DR650

The last time I owned a Suzuki was back in ’87 and it looked like this…

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So a little learning curve, I find the easiest way to learn is to get greasy and oily and get the bike apart. As these are used motorcycles (two of them) they have been touched my untold amount of hands – factory, dealerships, pro mechanics, amateur mechanics, owners, friends etc. The big question you should always ask yourself is – did that person(s) have zero distractions when touching the bike…even the factory can make errors.

The easy way to find out is to take it apart as much as you feel comfortable…luckily I feel ok doing this so time to really jump in

Partially stripped

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after both bikes were stripped I try and do the obvious things first, the known faults, areas of the bike that regardless of what mods you do they will not change, like neck and swingarm bearings, cleaned/ checked/ greased

stock crud!!!

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Brake lines, usually good for around 4 years, stock rubber ones are just average at best, DR riders were doing a deal on Galfer brake lines a while back, buy a front at 20% off and get a rear for free, score…I requested +2″ on the fronts because I’ll be adding risers and steering dampers.

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Brake fluid is somewhat hygroscopic (tending to absorb moisture from the air) so a quick rebuild to make sure everything is good and then a full brake fluid flush NOT just a case of drain it out, clean and add new fluid!

I use a Snap-on vacuum bleeder that pulls with the required pressure to get all the bad stuff out and I run thru about an equivalent of a double what the system takes or until the fluid coming thru is crystal clear. The front master cylinder looks like the brake fluid hasn’t ever been touched for a long time if ever.

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Next up the famed NSU loose screw issue. When I first read this I found it strange but I read it so many times it was hard to ignore, its a very simple job with the right tool that costs a huge $16.50 the EBC CT024, I have a few of these and they all kind of look the same but believe me they aren’t. The right one makes the clutch pack removal a few minute job

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I put the driver on the first Allen bolt holding the NSU unit in place and what felt like no pressure it came undone, as I undid it wet blue RTV silicone came out of the hole

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I drilled it for safety wire, added some blue Loctite and cleaned the hole and replaced it.

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do you see the blue on my finger, someone had used RTV (guessing) to hold it in and as it’s in a hot area and in oil it never set. It could have worked if the motor had been cold and left open for 24 hours I guess but not the right way to do it…I’d be pointing the finger at one of the numerous Suzuki mechanics that have seen the inside of this thing, clueless!!!

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So I thought I’d do a quick video of the next screw I undid and watch this closely if I added any pressure to the handle of the tool you’d see my skin tighten because of excessive grip…IT DOESN’T if you are putting off checking the NSU screws maybe this will put a fire under your ass…THREE out of FOUR screws were barely snugged tight on both bikes, the tightest of all was the one with RTV, the other 3 didn’t have anything on them.

Loose NSU fasteners VIDEO LINK

if you watched that are saying it looked pretty tight to me, then maybe you should read an article I wrote and watch the test video included – HERE

This is the point I was making about continuity, did the guys phone ring as he was doing this, was he distracted – who knows but he had one job to do and he failed, from this point forward we’ll call the mechanic who worked on this bike, Dick Smith, his other inventions didn’t do so good so he became a Suzuki mechanic!!!

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Holes drilled in Allen screws for the NSU, grab your safety wire, thread it thru them

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secure the safety, it’s just to stop the screws from the unlikely event of undoing themselves, I use specific safety wire pliers but a set of grips/ channel locks would work as good.

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While you are this point you may as well pull the starter motor, one bike had a small amount of ‘squark’ so I pulled it, there are two options here. Take off the end cap and grease the bronze bushing, refit and be done with it until it gets more moisture in there and starts again and then do it again ad infinitum…or fix it once and for all with a Warp 9 starter end cap.

Like I said earlier I’ll be using a bunch of Warp 9 parts because Kevin that owns the company has had three DR’s and when he found an issue he sat down and made a part to replace the basic stock part. He tells me all parts were made originally out of necessity and one of the first ones was the starter end cap because his bushing had worn out, so he sat down and designed a solution using a bearing instead of a bushing.

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Because I know either someone is thinking or will ask the question – “Why don’t the factory do that?” Well in a word they are cheap and I’ll show how cheap with a little search, let’s say the starter shaft is 8mm (it’s a guess I forgot to measure)

I can buy two oil impregnated bronze bushings for $3.61 or $1.80 each

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but a bearing will cost me $2.88, just $1.08 more the factory could make the part right and just add $1 to the price of the bike, but they buy components on mass so what are we really talking here 5 cents, the mind boggles :fpalm

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it boggles even more if you haven’t touched this part, so you have no idea what’s inside and I tell you this, they used two bearings already for the shaft to run on, red arrows, but decided on a bushing on the cap – Thanks, Warp 9 you’ve earned my business

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to get the starter out it’s very simple, remove stuff that’s in the way, oil lines, clutch cable mount and cam chain tensioner. the two 8mm bolts that hold the cable bracket in place also hold the starter in place…but first, unhook the battery and then remove the lead from the top of the starter.

Once you have done that pull it towards you and lift and it’ll be in your hand. MAKE SURE AT THIS POINT YOU DO NOT MOVE THE BIKE AT ALL!!!

you’ll need a 7mm to take off the two bolts that hold the end cap on

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Now do everything in reverse and put it back together.

You want to know about the cam chain tensioner, don’t you? Two photos above you can see it in place, remove the bolt in the end and get a small flat blade screwdriver and unscrew the inside until you feel it stop than a fraction of a turn more and it will hold in place, take the two bolts out that hold it in place and pull it out, it’s that easy.

when you put it back, it needs to still be all the way in – it’s a one-way ratchet and spring loaded with a pressured retainer so it can hold in place as shown below

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bolt it in place and once again with your little flat blade screwdriver slowly let it go back towards the cam chain (slide) to create pressure. DO NOT LET IT SPRING BACK WITH FORCE, just in case it makes your cam chain jump, then you’ll have a lot more work to do…you are warned

When you put the outer cover back on make sure the clutch push rod has its groves facing forward, in the photo they are facing upwards.

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See that oil line at the front hanging free, when you reinstall it make sure that the rubber O ring is still there

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Putting it all back together, pretty simple, at the same time I add some case protection with a copyrighted RTV pattern, the places these bikes are headed they will be taking a few naps

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and the oil filter is changed out for a reusable unit as we are heading to some remote areas so don’t want to carry a stock of them or have to go searching

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To finish up the lower right-hand side, a good clean of the brake pedal and new grease added

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around the other side, time to add the seal retainer which honestly I am surprised hadn’t be done or suggested earlier as both bikes had seals leaking!!!

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Sprocket covers were swapped out, scored this one from a guy in OZ for real cheap inc. shipping

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couldn’t find another so went with the Procycle version

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Next thing I do on most every bike after losing a shift lever once, is pull out the stock bolt and add a longer one with a Nylock on the back side for security. On the DR shifter, the top and bottom faces are at different angles so don’t tighten the nylock all the way as it’ll bend the bolt. This helps you have a little warning that it’s loose before it could disappear, or ride the rest of the day using vise grips as a shifter peg.

Whilst you are down there add some oversized washers to the footpeg mount to take the slop out of the rubber mount

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I had a pair of Promoto Billet adventure pegs laying around so ordered a DR mount kit and put them on, still looking for pegs for the other bike

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Stock cotter pin is good for maybe one or two removals so they were swapped out for hairpin spring retaining clips everywhere cotter pins were used

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The one on the back of the brake is positioned correctly so if hit by a rock it can only be knocked on further, the one on the master cylinder is wrong as a rock from underneath could hit it and knock it off. After the photo, it was oriented correctly.

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working toward the back of the bike I noticed the chain guide when I took it off was in a really bad way, so in turn, this would mean the slider would be bad too at a guess due to bad chain tension and/ or alignment

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Destroyed slider that at a guess was never checked so stock replacement is the way to go, for the guide a new stock piece runs around $65 + tax but a Warp9 runs less than $60…no brainer

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While searching for the guide I came across rear brake caliper pins from ProCycle, having known a friend with a KLR round out his pins and have to trash his caliper this was a no brainer to buy them

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on my WRR more than once I hit the rear rotor protector on rocks, looking for something similar for the DR guess who comes to the rescue again, yep, Warp9, simple fitment just transfer the hardware across and lube the holes!!!

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All this was leading up to swingarm removal and a check of all the bearings and cringing while I took it all apart but to my surprise, it was all good, well greased and relatively clean. All that was a quick check of all the bearings and spacers and a cleanup, regrease and reinstall

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At this point with the shock out, I put the rear wheel in and position the swingarm at a point where the main-shaft, pivot and axle are aligned

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At this point there should be around 15-20mm of slack as the chain will be at its absolute tightest position. This is a help to find a measurement for this for correct chain tightness quickly, for me the sockets I use aligned with the chain slider and I’m good and then adjust the axle accordingly

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Once that’s done put the pivot plugs back in with a little RTV to stop moisture getting in there

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and finish off installing the new Cogent shock in place of the stock POS

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airbox and carb mods, something had been done, but I didn’t like it, there was a bunch of 90-degree plumbing tubes and the whole thing held together with bathroom caulk…it all had to go and a complete cleanup and carb rebuild

Sadly I forgot to take a photo but the 3 odd holes are where the 90’s were!!!

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and caulk had been put in the left rear mount which had filled with dirt and that fitting was destroyed and spinning loose so had to be ripped out

I recut the air box like this, it’ll make sense later…just about the same open area as the Procycle kit suggests but I had to work with what I had. A deburring tool for metal is an easy way to clean up the edges

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Carbs were really bad and dirty inside and out

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bottom screws were…ahem screwed!!! Tried with a JIS screwdriver and penetrating oil, then grips, got one but couldn’t get a good purchase on the other, then Wurth Rost-off to freeze and shrink it, then reverse drill bits and finally an easy out saved the day

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and what do I find inside but more silicone and lots of dirt

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The pilot jets had been either put in or removed with the wrong screwdriver. They were cleaned and reinstalled with a correct pilot jet driver (@motolab to source this)

Swapped out the choke nut from the plastic one that eventually either rounds off or cracks with the Warp9 one and added a little copper anti-seize and refit the who thing after doing a complete carb clean and rebuild, new jetting and needle with the better adjuster screw from Procycle.

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Bad photo of anti-seize, sorry

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One other thing I do with the carb is replaced more of the JIS screws with cap head Allens at the cable mounting plate so if the carb needs to come off all you need to do is undo these two and then remove the cables in one piece so as not to have to add extra work to reset the cables when the carb gets refitted…pointing at with a flat blade screwdriver

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Replaced the minute piece of foam in the secondary filter (under-diaphragm vent) with a little more substantial piece that fills the filter housing and used filter oil on it as well to assist with filtration so the slide doesn’t get unnecessary wear

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Over on DRriders, I’d seen a LED headlight mod by n2o2diver, without even seeing the headlights I knew they’d be crap, so I followed his lead and bought his suggestion for headlights.

This is where the problem began, the seller or manufacturer had changed the design a little. In his write up he had made substantial modifications to the headlight mount, I sat down and figured a way to use the LED and if for any reason you wanted to you could still use the same housing and return to stock…with his version you can’t

Take your headlight apart and remove the mount, have the adjuster screws facing the back of the bike instead of the front. and bend the original mounting tab up out of the way.

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take some angle and mount it on the (new) top with a couple of bolts

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and that one bolt in the middle will mount to the ‘new’ headlight mount bar – this is where the difference is in the new light design

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now mount it as normal and remove the springs from the adjuster screws then screw them all the way in until they hit the light body and make your adjustment, the light is mounted and is rock solid

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To fit the surround you need to make two small cuts on the inside for it to fit over the angle that you added

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and there you go new headlight

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its a plug and play so you low and high beam work as normal, no having to play with wiring

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A lot more light for $18

After this a little test, Watts = Amps x Volts for reference – I’ll use 12.5 volts as my reference number

stock light on low beam 4.12 amps or 51.5 watts

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high beam stock light 4.56 amps or 57 watts…this bike had a 55/60 bulb

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new LED low beam 0.89 amps or 11.125 watts

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new LED on high beam 1.60 amps or 20 watts

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and to take it one step further I added a 2000 lumen LED light bar to the high beam (both on full) 2.02 amps or 25.25

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…so a gain of 31.75 watts, those heated grips or heated seat or heated jacket look like a much more viable option now don’t they without having to do a stator upgrade?

I’ll do a night time light set up once the bikes are done, but from a little further back it looks like this

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As I was up front I added a tug strap to help with those moments when the bike takes a nap and isn’t easy to pick up

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Electrical, everybody’s favorite!!!

The initial challenge was to remove all none stock wiring from the bikes, and there was a lot, in that original photo of all the stuff that came off have a look again at the wires

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once that’s done then its time to look at the stock wiring to see if along the way there had been issues and fixes to get riding (maybe) but were never looked at again because they kept working. The only problem with ‘temp fixes’ they are exactly what they say they are and will eventually fail, so now is a good time to check with all the correct parts at hand.

Around the taillights, wires had been connected unnecessarily with cheap bullet connectors so I removed them and cleaned up the connections

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Then covered the group of wires with more heat shrink for their whole length and then plastic casing over that, I changed the routing from the down the middle of the rear fender to the side for more protection

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Rear turn signals were replaced with flexible LED’s and again the wiring protected and routed away from possible harm

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Up front it wasn’t much better, potential issues could happen so more protection was added and smoother routing with minimal bends

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In the middle of the bike before doing more electrics I did a quick welding fix around the battery box issue area, adding additional strengthening and welding to the alleged weak point.

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I’ll cover the lower strengthening later…

In the middle of the bike I changed my mind on the EB set up and went for the Fuzeblock instead as it looked like a much cleaner install and it was. This opens up the opportunity to add additional circuits at a later date if we need them

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Right now as we are heading into summer, no heated grips just power to the front and rear, I use SAE type plugs from Optimate as everything else fails eventually on the outside of the bike, I have used standard 12 volt cig lighter, USB, Hella but the only one that lasts is the SAE.

So with connectors front and rear its simple to add an extension to go either into the tank bag or luggage and then use a USB or cig. adaptor where it’s away from the elements

in the rear attached to the rear rack for stability and protection

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Up front, I used one of the old turn signal mounts drilled out and reversed

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Working thru the stock connectors once I check them that everything is good and clean I add some dielectric grease

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I also check the reusable zip ties as I go along and if any are brittle I replace them, I found a pack of 100 reusables on Amazon for about $6

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While I was in Europe I found a guy who makes a replacement top security screw for the Garmin Montana so you no longer need to have that little security Torx on your keys to punch a hole in your pants pocket when you loose the cap!! LINK If you use a Garmin you’ll know what I mean, if not skip this part

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Getting quickly bored with electrics, there is still more to come later, I did a change of pace and thought a valve adjustment would be an easy job….wrong!

The last person in this motor decided to put the cover in with every ounce of strength they had and round out the Allen hole. The only way I managed to get it off was by taking off the side case to be able to get at the backside after trying a few options on the front side first

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I do like how easy the valves are to do on the DR

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to stop second guessing myself if in the future if I don’t have a manual beside me and can’t remember which is which I mark the gauges as a reminder

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Not surprisingly the plugs are fouled from that .50 jet at a guess, so they need to be changed

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more stuff…

Added some racks, side and rear, made a tool tube from some shitter piping and a locking cap from fleabay

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if you want one of these just look up “Cherne locking test plug” I think I paid around $20 shipped

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I picked up a couple of used cans off the flea market on here for silly money so couldn’t say no, FMF for one and DG for the other, yes there are loads of other options and better ones for sure but at this price, these will be good for now

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On my bike, I changed the stock front sail out for a new WR450F fender, prefer the strength and the shape and for $24 delivered honestly why not, pop 4 holes in it, done!

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For bars I went with CR high on both bikes, one is a Protaper and the others are Renthal just cause I had them laying around, and also had two GPR dampers so they are a real nice addition when you don’t have to go to the store to buy them.

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and yes before someone jumps in I did reset the tension pin to be flush with the top of the arm

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Controls, Warp9 because the stock ones had seen better days from too many naps at a guess, so why replace with stock when you can get better quality for a better price

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I use the 714 rally grips, they add a good amount of cushioning and grip but also are long lasting, I have a set on my S10 with 60,000+ miles and they are still like new.

As I’m using Barkbusters, one bike was good, the other were toast so again I had a spare set to use…but the grips need a little trimming off both ends. Throttle end so it doesn’t hang up.

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A new throttle sleeve as the old grips it was incorporated so no choice. I was a tight fit so a little hair spray to make the fitting easier and that end cap just pops off

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Left-hand side is easier to get on but I prefer a real tight fitting grip so I add a little electrical tape in the middle of the bar before adding the grip, you can see a very slight bulge

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Then safety wire the grips on in three places per side for added security from slippage

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and one of @neduro mirrors per bike

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Next up, this…

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Reading back over comments I reread @cyberdos and his comment about the kill switch, I go outside, hit the switch and it clicks in as it should…but then it won’t come back out. A little gentle persuasion and it comes out but next time it sticks again, time to dismantle. As he showed in his write up its a simple procedure and removing the little brass pin just stops the detent happening, now you just need to hold it in for about a second and the motor dies

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this is where it hangs up

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The culprit is directly above the red button piece, the likely cause is dirt in there that wears an untrue path.

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I like my kill switch to be working 100% just in case the bike decides to go for a swim!!!

Other minor things…

Extra throttle and clutch cables in place, if you are questioning if this is worth it? On the TAT 2015 literally on the very last turn before hitting the beach in Oregon mine gave up all but two strands. Easy fix I had one in place to swap out, another rider who was staying at the same place riding the same bike as me (WRR) saw this and said his was feeling notchy so the following morning he called the local dealer to find none in stock and the closest one nearly 700 miles away. – You decide

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Extra ground strap, this is from an early model Harley I had a few laying around, this has a couple of advantages, gives your battery just a little more juice and if your single ground (one the motor) isn’t grounding the frame too well, this will. This will help if you need to add items up near the bars, now you can ground up there and only return the positive lead if you have already used the extra connector.

Once I have it to correct size I cover it in heat shrink

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Pegs were swapped on both bikes, I had a pair of Pomotobillet Adv pegs laying around so just grabbed a mount kit and for the other bike I went with Warp 9

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The stock filter looked like they were done and wouldn’t survive another cleaning so new filter in place, I oil them and then add a filter sock (and carry extras) for quick and easy filter cleaning on the trail.
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Brake snake for the off-road protection

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Profill tank filter, extra filtration will never hurt

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Changed out the stock (sized) batteries which were struggling to hold a charge after a 2-second starting attempt. Stock battery is around 130CCA, a buddy of mine works for Tucker Rocky and one of their brands is Bike Master. The make a lithium Ion battery that is actually smaller than stock size, and they include padding blocks to adjust height. The big positive for buying this battery is 250CCA and it can be charged with any standard charger, a Shorai battery needs a specific charger…dam does that starter motor spins easily now.

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and it weighs 2.1lbs less

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The is a stock (ish) CCA battery available as well if you want that, it’s slightly cheaper and puts out 150CCA. I ran the 250CCA in my Super Tenere all over Mexico, Cuba, US and Europe for the last 18 months and never a single issue, started the bike first time every time from snowy conditions to over 100 degrees.

The next part WAS NOT necessary at all, but stronger wheels are a good thing, and 3.50 rear opens up a few more tire choices…and as the upcoming ride is planned to be 95%+ off road better as well, just better. I have read so many guys having cracked rims I didn’t want to add my name to the list.

So…Warp 9 on the phone again. 7000 series, matt black, 3.50 rear – stock is 2.50

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with 320 front brake rotors, I’ve had too many close calls and as the DR’s front brake isn’t the best but if you add a braided line and a 320 rotor it adds a lot of stopping power

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The bikes are done so next thing for me was the final weight. They came in at 364.1lbs with everything on them but NO gas

@EvergreenE bike

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I’ll add the final installment in a few days, that’ll cover luggage and tools…

time to button this build up as we hit the road in a little over 24 hours…

There seemed to be a ‘little’ talk about front suspension since my last post and I did say that the PO had dealt with this so I didn’t need to – well I changed my mind!

I opened up both sets of forks, reset the white bike back to stock height from factory lowered and did a fork oil change, not really a big deal, very simple forks to work on.

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one part I was waiting for was a chain oiler, the Motobriiz arrived, a very simple set up, activated by wind/ air pressure, but the great part about it is it oils the underside of the chain. A friend of mine has one on his bike and has ridden 9000 miles since install, no chain adjustments required and the chain which had over 10,000 miles before installation now looks like new. Ask me questions in a few weeks/ months for a long term opinion

…and it installs perfectly where the stock tool box used to live

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Tools, when I was in Greece and bought these bikes online I wasn’t sure if I’d have access to all my tools or if not then what tools I could get my hands on. I started looking at other riders tool kits to see what they were using and then if I could find a tool kit that came close without having to buy too many extra tools.

The one I found that checked most of the boxes was RRR Tools, you can check them out and then see what extras I added. Before anyone jumps in and thinks this was a sponsorship it wasn’t I paid full retail, but what I will tell you is this – with what’s pictured below I did around 98% of the work on the bike or will be able to once I had corrected things and changed fasteners that could be troublesome.

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Luggage

over the years I have used a number of companies trying to find the right set up, for bigger bikes and 80/20 riding and hard luggage it’s a simple choice – Jesse Luggage.

…but now back in the dirt soft bags are the way to go, I elected for pannier racks to add some additional stability and structure to a potential rear end weakness and for me nowadays there is only one real option for soft luggage and that is Mosko Moto. If you haven’t checked them out, you should read the thread from the beginning, it is very interesting how they developed the product with input from a bunch of opinionated ADV riders…the inmates, it’s here

We will be using the new Version 2 of the 25 liter Scouts, they are due for release very soon but for now, Mosko has loaned us two sets of V1.0 bags “with character” as Pete (@Sideoff ) likes to describe them.

The setup will be very similar to what’s pictured below, we’ll be putting them thru the wringer for sure. It’s a very simple set up, two Scout V2.0 saddle bags and a Backcountry duffle for each bike, a total of 80 liters

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Any questions as normal fire away but be warned we leave bright and early May 3 so after that responses may be a little slow, as we have something in the region of 25,000 miles of dirt planned this year and a lot of wild camping. The tracks/ routes we already have laid out look like the image below and if that seems interesting then the ride report is already up and running as this RTW has been going since Jan 2016, it’s here, subscribe and follow along. I would suggest starting at page 1, we’ve hit some amazing places already (including Cuba) and this year looks to be prime for a lot more good locations…

There is a Guinness World Record in the mix as well with ride, more about that will be revealed in the RR soon…

Hope to meet some of you out there in the dirt, I’m sure we’ll be passing a few DR650 owner along the way…

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