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The DR650 Highway Touring Thread

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by planemanx15, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. Nessman

    Nessman From the western slope of the bell curve

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,561
    Location:
    Kleptocracy, USA
    16/42 520 kit from Procycle in a box awaiting installation. Looking forward to better freeway manners.

    It's my commuter. No dirt, no fun. Just work.
  2. x32792

    x32792 Cracker American

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,491
    Location:
    Winter Park, Florida
    The 16T seems to give me +2 mpg on the highway, BUT -2 mpg in the city.

    From my limited experiment, it seems the right c/s (for me) depends on where and how I ride....Also on how you're loaded. I travel light and don't go 2 up. If you're really loaded with metal panniers and carrying the kitchen sink, you may need to drop down to 14T?

    I've switched back to the 15T (a good in town compromise sprocket) and carry the 16T as a GO LONG back up spare.
  3. sagedrifter

    sagedrifter Southern Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,577
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Alabama
    In reality the stock gearing is best all around. 16T sprockets make 5th gear useless around here rolling along hills. 14T will make my pegs buzz much more over 65 mph, those couple hundred rpm doesn't matter much though. I've done a few 500 to 600 mile days crossing states and the bike is fine with stock gears, its when you go off road that you will want a 520 conversion to something reasonable that won't have you feathering the clutch too much.

    To me the 15T fits well with the 42 rear since I only see mild roads. I like to run around the rural roads in 4th gear around 55 to 60 mph. Works well, gets around 51 mpg average with a pumper carb and exhaust. Its a little thumper, it likes RPM. On my last 1,000 mile trip I did a lot of 75/80 mph cruising while connecting scenic roads and the bike still averaged over 51 mpg. I was loaded most of the time with hard luggage and the tanks were 49 to 54 mpg.

    To me what makes a huge difference while touring with the DR650 is the GSXR exhaust, TM40 carb, larger fuel tank and a good seat. :D

    I ran stock exhaust with the pumper carb for too long, adding the exhaust and going to a 150 mian jet really helped on the interstate. Much more than I was expecting. It squirts right up to 85 mph per the GPS on flat ground. :roflNot so briskly climbing a mountain, but it gets it done. My 2007 has never burned oil or ever failed me and I've tested it a good bit. Great little bike. :freaky
    NicorAdv and f800kris like this.
  4. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Yup, I'm a girl.

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,110
    Location:
    Visalia CA
    *bump*
  5. planemanx15

    planemanx15 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,027
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I find with the 790 kit, no wind screen and a top case, my DR will cruise at 85 (gps) with no issues at all. Gearing is 16-42. Its even got a lot more pep in her past 90.
  6. f800kris

    f800kris Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    297
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    Bump, took me several days to get through it but completed. Good one
    Baldyman1 likes this.
  7. Baldyman1

    Baldyman1 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Auckland, NZ
    Just found this thread (Thanks for the Bump) Some good info.
  8. DMOBill

    DMOBill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    174
    Location:
    Kittanning, PA
  9. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Oddometer:
    829
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    so....vstrom guy here. Love the DL on the road, not so much in the dirt. Thinking the DR would be a good compromise but just wondering what the long time users think about a DR for a long distance machine.
  10. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,076
    Location:
    Durham, North Carolina
    Get a good saddle and go. I liked the seat concepts. Need to figure out some highway pegs.
    Cro59 likes this.
  11. x32792

    x32792 Cracker American

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,491
    Location:
    Winter Park, Florida
    After almost 38K miles on two lane back roads and some super slab here in the States, I'll give you my 2 cents worth:

    Stock carb, suspension and gearing are just fine -- The closer to stock the better, but IF you like to tinker, have at it -- While others will tell you the DR needs extensive modification, I believe your gains will be minimal and may effect reliability.

    My Mighty DR has a better seat (I have Sargent, but there are others), 2" bar risers, mirror extensions, skid plate, rear rack w/rotopax (my Texas Tank which gives me 3.4+1.75 = 5.1 gallons which is plenty), Acme Zoom peg lowering hardware, bigger eBay knock-off IMS foot pegs, 12v outlet for GPS (or whatever), tool tube, 130 rear tire (I like Shinko 705). I also have a flat washer on my rear brake peddle to make it easier to find when wet and a 2"x 3" plate welded to the base of my kick stand to prevent the bike from falling over on soft or sandy ground.

    I rarely cruise above 65 mph and get 56-58 mpg. I don't bounce off the rev limiter.

    If you're not in a BIG hurry, the DR will take you anywhere you point it, up to and including RTW. :)

    Issues and Maintenance

    CCT gasket leaked, mended with RTV (be sure to study online DIY tutorial)

    Petcock began to leak, replaced it.

    Starter motor began to sound like a tormented rooster, removed starter motor (not as easy as it sounds), packed DRY bearing with heavy grease -- All quiet now

    Chains and sprockets, tires and tubes

    Oil and filters -- I use Rotella Dino oil from Walmart, buy it in one gallon container

    Keep Air Filter clean and lightly oiled

    Front light burned out, buy another

    Add gas, ride, repeat and enjoy.

    EDIT: DR too high?

    If you're under 6' tall, you may be intimidated by the 34.5" seat height. But not to worry, there is a standard OEM option which allows you (or your dealer) to lower the seat height by 1.4" -- All parts and pieces necessary are on the DR.
    TaZ9 and Cro59 like this.
  12. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Oddometer:
    829
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    Thanks for the in-depth reply. Long distance at 65 doesn't make me smile, but I see other guys are cruising as high as 85. Sooner or later, I'm just going to have to buy on and try it.
    RuffnReadyXJ likes this.
  13. fbritt5

    fbritt5 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    219
    Location:
    Albany, Oregon
    Seat. I've done 450 miles in a day and I'm fine. With the stock seat, you're good for about 25 miles or so.

    Foot pegs, throttle rocker on long trips, but be careful with these. One fall from it getting stuck on my glove around a tight corner. Windscreen, heated grips if its winter time. I have bar risers too do standing up at times. It helps. 70 mph on the speedo and you can cover a lot of road. Thanks.
    Cro59 likes this.
  14. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
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    2,076
    Location:
    Durham, North Carolina
    Don't forget that the speedo is optimistic. a reading of 70 is more like 65.
    mesoman likes this.
  15. shu

    shu ...

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,850
    Location:
    Colorado
    The DR is an excellent traveling bike, (I've put on more than 100,000 miles traveling on DRs- 2 different bikes) but you have to be willing to use it as it is.

    Cruising all day long, day after day, you'll find that 65-75 is fine (stock gearing) but 85 really gets pretty tiring. Adapt your expectations to the bike, and you'll love it- expect it to be a high speed road burner? it's not.

    ................shu
    TaZ9, mesoman and Cro59 like this.
  16. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Oddometer:
    829
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    Thanks for all the replies. I think we are kind of spoiled in the US and developed West where high speed highways are the norm. In most of the world 65-75 is probably just fine, maybe even too fast. Even in the US, I am trending more towards off highway riding when time permits, so it sounds like a DR would be fine. Now I just need to find the money....
  17. mesoman

    mesoman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Oddometer:
    851
    Location:
    California
    Great thread and most questions can be answered within the previous 27 pages.
    I suggest reading it before repeating questions that have already been answered.
    One thing I notice is some DR riders neglect drive line and wonder why the DR feels rough or vibey.

    A few things to consider when doing set up would be: Fresh Cush Drive rubbers, really good, new or new-ish Chain, NEW Front and Rear Sprocket. ALL affect feel and when new, really smooth out the DR.

    Front sprocket wears quickly and IMO should be changed every 8K miles. This will smooth out DR feel, extend chain and rear sprocket life by a lot. Simple and cheap to get the most out of your chain.

    Seats are subjective but anything is better than stock torture rack. I prefer stock gearing most of the time. Easy cruise at 70-75 mph. For off road swap in the 14T. It helps a bit but for true low gearing a different rear sprocket is needed.

    Once out of the USA most times speed averages are far lower, this nearly everywhere in 3rd world.
    I understand why guys like wind shields, but fact is, most add noise. But good in COLD weather, terrible in the heat as they BLOCK air flow. I prefer clean air, no shield, ear plugs always.
    Ride Safe, Ride Long!
    TaZ9 likes this.
  18. pne

    pne Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,327
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    bumping this thread for some advice. I took my GF out on my mostly stock DR650, we stayed on smooth gravel but the rear shock was still bottomed out almost the entire time and the seat made her miserable after a couple of hours. I'm 170 and she is 110lbs. I was wondering the feasibility of doing a longer 2up trip this summer and what upgrades would need to be done. Specifically to the suspension and rear seat. Which company offers the most padding/comfort? And can the suspension be fixed with new springs or will I need a new shock? Finally, what luggage solutions exist that still allow for 2up?
  19. x32792

    x32792 Cracker American

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,491
    Location:
    Winter Park, Florida
    ^^170 lbs +110 lbs + some gear is a loaded DR650. I might suggest you get your GF her own, lowered 1.4" with OEM option, DR650 to make a long passage. Many good seat options available. Your back and legs will appreciate bar risers (I have Power Mad 2") and Acme Zoom bolt on peg lowering hardware (1" lower, 1 inch back). You might also enjoy some larger, cheap, eBay IMS knock-off pegs. The DR will take you anywhere you point it, including RTW, just not overloaded or real fast.
  20. Rob.G

    Rob.G Mostly Harmless

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,870
    Location:
    Fulltiming in an RV! Currently Arizona
    IMO, you will be happier if you go all the way with an upgraded shock and spring. I have the Cogent rear shock and the heavier 8.15 kg/mm rear spring and love it. You will want to have Cogent valve the shock according to your combined weight, and hopefully have enough adjustability in it to turn it down for when you ride solo.
    NicorAdv likes this.