As mentioned earlier, I had been thinking over the past few months about getting a relatively small and lightweight dual sport motorcycle, preferably single cylinder and air-cooled. I had been looking at the 250-650 cc models (Yamaha XT 250, Honda CF230L, Kawasaki Super Sherpa and KLR 650 and the Suzuki V-strom, DRZ400 and DR650. In comparing the specs, the 250 models were not all that smaller and lighter than the 400 and the 650s. This motorcycle would be 70% street and 30% Forest Service/logging/fire road. For the gnarly single-track, I prefer to do those on my mountain bike.
I had gone to the dealers and kicked some tires. Of all the options, I had liked the Suzuki DR650 the best, since it could easily be dropped with a built-in link and a gel seat could be substituted, dropping the seat height from 34.8 to around 32 inches. This seat height would allow me to almost flatfoot the bike, which I wanted for an urban commuter in our hilly wet terrain, where sometimes you need all the stability at a stop that you can get. The KLR was too heavy and too high for my intended use, although it sure rode nice. The 250 cc models would not cut it on the state highways or freeway necessary to get to the mountains and trails. They topped out speedwise in the mid 60's to low 70's at best on the flat, and lord knows what speed they would hit up on the slope to the mountain passes.
So I started watching Ebay, CycleTrader, Craigslist and the local listings. I discovered that very few of the 400 and 650 cc dual sports ever seemed to go on the market. I figured that the owners must have just loved them and kept them forever. I went to the local Suzuki dealer and discovered that a new 2009 DR650 with the lowering kit and the gel seat would run me just over $ 5900 out the door with installation of the kit, taxes, dealer prep and etc. So I was mulling over actually getting a new bike and just eating the depreciation.
Lo and behold I spied a Craigslist listing on Sunday for a Suzuki DR 650. I immediately called the guy and went over to look at it. It was a 2008 model with the lowering kit and gel seat already installed. He got it in March and never rode it after getting it home from the dealer. It had 17 miles on it. He was out of work and wanted $ 4000 for it. I instantly cut a deal at that price, came home and drew up the bill of sale, went to the bank today and got $ 4000 cash and just now got back from riding it home. The use tax for title transfer will run me another $ 350 or so.
It is one sweet bike. Although the instrumentation is very basic, I can tell that this is going to be a lot of fun. Quite the windblast at speed, though, with no fairings or windshield.
Although I had not planned to get a new bike until the spring, I knew I had to jump on this one!