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Frequently Asked Questions

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DR650SE

Q: Should I buy a DR650SE or a Kawasaki KLR650?

A: This question has been asked since the current DR650 was released in 1996. Both bikes are similarly priced, and are designed to serve similar purposes. The easy answer to this question is to buy which ever one you can find the best deal on. Both are competent machines, and both have huge aftermarket support. There is no wrong answer.
Having said that, both offer advantages depending on your needs. From the factory, the KLR comes with a tank that holds twice as much fuel, and has a luggage rack, small windscreen and a [marginal] skid plate. A stock DR has none of these things, but all are readily available from a number of sources.
Mechanically, the DR has a beefier suspension and better brakes. Again, the aftermarket can supply upgrades. Both engines make similar power, both can be hopped up to make more. The biggest distinction between the two motors is that the Kawasaki is liquid cooled, while the Suzuki is air/oil cooled. Which has the advantage is a matter of preference. Some prefer the liquid cooling for longer engine life, particularly if the bike sees a lot of use in heavy traffic. Others prefer the air cooled design because it means one less thing to maintain, one less potential problem from a troublesome radiator/water pump/cooling fan.
Of course, the air cooled DR weighs less, too, which is a factor to consider for many reasons, especially those times when the bike is laying on its side...
Generally, the consensus is that the KLR is somewhat more of a streetbike, and the DR is somewhat more of a dirtbike.
Again, no wrong answer here. Pick the one that makes the best sense for you...


Q: Should I be worried about the screeching sound my starter is making?

A: That distressing sound is a DR650SE trait, but doesn't seem to be a cause for concern. It seems to be more pronounced in colder temperatures, but it may just be more noticeable because the air-cooled DR engine needs more cranking to start when it's cold.
My starter was screeching badly (every start). I took the starter far enough apart to grease the shaft at both ends, problem fixed (2000 miles so far, not one screech). I did not have to remove the starter from the left side case, just worked off the right side, over the midpipe. The oil line assembly and cam chain tensioner need to be removed.

Q: What is involved in adjusting the ride height of my DR650's suspension?

A:It can be dropped and the easiest way would be to ask a dealer.
A: Done per the Suzuki manual, the spring needs to be released from the shock to invert the spring seat. The forks need full disassembly to reposition an internal spring spacer. This includes removing the damper rods.


Q: Is the DR650 a good bike for highway riding?

A: The DR650 has rather high stock gearing, and the motor has no trouble pulling the bike and even a large rider at extra-legal speeds. In fact, top gear (5th) is basically unusable under 60 or 65 mph. The limiting factor for long-distance, high-speed riding on the DR650 is more likely a lack of wind protection. Luckily, many aftermarket windscreen options are available.
Return to DRRiders.com

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