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Old 12-15-2012, 07:47 PM   #1
Bridude OP
Joined: Oct 2012
Oddometer: 12
Should I buy a 15 year old Suzuki DR350

Hi folks!

I'm wanting to get into some "light and easy" dual sport riding. I'm almost 50 and haven't had a bike since college. A buddy recently bought a DR650 and has sparked my interest enough to look at some used bikes.

We want to ride fire roads, some easy trails and mountain twisties. No jumping or crazy hard riding. I am 6'3" and about 230 lbs, so most of the bikes I have looked at are too short. Honda CRF230L, Yamaha XT225 and Kawasaki Super Sherpa.

I came across a 1997 Suzuki DR350 that is in really good shape. Has 6500 miles,started almost immediately when stone cold (with choke) runs strong and appears to have never been dropped. Everything appears to be stock except current owner added a $300 Corbin seat.

Big question is: Can I trust a 15 yr old bike to be reliable? I don't want to get stranded out in the middle of nowhere. Also the firm price is $1750 which seems high for a 15 year old bike.

Any comments/advice is appreciated.

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Old 12-15-2012, 07:53 PM   #2
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Joined: Nov 2009
Location: North central CT
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Can you afford it?

Do you want it?

If yes-yes then buy it. You'll have a lot of fun and won't be worrying about scratching it.
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:13 PM   #3
Hurricane Bob
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I did the same thing.
I'm about the same size as you, got a 1998 dr350se for my wife, but if I go out solo I grab the dr350.

Just change the fluids, including brake fluid, grease all the pivot points/bearings, put in a new battery and your good to go.
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:17 PM   #4
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Location: Annapolis, MD
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I agree with 8gv. Book values are out the window with old dual sports stll in good shape. To me, pretty much any low mileage dual sport in excellent shape and under $2000 is reasonable.

But, if it makes you feel better, offer less to see how firm it really is. All he can do is say no. Then you hand over the cash knowing you got the best deal you are going to get.

As for reliable, they were. So no reason to think it wouldn't be still with so few miles. Not much to wrong on those.. Hell, my supposedly unreliable KTM is almost that old and it is reliable as a hammer.
525EXC, 640 Enduro, XT200
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:04 PM   #5
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Location: SW Iowa
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Originally Posted by Bridude View Post
Can I trust a 15 yr old bike to be reliable? I don't want to get stranded out in the middle of nowhere.
Well here is my '99 DR350SE on top of a mountain at just over 11,000ft in Colorado last summer:

As long as it is in good shape and has receive reasonable care, I don't know if you could go wrong. Great bikes for the money. Pull the trigger and ride happy for a few years virtually worry free.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:11 PM   #6
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Joined: Jan 2009
Location: On the water in SoCal
Oddometer: 596
old, old bike


Been riding forever, have a dr650 and xt225, great bikes both. The xt is to slow on SoCal freeways even though 2 summers
ago rode one 2500 miles to Idaho and back. The dr650 will cruise faster than I want to go and rode it to Idaho this summer but is heavy for me when I fall over, tired and fat body. Just bought a 95 dr350 with 5500 miles on it.
Acerbis 4.25 tank, new front tire, 606, new chain and sprockets, Ricor valves in front forks, IMS big foot pegs and rack.
Starts like my 09 650. Bought lowering links from inmate today as I am vertically challenged, yes short and fat. Really like the bike and think it will great for long trips or a day trip to the Desert. Rode it 60 miles yesterday and got it and myself muddy, great fun. Paid $1850.00 and the owner was glad to sell it and I was glad to buy it. I see in some thread that around $2,000 is to much for one of these but with luggage on a new r1200gs at $2500, I think not. Have a great time with your new luggage, oops I mean, do it all bike.

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Old 12-15-2012, 09:43 PM   #7
Bridude OP
Joined: Oct 2012
Oddometer: 12
Thanks for the replies so far!

So maybe it sounds like the price isn't too far out of line! I did forget to mention it has a new chain and also comes with an additional set of "dirt" sprockets and has a pretty new rear knobby. (Bridgestone TW302)

I assume it was taken care of.....he bought it with 3000 miles on it and it now has 6500 miles on it. He said he changed the oil 3 or 4 times and that's all the maintenance that has ever been done to it, except for a starter rebuild and simple carburetor repair.

What else maintenance-wise need to be done since the bike is 15 years old.
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Old 12-15-2012, 10:07 PM   #8
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Location: The Palace of the People, VT
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Check all your rubber - tires (check the date codes) tubes, and all that. A tire can look reasonably good and wear very quickly if it's old. Replace the fuel lines if they are at all stiff or show signs of age. This is cheap stuff to do if you buy right.

A new plug and wire don't cost much. Check the battery. If it's been sitting, it may not have much oomph.

I'd drain the forks and fill them with fresh oil. Again, it's a cheap thing to do. After 15 years, what's in there is likely pretty stinky stuff.

Buying a 15 year-old bike is not like buying a 15 year-old car. This DR has practically no miles on it, and was a simple and straightforward machine to begin with. If it's been kept out of the weather, it should be a good, reliable ride for many years to come.

A Clymer manual would be a wise investment.
The Rock 2013 RR
Dual Sport Luggage Racks:
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Old 12-15-2012, 10:08 PM   #9
Off the grid
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The 97 DR350 is a good bike. Go for it. Price is right too.
Wedding(s) = $30,000
Divorce(s) = $25,000
2009 Husky TE610 = Priceless
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Old 12-15-2012, 10:30 PM   #10
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I'd have no problem buying it for $1750. I've been after a DR350 for a couple years and I've been watching the prices closely. $1750 isn't out of line and really isn't much for a running bike in good shape.

Sent from my phone using that app with the stupid name.
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:57 PM   #11
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: May 2009
Location: Iceland
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Originally Posted by Bridude View Post

Big question is: Can I trust a 15 yr old bike to be reliable? I don't want to get stranded out in the middle of nowhere.
Yes. If it has not been abused, you probably will get great reliability from this old bike since the bikes from this era were actually built to last.

The DR is a well built and simple bike, aircooled, single camshaft, you wont do any better when it comes to reliability and ease of maintenance..
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Old 12-16-2012, 02:07 AM   #12
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Location: Glasgow, Kentucky
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Those bikes have a strong following, there's a great big thread here somewhere. Be sure to check out Kientech for anything DR:

You and your buddy can share the valve-adjusting tool. Enjoy the bike!

'08 DR650
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Old 12-16-2012, 02:40 AM   #13
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if it's the bike you're looking for, and $1750 is within your budget, go for it.
'03 XR400R
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:19 AM   #14
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I just purchased this last week for $1740.00 It's a 96 with 8200 miles. Dual sports in good shape for under 2k are getting hard to find...Buy It...Or let me know where it is and I'll buy a second one..
Temple Lodge,No 25.F.& A.M. Winthrop Maine
Paddle faster I hear banjos
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:35 AM   #15
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I have never really thought about my bikes age before - My XT600 is of 89 vintage so its about to be 24years old!! I just looked at a frame for an 84 to start a 'new' project. Since I deal with much older street bikes I guess I still think of the 80's and up stuff as new stuff

96 Heritage Softail Classic
89 XT 600
71 CB 200 Cafe Racer
70 CL 100
63 Sporty XLCH
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