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Old 11-15-2012, 03:09 PM   #71086
johnkol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PPCLI-Jim View Post
have you ever ridden a TM 400 Suzuki? what about a Bultaco? I have, I will still push my DR hard but i enjoy it
A friend owns a KLR 650 and he woulnd't take it 1/2 half the places I take my DR. If your truly not happy with it sell it and get something else , thats what I would do .
I'm not familiar with the TM400.

Bultaco? My first bike was a Frontera 250 Mk11.

After I started complaining to all my friends about the flexible frame on the DR, they started telling me that the KLR is even worse in this regard. So yes, I am planning on getting a new bike, but I haven't figured out which one to get yet.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:16 PM   #71087
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Originally Posted by planemanx15 View Post
Hard to see, but this is water testing in the kitchen sink. no bubbles at all!
I see a lot of people doing this, but there is no real need for it: you can simply spray some water on the spoke nipples; if one of them is leaking, bubbles will show up immediately. You don't have to ruin your bathtub for a leak test.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:20 PM   #71088
DockingPilot
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Originally Posted by Rusty Rocket View Post
Something's wrong Frank. I have chicks jumpin' on my DR at stop lights all the time.
Must be me
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:27 PM   #71089
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Spray on water or even soapy water won't show a extremely small leak like a tub leak test. I learned that one 40 years ago. This why service stations had the special tubs to test tires in 40+ years ago. I keep a spray bottle of soapy water near my work bench all the time but have found many problems later with the tub test.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnkol View Post
I see a lot of people doing this, but there is no real need for it: you can simply spray some water on the spoke nipples; if one of them is leaking, bubbles will show up immediately. You don't have to ruin your bathtub for a leak test.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:29 PM   #71090
MikeyP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnkol View Post
I see a lot of people doing this, but there is no real need for it: you can simply spray some water on the spoke nipples; if one of them is leaking, bubbles will show up immediately. You don't have to ruin your bathtub for a leak test.
You would need to have some soap in the water to create surface tension for bubbles. Just water alone makes for some tricky testing and a situation where you could easily miss a leak. I thought of this because a friend of mine was recently trying to find the leak in a camping sleeping pad using a spray bottle without luck. I said "I can't believe you can't find the leak with some soapy water." to which they replied "soapy?" An important detail in that technique.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:42 PM   #71091
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eakins View Post
did you upgrade your suspension at all or is it stock?
Suspension is all stock. Given the fundamental problems I have with the frame, I see no point in updating the suspension.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eakins View Post
if you're used to fine tuned race bikes then yeah the DR is not that nor was it designed that way.
And therein lies the problem and the main thrust of my complaint: the DR was seemingly not designed. Modern mechanical design practices necessitate CAD usage and FEA modelling, and these tools allow the designers to precisely calculate resonant frequencies of the frame and apply appropriate damping. The DR frame exhibiting large amplitude resonances that are essentially undamped means that the designers either didn't pay any attention to this aspect of the frame, or didn't perceive this as a problem, or were in cost cutting mode, or simply didn't know what they were doing.

But really, if Honda could do this analysis in an era where computers were in their industrial infancy and CAD tools were non-existent, Suzuki had no excuse for not doing the same in the mid-90s.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:44 PM   #71092
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnkol View Post
After I started complaining to all my friends about the flexible frame on the DR, they started telling me that the KLR is even worse in this regard. So yes, I am planning on getting a new bike, but I haven't figured out which one to get yet.
I'm definitely not saying I disagree with you because I'm totally new to motorcycles, but I'm an obsessive researcher and in the few months I spent reading everything I could find about this class of motorcycle before buying my DR650 I never once saw this mentioned amongst all of the faults that anyone here will readily admit to.

And perhaps even more interesting is that if you google "DR650 frame flex" the only relevant result is this thread. Dang Google gets this indexed quickly. It seems like you might be the first person Google has seen type these words. Again, I'm not claiming any knowledge on the subject, just an observation. Maybe forks could be the problem?

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Old 11-15-2012, 03:46 PM   #71093
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnkol View Post
Let me answer the last question first: no, I am not racing the DR, nor am I attempting to go particularly fast on it.

The frame flexes are very evident once you step on a (even mildly) rough dirt road: the wheels are not tracking on the same longitudinal plane, they oscillate left and right all the time, independently of each other. This phenomenon is not due to suspension components (which only allow movement on the vertical plane), but it's the frame flexing from the forces impacted on it from the road imperfections.

You can experience the same thing on asphalt when you cross a longitudinal seam at a shallow angle: the bike will wiggle a bit as you cross the seam; it's not as pronounced as on a dirt road, but you can get an idea of what is going on.

This flexing of the frame is not necessarily a bad thing; Honda famously introduced controlled flexing of its frames in the XR series in the late 70s (and carried it forward through the 80s and 90s), making the bikes very forgiving, compensating somewhat for the sub-standard suspension components of that era. I raced an XR350R for a couple of years in the late 80s and I was always placing in the top three, so frame flexes are not only liveable, but could be beneficial too.

But notice what I said above about the Honda flexible frames: the flexes were controlled, that is, the engineers knew at what frequencies the frame oscillations developed, and they provided damping at those frequencies (to be exact, underdamping, i.e., the damping ratio was less than 1). Practically what that meant was that as long as you were on the throttle, the frame would constantly wiggle, absorbing some of the lateral forces, but as soon as you closed the throttle, the frame would quiet down and would track straighter. This made for a very forgiving ride, but it also meant that this instability limited the rider on how fast they could go and how much they could push the bike.

So now we come to the DR, which seems to have as flexible a frame as the old XRs, but seems to have none of their engineered damping -- and that makes for a bike that is unpredictable and uncontrollable in extreme situations. On the road this manifests in an indistinct feeling, but in most cases it is masked by the suspension components (which have their own problems).

For me though, the days of such bikes with a vague feeling of the road are long gone: I graduated from the XR to an IT 200, then onto a Husky 250, etc., and, in hindsight, the XR was a major setback in my development as a rider: the subsequent bikes allowed me to do things I could never imagine possible with the XR, and made me a better rider for it.

And then I suddenly hop onto the DR (my first street-legal bike in 20 years) and I find myself transported 25 years back in time, to a place I had long thought I would never have to revisit.

So no, I cannot enjoy the DR as a motorcycle, that is, as something that will connect me to the road; but as a vehicle for exploration, the DR has been wonderful: it has taken me to the far reaches of the state, and has filled me with great images and experiences. Too bad for me that I am looking for something more in a bike.
Thanks for responding with a more detailed explanation Being an ex-racer I could see you wanting more out of the DR. Let us know what you replace it with and how it compares.....you know us bike guys, we always want to hear/talk about bikes, and there's prolly more than a few of us looking to add another bike to the garage, I know I will be soon......thats as soon as I get rid of one The wife feels 4 is enough at any one time........women
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:53 PM   #71094
ER70S-2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnkol View Post
Suspension is all stock. Given the fundamental problems I have with the frame, I see no point in updating the suspension.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra Thumper View Post
The wife feels 4 is enough at any one time........women
How many pairs of shoes does she have?
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:11 PM   #71095
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnkol View Post
Suspension is all stock. Given the fundamental problems I have with the frame, I see no point in updating the suspension.
If your suspension was dialed in at least 80% of what you are blaming on the frame would disappear.

I am rather picky about making a bike handle and respond in a certain way that makes in fun for me to ride. I've probably spent more time and money trying different setups on my bike than anybody I know of. But the end result is a bike that works great and I do get that 'one with the bike' feeling whenever I ride it. Does it carve corners like my old Ducati 900SS? Nope but it's plenty good enough to be a blast on curvy pavement. Can I 'back it in' to the dirt corners as good as I can on my YZ250F flat tracker? Nope, but it's competent enough to slide sideways in and out of dirt and gravel corners all day long. IMO the frame is not flexy enough to be a significant barrier to making a great handling motorcycle. No doubt a stiffer frame could also be a benefit but of all the things about the DR that have room for improvement the frame is way down on my list.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:27 PM   #71096
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnkol View Post
Suspension is all stock. Given the fundamental problems I have with the frame, I see no point in updating the suspension.


And therein lies the problem and the main thrust of my complaint: the DR was seemingly not designed. Modern mechanical design practices necessitate CAD usage and FEA modelling, and these tools allow the designers to precisely calculate resonant frequencies of the frame and apply appropriate damping. The DR frame exhibiting large amplitude resonances that are essentially undamped means that the designers either didn't pay any attention to this aspect of the frame, or didn't perceive this as a problem, or were in cost cutting mode, or simply didn't know what they were doing.

But really, if Honda could do this analysis in an era where computers were in their industrial infancy and CAD tools were non-existent, Suzuki had no excuse for not doing the same in the mid-90s.
Well, ah, --- ah, huh.

Well that's a new topic. I don't know if I should run out and sale the DR or take an engineering class so I can comment. Heck I am probably mis-spelling engineering.

Good luck finding the right bike!

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Old 11-15-2012, 04:33 PM   #71097
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Originally Posted by Rumlover View Post
Well, ah, --- ah, huh.

Well that's a new topic. I don't know if I should run out and sale the DR or take an engineering class so I can comment. Heck I am probably mis-spelling engineering.
Engineering's ok. "Sale the DR" isn't.

You're welcome.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:45 PM   #71098
johnkol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
Could you be confusing "frame flex" with "fork flex"?
I don't believe so. Forks flex in the transverse plane (like when you're braking), and the flex that I feel is in the longitudinal plane.

By the way, I don't feel the forks flexing at all, but then again I've never had to brake hard on the DR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
If the DR650 is the worst bike you've owned ... then what bike was the best? What other bikes do you own now? If you're not feeling "at one" with your DR then maybe you've got some set up problems?
We're here to help!
The best bike, by far, was a '91 Husky WR250. Wasn't mine, just borrowed it from a friend for one race... and I was weeping afterwards when I realised how much time I had squandered on bikes that were so inferior that never allowed me to develop as a rider. That Husky was a revelation, and unfortunately I haven't been able to find anything similar since then.

Right now I also have a KTM EXC 200, but since I don't have a truck, I keep it at a friend's ranch, which is unfortunately 150 miles away. One of the reasons I got the DR was because I got tired of driving two hours in order to get some riding done, and I thought the DR would allow me to enjoy some dirt roads without the need for a truck. That obviously didn't work very well...

Set up problems? Sure, the suspension is useless -- way too much compression damping (even though the clicker is almost all out) and non-existent rebound damping results in rear wheel losing ground contact in stutter bumps (on asphalt! -- forget it on dirt) and essentially stalling, but if I fix that with a lot of money I'm still left with a flex frame, so what's the point?
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:01 PM   #71099
johnkol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Rocket View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
I do far better on my DR650, which is a natural flat tracker
Mine too. Brings a smile and a flat track hero feeling, every time I let loose on a nice graded dirt curve.
That's absolutely true: the more flexible the frame the easier it is for a rider to twist it with his body on corner entry and flat track it. This technique is also used in speedway, and was introduced to the GP circuit sometimes in the late 80s I believe.
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:18 PM   #71100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neo1piv014 View Post
Obviously riding style is going to have a huge effect on it, but my issue with my carbed bike is that it even varies wildly with itself. For instance, my daily commute is almost entirely highway, and I average 43-45mpg. My trip this last weekend was almost all highway and 55mph back road type pavement, and I dropped down into the mid 30's. No really solid reason, not much of an elevation change, nothing. On my old EFI Ninja 650R, I could count on consistently getting 50-55mpg on the highway rain, shine, or wind. EFI just seems more consistent to me. Maybe my carb is messed up, but even that means I get to spend a few afternoons swapping jets around and adjusting float heights (which I still don't even remotely understand).
EFI can vary too, even with the same operator and habits.

I have a buddy that got 8-10MPG with his new Jeep TJ. He now has a used LJ that gets him around 15MPG. 'Same drivetrain. 'More weight. 2x the MPG.

Another buddy runs 31x12.5 tires on his TJ Rubicon with the same drivetrain, but 4.10 diffs instead of the standard TJ/LJ 3.73 diffs. He accelerates and brakes like an ass...and gets around 15MPG.

I typically got 15MPG, but got as low as 10MPG, and as much as 20MPG...with a 4cyl YJ (a bit lighter than a TJ or LJ). The 20MPG was driving in mountainous terrain, loaded with 3ppl and snowboarding/roadtrip gear in the back, with boards on the roof. That MPI 2.5L liked altitude, evidently. My buddy's MPI 4.0L Rubicon wouldn't make enough power above 8K ft to even get the trans to downshift...with the accelerator mashed through the carpet. It ran fine and felt torquey at low altitude too. 'MUCH torquier than my 2.5L when we were down low in Chicago. By most accounts, the 2.5L Jeeps were dogs on the slab, but mine would have left his 4.0L Rubicon for dead, going west out of Denver.
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