DR650 3rd gear blowups

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by NordieBoy, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. sagedrifter

    sagedrifter Southern Explorer

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    My 2007 DR650 is the only bike I've had that's never let me down. My 07 FJR died a few times with major electrical issue requiring back orderd parts. My 05 KTM ADV had many issues too. Loose a water pump and not notice it quick enough and say bye to the engine. Had a Honda ST that died far from home and was too expensive to fix.

    The DR650 is still the most reliable one so far and its had a hard life loaded down on rough roads. No water pumps, no fuel pumps, no fuel injection to fail, no oil burning, no frame failures. Transmission failures can happen on any bike, especially one that's ran hard as an ADV ride. Always choose a simple easy to work on bike for true ADV rides.

    Sent from my GT-S5690L using Tapatalk 2
  2. bikemoto

    bikemoto Tyre critic

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    Maybe box up the spare engine ready to ship in case yours lets go mid-trip. Then you just gotta get someone to ship it to you and someone local (yourself?) to install it. Job done for minimal time & cost... if it does happen at all.

    Back when I bought my 640 Adventure I researched lots about reliability and found so many examples of even the supposedly "grandfather's axe" reliable bikes inexplicably grenading that I just bought the bike I liked best. Any individual bike can go bang, many have foibles that may or may not need prevention or cure, but statistically no brand or model built this millenium could be called "unreliable". You make you choice and take your chances, and enjoy it while it lasts! :lol3
  3. PHILinFRANCE

    PHILinFRANCE Long timer

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    Now we're talking , cracking idea Warewolf , ilike it.

    Cheers Phil :freaky
  4. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    have not read this entire thread (very few will take the time to read a 50+ page thread), but have dropped in from time to time. that and read a few ride reports of a tranny ending a trip, etc.

    mainly it came up when I was doing my research on which RTW bike to purchase.

    since I didn't want/trust electronics this eliminated all late model bikes like R800GS. which I'm convinced are among the worst for trip ending $$$ breakdowns.

    winner was R80G/S based on simplicity, durability, weight, parts support, etc. so that's what I purchased. helped that I lucked on to an R80G/S with a frame off restoration. engine balanced to 1/10 gram, tranny redone, forks revalved, new rear shock, etc. etc. essentially like starting with a new bike.

    seems DR650 are reliable as any. looks like I was fooled by this report.
  5. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    From reports I've read ... I agree on the F800GS. Surprising since it's all new, modern technology, really BMW's flagship ADV bike.

    Excellent choice on the R80GS. It's great your bike has had the full frame up resto and upgrades. Makes it a really good bike. But I still question the electrics as even with Diode board up grades, modern generators ... they still can act up. Really low output. Things like those Bosch Boat Anchor starter motors are more trouble .. and just have me scratching my head. WhY? :D After several BMW's ... I much prefer Japanese electrics.

    The R80GS is one of only a few BMW's I've owned. I bought a nice used
    1981 GS in 1985. Rode it cross country (USA). Pretty much left it stock, save bigger tank and better seat.

    Wish I never sold it ... they are collectable now, worth WAY more than what I paid for mine. I then moved onto serious Japanese HP and went through my VFR and Ninja period :lol3 Let the R80GS go. :cry
    (I'm lucky to have survived! ... 4 Ninjas, two VFR's!!)

    I've since recovered ... the DR650 is about all I need most times. I've got my WR250F and 1050 Tiger if I need a change of pace or shot of big power.
  6. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    sad but if/when something major goes wrong with modern BMW GS bikes.. $$$$ not unusual to be wacked with a $3k-$6k bill. that would be trip ending for most folks traveling on a budget.

    R800GS has no knock sensor, so if/when someone gets a bad load of fuel... if someone is not listening for knocks... engine could get destroyed in a hurry. try replacing a bad ABS board on a budget? ya right...

    in all fairness, above is basically true for ALL modern bikes with fuel injection, ABS, etc. etc. one major down = $$$$

    my R80 G/S has a new wiring harness along with Fairchild diode board, 400 watt upgrade and most importantly electronic ignition removed in favor of point/condenser. only weak point left is the possibility of rotor going out. Bosch starters are heavy but reliable, carrying a spare rotor, point/cond, volt reg, etc.

    in short all possible weak points like frame reinforcements, etc. have been addressed on my G/S. only high tech item is Shorai LFX 36 LiFePO4 battery that's part of a long term test.
  7. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    Ive been planning on this very good idea for quite a while. The problem is, I cant find a spare low mileage (or any mileage actually) DR650 engine. I have a friend who is willing to store it and ship it, and it does not scare me in the least to swap engines myself. Any advice on where to get a motor? Ive tried ebay, all of craigslist, and even google- havent found one yet.

    Only got like 3-5 months before my trip- need a backup motor :uhoh
  8. toddiscdn

    toddiscdn Take off, EH!

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    Too bad you dont have that nice case saver I toted across the atlantic eh Phil, lol bummer we couldnt hook up, Beynac and Dome were so close, damn cell phones. We even had a cold one for you.

    Enjoy your trip mate, I wouldnt hesitate it on mine.:freaky



    Cheers, Todd
  9. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

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    I bought a cheap bike and sold the bits I didn't need.
  10. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    You want a spare motor for an Alaska trip? :jjen It's not like AK is the Bolivian AltiPlano, Mongolia or the Salar de Uyuni.

    If you're riding up from FLA, the whole lower 48 is well stocked with shops, rental truck places, internet and good cell service. Not much risk if something goes wrong ... don't let bodgers mess with your bike. Do your own work.

    As for AK, from what I've heard it's more and more Motor Home friendly. Sure, it's a long ride but relatively easy. Take care the bike, it will make it.

    Best way to get a decent DR650 motor? Find a crashed DR650 or one someone has lost interest in. Recently there were TWO here in the SF Bay Area Craig's list. Both were runners ... for around $1500. Use the motor, part out the rest cheap and get some of your money back.

    Probably cheaper to rent a pick up truck, load up your bike, truck it home and fix it there? Freight service for a crated motor could be quite a bit? $$$$.
  11. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Buy a whole low miles DR,pull the engine,sell the parts left over on ebay,or keep some for spares,ignition bits,etc. Once you do this.......Nothing will EVER break on your DR. Murpy's law.
  12. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    I had a 76 R75/6 once,went through it top to bottom. Then after seeing how it was put together I was a little (lot) worried about taking it anywhere very far. The antique electrical system,the spline worship required,the clunky Bing carbs that either leaked,or they didnt, and no amount of work on them could change their minds. I know there are myriad fixes on top of fixes for all their problems but ...........I just aint a beemer guy it turns out.

    The DR? Its the one bike Ive got here that only requires gas and basic maintenance,and very little of either compared to many bikes. I just dont fool with it.
  13. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    I pretty much agree. I bought a really tricked out R100RS after my R80GS was sold. Bad move. Most unreliable motorcycle ever ... and major issues even BMW could not explain. (Egg shaped flywheel/ring gear that kept breaking starter motors) ... but owners were familiar with the problem.

    I ride with several BMW Air Head experts. They love to fiddle with them. One guy was a dealer mechanic. Who knows? Maybe later I'll come back to the old Air Heads some day. But for serious riding, I'll take the DR thanks.
    Old BMW's remind me in a way of pre WW-2 Farm equipment ... but less reliable. :lol3 But they do have a certain charm :freaky
  14. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    Well, im not going to "take care" of the bike by avoiding the nastier offroad sections- its going to be ridden hard. That said, I plan to clean the air filter once every week (more if needed) and change the oil every 800-1000 miles. Thats probably overkill, but im trying to be safe. Im most concerned about completing the trip- yeah sure id rent a pickup and drive back home, but then my trip is over. An engine in a crate ready to go can be had in a few weeks or less, half a day to swap, and im back on the road. Ive done most of what I can do to lessen the strain on higher gears- pumper carb, lower gearing (14/43, prolly 15/43 for asphalt long stretches), weight off the bike, packing light (under 60 pounds, prolly about 40), and I wont run it under 3k in 4th or 5th (and im easy on it in third below 3k- 1st and 2nd gear ill lug a bit).

    Yeah, its not likely. But still, 2 bikes out of 30 guys you rode with blew third? This thread? All the unreported blowups? Im going to be running hard out there? Seems smart to have a backup, especially since I cant prevent it. Im even considering tearing my engine down and replacing 3rd (possibly with the nova set) 4th and 5th as well as the shift forks, rings, and any bearings that may be needed. Keep in mind- im considering this with an engine that has around 7k miles on it.The bike does not whine in any gear, not that whining is necessary for a gear to blow as weve seen..

    Ill be honest- if the DR650 makes the whole trip, I will be pleased, not really surprised, and it will have been the perfect bike. If it blows, ill definitely wish I had got a WR250R.

    I absolutely love this bike and I mean that- I love the torque offroad, its light on the road, its solid at speed, it can move on asphalt, its a plow offroad, etc. But this 3rd gear is bullshit..
  15. ER70S-2

    ER70S-2 Long timer

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    I love to fiddle with my DR: change oil and filter, lube chain, change oil and filter, lube chain, change oil and filter, lube chain....................................... :freaky
  16. PHILinFRANCE

    PHILinFRANCE Long timer

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    No worries Todd
    Just glad you had a good one over here.
    Phil
  17. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

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    The ride was in Jan this year. The bikes that died were in Jan 2009.

    What do you consider "running hard"?

    I've done a 3hr Cross Country race and a 1.6km out and back (5 laps, 4 races) beach race WFO on a '97 DR650 with 70,000km on the clock.

    Every year it goes on a 1,000km over 2 days off road ride with 1,500km getting to the ride and back home.

    I take a pair of spare tubes.
  18. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    Definitely reassuring :1drink

    Im not saying my DR is going to blow, or even that its likely. I am saying what I have said from the start- the DR has a potentially catastrophic problem that for poor folk like me can END a trip immediately. This problem is more than a fluke- it happens on occasion and there is little you can do to prevent it. I am trying to do everything I can to further decrease the odds that it happens to me in the event my bike has a weak gear (or shift forks), and even then im trying to have a backup available so that if bad luck strikes, I wont be coming home in a pickup. If I had a WR, my odds would be even better..

    I think having a spare motor is something I can afford, if I can find one. I dont have a whole lot of time before this trip, so heres hoping I come onto some good luck for peace of mind and insurance :norton
  19. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    "A few weeks" ??? waiting somewhere in AK or where ever, for the spare motor to show up? Better add up Motel & food bill, plus shipping. Even if the motor got to you in 4 or 5 days waiting (maybe longer?) ... then a day or three doing the swap, you still have substantial expenses.

    I've done a few LD group rides where bikes broke down. The rental truck is the preferred solution in my group. Sure ... your trip is over, but man ... it's most likely over anyway unless you have no schedule and can afford to wait around.

    Like Nordie's bike, my DR has been ridden pretty hard too. Dozens of other DR owners here have put their bikes through similar torture as well.

    I've done many flat out runs in remote areas of California and Nevada trying to keep up with the guys on the KTM 990's. R12GS, RT's, big K bikes and Concours 14's. I've held the DR at about 100 mph for long stretches. Flat out, as fast as it would go. :eek1 Still arrived last. :D

    In Baja the DR has been hammered over tough, rocky sections; (enduro level stuff), part of the Baja 1000 race course. You HAVE to keep your speed up so you float over the rocky crap ... going slow just punishes the rider and bike more. To me ... that is riding it hard.

    I think you'll be fine. I'd try to set up a chain of friends/contacts along proposed route whom you could call on for possible help if you have trouble. The internet is good for this sort of thing. :beer
  20. ScottDill

    ScottDill TANSTAAFL

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    Good Grief. This is a thread of ridiculous paranoia.

    Just ride it, it's unlikely to fail.....deal with if it does.