Monday, May 31, 2010



Hi TRAIL ZONE: I currently own a Suzuki DL650 with about 45,000km on it and will be looking at changing it in the next year. I am wanting to shift over to a more versatile, lighter bike but keeping the same power if possible -- however I am unsure where start? The DL650 was my first non-cruiser bike, my previous bike being a V-Star 1100 custom. I loved the Yamaha XTZ660 when I tested it (it's got all the right stuff) except I was always looking for more power. I haven't tested the BMW G650GS, KLR650 or DR650, which I am told are bullet-proof? (Now I'm assuming stock all the bikes mentioned are fully choked?) Am I barking up the wrong tree, with the power? I have been riding huge chrome tanks with over-the-top exhausts notes. It's been a while. I need to refresh. Blame Ewan and Charley, yeah, I'm another LWR/LWD nut!
-- SImon Moore, via

You're right, Simon, Ewan and Charley have a lot to answer for. I sent a friend request to Ewan's Facebook page and I haven't heard from him. Charley must have given him a heads-up ... regardless, you sound like you are following a well-worn path from the dark-side (road riding!) and you are ready to take the final step. Making the leap of faith from a V-twin to a single cylinder thumper is not easy, as coming from a road bike background any single cylinder thumper may feel underpowered to you. Suzuki's DR650SE might be your best bet at 166kg compared to the 209kg Tenere. They pretty much have the same power output but at 40-odd kilos lighter the DR will feel like it's got more get up and go. For reliability and cost, the DR650SE is the most popular for riders in exactly your position. For something with newer technology, then the Tenere is the go if you have the bucks to spend. Just remember if you go for the DR there is a bit of money to spend on a Safari Tank and other goodies but you'll still come in way under the XT660Z. Make sure you check out TRAIL ZONE issue #30 which is due out in a couple of weeks -- it's got the first instalment on our new DR650SE Project Bike build-up and you'll soon see there are a feast of bolt-on goodies that can quickly help turn the DR from mild to wild, yet you'll still have money in your pocket compared to way more expensive bikes in the category. Let us know what you decide!
-- Lance 'Russ' Turnley, via

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