Originally Posted by Jelly
I have been patiently waiting for more comments on the DR's highway manners and had to dig this thread out 8 pages back today. I do not expect a single to be as smooth as a multi, but a coworker of mine says a single will rattle the fillings out of my teeth for extended (Legal) highway speeds. Anyone else care to chirp in?
Your Co-Worker must be a KTM rider?
Or hasn't ridden a single since BSA 441 Victor's were popular!
One of my other bikes is a Triumph 1050 Tiger. It's one of the silky smoothest bikes I've ever ridden ... and I've owned maybe 60 bikes since 1962 or so and ridden hundreds of others. Honestly, going from the Tiger to the DR650 is not a chore or a big shock. No, It's not as smooth as my Tiger ... but nothing is. Not even a brand new BMW R1200GS or KTM990.
For a single the DR650 is surprisingly delightful on the highway. I generally cruise between 70 to 80 mph. The DR will do that ALL DAY. Not only is the motor counter balanced but the frame is equipped with rubber isolated handle bars AND rubber isolated foot pegs. I run Pro Taper Aluminum bars which seem to damp vibes out nicely. No bar end plugs needed.
I also have a Corbin Seat. Makes all the difference. If you read over on the big thread right now a seat discussion is in progress. Lots of good seats for the DR650: Corbin, Sargent, Seat Concepts and more! All are a huge improvement over the stock plank. (it really sucks)
Thing about the Corbin is ... it's a heavy bastard. Riders complain about this. But it's weight and density also help to damp out vibes. On a 10 hour day these things make a difference, IMHO.
I've close to 40K miles on this DR650 (my 3rd). Longest ride was an emergency ride from Guerrero Negro, Baja to San Francisco, Ca non-stop. (gas and peeing) 1000 miles, took about 18 hours. I've done several trips where 400 mile days happened for 5 days in a row. No sweat on the DR650.
Is it as nice as my former Vstrom 1000 on a really long ride?
Not quite, but not as far off as you'd think. Where the DR works best is on technical back roads, and is fun on any two laner road. The handling is remarkably sporty and is an absolute hoot to ride fast on a technical road.
These sorts of roads wear out a Gold Wing rider and Hammer a sport bike guy ... who may do well for an hour or so, but then is exhausted and done. On the DR650 your smiling the whole time. Very low fatigue. So at lower speeds, its really not a problem, in fact a very fun ride.
On my long rides I can maintain high speeds on highway easily and vibration is really not the problem. On a dual sport you are more "out in the breeze" than a tourer. I run no shield of any kind ... yes, I like a quiet ride and shields make NOISE.
If you plan to only
do long highway runs ... then the DR650 is not for you.
It can do them easily but there are better bikes for Interstate drones at 90 mph all day.
But if you do a mix of smaller back roads, mountain roads, dirt roads, then the DR650 is one of the best. Add its serious dirt capability and load capacity and not many other singles come close.
KTM's are faster and very fun to ride (I've owned 3) ... but they BREAK and are a torture rack on a long day. Also, hard to pack up much for a long tour. The DR can be loaded up for months if need be.
The new BMW singles are nice bikes, look cool, pretty reliable and get fantastic fuel economy ... but are pretty expensive ($9000) and weigh about 70 lbs. more than a DR650. So off road: advantage DR650. If you can afford the BMW G650, it's not a bad choice.
But I'll stick with the DR650 for it's quality and reliability, ease of maintenance and Do-It All nature. Air Cooled, Carb'd, No ABS or fancy CANbus system to act up, just a solid, simple and well designed dual sport.