Riding offroad has taken a whole new twist so far. My RTW plans have been put on hold due to financial issues. It’s difficult to save when there’s a million things in life that need to be done while I’m living through the tail end of my 20’s. Between skydiving and learning how to ride off road, I’ve managed to kill my savings entirely. My savings plan will take longer than I intended. It’s not the end of the world.....but if it was, I'd be on the DR650!
With the DR650 in the garage, I’ve been setting out on a few off-road trips to get a feel for the bike. What I didn’t expect to learn was how capable the DR650 is if you grew a pair of balls and whomp on it. While it is a 350+lb overweight dirtbike…. that’s underpowered, it is surprisingly capable in climbing all but the tightest trails. The massive thumper motor pumps out some serious torque to pull itself out of most ruts.
But as strong as it is in pulling itself out, its weight is equally strong with gravity. It is NOT an easy bike to pick up my any means.
My DR650 has re-valved front and rear suspension. The rear shock performs great in most terrain. The front forks however, could use a swap to a modern USD fork. Most of this will not prevent you from riding the bike in most offroad conditions.
As the trail gets more technical, the suspension begins to show its weakness, and you either suck it up and deal with it while the bike with its lack of technology simply vibrates you to death, or you slow down and be a sissy.
My friend knew of some train tracks that seemed like a GREAT way to test our suspension components. I was breaking into 35-40mph, but steering became a serious issue as the suspension had no where else to go but sideways, jerking my hands around. A damper would help in this situation, but a good set of forks with good internals would have done the job much better instead of masking the problem.
Being an offroad noob, I eventually got stuck.When the technical stuff doesn’t get you, your own dumb shit luckdoes. Reminder, this 350+lb bush pig does not fit in between tracks! The kick stand is up and the bike is entirely held upright by the rim and tire bead. Not bad for stock rims!
We deflated the rear tire and lubed up the tracks with chain lube. 30 minutes of heaving and sweating later, we managed to pry the bike out.
But not before a nail showed up in my tire. The slow leak eventually lead to a mid day break to change out the inner tube. Unfortunately the innertube that I purchased came pre fucked with several holes from the manufacture.
The result? Super glue! The repair held out for several weeks before the air to slowly seep out. Not bad for using off the shelf grip glue.
As my riding skills slowly grew, it became evident that I needed a more off-road oriented bike. Although the DR650 would be my RTW Machine, I don’t think my skills would develop as quickly if I kept riding the DR650.
So what’s next? I’ve already got something yellow… why not something blue?