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On my way to get Peter Hoogeveen, I stopped in at Larry’s shop and looked the bike over more closely. I was expecting it to look and feel small but it looks quite large. I think this may be mostly due to the fairing/tank shrouds.

Not too tall for me at 5’ 8”, nice wide bars, comfortable seat, big sturdy rack. Feels light when moving left and right at a stand still. I was leaning towards the blue colour but really liked the silver when I saw it up close. Larry referred to it as “almost pewter”; to me it looked more dimpled, almost like a golf ball but much smaller. I think plain black Givi bags would look really good with the silver paint and black plastic.

In Daytona they had a number of DL650s and DL1000s, almost half of the Suzuki demo fleet. They were both popular choices for rides and it took 2 hours to get a test ride.

Keep in mind that this ride was only 45 minutes, some heavy traffic, straight roads, and led by an anal control freak so I couldn’t test the bike to its limits. That said, I got it up to 120 kph, did some tight right handers, and had lots of tight traffic.

Feels light, starts right up [no choke!] and idles easily. It’s quiet at idle but gives a satisfying snarl when you blips the throttle. The first thing I noticed on takeoff is that you need to give it a bit of throttle to get moving. My ST with hydraulic clutch can be moving at idle, this needed a few more RPM.

Nice smooth quiet gear box. That 6th gear is a learning experience. Almost all my bikes are 5 speeds so you have to “relearn” when you’re in top gear.

Good acceleration in all the lower gears, quickly getting you up into the power band which I would expect to be 4-8,000 RPM. Redline is 10,500, but I didn’t get up there. For a small engine it had lots of power [for me] just needing a little working of the gear box to make it fly. It also ran fine if you let the rpm get low without any chugging, just a little slower.

I found it a bit buzzy at 120 kph until I realized I was only in 5th gear. 6th gear dropped it to about 5k rpm and a smooth ride. A VERY little vibration in the bars but foam or gel grips would solve this.

The windshield was in the lowest position and I took a fair bit of wind. A slight duck made it quiet so I think the highest shield position would work well for me. I’m sure there will be taller touring shields out soon.

It feels even more nimble on the road than in the showroom. A bum wiggle would move it around and I felt very in control, even with the heavy traffic.

The gas and temp gauges are LED bars. At 80+ F, in stop and go traffic it never got above 3 bars out of 5 but you start to feel a lot of heat off the engine. No worse or better than many bikes fair in that condition but no concern about over heating.

My only complaint was that it seemed to me to have very abrupt throttle response. The cable actuated clutch I got used to quickly but the throttle was off, off, then suddenly on strong. The bike only had 600 miles on it, I’ve heard that these bikes take some time for the computer controlled EFI to work itself out, and several people told me that test bikes are notoriously poorly set up. These could all be contributors. It wasn’t bad enough for me to dislike the bike but would take some getting used to. The other 2 people on the DL650 had the same comment at the end of the ride.

Overall Impression:

Nice all rounder that can do anything you want. Small, narrow, and quick enough for urban assault. Enough clearance and wide bars make it perfect for gravel roads [note I said roads not trails]. Nimble and powerful enough to attack twisties, and maybe even spank that kid on his 600 sport bike. Enough power and good gearing for long distance high speed touring.

I want one.


351 Posts

The cooling system on the DL's is excellent. Crawling the bike in heavy traffic has little effect on the temperature. Try this on most fully faired bikes and you will have very high temperatures. I think part of this is attributed to the motor and exhaust not being covered by a fairing. Both the rad and the large oil cooler do an excellent job.

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