Suzuki DR650: The Mental Health Build

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by Simon_dr650, Jan 27, 2019.

  1. Simon_dr650

    Simon_dr650 n00b

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    Hey,
    I've been a long time lurker but I figured that posting my build here might be nice. Basically, I've been struggling with mental health due to work induced stress. I work as a music producer so the hours are really long (a short day is like 12 hours), and it's all very performance based so there's some serious chronic anxiousness going on. Anyway, I needed something to do that wasn't work to sort of force me to relax a bit and get my head somewhere else, soooo, I decided to build a bike. I used to work as a designer before so it seemed like the ultimate design project.

    [​IMG]

    The donor is a '91 Suzuki DR650 RSE, it was in good enough condition, a bit of rust here and there, but in general it was fine. I haven't really decided where I want it to go in the end, it doesn't really matter, the sole purpose is to do something different and enjoy the process of making something. I'm not looking to change the ride height or stance since I don't want the project to end up in a lot of boxes, but I'll modify the sub-frame at the very least.

    My preliminary budget is (converted from Swedish currency, so maybe not super accurate) ≈
    Handlebars ≈ 80 USD
    Headlight ≈ 80 USD
    Tail light ≈ 40 USD
    Indicators ≈ 100 USD
    Home made seat ≈ 220 USD
    Gauges ≈ 100 USD
    Mirrors ≈ 40 USD
    Tank ≈ 250 USD
    Motogadget M-unit (I know it's a bit lazy but the neatness is just sooooo sweet) ≈ 300 USD
    Motogadget M-button ≈ 50 USD
    Grips ≈ 30 USD
    A lot of stuff I've failed to mention ≈ 500 USD
    Not sure if I'll change to a LiPo Battery, seems nice but I'm a bit worried about the cold, being that I'm in Sweden.

    I really like the 90's flavor of the original design, so it was with a bit of a heavy heart that I started tearing it apart. Removing screws and bolts that's been chilling there since '91 wasn't the most pleasurable experience, especially since I didn't have a drill or saw, but with a lot of sweat, cursing and McGyver-ing I got it stripped down. Now I just gotta remove the tank and then I'm going into Photoshop to start figuring out the new design.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. pennswoodsed

    pennswoodsed lizards,bugs and me

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    Please do not wreck the original plastics ,some one is looking for them to restore a bike .
    #2
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  3. Simon_dr650

    Simon_dr650 n00b

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    Yeah, I made sure to not damage anything but the screws, so it’s all left in a nice condition.
    #3
  4. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    I do like the plastics. I think its called a DR650RS? Is that a European thing? I'm in just to see the differences. Have fun!!!
    #4
  5. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    Nice!
    Greetings from a fellow Swede and Suzuki thumper builder in a design related profession (architect myself), looking forward to what’ll become of this one. Also think that building a bike as a form of therapy is spot on. Friends and partners always tell me I come back in a good mood after having spent a few (or a lot of...) hours in the garage. Just don’t rush it or force anything and you’ll be better off.

    Any idea at all of where you’re going with the build yet?

    P.S. an m-unit is absolutely not cheating, it’s an improvement over a stock system and it can take just as much time as a regular wire harness if you want to fine tune it.
    #5
  6. Simon_dr650

    Simon_dr650 n00b

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    @CopyCat The manual says DR650RSE, and after a quick google I found both RSE and RS from the same year, so I guess it's just a regional thing..? I also remember hearing something about the RSE being the one with electronic starting, whereas RS having kick start, but I'm not sure!

    @Dino de Laurentiis Glad to hear! Yeah, so far I'm having the same experience! I'll be following your thread closely for inspiration!

    So not that much has happened since last post, I've stripped a bunch of more stuff, and right now it's looking like this: [​IMG]

    I took some pictures an ran them through the app Prisma to get a "pencil drawing" of it, I cleaned that up and made some quick concepts just to get the ball rolling, still not sure where I want to go with it. I was determined to change the tank, but I've grown fond of the idea of keeping it in a modified state, I'll have to think about it for a while.
    Didn't spend a lot of time with them, so I know that they're a bit sloppy :)
    [​IMG]
    Retro/dakar-ish color pattern.

    [​IMG]
    I'm a big F1 fan, so I had to try a concept based on the McLaren M26 for kicks.
    #6
  7. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    Hmmm. I've seen a PILE of DR650s and Ive never seen one with plastics like that. Well, if you decide to sell that front plastic may I have right of first refusal? I likee. I know it would be expensive to ship
    #7
  8. tinwelp

    tinwelp Professional Idiot

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    I had the exact same bike (in Blue) back in the mid 90s. Bought it brand spanking new, and it was a good commuter once I'd got past the error in the workshop manual (exhaust valve clearance was way too tight due to a typo after its first dealer service) and the dreadful finish (corroded spokes and fasteners the first time it got wet!). A naturally noisy engine, the frequent servicing and the lack of performance eventually convinced me I needed an Africa Twin... which was a much better bike all round.

    Lose a pile of weight, the airbox snorkel, the standard exhausts, and fit an FCR for improved happiness.

    The 'E' designated electric start if I remember correctly.

    Cheers... Paul
    #8
  9. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    This is the older model DR (pre 1996), and the RS was a special version of that, a bit of a similar vein to the DR BIG. In some ways, I guess they were very early versions of what is called an adventure bike today.

    Op, I don’t know much about pre -96 DR, but I’ve heard that the chain driven counter balanced can be a source of problems, likely grenadine the engine of it’s not adjusted regularly and properly.

    Like your sketches btw, but take note of seat to pegs height.
    #9
  10. Levinz11

    Levinz11 Adventurer

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    Enjoy your project.

    That thing looks awesome as-is. Never seen one stateside. I’d just freshen up the maintenance and run it.
    #10
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  11. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    Don't want to thread hijack, but if some of you European guys have any idea how I could get a set of these plastics, will you DM me?
    #11
  12. shinyribs

    shinyribs Thumpers for life

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    This looks very interesting. I'm in!
    #12
  13. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    Echoing the others, those plastics are cool :clap
    #13
  14. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer Supporter

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    Those won’t “fit” on a 96 and later DR650, they’re for the 95 and earlier, non electric start model, chain counterbalanced model.
    #14
  15. tinwelp

    tinwelp Professional Idiot

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    #15
  16. Simon_dr650

    Simon_dr650 n00b

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    Hey guys!
    Thanks for all your posts, I've been busy with work but been able to squeeze in quite a bit of fixing and building in between. Here's how she looks now with mocked up parts and a hipster filter on it, I'm going to post a lot of pics and process stuff/thoughts in a bit. dr progress_1.JPG

    However, I thought I'd ask for a bit of advice. I think I'm going to try to build a headlight mounting bracket in the style of the pictures below (built by XTR Pepo), but I can't figure out how he has mounted the bracket itself to the frame, any ideas of how it could've been done? I know that fork brackets would be the simplest way, but would like the forks clean for mounting of turn signals.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #16
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  17. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    That is looking good Simon. What tank did you wind up using? I see DT , maybe a Yamaha? It also looks a lot different without plastics, but they sure will look good on mine. Thanks!!! I would guess that he used maybe 3/8 rod and it is attached on the triple tree.
    #17
  18. Simon_dr650

    Simon_dr650 n00b

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    Thanks! I got lucky and found a completely unused Yamaha DT (-78 I think) in its original packaging!
    Yeah, any ideas of how to attach it up there? I don’t see any visible screws/clamps and I’m struggling to think of an un-brutish solution
    #18
  19. shinyribs

    shinyribs Thumpers for life

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    It looks like you've got threaded bosses on the lower yoke for fender mounting. You should have some sort of area on the top yoke where the ignition switch mounts, you'll just have to sort out how to share the fasteners between the light mount and the switcheroo. DT tank looks good up there. I'm thinking it's not gonna carry a 650 very far, though :D Keep up the good work and don't stay away so long with the updates!
    #19
  20. Simon_dr650

    Simon_dr650 n00b

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    @shinyribs Yeah, you're right, I'll look into it again when I'm back in the workshop. Haha, yup, it carries a massive 8 litres, so its gonna be for short day trips :)

    So, a more detailed update: My dad came down for a couple of days to spend some time together and fiddle about with the design. My approach of "lets just rip her apart and figure it out from there" didn't fly well with the old man, who used to be a boat builder. He likes rulers. He likes his level. But, to be fair, he did a really nice job of shaping the front and rear fenders from cardboard.
    We decided to make mockups of all the parts before figuring out what to buy and how to fit it. First of, we made a seat out of styrofoam rolls:
    [​IMG]
    I don't want to shorten the back too much, since I want to have the possibility of carrying a passenger for short trips to the beach.

    I found these whacky old handlebars at Ebay and had to buy them just to see how the h*ll it would look. I actually think it looks pretty epic, and they were surprisingly comfortable. I then spent like an hour redesigning the entire thing to be an over the top 80's kung fu karate bike suitable for John Rambo, before regaining my senses and reverting back to a more subtle approach.
    [​IMG]
    It IS cool though, right????

    I discovered a new raw material, which I've decided to call Teamwork Spaghetti, which is a bundle of uncooked spaghetti taped together with a lot of tape, which makes for an awesome mock up rod material that can be used for all sorts of things.
    [​IMG]
    Here's a mockup mirror made of Teamwork Spaghetti
    [​IMG]

    A Biltwell Tracker High handlebar of Teamwork Spaghetti™.
    [​IMG]
    Here you can see the difference of craft level/ambition between my pops and I, rear fender by him and a coke bottle tail light and bullet turn signals by yours truly:
    [​IMG]

    And once again, the bike as it looks now with all the mockup parts attached: [​IMG]
    Oh yeah, we also couldn't use the angle grinder because of an overly sensitive fire alarm which would trigger the sprinklers to burst over 6 music studios, so we grinded the old frame tank mounts down with a hacksaw blade the Dannemora Escape-way, that sort of sucked.

    Next up is to fabricate all the parts/brackets etc. I'll check how expensive it is to have the fenders fabricated, I also thought about attempting to make them myself, but an english wheel is hard to come by, has anyone tried to make them by just knocking and shaping the budget way? I'm also considering making them in fiberglass.
    #20
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