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RTW: Phase 4: Buying The Bike


Last blog: Which Bike?

Back in the day, you’d go to a dealer or scour through newspaper clippings to find the bike you wanted. Today, we have the magical invention of Craigslist and internet forums that exist for just about any type of anything (seriously, check out this one Though sketchy, craigslist (CL) is unusually pretty reliable for most common items, with the exception that the website is abound by countless retards that are about as intelligent as a cucumber.

I started my search after the New Year’s alcohol left me with a blinding hangover reminding me that I’m getting old rather quickly (26 at the time of this writing). So with some time to kill, I began my search for the magical DR650 that would take me around the world one day. Weary of the 3rd gear destruction, I read about suzuki’s swap to a stronger 3rd gear in the 2006+ models, so I limited my search to those “newer” bikes. The reality of it is that the DR650 has seen little change since 1996, yes you read that right. It has seen absolutely no change since 2002 either. It’s an aging platform, but the Cobra Attack Helicopters been around since Vietnam and is still shooting missiles, so who’s really keeping count anyway?

At work, my homepage was craigslist, preloaded with the query “DR650”. Id search once with DR650 and again with DR 650, why CL doesn’t make a smart search engine is beyond me. I even got an app on my phone that would tell me how many DR’s there are within a 500 mile radius and alert me of new ads (it became a sickness, I bet there’s an internet forum with craigslist searchers…)

Throughout the course of January and February, I sent about 25 emails to various DR650 owners within a 500 mile radius. BTW: this was the entirety of Jan and Feb in NYC…

Just kidding, it was more like this:

It was UNBELIEVEABLE the amount of negative responses I got when I asked for more photos, a lower price, or to simply come by and take a look. About 15 of them just flat out did not respond my emails. Here are some of the response I got:

Me: Your bike has 30,000 miles on it, you’re asking $2500, can we do $2200?
Guy: No man, my mom doesn’t know I bought it. I need to get back my money! We can meet in the parking lot at the local high school I used to go to if you want to take a look at it, its worth $2500, trust me!

Me: Hey can I swing by and take a look at the bike?
Girl: Sure, what day works out for you?
Me: I’m from NYC, so it would have to be a weekend
Girl:….no response….
Me: If you don’t want to sell to a New Yorker, just let me know.
Girl: Sorry, we don’t want to deal with someone out of Penn.
Me: ….fuck you. No seriously….fuck you.

And on and on and ON!!!! One guy actually forgot that he promised the bike to his brother in law and his wife was pissed that he was going to sell it to me! It was a frustrating 2 months looking for the bike. Then I realized that all is not lost, there is still the venerable! I logged onto advrider and found several DR650s, but again, the guy that had the DR I wanted would not sell to someone from out of his state. I understand if they won’t ever meet me in person, but such is life. I began to give up hopes on a 2006+ DR650 and looked more closely at the 3rd gear problem that DR650s have. It turns out that there were just as many pre 2006 bikes that had 3rd gear failures as there were 2008 and on. So the relatively low number of reported incidents pretty much left me much more comfortable with buying an older model. So I looked a little longer on advrider and found a yellow 2003 dr650. It had a few nice modifications including

  1. TM40 Pumper Carb ($400 carb)
  2. Keintech Tail Rack
  3. GSXR Titanium Exhaust
  4. Moose Racing Hand guards
  5. Engine bash plate
  6. Sargent Seat (big plus, $450 seat!)

I really like the mods since they were ones I planned on doing anyway, so I shot over an email and the guy and I agreed on the terms of the sale over a two week period. I got the bike picked up by a shipper from, which by the way is the best thing for cross country shipping! I used it previously to ship my Ducati Monster (which blew out its motor in Ohio) to NYC for $350, and I managed to get the DR650 shipped from North Carolina to NYC for $250. The bike came on a Tuesday night, sight unseen and it ended up being cleaner than I saw in the pics from the seller.

It had 10,000 miles on the odometer and the second I took it out for a spin, WOW! I couldn’t believe how fun 35hp was! (with the carb mod and the open airbox, it’s more like 40hp actually….in case we’re keeping count of our ponies). My buddy Johnny took my bike for a day to run some errands and gave it three thumbs up and agreed, it was loads of fun to ride.

It is a tall bike and I can’t even get my toes down, but that’s alright, who needs to touch the ground when their moving anyway?

Here’s the bike




I plan on doing several mods to it including SW-MOtech racks, installing additional pieces of aluminum on the bash plate to protect against frontal impacts, left and right engine guards, oil filter guards, an Acerbis tank in white, a vapor trail GPS tach and some other goodies.