I have been riding a plated '01 Yamaha WR426 for the last few years and it's a very capable bike, but I'd like something that requires less maintenance and has a six speed gearbox. As part of my low maintenance requirement, I wanted something air-cooled. After researching many bikes, it appears that the DR350 is the largest displacement air-cooled dirt bike that come with a 6-speed tranny and and weighs less than 300 lbs.
So last winter I bought a '98 DR350 kicker.
The first thing I noticed about the 350 is it appears to have a hinge somewhere in the middle of the bike. I had heard that the frame on this bike is very flexible and that turns out to be the case. I got used to the handling pretty quick, but this is still something I want to fix.
Shortly after buying the bike I found a used 440cc big bore kit for it on CL, it appears to be a kit sold by Jesse a while back. I have yet to install it.
After reading this post in DisTech's DR350 rebuild (which has been a real inspiration), I decided I wanted the DR250S's tranny. I recently acquired the second half of my winter project, a '91 DR250S. Here are my two DR's:
So here's the plan...
From the 250 I will use:
Frame (since it's a titled, street-legal vehicle)
Rear hub (has cush drive)
Wiring (assuming the 250's alternator rotor will fit on the 350's crank).
From the 350 I will use:
Suspension - I understand the '98 kicker has cartridge forks and the 250 only has damper rods.
Additional modifications will include:
440cc big bore kit
Removing the "hinge" - I think a big cause of this is the 3-piece C-section swingarm. The plan is to weld the swingarm arms to the center section and use some aluminum strap to box in the C-section arms. A fork brace wouldn't hurt either.
More input is welcome, just keep in mind this will be a budget build (no USD suspension, FCR carb, or Vortex air-box [although I might build my own airbox as the stock one is clearly restrictive])
Boxing the swingarm
What to look for when buying a used DR350.
The shift drum bolt issue
Oversized Clarke tank
Oversized Clarke tank II
Clarke vs Acerbis tanks
Resolving the clutch drag issue
Skidplate part II
weld-on peg extensions
Front brake rotor
removing the kickstand switch
Longer shift lever
Replacing the battery with a capacitor
The circlip issue
Tranny swap - this was pretty straight-forward, but if you want more details, you should read the entire thread as there are a number of differences between the two engines that are worth noting.
WOW. :eek1 :eek1 :eek1 That is quite a winter project. Good luck and keep us posted. I don't own either of these but am interested in following your progress.
i like the sound of this
I spent this morning re-reading DisTech's build. There's an enormous amount of information there. I just need to clean some Transalp parts out of the shop before I start this build.
Jesse Kientz is the man to go to for DR350 parts, mods and knowledge.
Since this is a budget build, I'll try to track the cost of everything since some people seem to be interested in that kind of thing. Items begin with N or U for new or used.
U 98 DR350 - $1100
U 91 DR250S - $950
U 440 big bore kit - $175
Acerbis tank $207
aluminum plate for swingarm: $98
peg extension $30 (I think)
Cycra hand guards w/ ATV mounts: like $110 I think
protaper bars $70ish
[EDIT] shortly after posting this list I stopped keeping track. I certainly went way over budget. Overall I would guess this bike is slightly cheaper to maintain than a modern CRF/WR/RFS, but not a whole lot cheaper.
Just a little background on the project...
In college I rode a friend's chopped out GS1100 with open headers. It was an absolute turd. I really didn't have much respect for Suzuki's after that.
A while back it seemed like everyone was trying to get me to buy a KTM, but I had the impression they were terribly unreliable, so I did a survey to try and understand if my impression of KTM's was true. That survey is here. There's a lot of information there, so the short form is, I tried to find the percent of people that rode each type of bike and compare that with the problems reported on each type. The data showed that KTM's were unreliable*, but the more surprising thing I learned from the survey was how many ADVers rode Suzuki's, and how few problems they reported.
It was because of this survey that I started looking at Suzuki dirt bikes.
*Now that I have a better understanding of KTM products and I have gone over the data again, it turns out that about 90% of the reported problems are with the LC4/8 engines which means the RFS engines are probably just as reliable as the Japanese manufactured bikes.
I would really try a fork brace before making a bunch of changes. it makes a huge difference.. Cool Project!
You will need to get a DR350SE crank and starter clutch set (starter clutch, bearing and gear). I think the magneto will work but the dirt crank does not have room for a starter clutch set. Some pictures, here.
Can't wait to see how you box the swingarm and how the bike turns out!
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