considerably more peak power. The Suzuki’s strong points
are the fact that it makes good low-rpm torque, starts easily, doesn’t vibrate and is super reliable.
Compared to new-era adventure bikes, the Suzuki feels
like a minibike. It’s interesting how your perspective can
change depending on the company you keep. When you
ride in the dirt with a group of big twins and even single-cylinder bikes with massive fairings, the Suzuki can run
away and hide. It’s clearly a weight issue, and, as we have
pointed out in the past, singletrack trails are only an option
if your bike weighs well under 400 pounds. The stock DR
is 388 with a full tank, and you can take it in places that a
Super Tenere simply won’t fit. They’ll get their revenge
later on the pavement, but even there, the Suzuki isn’t
bad. The tall seat and lack of a windscreen mean you’re
perched in the middle of a wind tunnel, but the Suzuki’s
street comfort and handling manners are good. The gearing and power are fine for freeway speeds, just don’t
expect much left over.
Since the Suzuki starts off leaning heavily toward the
dirt side of the adventure bike ledger, most of our changes
were geared toward comfort, convenience and range. We
added a larger tank, a more comfortable seat, luggage,
hot grips and a pipe. When we were finished, the dry
weight of the bike was 390 pounds, which still makes it
more dirt-capable than most adventure bikes. Here’s how
it all breaks down, part by part.
The stock 3.4-gallon fuel tank isn’t that much smaller
than the tank on a Honda NC700X or a BMW 650, but the
Suzuki’s old-world carbureted motor isn’t as frugal as a
modern-injected powerplant. You can’t count on much
more than 150 miles before it coasts to a stop. IMS has
had the same DR tank in its line for a long time. It holds
4. 9 gallons, shaves off a pound or two, and gives you
another 75 miles. The styling looks a little old-school, but
that’s okay. The bike is a little old-school too. The IMS
tank sells for $275 and comes with a gas cap and petcock. Contact www.imsproducts.com.
Mark Tilley felt like the DR was a 250F motocrosser after a
steady diet of 450-pound adventure bikes.
IMS has had the same 4.9-gallon tank
for years. That’s okay; the DR hasn’t
changed in years, either.
A’ME’s Chicane heated grips are essential for cold rides. If
the battery gets too low, the grips have a brain that turns off
the heating elements.