Originally Posted by HandKPhil
I've been waiting for some jerk to say something along the lines of, "Why not just buy the cleanest, lowest-mileage, 1998 or 1999 Suzuki DR350SE you can find, and you will have hit most of the criteria that people on this thread seem to be looking for?"
So, I hereby volunteer to be that Jerk.
Really that's pretty much the point. If Suzuki had an updated DR350 the niche would be filled. But they went with the DRZ and missed the boat for a versatile dual sport. The DRZ really needs a sixth gear to be highway capable and that was probably the biggest mistake they made with it. I don't think a wider ratio 5 speed would work because it is a bit low on power. I always found I had to pick my gears carefully - I wouldn't want even bigger jumps. From there, it's simply a logical progression to give it a bump in HP/Displacement. As far as suspension - just put something on that can be upgraded, rather than something that needs to be replaced to be improved. (and get rid of that awful seat).
If done right, you lose nothing on the dirt end and gain A LOT on the street side. As people have said - this is not something that needs to be built from scratch and wouldn't add much to the cost for a bike that would be twice as good. That's the frustration.