About The Bike

This being a motorcycle trip, the bike is obviously a very important part of the trip and I need to make sure that the bike is capable of what I ask of it. To ensure this, I've modified the bike to better suit long distance adventure riding and have done the routine maintenance to reduce the chances of any breakdowns.

If you've read my Alaska trip, you'll know that I had a mechanical failure on my previous motorcycle and after having analyzed all possible reasons for the failure, I came to the decision that it wasn't an inherent design issue with the motorcycle but was due to a compounding number of external factors. With that in mind, I set about finding another used Suzuki DR650, as it still makes the most rational sense to me for a reliable cost-effective bike that is simple and robust. It hasn't fundamentally changed since 1996 because everything works really well.

After flying back from Alaska, I found just about the perfect bike a few hundred miles away in Detroit. She was a 1998 DR and setup perfectly for adventure touring by her owner for long distance motorcycling. Most of my motorcycling friends were shaking their heads at my decision and foretelling that she wouldn't last very long, especially since she already had about 20,000 miles on her clock. I figured that wasn't a big issue since there are many other healthy high mileage DRs out there. I showed the new bike to a couple veteran DR owners and with their approval on her modifications and conditions, purchased her and went about setting her up to my specifications.

Her name is sanDRina (sun-dree-nah) and I’m looking forward to a great relationship between man and machine.

The reason I chose the DR for long distance adventure touring:
- Dual-Sport Capability > meaning it can handle dirt and gravel roads as well as cruising on the highway.
- Tube Tires > easier to patch/repair a tube tire than to repair a tubeless tire like sport bikes.
- Spoked Rims > can absorb the shock of poor roads better than alloy rims.
- Expandable Gas Tank > this bike's design is such that the original gas tank (3.4 gallons) can be upgraded with a 4.9 gallon one or a massive 7.9 gallon tank, which I currently have.
- Air Cooled > the bike's engine is cooled by moving air and an oil cooler but with no water-cooling (radiator), meaning less parts to worry about failing.
- Carburetion > this bike is carbureted instead of fuel injected because it's easier to work on incase something goes wrong while traveling.

This is how sanDRina came from her previous owner.

Modifications To The Bike From Stock (as she came from previous owner)
- Aqualine Safari 7.9 gallon gas tank (to improve range to nearly 400 miles)
- Corbin aftermarket seat (to improve comfort)
- Mikuni Flat Slide TM40 Pumper Carb with K&N Air Filter (to improve performance and throttle response)
- Happy Trails Skid Plate (to protect the engine)
- Answer 1" Handle Bar (to improve handling and durability)
- Trail Tech Vapor Digital Speedometer with Tachometer (to improve monitoring)
- WER Steering Stabilizer (to improve handling)
- Kientech Fork Brace (to improve handling)
- Seal Savers fork boots (to protect dirt from damaging front suspension seals)
- Stiffer Progressive front and rear springs (to improve handling)
- Larry Roeseler Rear Shock Absorber (to improve handling)
- Stainless Steel Braided Brake Lines (to improve braking performance)
- Adjustable Chain Guide (to protect the chain)
- Acerbis Hand-guards (to protect the fingers and the levers)
- Acerbis Supermotard Front Fender (to improve aero drag and looks)
- LED Tail Light and Turn Signals (to improve the looks and reduce voltage draw)
- Secured Neutral Sending Switch (neutral gear indicator bolts that could come loose in the engine)
- Upgraded Engine Torque Limiter (to prevent starter gear train damage related to this model year)
- Upgraded Engine Base Gasket (factory paper gasket could lead to leaks)

Modifications Added Since Then
- Rear Luggage Rack (to improve usability)
- Happy Trails Luggage Rack with Pannier Set and Top Box (to secure and increase storage space)
- Symtec Heated Grips (to provide warmth to the fingers when it's cold)
- Centech AP-2 Fuse Box (to have better control of electronic add-ons)
- Eastern Beaver Headlight Relay Kit (to increase power to headlights)
- Voltminder Battery Voltage Monitor (to monitor battery health)
- Upper Chain Roller Removed (potential design flaw that could damage the frame)
- Aluminum Engine Side Case Protector (to increase engine protection)
- Rear Brake Master Cylinder Guard (to protect exposed components)
- Shortened Kick Stand and welded Larger Foot Plate (to improve stability when parked)
- Fabricated Highway Pegs (to reduce strain on legs)
- Fabricated Lexan Windshield (to improve comfort in terms of wind buffeting)
- Fabricated custom bike crutch to aid in tire repair
- Tool tube under engine and subframe (to increase carrying space)

Farkles (Functioning Sparkles: electronic add-ons)
- GPS: Garmin 60Cx with Touratech Locking Mount
- Radar Detector: Escort 9500i
- 12V Accessory plug: for running mini air compressor, heated vest and charging electronics

Maintenance done before the start of the trip
- New Oil and Oil Filter with Shell Rotella-T 15w-40 Synthetic
- Valve Clearance Check
- New EBC Front and Rear Brake Pads
- Bleeded Front and Rear Brake Fluid
- New RK 525XSO Chain
- New Front (14) and Rear (42) Sprockets
- New NGK CR-10E Spark Plugs
- New Kenda K270 50/50 Front and Rear Tires
- Cleaned and oiled K&N Air Filter
- New Absorbed Glass Mat Battery

And this is how she looks after a Jammin transformation :)

I've done all the above modifications and maintenance to improve my chances of how sanDRina will behave while we're out on the road. Some items will improve her performance, while others will add to my comfort and increase my usability. Not everything above is necessary before a motorcycle trip like this, but it gives me a better peace of mind, so that I can enjoy my journey more.

Next: My Packing List

Ride Report Index

No comments:

Post a Comment