International Motorcycle Show, November 2011

The last few weeks have been intensely busy at work and other things. I’ve not had a chance to ride very much although I got to see the International Motorcycle Show in San Mateo a couple of weekends ago. Suminder was in town, and we rode together and spent a couple of hours at the show.

The show was pretty much like any auto show, if you’ve ever been to one… Large meeting halls filled with OEMs, vendors, dealers and local merchants.

I spent some time checking out the Japanese OEMs and was especially impressed with the Kawasaki Versys and the Yamaha Super Tenere .

The Suzuki booth was pretty much business and usual. I sat on a Busa as Suminder clicked this picture. They did have a DR on the floor, sitting there as probably the most unsexy bike in the whole auditorium. The 2012 DR is colored in this dull gray, a color that really does not excite, and hence was not photographed.

As I walked past all the different bikes I came off with lingering thoughts about my next motorcycle. Such, tend to be dangerous thoughts, but as long as they are only thoughts, who’s stopping me from dreaming? I liked the BMW R1200GS Adventure and I liked the KTM 990 Adventure (pic below). Note to self: both bikes worth consideration.

Before we left the show, we had a chance to test ride some Harleys. I rode a 1.7L Fat Boy for about 20 minutes, to come to the realization that Harley’s are super smooth, powerful, heavy and probably not for me. That thing could do 60mph in first gear! I could rest my whole foot flat on the foot peg (really a running board)! And I could scrape my peg at 25 mph on a turn. Fun ride for sure!

DAKAR & ADV Decals (the DR Poseur)

Well, I’ll come clean. I like stickers as much as my 4 year old. I’ve always been a fan of DAKAR rally and the whole adventure riding thing. So a few ago ago I ordered a reflective DAKAR decal and a couple of  ADV reflective decals too. Here are some pictures:

New DAKAR Decal and ADV Decal on the windshield 🙂

Reflective at night :

Large ADV decal on right side panel:

Also reflective at night :

I also recently ordered a set of racing leathers from eBay. There is a pretty awesome seller from Pakistan who sells custom made leather racing sets. It took about 3 weeks after I sent him all my measurements, but the set fits perfectly. It’s made of pretty thick real leather and has the good quality armor in all the right places. I also like the racing hump 🙂

The DR650: Unlimited smiles per mile

It has now been a little over one thousand miles since I bought the DR650SE. First off, here are some statistics:

  • Miles ridden = 1,000
  • Days ridden = 60, exactly 2 months
  • Longest ride = 105 miles roundtrip
  • Dirt rides = 1
  • Dirt miles = Probably about 20
  • Mods done = 2
  • Money spent on mods = $16 😀
  • Money spent on maintenance = $329 (new tires, oil & filter, cam chain tensioner oil leak, etc.)

If you ever start searching for adventure bikes or dual sports, you will literally find hundreds of thousands of reviews, comments and posts online about the DR650. There is a very active fanbase: riders, adventurers, off-roaders, modders, supermotards and so on. A lot of threads focus on comparing the DR v/s Kawasaki KLR650 v/s Honda XR650L v/s BMW F650GS. And a lot of threads document how the DR has been ridden across: North America, South America, Africa, Asia and occasionally around the world.

Anyway, here are my simplistic thoughts on the DR:

The Good:

  • The DR is really an amazing first bike. Cheap to buy, cheap to maintain and cheap to insure.
  • The DR is extremely simple. No fuel injection, no ABS, no radiator, no computer, a single cylinder and air cooled. You cannot get simpler than that. There is nothing to break, nothing to fix.
  • The DR has basically been unchanged since 1996. Simple classic design that works today as well as it did 16 years ago.
  • The engine has very good low and mid-range torque. It never fails to bring on a smile as I come out of  a corner.
  • The DR can handle the twisties like a boss. Yes, I’m comfortable taking on the big sport bikes on Hwy 9.
  • There is a wealth of information online and a very strong community. There are ample aftermarket parts and support to please almost everyone.

The Bad:

  • There are no bragging rights with the DR.
  • As I said in the good part, the DR has basically been unchanged since 1996. So the setup is old school, especially the suspension.
  • The DR is not very freeway friendly. No Iron Butt highway long-hauls here.
  • Everyone complains about the small DR fuel tank (3.2 gals) and the hard seat. I’ve not really found either to be an issue.

The Ugly:

  • The DR’s no stunner. Not going to pose alongside the Italian bikes anytime soon.

It is my conclusion that the DR simply cannot be beaten for the smiles per mile it offers. I’ll leave you with a video of the DR650. Judge for yourself:

Maintenance & Repair Log

  • 20,736: July 12th 2011. Bike Purchased!
  • 20,812: July 22nd 2011. New Cam Chain Tensioner Gasket. Not leaking since. $84.34 Parts + Labor
  • 20,812: July 22nd 2011. Oil & Filter Change. 2.5 quarts of Castrol 10W40. $57.72 Parts + Labor
  • 20,990: July 30th 2011. New tires front and rear: Shinko 244 Dual Sport tires $83 shipped, $105 to mount, balance and install.
  • 20,990: July 30th 2011. New Pro Grips 714 Gel Grips. $9.99 at Cycle Gear.
  • 21,939: September 25th 2011. Chain cleaned and lubed, using Wurth HHS 2000 .
  • 22,666: October 21st 2011. Air filter replaced with a Uni Multi-stage filter and oiled with Uni Air Filter oil . $39.97 shipped.
  • 22,720: October 29th 2011. Removed the air box snorkel. Noticeable difference in power!