Thursday, September 1, 2011

How To Build a Suzuki DR650 Adventure Motorcycle

In August 2011, I purchased a new 2011 Suzuki DR650 motorcycle for a trip through South America. The engine, exhaust, chassis and suspension have been maintained in the original (stock) configuration. This approach was chosen to increase reliability and facilitate repair or replacement of items with original parts while traveling. The modifications were only made to the motorcycle to add durability, safety, comfort and protection. The prices listed below were the original costs of the items. The prices are listed to serve as a reference point for the cost of the build.

Stock Specifications: [$6,000]
Type: 4-stroke, air-cooled, single cylinder, OHC
Displacement: 644cc
Fuel System: MIKUNI BST40, single
Starter: Electric
Ignition: Electronic ignition (CDI)
Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh
Final Drive Chain: DID525V9, 110 links
Suspension Front: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension Rear: Link type, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes Front: Disc brake
Brakes Rear: Disc brake

Tires Front: 90/90-21 M/C 54S, tube type
Tires Rear: 120/90-17 M/C 64S, tube type
Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.0 L (3.4 US gallons)
Fuel Tank Capacity California: 12.0 L (3.2 US gallons)
Overall Length: 2255 mm (88.8 in), Low 2235 (88.0 in)
Overall Width: 865 mm (34.1 in)
Wheelbase: 1490 mm (58.7 in), Low 1475 mm (58.1 in)
Ground Clearance: 265 mm (10.4 in), Low 225 mm (8.9 in)
Seat Height: 885 mm (34.8 in), Low 845 mm (33.0 in)
Curb Weight: 166 kg (366 lbs)
MPG: 56 or KMPL: 20

Modifications: [$1,679]
IMS gas tank (4.9 gallons) (added 250 mile range) [$260]
Locking gas cap (added safety) [$33]
Pingel Fuel Petcock (added 250 mile range) [$93]
Seats Concepts dual sport seat (added comfort for long rides) [$160]
ProCycle wide and low foot pegs,(added 2 inches of leg space, comfort for standing) [$140]
Fly Racing tapered bar and Protaper wide bar mounts, (added comfort, control and strength) [$100]
ProCycle bar extenders, (added 1 inch in height, comfort for standing) [$33]
Moose Racing handguards (added protection for hands from brush and cold) [$105]
Suzuki spare brake and clutch levers, (added spare parts for safety) [$23]
BikeMaster bar end mirrors, (added enhanced rear view, safety and crash protection) [$50]
Moose Racing quick turn throttle, (added easier throttle response) [$40]
Skid plate (added crash and rock protection) [$80]
ProCycle engine armor, right and left side (added crash protection) [$80]
Tokai Designs rear light kit (added sleeker design and crash protection) [$90]
ProCycle fuel filters (added internal engine protection) [$4]
TwinAir reusable air filter (added internal engine protection and ease of maintenance) [$31]
BikeMaster magnetic oil drain plug, (added internal engine protection) [$12]
Ball Bearing chain roller (added safety) [$15]
Pat Walsh Designs rear cargo rack (added extra secure cargo area) [$125]
Pelican Case (added extra secure cargo area) [$150]
Shortened kickstand ¾” removed (added for more stable parking/leaning) [$55]
Crampbuster throttle cruise assist {$9}

Expendables: [$296]
Pirelli MT40 tires front and rear (2000 miles of use) [$180] - bought along the way
Chain, Front and Rear sprocket (4000 miles of use) [$110] - bought along the way
Extra Chain Master Link (added safety) [$6]
Extra spark plugs [$12]
Extra front and rear tubes [$20]
Extra clutch cable [$40]
Extra master chain link [$5]
Extra oil filter
Extra fuel filter
Valve feeler gauge
Chain lube, loctite, 1 liter of oil, tube patch kit, bailing wire, zip ties, jb weld, electrical tape, duct tape, various nuts and bolts.

Extras: [$80]
Tools [$75] - multi-tool, hex wrenches, screwdrivers, adjustable wrench, bead buddy, tire irons, air pump, small socket wrench set, spark plug socket.
Spare plastic gas tank (10 liters, adds 100+ miles extra) [$5]
Cargo net [$10]

Gear: [$3,080]
Arai XD3 Helmet [$540]
Olympia Mesh Jacket [$320]
Olympia Airglide Pants [$230]
Marmot Precip rain jacket and rain pants [$120]
Alpinestar Gloves [$80]
Gaerne G Adventure Motorcycle Boots (size 10-1/2) [$250]
Giant Loop Great Basin Bag [$435]
Giant Loop Fandango Tank Bag [$160]
Garmin GPS and Ram mount [$435]
GoPro video camera [$300]

Dirt not included… :)

For more information about this build and testing check out... The Moto.


  1. Hey there it's said great minds think alike , but fools seldom differ. I have started in on my DR 650 also a 2011. I have similar goals for the end result for a long ride bike. I'm taking a little more hands on to my bike though, in the days of summer a lack of traction forced one side of my fuel tank to get a big dent in it. I have found a replacement though and will keep it shiny for later. The original tank W dent will be pulled and cut open this winter. I am going to see about adding some volume to it and then at the same time a few baffles also. This will allow a longer range without the fuel splashing back forth and side to side.
    I have most of the gear you have or something similar, without a Mojave bag Looking for a used one now. I will aslo PM you on ADV rider

  2. Pingel fuel petcock for extra range? sorry for my ignorance, but how do you get the extra range? is it because the original doesn't get all the fuel from the tank? I have a later model DR650 and i'm interested in what you have done with yours.

    1. I bought the Pingel fuel petcock in combination with the IMS tank. The IMS tank does not come with a petcock attached. It is really the IMS tank that increases the range of the DR650 to about 250 mile (400km). There are cheaper petcocks that will fit the IMS tank, but I thought that paying for the quality of the Pingel was worth it. It has a pre filter and has not leaked on me at all. Thanks for following along. - Troy

    2. I forgot to mention. I decided to keep my original stock tank and petcock together in case I wanted to reinstall them or sell them.

  3. thanks for your reply, I will be enjoying some adventures on my DR650 here in Australia. Hope you have the chance to ride here, after you have finished with the rest of the world :) Regards, steve.

  4. I just found your site. very cool. I am a die hard DR 650 guy and can appreciate your adventures and bike; it is almost the same as mine. I have been morphing my bike since 2007. My trips have been mostly to the California Death Valley but also all states between California and Louisiana and soon Washington, coming in August. Great site!!

    1. Thanks for the kind words. If you have a ride report of your trips it would be cool to see it.


Thanks for visiting my website and for leaving a comment. - Troy

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