I suspect the DL650 is better off-road than advertised. - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 35 Old 04-15-2013, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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I suspect the DL650 is better off-road than advertised.

I've been lurking a lot for weeks now. I'm looking at the newer DL-650.

My background: I'm 35 and 6'01" and 190 lbs. I've got a lot of street and off-road experience. I raced a lot of harescramble-type competitions. I can hang in the A class, but get lapped by pro riders. Streetwise I started on a pair of ZRX1200Rs, a '06 KLR650, and a Triumph Sprint ST 1050. I've been a member on all the related fan forums.

I was looking for a new KLR650, I love em for solo rides. The problem is that they're too slow for group ride with conventional bikes, and I have buddies with Tuonos and VFR800s.

I know I can handle a DL650 on the street, and it won't fall behind at any speed I'm willing to go.

People rag on the DL650s off road. "Don't believe the marketing". I don't know what to believe.

I'm pretty comfortable off road, and my wrists and feet were the limiting factor when jumping my KLR. It landed hard. It required more speed to stay on top of deep sand in the AZ washes, but it kicked butt off road... Despite people telling me it couldn't. Often the same people who'd get passed on their CRF450 by my old KLR650 with it's rear end wallowing and swapping out side to side.

So if you put a confident off road rider on a DL650, with good technique and momentum, does it exceed the dismal expectations I read. With a good rider will it "meet expectations". I don't plan to enter it in the Baja 1000, just some 2-track, sand washes, baby doll head river rocks, small ledges, etc.

Can I squeeze more out of the DL650, just like I did on my KLR650? Granted the DL650 is heavier and may only do 85% what the KLR did at 85% KLR pace. Still that's way more than a lot of people give the DL650 credit for.

I can't justify $6500 for a KLR when a DL650 is $8300, and has vastly better value for the $1800 difference.

My DL650 would have a bash plate, handguards, and those TKC80 tires I see on all your wickedly awesome mounts. I really suspect they are more trail capable than the outside world gives them credit for. I think the bad off road reports are from green off roaders or people who rode an XR80 one time at band camp.

Look at a mid 70s trail bike and honestly tell me a skilled rider on a DL650 can't carefully follow that Elsinore most anywhere it goes.

Is the DL650 wrong for me?
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post #2 of 35 Old 04-15-2013, 03:42 PM
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I suspect you are better than the bike.
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post #3 of 35 Old 04-15-2013, 03:48 PM
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I think the 3 biggest hurdles are 1) suspension 2) ground clearance and 3) tall gear ratios. The bike should go wherever those limitations aren't an issue. I'm goint to a 14 tooth front sprocket to address #3.
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post #4 of 35 Old 04-15-2013, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DownOnTheFarm View Post
I think the 3 biggest hurdles are 1) suspension 2) ground clearance and 3) tall gear ratios. The bike should go wherever those limitations aren't an issue. I'm goint to a 14 tooth front sprocket to address #3.
4) cast aluminum wheels

5) astoundingly mediocre suspension

6) aldente handlebars

7) nervous bodywork

8.) front-biased weight distibution

..................are some of the things I blame for my lack of skill.
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post #5 of 35 Old 04-15-2013, 04:10 PM
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I find the rational for a bike that can keep up with buddies on faster stuff interesting.
I'd rather ride my own ride and if I can't keep up, I know where they are going and I'll actually only be a few minutes behind the faster guys.
Besides, I know they will be stopped by some LEO along the way and I won't share in the award ceremony!
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post #6 of 35 Old 04-15-2013, 04:16 PM
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Does not like mud. The front fender will pack up and stop the front wheel.
Poor ground clearance(My skid plate is full scrapes and dents).
Top heavy(And just plain heavy for offroad).

After a couple of years of using it in the dirt , it is now only used for fire roads. Bought a DR350 for the dirty stuff.
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post #7 of 35 Old 04-15-2013, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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I was nervous on my KLR at first. Then gave it a bit more and it took it, gave it some more, and some more. The shocks would bottom and hammer my feet, ankles and wrists, but the bike never failed. I figured the parts would start dropping off but they never did.

I was hoping the DL650 would be similarly more competent than it appears (not as competent as ____).

The reviewers all say the 2012 has better suspension. Tall gearing is doable with some clutching, the 1% of the time when working up a rutted hill or something.

I see the piccys of members bikes, all done up with off-road farkles, and they look good.

So the bottom line is the DL650 is marginally better off road than a CB750 nighthawk, and the comfy ergos and price are it's best redeeming qualities?

I really want to avoid more expensive bikes, because I'd be apprehensive about dropping a $13k or $15k adventure bike. They're too expensive to properly thrash.
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post #8 of 35 Old 04-15-2013, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notacop View Post
I find the rational for a bike that can keep up with buddies on faster stuff interesting.
I'd rather ride my own ride and if I can't keep up, I know where they are going and I'll actually only be a few minutes behind the faster guys.
Besides, I know they will be stopped by some LEO along the way and I won't share in the award ceremony!
Yeah, the only thing more embarrassing than that is when you're LEO and get pulled over doing hooligan antics. Hence why I don't have the hooligan liter bikes anymore. A call to the on duty Sargeant and a ticket is worse than a ticket alone. Then there's the stick figures scrawled on the dry erase board in the briefing room, depicting a highway patrolman smacking you on the pee-pee.... Right after you get done on the hot seat in the Lt's office.

I figured the DL650 would be more spirited than a KLR in the 70-85mph range, but not so fast as to cause big problems.

Last edited by DaisyCutter; 04-15-2013 at 04:39 PM.
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post #9 of 35 Old 04-15-2013, 05:20 PM
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The KLR will beat the Strom hands down while offroad, but when you get back on the tarmac, the Suzook is smooth as buttah. As others have mentioned, it does just fine on dirt and gravel roads, but it's no dual-sport. I would probably induce a heart attack if I tried to take my DL650 down some of the trails that my old DRZ400 would manage with ease.

FWIW, I sold my beloved '01 ZRX1200R last year after 9 years of ownership. I used to hang out over at the ZRXOA and ride with some of those guys in years past.
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post #10 of 35 Old 04-15-2013, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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How do you enjoy the DL650 after riding the Rex for so long? Coming off the dirt, I loved the ZRX. I had a lot of fun doing wheelies and brake slides. It handled great for me, like a big dirtbike. I once hit a load of bricks in the street at night. It was too late to stop. I just elevated my butt, squeezed the ZRX with my knees, pulled back on the bars, downshifted and rolled on the throttle. I blasted right over a pile of 60 little red bricks. It was rough but I landed on the tires. I pulled over, checked my tires and wheels and they were fine.

I sold my 2002 after I started getting naughty with it too often. I missed it and bought a 2004. The hooligan activities commenced. So I sold that one. I'm DaisyCutter on ZRXOA too, been a member for almost a decade, but only visit to shoot the bull sometimes now.

I was hoping the DL650 was the answer for me. Regardless I'd never refer to a bike I owned as a "Glee" or "Glee-Strom".

I'm a Kawi rider at heart, so I may be stuck with the KLR.
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