DL650 vs. DR650, offroad performance. - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 29 Old 08-10-2005, 01:03 AM
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DL650 vs. DR650, offroad performance.

I recently took a long trip with my Wee-Strom and along the way got to do a whole bunch of off-road riding along with my dad and his fleet of DR's. I've been riding those old backwoods roads since I was 10 and I thought it would be a great kick to do it with my fancy 'adventure tourer'

Waaay back in the day, my family rode around a bunch of beater Hondas on those old woods roads. If you can believe it, my dad rode a 1970's era 175 Honda twin streetbike with about 2" of ground clearance, which he bought from someone who had crashed it for $45. He must have bottomed that thing out 50,000 times over the years but it just kept going. If you ran it over with an M1 Abrams and then drove it off a cliff, I have complete confidence it would just start up and zoom away. 'They don't build em like they used to'. I myself rode an 80cc XL for many years.

Then about 10 years ago, I graduated from college and my dad started spending. He upgraded to the Suzuki DR bikes. First a 200, then a 350 and more recently a 650. Needless to say, this was like moving from a Model-T to a Mercedes. Power! Handling galore! We were now spoiled

Anyways, I was anxious to bring my new prize V-Strom out there and run with the offroad bikes. I hadn't ridden my dad's DR650 yet so I wanted to see how they compared. I came up with some very surprising results.

First up - it's almost like the drive trains on these two bikes is reversed. The DR650 is geared VERY tall. Puttering along at backroads speeds you can practically count the cylinder strokes in your head. And despite having something like 50% the horsepower of the DL650, it launches like a total rocketship when you gun it. I mean, it just LEAPS forward in just about any gear. In comparison, the Strom started to feel like it was geared for climbing steep slopes or something. I'm sure in a drag race you'd win with the Strom, but man oh man would you have to be shifting like a madman to beat the DR off the line. With all the extra torque of the Strom, I would much prefer a peppy gearing like the DR when on the street.

Second - it really drove home to me how flawed the Strom's 'binary' throttle response is. Everyone here is familiar with this. Severe engine braking, whipsaw shifting 'jerk'. In that annoying 10-15 mph stop and go traffic, the Strom just looks like it's broken it's so herky jerky. In contrast, the DR650 is pure butter. Wonderful, ultra smooth up and down shifting at all RPM's. Total utter bliss to someone who has been pretty unhappy with the Strom in this respect. This is one motorcyclist who simply refuses to accept that a fuel injected bike like the Strom cannot be made to be as smooth or smoother than a 10 year old carbeurated thumper. It's computer controlled fer chrissakes! If I had my druthers, I'd serious suggest that the Strom's abyssmal throttle response at anything under highway speeds is recall-worthy.

Third - I had this image in my mind of the 650 as being a 'wow, that's really huge' kind of bike. The biggest offroad bike I'd ever ridden before was 350 cc's and the 650 sounded like a monster. However, at almost 100 pounds less than the Strom it felt like I could just pick it up and throw it over my shoulder if I got stuck The Strom is a fairly slim bike, too. But on those cramped old logging roads, you really appreciate what it means to ride a bike that truly designed for riding offroad. The sprightly Strom felt like a pig

One thing that really pleased my was how much I could tune the Strom's suspension for those gnarly gravel potholes. When I first showed up, it felt like I was in a remote controlled car for all the uncontrollable bouncing it was doing. But, I cranked the preload WAAAY up and lo-and-behold, she started gobbling those potholes like there was no tomorrow.

Overall - except for the most super extreme offroad stuff, the DL650 can hang with it's offroad cousins. It doesn't handle things quite as effortlessly, but you can go where they can go. My dad looked real nervous when I insisted on driving around my fancy new ride on all our standard paths, but I showed 'em
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post #2 of 29 Old 08-10-2005, 05:37 PM
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Good comments. I never expected the Strom to outperform her dirt cousin, but nice to hear of some particulars!!
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post #3 of 29 Old 08-11-2005, 03:52 PM
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Great information,i actually was considering a dr 650 as a second bike how does the dr perform on the street,handling,comfort?

I'll tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.
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post #4 of 29 Old 08-25-2005, 01:06 PM
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I own a DL1000 and an XR650.. No contest really the XR will eat the DL’s lunch off road!! when flat tracking it around a deep sandy corner, the XR doesnt have to worry about hitting the steering locks. or getting airborne off a jump... really the DL is a bit of a poser off road!!! but man I wish I could stuff the DLs motor into the XRs frame!!! Ridding the two back to back the XR feels like ridding a tractor compared to the DL motor wise!!! I frequently peg out the XRs throttle on LOOONG strait aways .. it might touch 90 mph if I really really pin it for a Looooong time… Now the Dl,, WOW one down shift and a slight twist of the wrist and Bang I an Blasting past 110!!! My Xr also has much lower gearing so it gets Buzzy at anything past 70
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post #5 of 29 Old 08-25-2005, 11:52 PM
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Re: well

Originally Posted by Swedge
I own a DL1000 and an XR650.. No contest really the XR will eat the DL’s lunch off road!!
Same with my KLR250.
The DL650 is a good long distance tourer and not an offroad bike.

2004 V-Strom 650
2002 GS500
2004 KLR250
2014 DRZ400
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post #6 of 29 Old 08-26-2005, 08:12 PM
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Great write up!

My Sunday riding buddy has a 05 DR650 and he spanks me in the nasty stuff. I try to hang with him on my 1000, but all I really get is frustrated.
I tried to get him to buy the DL650 but he bought a DRZ400S instead. What was he thinking? He should have eliminated the DR and replaced it with the DL and still purchased the DRZ. Oh well.
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post #7 of 29 Old 08-29-2005, 08:40 AM
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if most of his riding is OFF road the DR is a much better choice!!
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post #8 of 29 Old 08-30-2005, 02:35 PM
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Off Road

I posted this story before....

My kid rides with a bunch of local kids on a piece of farm land on the edge of town. They have a big basin they tear up just for fun. The parents go out there and check on them frequently, take them lunches and water etc.

I went out on the DL650 to check on the lads one day, and I rode out onto their little track. I rode the course, and even got a little bit of air. Then I concluded with a big burnout, throwing dirt about 20 feet in the air.

I looked over my shoulder as i left, and the kids were positively in convulsions laughing so hard at the old man. All my kid would say is "COOOL!".
post #9 of 29 Old 05-09-2013, 09:12 PM
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had a dl650 for years and now a dr650.

the dr is much better in the dirt in every which way compared to the dl.
you just liked the dl better because you own one...every bike owner does that.
let's be honest here.

on the dr, i can move at 2x the speed i ever could comfortably on the dl.
of course the dl is better on the paved than the dr

like the dl a dr needs some mods to optimize. a $15 14 tooth CS (15 tooth is stock) transforms the bike in the dirt. yes it is geared slightly high for the street and emissions.

Bill Eakins
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post #10 of 29 Old 05-09-2013, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by boatvs View Post

like the dl a dr needs some mods to optimize. a $15 14 tooth CS (15 tooth is stock) transforms the bike in the dirt. yes it is geared slightly high for the street and emissions.
And the dl also is more fun with a 14 tooth CS. IMHO.

14 tooth for me
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