Last November I purchased a 2016 Kawasaki KLR650 with an eye toward doing some serious dual sport riding while stuck here in Florida over the winter. So far I've done three rallies, hit many of the local trails and have been having a blast on the KLR. I wish I had more time; I haven't even been up to Ocala National Forest yet!
Anyway, my 21-y-o son has been watching closely and wants to get in on the dual sport action. He rides the KLR often, but we can't do the rallys or forests together, so we needed another dual sport in the garage.
I wanted to stay in the 650+ range to be able to move quickly and efficiently on highways (i.e. 75mph++). I considered another KLR650, a Suzuki DR650 and a Honda XR650. I discounted the KLR for not much of a reason other than we already have one.
Between the DR and XR, the XR was the hands down better motorcycle on paper...engine-wise, suspension-wise, travel-wise, everything. However, it's 37 inch seat height was two inches north of my tolerance. The KLR and DR are 35 inches and 34.8 inches, respectively, which is already very high. That is, for me. Dual sports and dirt bikes have high seat heights because they have high ground clearance. Anyway 35 inches is about as high as I dare go...and I don't consider lowering a motorcycle (any motorcycle) to be an acceptable option.
Before finalizing my decision, I test rode the DR650 and was amazed how peppy it was. It certainly wasn't as comfortable as the KLR (which isn't saying much) but it had much better lower end torque than the KLR, literally to the point that the front wheel easily comes off the ground. Perhaps that's due to the fact that the DR comes in about 80 pounds lighter than the KLR. However, that's exactly what I wanted so my decision was made.
I landed on the DR650. This is a 2016 Suzuki DR650S, fresh off the show room floor.
Yup, it needs some farkle work. Those Bridgestone Trail Wings need to go. I need to move to a 60% offroad+ dual sport tire. On that point, I have a set of Shinko E-804/805 Big Blocks on the way from Revzilla. I also have a SWMotech Bash Plate and a Moose Expedition Luggage Rack on order from my dealer.
I already have a blog for the 2016 Kawasaki KLR650. I'll be starting a new blog for the DR650 soon. All my new dual sport activities may put a slight crimp in my Versys Ventures, but I'll be sure to keep the big V doing what it does best...long distance touring.