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joelord 02-12-2010 08:01 PM

DR650 TAT Build, prep, ride Summer 2010
Well here goes… I have decided to do the Trans America Trail. This is a dual sport ride that goes from East to west starting in Tennessee and ending up in Oregon. I will be leaving from Massachusetts so you can say it is a coast to coast ride!
The Idea started when my girlfriend’s father sent me a link to this “trail”. I have never heard of it before this and I was instantly hooked. You see I have watched “Long way round” and “Long way down” so many times I could play any part in the film. I sit and envy them for their free spirit, adventurous ways and most of all their funds to accomplish such a task!
It took almost a month of visiting the Trans American Trail website to get up the courage to say “I am going to do that”!
First order of business… Find a bike! I did some research and I have owned many dual sports in the past namely, 1999 DR650, 2 KLR650’s, and a KTM 640 LC4. So I know what I am in for. After some consideration it was clear that the bike would be the Suzuki DR650. My reasoning was simple. The best all a rounder and with its relatively low seat height it made it an easy choice for me. Next up was to set a budget. After looking around at what the bike would cost and the gear needed I put a reasonable budget number of $6000 on the project. That is Bike all the farkles to make the trip as well as spares and such. That is all in except for incidentals and travel expenses once underway.
Now to find the bike!

It had to be 1999 or newer since that was the last change and they have not updated them since. I was hoping to find one with some goodies already installed to help my budget. I found a 2006 with 6k miles on eBay located in Springfield, Mass. After some nervous last seconds I won the bike! It had Bark busters installed and a skid plate. Not too much but the price was right $2500. Here she is in my shop after I got her home. Not pretty but by no means ugly, a diamond in the rough. I did spend some time with the bike telling it that we were going to go across the country together and it will be a great adventure… I always wonder what the bikes lives were like before joining up with me. Was the owner before as nutty as I am, was he a new rider, experienced, was the bike for commuting, did he sell it to upgrade, I know I get caught up into it a little….

Let the fun begin! Time to order parts, parts, and parts! Photos to come once I figure this out!

joelord 02-12-2010 08:16 PM

First up, tank, seat and luggage. Some research led me to the 4.9 IMS oversized tank. Clark too small and the one there from Australia, for sure that one was going to blow the budget. I have read some good stuff about this IMS tank and so it was an easy choice. The seat however was a tossup between Corbin and Sergeant. Sergeant won out for a couple of reasons. I have owned Corbin’s before so it would be nice to try something new and it was a perfect fit with the IMS tank. To put the icing on the cake they offered it in a “low” version. There, seat and tank, arguably the two easiest out of three on the list. The last one took some major consideration. The luggage, what to do? Hard, soft, kit or build to suit, racks, I mean your head will spin with this one. And the choices once you decide which way you want to go is even endless. Once again I stared at the screen and read lord knows how many forums and I decided to go with soft. It does have some advantages as well as disadvantages, but I felt it was the right decision. Now I have to figure out what brand, how will it fit the budget, how it will fit, will I buy a bunch of bags and coble it together, how will it attach, how will I support the bags on the sides… Whew. I decided to go with a system already engineered to work with my bike. Going across the country on something that is not tested and tried sounded stupid to me and the price difference to building it myself minimal , so it seemed like a no brainer. I went with a three bag system, two side panniers and one top bag. The system comes with the racks and it seemed very well thought out.
Next up, Suspension:
I sent out a rear shock that I sourced from eBay to be rebuilt to handle the extra weight of the gear as well as me (240lbs). I will keep you in the loop on that as the information comes in. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

joelord 02-13-2010 07:14 AM

Here are the items I ordered so far, the ones in bold have not been ordered:
Item Vender
Center stand: SW Mototech Pro Cycle
Exhaust: FMF Q4 Pro Cycle
Sprocket & chain: 14/42 Pro Cycle
Tires: Pirelli MT21 Ron Ayers
Tubes: Michelin eBay
Tire spoons: Pro Cycle
Bead breaker: Motion Pro eBay
Filters: K&N Pro Cycle
Brake pads: EBC Green
Tool roll: ordered 2 Amazon
TAT maps and role charts Mr. TAT
Tank vent for cap:
Storage tube: AGRI
Rear shock upgrade: Cogent Dynamics Inc.
Front fork upgrade
Accessory outlets
Headset for helmet
Roll chart holder
Bar risers
Seat: Sergeant Busters
Tank: IMS eBay
Luggage: Denali luggage package eBay
Spare levers and shifter: you never go without them Pro Cycle

So far I am up to $4780 with the bike, I must be careful or I am going to blow the budget!
Any help with items I am forgeting please feel free to chime in. I need all the help I can get. Has anyone tried the anti-vibration risers? I am mounting the tank and seat today so I will post some info on that latter...

DirtyDR650 02-13-2010 07:28 AM

Nice shop! :thumb

So these are the "before" pics, I take it? :D

What tires ya got on there? (can't read your text)

jacobm3 02-13-2010 07:34 AM


Originally Posted by larryboy
Hey Joe, smaller pics and whiter text might get you a little more interest in your thread.:deal

yes, interesting thread but the black on gray is hard to read. i'm especially interested in before/after pics.

joelord 02-13-2010 09:39 AM

I changed the text as asked. I hope this helps, but I havenet figured out the re-sizing of the pics as of yet. Bare with me I will figure it out... for now the pictures are going to be big. sorry
Here are some pictures of the bike stripped down.

<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
The tank & seat showed up!
I started with the tank. I have read that the petcock that comes with the tank was not so good. So I needed to find a way around this. After looking at the stock one, it seem that if I opened the hole in the tank some where the petcock went in, I could used the factory one. It worked! I widened the hole with a drill bit and a rat tail file and it slipped right in. I tightened it up and filled to see if it leaked. After about an hour or so, no leaks, it had worked. I mounted the seat latch and fitted on the bike. I mocked up the seat to see what it would look like.

Next I looked for a place for my tool roll. After some trial and error I decided to mount it on the front ender. I played with the mounting and finally got it mounted up. It had a handle on it so I loosened up the front fender and was able to put the handle behind the front fender mount. Then a couple of nuts and bolts through the fender and presto! I really like the way it unrolls onto the fender for easy access. I now need to find a way to keep is semi dry! I was thinking on the lines of some heavy shower caps.

joelord 02-13-2010 09:44 AM

jacobm3 02-13-2010 09:49 AM

Pics Resized to 800x600
I resized them all to 800x600 but it isn't letting me upload them. PM me your email address and I'll email them to you.


TheFrenchCanadian 02-13-2010 10:01 AM

Watching this thread with interest! I've got a DR650 that's in mid farkle process as we speak.

One question for you, I've got an IMS tank that I haven't installed yet & want to use the OEM petcock as well. I've been told that you need to trim one of the cooling fins on the top of the head for clearance - did you find that was necessary when you installed it?


joelord 02-13-2010 10:10 AM

No trimming required. Just hog out the hole on the tank and the stock petcock fits in and fits on the bike with no clearance issues.

Bronco638 02-13-2010 10:41 AM

The tool roll seems like an awful lot of weight on the front fender. I noticed that the front fender, on my DR350SE, vibrates quite a bit just with a Wolfman spare inner tube pack on it (and that weighs a lot less than my tool roll). I have a Turbo City rack on my DR and attach the roll to the leading tube of the rack so that it rests on the trailing edge of my (Corbin) seat. It rides there very well and I can use the seat to support the open roll if I happen to need access to my tools. Just a thought.

I also had Rick @ CDI do my suspension. Money well spent, IMHO. I "fabbed" my own panniers out of combat infantry ("butt") packs. They worked great and are pretty much waterproof (heavy canvas with a liner). My TAT RR has some other details that might help you. Have fun - Dave.

Mercenary 02-13-2010 03:57 PM

Nice! Keep it comin.....:lurk

WilderRider 02-16-2010 06:43 AM


Lee C 02-16-2010 12:39 PM

Nice Keep up the good work and Good Luck:clap

basketcase 02-16-2010 06:07 PM

Great post! :thumb

I'll want to hear your take on the Sargeant seat.

FWIW, blue is faster than yeller ... :lol3

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