AS IT SITS
When you take a Suzuki off the showroom floor, you get a
solid package for $6399, but it’s hardly an exciting motorcycle. It has an air-cooled motor with a rather massive oil
cooler. The steel fuel tank holds 3. 4 gallons, which is okay,
considering that it’s a fairly unobtrusive shape. The motor
has an old-fashion 40mm Mikuni carburetor, and that gives
the bike fuel mileage in the low 50s—similar to the
Kawasaki, but not as good as any of the newer EFI bikes
like the Husqvarna Terra or even the Honda NC700X.
Suzuki gave the bike an adjustable rear shock and a
feature that turned out to be a big hit—two mounting
positions. That allows you to bring the seat down almost
2 inches lower if you don’t have the inseam to support a
35-inch seat height. The fork is a conventional open-bath
design without any clickers. The rear wheel is a 17-incher,
and the front is a 21, both shod with tires that are heavily
In the dirt, the Suzuki is a perfect compromise between
the Honda XR650L and the Kawasaki KLR. It’s about 25
pounds lighter than the Kawasaki and 25 pounds heavier
than the Honda. The Honda also has a big advantage in the
suspension department. It’s clearly the dirt bike of the three.
The Suzuki’s suspension is very soft and street-oriented,
and the riding position feels like something out of the ’70s.
The motor was the Suzuki’s clearest advantage in the old
days, when all the Japanese companies made 650cc dual-
The Suzuki DR650SE is one
of an increasingly rare
breed of in-between bikes
that can run circles around
most high-price adventure
bikes in the dirt and still
take to the street.
Moose’s Expedition rack allows you to mount the Pelican side
cases, and you still have enough room on top for a top bag.