in our group wanted to go faster than 80 mph on a public
highway. If the 200 couldn’t keep up on a hill, it wouldn’t
be that far behind. The only real effect it had on the group
dynamic was the concern about missing a turn or a gas
stop. Good planning and communication are vital.
As far as comfort, the DR200 was much better than
expected. It is less cramped than the V-Strom and has a
better seat than the KLR. As it turns out, the lack of wind
protection is a non-issue. Most of the time, the DR is happily plugging away at 65 mph where the wind isn’t that
bad. If you have a headwind, it slows the whole bike down
before the rider starts getting battered. A much bigger
limiting factor is stability. The little bike just doesn’t have
enough mass to deal with gusts and road irregularities. If
you’re used to a big multi-cylinder adventure bike, you feel
more exposed and vulnerable at ;rst. Then you get used
to it. Another limitation you might have to consider is fuel
range. We expected the DR to set fuel mileage records
that would make a Prius look like a gas guzzler. In reality,
it could barely squeak out 60 mpg, simply because it was
wide open all the time. The big bikes were good for 50
and had more fuel capacity.
DIRT AT LAST
After some slight suffering on the open highway, the
DR200 can take its revenge in the dirt. This is a moment
the bike never got to enjoy when it was new. In this
crowd, it can actually be considered a good dirt bike. It
still doesn’t have much power. It still doesn’t have very
The DR200ES can carry enough luggage for one. But you
have to travel light.
support. Then we set off on a 200-mile ride with a Suzuki
V-Strom and a Kawasaki KLR650 for company.
Having a small bike on a group road ride is like having
a governor. You won’t have to worry about speeding citations. The little Suzuki tops out around 73 mph on level
ground, and it takes a long, long time to attain those last
few bits of speed. If there’s a hill, the other bikes will be out
of sight before they realize the Suzuki isn’t with them anymore. Realistically, though, it’s not a big limitation. No one
Suzuki released the DR in 1996. The 2015 model got a cosmetic makeover.