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Discussion Starter #1
I bought a Suzuki DL250. The babiest V-Strom.

When the model caught my eye I sought out as many online reviews as I could find. Most enjoyed riding it and heaped praise on the DL250 saying that it was capable, had a proven drivetrain, was practical and fun but most concluded that it was an excellent bike if you’re a beginner, old, ill or disabled – which apparently includes women and short people.

So let me start by pointing out that I'm not a short, female, geriatric beginner intimidated by big bikes. I’m an average middle aged male, a little on the stout side and I started riding trail bikes on the farm when I was six. In the past 10 years I’ve ridden in the order of 250,000km.

If you bought a 1000+cc bike because it makes you feel powerful &/or masculine - I don't have a problem with that. I get it. It's just not me. I bought a DL250 because it suits me. I like small capacity bikes. To me bikes are about light, nimble personal transport. I like to ride hard but I'm not much of a speed freak. I actually found my last 670cc cruiser a bit frustrating in that there were few opportunities to use it's full potential. You could break any speed limit without getting much past idle. It's the old adage: It's more fun to drive a slow car hard than it is to drive a fast car slowly - so it is with me and motorcycles. My real passion for little bikes began when I organized a tour of Tasmania only to find that the workshop wouldn't release my bike. Apparently it needed lots of bits which wouldn't arrive in time and what was meant to be a routine service turned out to be a major (warranty) overhaul. The ferry however was booked so I borrowed a 171cc Sym LeGrand scooter. I had to keep up with a 650 and a 400. They assured me they'd wait however on the twisty roads around Tasmania the LeGrand held it's own with grand aplomb – means gay abandon without the sexual innuendo. It was an absolute delight to throw around the corners and I could do a figure eight in the space the 650 needed for a U-turn. The only time I wished for a bigger donk was when we were caught behind an Uncle Arthur towing a caravan at 50km/h in corners and speeding up to 90 when there was an opportunity to pass. The others blasted passed him but my (slightly overloaded) 171ccs struggled. That was the only time the others had to wait for me at the next town. That moment aside, It was the most fun I’ve had on two wheels – ever!

As much as I like flicking through the twisties, when it comes to touring on a bike I'm a plodder. I'm happy to putter along at 90-100km/h. It's all about preserving the machine, reducing risk and minimizing fuel consumption. What's the point of having a bike that uses fuel like a mid size family wagon? I recently took my 150cc PCX150 on a 700km day trip (was on my way to the National Scooter Rally before Covid-19 stole the rally). Ironically the freeways were fine. I cruised at 80km/h. There was plenty of opportunities to pass. If I saw both lanes banking up behind me I could speed up to 90km/h to elongate the bottleneck, meaning the semi could maintain some speed while the cars passed. As soon as there was an opportunity to pass I'd slow down again. It was quite low-stress. The B-roads on the other hand were more frustrating because there was often only a single lane each way, still quite a bit of traffic but few opportunities to pass. That was less relaxing.

My other issue with my bikes so far is wheel travel. The AN650 had 100mm rear wheel travel. It took me from Melbourne to Cairns & 127,000km in between but even on highways it would occasionally bottom out & despite it's cruising potential often the factor limiting cruising speed was road surface. The CTX700 cruiser had 110mm rear travel and it was noticeably better. I’d still have my cruiser – except it was stolen. With the memory of the Tassie trip still putting a smile on my face I bought a Honda PCX 150 and I absolutely love it. It makes me feel like a 9 year old on a skateboard – except on the busier, rougher country B-roads – which I want to do more of.

I started looking at the adventure tourer class of bike, not so much for off-roading but just to avoid the bone jarring aspect of touring. The bike that caught my eye was the Royal Enfield Himalayan. Low tech (home & roadside serviceable) Low reving, high torque, low seat, economical and cheap ... it ticked all the boxes. Reviews were good but but build quality is still an issue. The owners facebook group has far too many posts about build quality issues. One owner comment was that, "If you just want to ride and you're not prepared to tinker to keep it going, buy a Honda".

Then came the Suzuki DL250. Now some the criticisms of the DL250 are legit. It's not particularly capable off-road, but then I expect to be on bitumen 99% of the time. I’m pleased that I don’t need to be scared of a dirt road and it can handle the occasional trail to reach that ultimate campsite. Wheel travel is limited compared to the more hard-core adventure tourers, but it’s got 25mm more than the Burgman and 15mm more than the cruiser and that little extra has delivered the improvement I was looking for.

There were mixed opinions about it's touring ability. Some said, "It'll sit on 70mph all day". To that I would say, "Not if you plan on keeping your bike for more than one trip". With the standard gearing that speed would see you close to the redline. Others said it was only good for commuting and the occasional weekend away. I disagree with that too. Switch cogs (more on that later) and accept that fact that you're not going to drag off a Bugatti Veyron, or not even an overloaded family station wagon... and it should have an excellent capacity to eat the miles. Mine has only just clocked up 1000km so it's not fully run in yet and around town I'm getting 32km/l (75 mpg). It has a 17.4 litre tank. That'll give me 3~400km between fuel stops with plenty in reserve.

Bikes are like babies. They're all hideous until it's yours then it's the most beautiful creature in the world and it can do no wrong. Yes I like my DL250. I'm very happy with it, but I've made a few tweaks, not the least of which is to change the gearing. The owners manual tells you to keep it under 5000 rpm for the first 800km. With the standard gearing that's 60km/h (35mph)! It'll pull away confidently in 6th gear from 40km/h - which means if you're just shuffling around town you need five gear changes to get across the intersection - frustrating and pointless. Standard cogs are 14 (front) 47 (rear). I tried a 15 up front but it wasn't enough. I'm now running 14/39. That's a drastic change but the effect is that it now feels normal in fact I've kept the 15 tooth front cog and am not ruling out fitting that as well because I do a lot of highway riding. It's a $50 fix & it's changed the characteristic of the bike dramatically. Now when you give it a squirt in 1st you get a burst of speed and not just one wheel revolution. OK slight exaggeration but you get what I mean. 63mph or 100km/h (GPS - indicated 108) now comes up at 6800rpm, not 8400. It's just above the torque peak and it feels strong with plenty in reserve - normal. Definitely something to think about if you're considering a DL250.

My other beef with Suzuki is that if you stick to the maintenance schedule (if you value the warranty) you're checking the valve clearances EVERY 5000km! That means you're looking at a $400+ service instead of just an oil change EVERY TIME! To me that suggests there's a problem with the engine design but it's a GSX250R/Inazuma drivetrain which has been around forever and has a good reputation. I paid for the 1st service in the interests of preserving the warranty. I was most impressed that they managed to check the valve clearances without disturbing the dust on the tappet cover. This is perhaps my biggest beef with the DL250 and it's a conversation you'll need to have with your dealer if you're considering a new one. They don't need valve clearance checks every time. The dealer will tell you that, but will they honor the warranty if you don't service it by the book? It's the reason I bought a 2nd hand one. It's still under warranty but I'll service it myself from now on. Screw the warranty. I do about 20~25000km pa & scheduled maintenance for the duration of the warranty would set me back what I paid for the bike in the first place. That's just wrong.

Anyway. The ride and handling are rock steady in all conditions. I love riding it. It's ecconomical & has a huge tank. All I need now is for the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions to be lifted so I can explore Australia on my little V-Strom.
 

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Great write up. The new range of smaller cc bikes are unintimidating and great fun so long as you are not taking the kitchen sink with you. I also have a Versys-X 300.
 

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A young woman who works at the Honda dealership in Nanaimo here on Vancouver Island did a cross Canada trip 3 years ago on a 250 cc Honda. She had a wonderful time. My first bike was a ' 72 250 cc Suzuki Hustler, a 750 cc was a monster. Topped out at 110 MPH, not bad for the size. Regardless of bike size, it's the journey not the destination. Sometimes we just have to slow down, miss too much going fast. Enjoy your new ride.
 
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I have also my new 250 since last week, nice usefull bike!

I search also to change the gearing.

Where do you find the different sizes of cog/sprockets? Manufacturer?
 

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Ah, the mention of the suzuki X6 Hustler 250 brought back a lot of memories. at the end of my military career in 1966 I treated myself to a 250 X6 Hustler. (okay, it was only a 3 year career). Not knowing any better I did a bunch of interstate touring on that 250. now I know more and am too old and decrepit for interstate touring on a 250. not meaning to 'jack the thread, just agreeing that you don't have to have a huge bike to have a lot of fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have also my new 250 since last week, nice usefull bike!

I search also to change the gearing.

Where do you find the different sizes of cog/sprockets? Manufacturer?
I bought the 39T rear cog from epay from a supplier called mx-online-australia. If you search for a 39T rear sprocket for a GSX250R or Inazuma there should be heaps. The DL250 is popular in Asia so probably worth trying AliExpress.
 
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