right, from the start. I've seen quite a few commuter XR650L's for sale in the Greater Toronto Area. Good power, capable for highway/offroad, old school suspension that works, air-cooled low maintenance engine, decent fuel mileage, lots of tire choices and available farkles. Only negatives I can think of;

1) tall seat (37" - but lowering links are available for shorter riders)
2) small gas tank (2.8 gallon - aftermarket has this covered)
3) heavy (346lbs wet - but still way lighter than your typical ADV bike)
4) looks (I personally dig the old school dirt bike/enduro vibe)

The only unfortunate thing, they stopped selling them in Canada, after the 2017 model year. I'm seriously considering this as my next bike.

Oh yeah, love the Honda Red too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The only issue I have is that around here (in BC) the cutoff size for bikes is 400cc.
My DR650 is TWICE the cost of insuring any other bike I've had (previous TW, XT225, Sherpa, XT250). That is why I only insured it for 5 to 6 months of the year.
I want to go down to the 400 class to take advantage of the lower rates...I'm due to retire in another year or two, so I'm looking to minimize the costs of this hobby...farkles are bad enough! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Here's what happened to me this year. Started with 2015 new generation KLR which didn't last long. My god what a over weight tank. Sure it was good on the road but seriously not a dirt bike in my 50 years experience.

Sold the KLR and got 2013 DR650. Boy from the hype online one would figure it to be the best bike on the planet. Well for me it was a big POS. Problem after problem with zero reliability. Sure maybe I got the one and only bad one. But I've owned a couple V-stroms, DRZ 400's and the 650 all got sold in short order. Will NEVER buy another Suzuki. I've learned my lesson finally.

So I'm back to Honda and a 2017 XR650L. Have owned several over the many years and NONE have given me any issues. Awesome power, great suspension and hammer like reliability. I would highly recommend one. Never made much sense to buy a 400 for the same money and size bike. Cause you can never have enough power, IMHO. Especially if your riding 2 up.
I also looked at the KLR back when I was shopping for a "bigger" bike and heard the same stories regarding weight and off-road "performance".
Oddly enough, the DR came back with mostly glowing reviews and just a couple of caveats in regards to the NSU and 3rd gear issue.
It's a classic case of "If I knew THEN what I know now"...I probably would NOT have bought it in the first place.
One fellow (on another forum) said it best when he said that he would buy a bike with a KNOWN defect (and he listed a few ie: top-end rebuilds, valve jobs etc.) but he hated owning the DR because there were so many random flaws with the model, that would show up out of nowhere....suddenly, everyone was having the same problem!
If it isn't NSU screws or primary drive nuts that loosen on their own, it's circlips that are made of candy, or chain rollers that rip out part of your frame.

I was aware of MOST of these flaws at the onset, and I did my best to mitigate...I removed the chain roller, I safety-wired the NSU screws...I even replaced the stock carb with a pumper! But there's nothing you can do about a transmission circlip that decides to fall apart one day, despite your best efforts and fastidious maintenance.
Don't get me wrong...when she ran well, she was a GREAT bike, but this latest incident has me re-thinking the whole reliability and trustworthiness of this model.
I too, will never purchase another Suzuki.

The only issue I would have with the XR400 is the kick start....
 

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ICBC is the provincially run government insurance scam, i mean, corporation. Ya, I had to deal with those idiots when I lived in B.C. ~ 20 years ago. It was crazy expensive then (truck insurance), it must be outrageous by now.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
The biggest problem with ICBC...aside from incompetent drivers and fraudsters, is that every Government has used the PROFITS as their Party's ATM...constantly robbing dividends that should have been returned to the users, in the form of lower rates.
They are talking about some *serious* rate-changes this year to penalize bad drivers and reward the good ones...we'll see how that plays out. The problem as I see it is that if you make it unaffordable, people won't change their ways and/or ride bicycles to work...they'll just drive without insurance, which means that the rest of us have to pony up (again) for UNDER-INSURED Motorist Protection....

BASIC insurance for my TW was $272 for 6 months....that doesn't include any collision, theft, fire, vandalism etc...just basic liability.
Double that for the DR650....for six months...same "coverage".
 

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Geez that's a rip off for those insurance rates. Mine is only 75 bucks a year for basic liability so I'm road legal. This one time size doesn't matter. I do have full coverage on the ST-1300 and that's only $160 a year.
 

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I'm paying $740 a year for standard full coverage and I thought that was bad. I feel your pain.

EDIT - New rider M2 Licence, first time motorcycle insurance. I wouldn't be able to afford to ride in B.C. - rip-off
insurance and gas prices (~$5.45 US Dollars a gallon)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Yeah....don't get me started on the gas prices.
I live about 60 miles East of Vancouver and the price there is insane...and ours isn't much different....but hey, no "collusion" from the gas companies, right?

We were in Bellingham last week....a ½hr drive and we filled up at Fred Meyer for $2.70 USG...that's $0.92 per liter...while we are paying $1.32 for the same-size liter....that's $3.51 USG, exchange taken into account.
Almost a dollar difference for the gas that came from the same refinery.
In June, when we were paying $1.62/L here (while they try to tell us that freight costs account for the difference)...I filled up in Cache Creek (155 miles North of here) for $1.42. Same gas from the same refinery.

What's the worst part of it all? The patronizing we get from them and their excuses. They can cite supply-and-demand (gas prices always increase before long weekends...the same long weekends we've been having for 100 years) or refinery maintenance or tension in the Middle East (has there ever been a time in modern history when there WASN'T tension in the Middle East?) but the fact is that they KNOW they can charge us whatever they want, and they KNOW we'll pay it...it's a captive audience they've got.
I'm not a believer in the whole Global-climate-change-is-caused-by-man either...so I really dislike the stranglehold that TPTB have on consumers. As if my paying a TAX on the fuel I use, will make ANY difference on the big picture.
The pols here in BC are really gung-ho in making BC the example of how things should be done in a Green world...but again, BC represents less than 1% of the world's population so anything we do will have ZERO effect overall. As long as China and India continue to pollute the way they do...my carbon tax will not accomplish anything.
Everyone knows that BC means Bring Cash...
</rant>

...but hey, we have some of the BEST riding anywhere! :D
 

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Maybe its just the Canadian DRs that suck cause I owned one too and got rid of it within a month yet other people rave about them.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So it's official...it's going to cost MORE to fix the DR than I can possibly recoup in selling it.
What a disappointment.

I've literally baby'd her since the day I bought her...treated her well, didn't abuse her and only gave her the best parts and fluids....and this is what happens, with less than 20,000 miles on the clock.
The mechanic I was talking to said that this is a "common problem" for the DR's and in retrospect, there have been quite a few showing up in the forums.

Last year, someone offered me $4500 for it and I turned him down...Hindsight is always 20/20.
 

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Sorry to hear about your insurance and DR nightmare.

If you can see past the insurance cost, take a look at the upgraded 2019 Honda CB 500X.

As a comparison, full coverage insurance for my 900cc Triumph is $126 usd per year.

jb
 

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Sorry to hear of your negative experiences with Suzuki. I can state with the utmost confidence that that is highly unusual. I know from extensive research, personal experience, and the experiences of friends and family, that in most cases, Suzuki motorcycles are among the very most reliable bikes you can get. I owned several bikes myself over the years, from all of the Japanese manufacturers, and my DR200 was easily the most reliable of all of them. I owned that bike and beat the living hell out of it (but also maintained it very well) for like 6 or 7 years, and it never let me down. I sold it in great running condition with 27,000 miles on it. A buddy has a DRZ with about 55k on it; he did rebuild the top end at about 52 because of valve problems (he'd neglected valve adjustments). My brother had an SV 650 with like 50k on it -- no issues. And I've seen a whole bunch of Vstrms, DRs of various displacements, Hayabusas, etc. with a whole lot of miles on original drivetrains.

Anyway, I'm not here to tell you that you didn't have a bad experience, LOL. If you bought your Suzukis used, that could be the problem (previous owners). As with any manufacturer, Suzuki has had its problem-child models over the years -- counterbalancers, fuel petcocks, etc. But it's pretty well documented which models/years suffer from those kinds of issues. I think if you just avoid those particular examples and be careful with used ones in general...Suzuki is probably the best overall as a brand, in terms of bikes that go and go without major issues. Many different (and different kinds of) factors go into the quality of ownership over time, such as maintenance, riding style, warm-up routine, previous ownership, dealer setup, factory quality control, etc., so of course individual results may vary considerably, based on those various factors.

I do understand not wanting to go back to something that's given you a headache.

Better luck next time!




As for your next ride, well, unfortunately there just aren't a lot of options in terms of mid size Japanese dual sports (basically none, actually...), especially if you don't want a Suzuki. The XR650L can be good, but honestly, empirically speaking, they are less reliable than the DR650, and (generally) much less likely to go to 50k or whatever miles, especially if you ever use them hard off road. That big lump with air cooling does have problems with heat: if you push it off road, consistently keep the revs high (as in spirited highway cruising), let it sit idling in traffic/at lights too long on hot days, etc., it will have a detrimental effect on the longevity of the motor. They also suffer from a lack of cush drive (needed when that much torque is yanking things around). There are issues with the countershaft splines wearing out and requiring removal/replacement of the shaft (obviously very involved and costly), the CDI tends to fail, and IIRC there was some issue with something in the carb letting go and getting sucked into the combustion chamber with undesirable results. This is not to say that one couldn't address these issues and ride around them to still get an XR650L up to whatever miles, but I'd say without mods and adjusting riding style etc., these problems could be, well, problems.

There is the new CSC RX4 (450 though...) ADV bike. It won't be much of a dirt bike, but should be decent on road and not totally incompetent off road :) The euro dual sports are fantastic dirt bikes but totally suck as high-miles road bikes.

Unfortunately, the only real choice in this category right now is the DRZ, unless you want a maintenance nightmare Beta/KTM/Huqvarna.

Personally, I'm really hoping to see CSC put the RX4 motor into a TT chassis (like their TT250, but 450). I think something like that with some half-decent suspension and a nice, low price would sell like crazy!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I bought it BRAND NEW and pampered it for the last 9 years.
That's not to say that I didn't ride it....I sure did...but I never dropped it (other than on myself during service)...never jumped it...and any repairs that needed to be done were done IMMEDIATELY.
For it to break a spring clip in the transmission, with less than 20,000 miles, is unacceptable in terms of quality control.
The DR650's are known for NSU bolts that loosen and fall into crankcase - I fixed that.
They are known for an upper chain roller that rips out part of the frame when the rear shock compresses - fixed that too.
They are known for a primary drive nut that like to back off - fixed that as well.
They are known for a carburetor that must be modified...right from the factory - fixed that.
They are known for 3rd gear detonations.

I still purchased one while knowing of all these shortcomings, because they were easy to address...aside from the mystery-grenade that is 3rd gear.
But this makes me wonder if all of the reported 3rd gear blowouts, were caused by this same failing spring clip....something to ponder for sure.
It took Suzuki YEARS to address the NSU issue...

Trust in my vehicles is of paramount importance to me...if I can't trust my vehicle to get me from point A to B and back....then I shouldn't own it.

I know there are thousands of trouble-free Suzuki's out there...but when you get the lemon, it's not a case of one-in-a-million...it's one out of one.
 

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I agree that confidence in reliability and durability is very important. It has always been my number one factor as well. Nothing else matters if you don't have that.

Your only other option really is the WR250R. It has enough of a power increase over the TW to be very noteworthy, but it sure as hell isn't going to give you that "big thumper" feel, haha. It's not really a 50k mile bike anyway: I would be fairly confident in it up to about 30k, assuming excellent maintenance and all that.

Don't get sucked into the CRF450L, by the way, in case anyone suggests that...it's just a red KTM, basically, in terms of streetability.

It does suck that we are so limited in options right now.

If you wait around, there's a small chance we will see a street legal Kawasaki KLX300 or a CSC TT450, within a year.
 
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