Yamaha WR250R vs Honda XR650L vs Suzuki DR650

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by bigalsmith101, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    I too wonder of whether or not this trip is still going to happen. This may be a thread revival, but I cannot believe that in all the advice for the DR650, noone mentioned the NSU mod fix (after he purchased the two DR's)! I wont even ride my DR for more than 5 minutes yet because im paranoid about one of the screws backing out- that is one thing that MUST be done before a trip like this.

    Its pretty simple- pull the clutch cover, pull the clutch, pull the screws to the neutral sending unit, clean the screws, apply loctite (non-permanent) to the screws, put them back in being sure not to break the NSU unit with tightness here, and reassemble.
  2. snatchy

    snatchy Adventurer

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  3. bigalsmith101

    bigalsmith101 Been here awhile

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    It was great ride, but did not consist of an Around the World adventure. My riding partner in crime Tom, and myself left for what turned out to be nearly exactly 8 months. I finished in Buenos Aires, Argentina while Tom finished in Santiago, Chile. I sold my bike. Tom shipped his home.

    NEITHER of us did anything to our NSU screws. Left them where they were, and rode the hell out of the bikes. Must be done? I think not. Should have been done. Most likely.

    quillbro: We did indeed take our DR650's and we loved them. Very utilitarian bikes that never let us down for more than a day.

    --Alex
  4. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    Thats cool- some people have no issues, and others have had those screws grenade the motor with low mileage :eek1

    Any reason you sold the bike? I think id become too attached to it to just walk away :lol3.. may not be worth the shipping cost though. Reading the RR now :D
  5. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Some riders (like Big Al) are lucky, no issues. How lucky is Al? Well, after 2 or 3 pretty nasty crashes he (more or less) survived and managed to get his DR650 back on the road. This, IMO, says a lot about Al and the sturdiness of the machine.

    The NSU thing is still a rarity. But given what an easy fix it is ... it is a no brainer to go ahead and Loctite those bolts in. Most failures have happened up over 20K miles.

    The DR650 can also have a 3rd gear failure issue. Also, not wide spread except in Australia and New Zealand. No idea why they have so many 3rd gear problems. In any case, both issues can grenade the motor. Both represent probably less than 1% of DR650's world wide. Less in USA. No way to prevent the 3rd gear issue that I know of.
    My DR is approaching 50,000 miles ... 3rd gear has been whining like a Banshee for 40,000 miles ... no problems.

    Big Al's report is a good one ... well worth reading! :freaky
  6. bigalsmith101

    bigalsmith101 Been here awhile

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    I sold my bike for $3500. So luckily I didn't just walk away from it. Shipping his bike home cost Tom (riding partner) just about $2250. Not worth it in my opinion! Enjoy the read!
  7. bigalsmith101

    bigalsmith101 Been here awhile

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    ProCycle.us is now selling a 3rd gear replacement set made by Nova for $599.95. Not my cup of tea, but they will most definitely sell a few sets of gears to some.

    Thanks for the compliment on my Ride Report. It was a fun to write! As for being lucky. I've toned down the last 12 months in preparation for a 12 months stint in Australia coming this January!

    --Alex
  8. fujian

    fujian Been here awhile

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    I second this, I don't understand how you would say " and the damn thing is just too little for Tom or I. " Referencing the DRZ...So confused. The DRZ would be the choice for me hands down. :clap
  9. bigalsmith101

    bigalsmith101 Been here awhile

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    Having met another rider, Patrick, on his DRZ-400S, at 6'4" 220lbs, happily scooting along at 60+mph, I realize any statement of the bike being too small was inaccurate.

    However, I would not choose to ride a DRZ-400S over a DR650 given the choice. However, my next planned trip will be different, with Kristi riding alongside me, and we may very well end up on the lower displacement bike. Not sure yet!


  10. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    Biggest problem with the DRz is the tight gear ratios. Gear for the street and first is too tall in the dirt. Gear for the dirt, and the bike wants to scream on the street. Nova racing sells a replacement wide-ratio gear set that will fix that problem, but it will cost ya. I ran with a guy the other day- him on his DRz and me on my DR. This guy has decades of experience, and can leave me in the dust without trying. That said, we got lost and into some no track- his bike was geared for freeway and first was fairly tall. He got through, but stalled it once or twice and had to watch it. I didnt have issues, but my bike is geared lower and has a wide ratio spread. Gearing is huge..

    The DRz isnt as wide, so even with an aftermarket seat it wont be as comfortable on the long haul. That said, that has its advantages too. You can get a DRz down to about 300-310 lbs, where a DR stripped will be down to about 340 at best. Its also a narrower bike in the woods, and it has more ground clearance. I have gotten my DR through some nasty shit, but the DRz would no doubt do it even nastier.

    I think if you end up considering a WR, XRL, DR, or DRz, you really cant go wrong. Each will have its advantages, all are pretty reliable, and all can be pretty well farkled. Money is no object? Nova gearset in a DRz with all the farkles you can throw at it. Runs cheap gas, reliable, enough power, can carry some weight (with some subframe enhancements), good on the street, great in the dirt, light (ish), and needs little maintenance.
  11. bigalsmith101

    bigalsmith101 Been here awhile

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    It should be noted that Tom and I eventually chose Suzuki DR650's as our steed of choice for our adventures, rode them 18,000 miles from Seattle to Buenos Aires, and besides Tom's stock rear shock blowing a seal, and his carburetor giving him a hassle, we had no issues whatsoever. Mine even withstood 3 serious accidents and was more or less no worse for the wear.

    My experience on a DRZ-400 is very similar. Too tight of a gear ratio for the highway, and if swapping sprockets for the highway, too wide a ratio for the dirt.

    That being said, most of my riding is mild, road oriented riding that doesn't take me too far off the beaten path. However, we did see some gnarly riding on our DR650's and it would be prudent to choose a bike that was at least as capable off the road.

    Any bike I run will be running a stock gear box though, as I'm not inclined to swap one over.



  12. pjm204

    pjm204 Long timer

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    I'm planning to do a similar trip to this in about 1.5 to 2 years. I had a KLR for many miles, and now just picked up a KLR. I've pondered the question of whether it would make a good RTW bike, and thus far, I think it would. I'm going to ride the one I have for the next year and see how it holds up and then make a decision.
  13. byron555

    byron555 Lame Duck Adventurer

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    the only thing the XRL has over the WRr is torque and a little hp... The WRr is a better bike hands down on road and off... never owned a dr650
  14. bigalsmith101

    bigalsmith101 Been here awhile

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    I met more than one traveler on a KLR650, and they are great bikes, and do what is asked of them. I've seen heavily modified KLR650's and stock, overloaded KLR650's. They all made their respective journeys without notable issues. One rider from the states said after riding his current KLR, there is no way he'd ever go back to his previous Dr650. Of course, my friend now rides a DR650 and would never go back to his KLR. All personal preference really.
  15. bigalsmith101

    bigalsmith101 Been here awhile

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    And overall size, and a carburetor, and air cooled, and no fuel pump, and age old proven reliability.

    The WR250R is also a very good bike, and has made many RTW trips under many an ADVrider.

    Both great bikes.
  16. Schlug

    Schlug JockeyfullofBourbon

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    put something on and stay in that position.
    True enough, a Wr250 is a tight, tight cockpit, especially with luggage added.

    Did you find parts for the DR650 and mechanic's knowledgeable about the bike in South America or didn't you require their services?

    I just think it would be good to roll up with a bike they doesn't look like a spaceship to the locals, but a bike into which they have been elbows-deep before and know how to repair.
  17. bigalsmith101

    bigalsmith101 Been here awhile

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    The only parts that I needed for my DR650, or that Tom needed for his DR650 were:

    Front and Rear tires
    Chain and sprocket set
    Tubes to replaced botched flat tire repairs

    I fried the electrical wiring on my Vapor Tech trail computer, and thus fixed it myself with wires from an electrical shop.

    Eventually Tom's OEM shock gave up the ghost and had to be replaced with a unit sent in from the states after several failed attempts by different mechanics to fix his blown seal. His carburetor also gave him hassles at the very end of his trip (last two days). It turned out to be a severely worn needle jet. I sold him my oem carb when he got home, and he is still riding his bike.

    I left home with a Cogent shock and stock carb. My shock held up, my carb never gave me a problem.

    In Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Argentina and Chile, the DR650 is not uncommon. It is used as a Police bike in Mexico, Panama and Colombia. There were dealerships in Mexico, Panama, and Colombia that we visited.

    We got a full service of our bikes in Colombia, also where Tom bought a brand new chain and sprocket set (I had my father send me one).

    Due to the simplicity of the DR650, anytime we stopped at a mechanic (twice or three times) there wasn't much of an issue. The guys all dove head first into the problems and came up with solutions.

    One time, I failed to notice that I pulled a wire loose when re-installing my
    gas tank after replacing the spark plugs. I got a tow over 50 miles to the next town where a hole in the wall motor cycle shop solved my embarrassing problem.

    Another time, and undoubtedly the most serious fault that we encountered was when Tom's bike burnt out it's stator coil pickup, thus requiring a replacement. We had to organize a tow for 120miles, whereupon Tom rode two up behind me on my bike. The mechanic ended up cutting off his coil pickup and soldering one on from an XR650L. It's still on his bike now running like usual. That was in Panama.

    I wouldn't hesitate to take my current DR650 back to South America.


  18. byron555

    byron555 Lame Duck Adventurer

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    I found the ergos of the wrr to be one of the biggest improvements over the xr650L. That and the fuel injection an water cooling, oh and lighter weight, less vibs, and stronger subframe. Shoot I forgot to mention the 340w stator output too. The xr650L is not a bad bike, just dated.

    Dr650? Never owned one. They look like good bikes though.
  19. bigalsmith101

    bigalsmith101 Been here awhile

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    The benefits of the WrR are renown. Lighter bike by far, better fuel economy, longer service intervals, massive stator (great for running extra gear), etc.

    The DR650 is indeed a good bike, and run forever as well. I had 30k miles on mine when I sold it in Argentina. The next guy (an Aussie) put 15k more on it before selling it again as well. Don't know what happened after that.
  20. byron555

    byron555 Lame Duck Adventurer

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    It seems to me that the DR is a superior bike to the XRL... By most accounts the XRL has a better suspension though, by my account it is equal to the WR250r, even though the WRr looks better on paper overall... The stock suspension works very good on the XRL. I have seen many people modify an XRL, but as far as stock suspenders go the XRL is excellent... yeah the lack of USD forks is not sexy, but the stock fork and shock work great. While owning one I never considered changing the suspension.