Originally Posted by soboy
Short answer: the only thing a stock DR650 needs to be a good street bike is a better seat.
Long answer: I bought my DR to replace a vintage Yamaha DT250 as my dual sport bike. On the ride home from the dealer, I was so impressed with the DR's street performance that I ordered a Corbin for it. Once the seat arrived, I took the tailbag off my WeeStrom, put it on the DR, and took off for a Blue Ridge Parkway tour. It handled that ride so well that I sold my Wee when I got back. Now my DR is both my dual sport bike and my street bike of preference. I have also added heated grips which let me ride the bike in the winter comfortably. I've also made a number of modifications for off-road performance, but none of these are needed to make the DR a good street bike.
I don't like windshields so that is not an issue. I find the OEM Trailwings to be an excellent 50/50 tire, I can go asphalt dancing all day in the twisties, and still ride all the dirt I want (just no mud). The Wee had a better engine but nothing else about the Wee was as good for me as the DR. I have really enjoyed this bike and it is as close to a do-it-all motorcycle as I have ever owned in my 38 years of riding.
Having come off a Vstrom I'd have to agree. I also agree with your view of the DR650 and what it does well and what it needs ... and doesn't need ... to be a good road tourer.
Sure, you can spend a fortune on farkles; fancy dash mods, suspension, over-bore kits, but as mentioned above, the DR really only needs a decent seat. I have a Corbin.
I put an Ohlins shock on my bike but for road work the stock suspension is totally fine unless you weigh in over 225 lbs. or so. Even then, it's mainly springs that are needed. If you get into very sporty riding then more is needed, but for touring, its really OK.
Figuring out luggage is your choice. Hard or Soft. Both work well on the DR. Try that with any KTM, Husky. Not great.
Since I DO ride off road with my DR ... I have it set up with that in mind. I have two sets of wheels. But I've done many long road rides for up to a month or six weeks that were 85% on paved roads. I did lots of these when my DR was basically stock, save the seat.
I am not a fan of taller gearing on the DR. The stock gearing is plenty tall IMHO and it's quite smooth even at 80 mph indicated. If you cruise faster than that you'll be burning through tires, chains and sprockets very quickly.
But if the 16T front sprocket fits and lasts well ... then why not? You can always down shift to 4th if it gets "luggy".
IMO, the DR is pretty nice and smooth at high speeds. Very low vibes with my heavy Corbin seat (absorbs vibes!), Pro Taper Alu bars with risers, and those wonderful rubber mounted pegs that very few other single dual sports have.
I'm also not a windshield fan but I totally get why our Canadian brothers go that way. I would to if I rode a lot in freezing temps. But in hot weather a shield just makes things worse. On a long ride a shield can mean less fatigue, but if it's noisy, then you'll be worse off. No shield means CLEAN, QUIET air flow.
The DR650 is one of the most economical, low maintenance bikes out there ... and certainly TOP DOG for a single in terms of a road tourer. It's also a HOOT in the twisties and sucks up broken up pavement like its not there. The KLR can be made good, but needs a lot more to match the reliability, simplicity and smoothness of the DR. The BMW 650's are nice ... but are 60 lbs. heavier and double the price ... plus have a litany of problems.
There is a reason the big DR650 thread has over 6 million posts.
The guy on the K1300S was stunned that all three DR650's left him behind on the slippery wet roads going over this Sierra Pass. I did miss his heated seat and better heated grips however. His bike costs about $20,000.
Most of us payed under $5000 for our DR's.