Budget Outback Basher
Out of the crate the Suzuki DR650SE isn't ready for much more than a daily commute or a casual explorer off-road as long as the gaps are small between fuel stops. Needless to say this budget ride is a great foundation for a reliable continent conquering adventure bike.Photos by Trail Zone Magazine and Lance Turnley
TAG Bars and Clamps
When tackling the long haul comfort is paramount and one of the secrets is obtaining a more relaxed riding position. Starting with the flight deck we fitted a pair of TAG T2 oversize 1-1/8” handlebars. The lack of a crossbar tidies up the look and feel of the bike. The bars have a tapered outer wall 1-1/8” to 7/8” for use with standard size grips and controls. They have a great finish and are shot peened and anodised for better durability. With these bars you’ll need to replace the standard handlebar clamps with TAG oversize clamps which slip straight into the standard triple clamp mounts. They’re reversible to allow two different riding positions and use the stock rubber cones. TAG METALS T2 OVERSIZE Handlebars (in a 7221 bend) are $148.50 and the TAG METALS OEM Rubber Mount Kit is $89.95. For more information check out the www.candr.com.au web site or call C&R Imports on (03) 9587 5077.
The TAG Rebound technology offers the softest, tackiest compound available. The grip is designed to enable you to ride 40% long before hand fatigue occurs. The grip has strategically placed areas with 40% more cushioning material along the entire shaft of the grip. The shock absorbing material has material is placed in the sensitive thumb area and throughout the entire 360* of the shaft which acts as suspension for your hands which offers more cushioning and damping against vibration and musculoskeletal stress. The grips retail for just $24.95. Check out the www.candr.com.au web site or call C&R Imports on (03) 9587 5077.
Barkbusters VPS Handguards
The VPS plastic handguard is probably the most popular handguard on the market with its aluminium backbone and adjustable wind deflector. You get the best protection mounting the wind deflectors in the highest position for maximum wind protection on the open road. The VPS is available in a wide range of colours to suit most popular bikes. The VPS handguards retail at $105.00 and the mounting hardware is $65.00. Check out www.barkbusters.net or contact Rideworx direct on 02 4271 8244
We are a big fan of heated grips and they are a must on all dual sport motorcycles. We’ve fitted Grip Heaters from Vince Strang Motorcycles. These complete kits are easy to install and they make a huge difference on cold open stretches and it will be the best $59.00 you’ll ever spend.
Available for Vince Strang Motorcycles by calling direct on (02) 6721 0610 and tell them Off Road Explorer sent you. You can also order direct online at www.vincestrangmotorcycles.com.au
When you’re bolting on a bunch of bling any weight saving ideas are a good. The bulky rear plate hanger that collects mud should be the first to go. Pro-Fast make a simple aluminium alloy rear plate hanger that bolts straight onto existing rear guard support. Looks great and goes on in a couple of minutes and is only $40. Big knobbies on Adventure Bikes can throw up a fair bit of earth especially when you’re trying to get past a big beemer. Your headlight is the most vulnerable part of the bike to flying rocks and any sort of protection helps. Pro-Fast Lexan Headlight Shield (Right) is designed to help protect the glass incase of impact. Available from Profast on (02) 9971 5033Contact Profast on (02) 9971 5033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A front screen on an adventure bike reduces wind buffeting reducing rider fatigue. Eagle screens have been manufacturing motorcycle screens for 28 years in Australia and exports all over the world! One of there most popular dual sports screens is for the DR650SE which they supply three different sizes and supply a complete mounting kit. They come in small (300mm), medium (360mm) and large (400mm) and mounts directly onto the standard headlight surround. The screen retails for $180 plus shipping and you can simply order by emailing email@example.com or check out www.eaglescreens.com.au.
IMS SUPERSTOCK Foot Pegs
IMS Super Stock footpegs are made from 17-4 stainless steel with grey powder coating finish. It’s a great all round footpeg giving good grip and improved control of the bike. The IMS foot pegs retail for only $148.50. For your nearest dealer call C & R Imports on (03) 9587 5077 or go to www.candr.com.au
VSM Foot Peg Lowering Kit
The original DR650SE footpeg lowering kit was created by our own DR Guru Ron Grant. We emailed a heap of his template drawings for the kit to Trail Zone readers with DR’s. Not everybody has the tools to manufacture their own lowering kit and Vince Strang has come to the rescue. He now supplies ready made kits for just $49.00. They are dead easy to fit and it improves the riding position.
VSM Side Stand Foot
On a big desert ride as soon as the ground drys out in outback Australia. There’s nothing worst when your fully laden bike falls over every time you park it on the side stand and it sinks into the sand. Vince Strang makes this neat little inexpensive alloy foot that bolts onto the standard side stand. All you need to do is drill a hole into the foot of the standard sidestand to fit the larger foot. Only $15.00 from Vince Strang Motorcycles.
30 Litre Safari Tank
Safari Tanks has been supplying quality, long range fuel tanks since 2001. Their Suzuki DR650SE Tank is 30 litres in capacity and it’s rare to see a tricked up DR650 without one of these tanks. The tanks come in White, Translucent White, Blue, Yellow and Black and fits models from 1996-onwards. It fits with the standard DR seat and turns the DR into a true long hauler. The fitting kit includes an alloy cross-brace, fuel lines, two fuel taps & fuel cap with breather hose. It retails for $650 and is available from Safari Tanks. Go to www.safaritanks.com or phone 03 5729 5556 for your nearest dealer.
B & B Off Road makes a range of quality alloy products for all motorcycles including the DR650SE. Starting with the essentials is a B&B Bash Plate. On a harsh desert ride the 650 cases are vulnerable and the bash plate protects the main cases and the leading edges of the side engine cases. At $177 it’s worth the money.
The B & B Rear rack is one of the biggest and most sturdy on the market and is made from the best commercially available alloys. The rack replaces the standard rear handles proving a strong support over the rear guard and the tail light maximizing carrying capacity. The rack retails for $180.
To protect the frame you can also fit B&B Frame guards for $115. For more information go to www.bboffroad.com.au or phone 03 5335 8000
Dunlop 606 Knobbies
The standard tyres are very road orientated and for desert sandy riding you can’t go past a long wearing Dunlop 606. Ask anyone on a dual sports online forum and the majority will recommend this tyre when you need a full knobby tyre. We’re running a Dunlop D606 130/90-17 on the rear and a Dunlop Sports D592F 80/100-21 on the front.
Available from most Dunlop Tyre dealers.
The Great Basin Saddlebag from Giant Loop motorcycle luggage solutions. It’s designed for larger adventure bikes from 650 to bikes like the BMW, KTM 990 and V Stroms. It has a large 50 litre capacity and is designed as the soft luggage problem solver for adventure touring bikes. It reatils at $545.00 and is available from AdventureMoto. Phone 1300 135 286 or go to www.adventuremoto.com.au
Unifilter Foam Air Filter
To get the DR650 engine breathing correctly we’ve fitted a Unifilter ProComp2, 2-stage air filter. It provides improved protection for extreme dusty conditions over the standard filter with improved air flow and improved power and retails for $58.50. Call Unifilter on (02) 9482 1792.
With the 35 litre Safari Tank Things start to get a bit crowded around the front end. At full lock the standard indicators require brackets to turn them inwards to clear the tank. In an attempt to alleviate the problem we fitted Mini Blinkers which are smaller and lighter and give you more options on where you can mount them. They are an inexpensive mod at only $36.95 for a set of four. Available from Ballards Off Road 02 4731 1210. Go to www.ballards.cc.
The Suzuki has a reasonable highlight standard but there is always room for improvement. We avoid riding in the dark but as the Kroombit Tops ride proved you have to be prepared for night riding when things don’t quite go to plan. We used the Trail Tech Torch X-2 on the Husky and decided to try the unit on the DR to not only improve lighting but also look of the bike. The Trailtech halagon lights illuminate both near and distant terrain and the lamps are specifically designed for high vibration off-road use. It comes in a range of colours and naturally we chose white. The Torch X-2 halogen lighting system, which retails for $170 is available from selected dealers.
This mod is a no-brainer. The stock Suzuki speedo and three indicator lights are part of the reason the DR650 is one of the cheapest dual-sport bikes on the market. This Vapor Speedometer/Tachometer (#75-300) retails for $239 and the functions it offers include various temperature, distance and clock modes. We have added also added a Trailtech Dashboard (#022-PDA not shown) to utilise the bike’s stock indicator lights. We designed our own headlight/dashboard mount for our Project Bike to fit with the original DR headlight mount. For your nearest dealer call Holeshot Sports on 03 5433 2559. For product information go to www.trailtech.net.
Soltistic LED Lights
The need for improved lighting has reared its ugly head on every project bike we’ve built and the DR has been no exception. The best laid plans don’t always go to plan and we inevitably end up riding through the dark. When it comes to lights there’s no such thing as overkill and these Solstice S1100 LED lights are pretty impressive. They have a rugged die cast aluminium shell and are water proof and dust proof. It includes a full wiring harness and has a number of mounting options. They retail for $239 and are available from Motorradgarge.com.au
The Solstice Light system comes complete with everything you need including a manual switch. They can be wired up to come on with your hi-beam or switched on independently. We opted for a neater aftermarket handlebar mounted on/off light switch from Ballards. It’s a much neater setup and saves you from having to make a mount for the switch supplied with the Solstice kit. At only $19.95 it’s a much better option. Call 02 4731 1210 or go to www.ballards.cc
Wolfman Luggage is quickly becoming the top off-road soft luggage manufacturer offering plenty of options to suit a wide range of touring needs. Their pannier bags are first rate but mounting them can create problems with the bags moving around and on rare occasions get sucked into the rear wheel. Wolfman have solved that problem by designing an excellent rear rack system to suit there new pannier system. They have a unique tab/loop system that not only secures the bag to the rack but also makes it easy to mount and dismount the bag quickly and easily. Sold separately from the bags they retail for $315 and are available from AdventureMoto.com.au or phone 1300 46 66 86.
Wolfman Expedition Luggage
With so many luggage options available these days from hard to soft bags there are lots of things to consider from what will you carry, for how long and how will your luggage handle a get off. No luggage system will suit all needs but it doesn’t take long that soft luggage is the popular option. One of the things I’ve learned is that the first priority is to keep your gear dry. With that in mind we opted for Wolfman Expedition Dry Pannier Bags and Dry Duffel Bag (small). With two 20litre pannier and 30litre Dry Duffle that gave us 70 litres capacity. Upgrade to a Large Dry Duffle and that’s a total of 87 litres capacity. The panniers only retail for $315 but you can buy them with Wolfman racks for $600. The small Expedition Dry Duffel is $145 and comes with a shoulder strap. Made from tough 22 and 34 oz vinyl they are built to last and worth the investment. Available from Adventuremoto.com.au or call 1300 46 66 86.
We know from experience that it is possible to loose a GPS on a ride. The situation was the same with the DR front end where the front brake cable catches under the GPS mount release and disengages the lock. We featured the Touratech Zumo 550 lockable mount in issue 29. We tested the unit on our Kroombit Tops ride and we completed the ride without the Zumo ejecting itself. With the unique shock absorbing mounting system the GPS does move around a little over rough ground but its at times where you should be looking where you’re going. The key locking latch not only stops the latch from opening accidentally but guards against theft. Available from touratech.com.au.
Wolfman Tank Bag
With so much rear carrying capacity you only need to a same tank bag which is great for carrying wallet, keys, camera or lense cleaning kits. It features a stable three point mounting, laminated foam sides, bottom and rear, a tough tek bottom, reflective webbing on sides, inside and outside mesh pocket, removable map pocket and key clip, Comes in black only and has an optional rain cover and is only $125.35. Available from Adventuremoto.com.au or call 1300 46 66 86.
With more luggage options coming on to the market you need a rack system that will adopt the various needs. Our B&B Rear Rack for the DR is the strongest on the market but matched with our Wolfman rear bag didn’t provide a wide enough base for the Wolfman Dry Duffle bag, which is the same problem that many standard rear luggage racks share. B&B have quickly come to the party and designed a wider rear plate to attached larger bags. They also have other plates for various other makes and models. The plate attaches straight to the existing B&B Rear Rack. Available from B&B Off Road on 03 5335 8000.
We had an weird fuel starvation problem where the engine would suddenly stall intermittently. Popgun later notice how we had zip tied the breather hose to the RalleMoto Steering Dampener which looped the hose 360°. PG explained that if fuel splashes back into the hose it can block momentarily and the change in air pressure can interrupt fuel flow. To resolved the problem we’ve fabricated a simple tab to mount on the front of the Steering dampener to hold the hose.
With the improved lighting of our new Trailtech headlight we quickly missed out Eagle Screen. Our quick fix was to utilise our own designed screen. We found that the screen worked effectively keeping the wind off our chest area. While it's not as effective as some commercially available screens it's a very cost effective option.
I love my heated grips. However when you run out of fuel and your trying to start the bike and getting the fuel through you use precious battery power. If those heated grips are still switched on then the battery is headed for a quick but temporary death. We mounted an indicator light above the grip on off switch to let us know the grips are on an drawing lots of power.
There are plenty of small trail and enduro mirrors on the market but when it comes to larger dual sports bike safety on the transport sections where rear vision is critical the market is sadly lacking until now. Ned Suesses of the popular Dual Sport Riding Technique DVDs has created the new Double Take Mirror. The ingenious design allows the mirror to be fitted to almost any bike using a RAM mount system and can be easily folded away when the risk of damage is high. The mirror is only $35.00 plus mounting assembly. You can build your own mirror and is available from Adventuremoto.com.au.
MetalGear Sintered Brake Pads
MetalGear Sintered brake pads are high performance brake pads that perform exceptionally at higher temperatures, and produce a high level of friction between the disc rotor and pads. The increased friction creates higher levels of stopping power for any motorcycle, allowing for harder riding or more extreme braking conditions. MetalGear sintered brake pads are a rotor friendly sintered material, resulting in less rotor wear, when compared to similar products.
The pads perform very well in muddy or sandy conditions perform at the highest levels. Sintered brake pads are recommended for heavy dual sports bike especially when riding in sandy or muddy off-road conditions. Priced at $33.50 per set and is available online from www.metalgear.com.au.
Its hard to tell which way the fuel taps go on the Safari Tank especially in the dark or you haven’t got your glasses. One trick is dabs of paint on the fuel tap, Green is on, red is off and reserve is yellow. Good work Buzz44.
When we featured our custom headlight/Vapour Digital Display mount it was still in mockup prototype stage. Since then B&B Off Road laser cut 3mm aluminium and raced it back to us for installation for our outback trip. The bracket system we designed allowed the Trailtech headlight forward enough to clear the ignition barrel, provide mounting points for the Solstice lights plus a dash big enough for the Vapour Digital Display and heated grip switch. It uses the standard DR headlight bracket mounts off the forks. B&B did such a good job a little tweaking from the original design it worked beautifully. Very solid and absolutely no problems with vibration. Available from B&B Off Road for $40.
We’ve had our IB Emergency bike lift since our Transalp project bike. However it hasn’t been until now that we’ve needed. With two front wheel punctures on the last two rides it reminded us that something as simple as this is an essential part of your kit. Simply put the bike on its sidestand and then on the opposite side place the Mini Lift under the frame at the required height then rotate the handle till the either wheel is off the ground depending on where you position it. Small, compact and comes in its own carry pouch. It retails for $55.00 (includes delivery anywhere in Australia).
Contact IB Bike Lifts on 02 4955 9269 or go to www.ibbikelifts.biz
Heavy Duty Tubes
The DR been a real performer in difficult conditions and when the going gets rough the DR gets going. Unfortunately with extra cargo and fuel onboard the stress on tyres and suspension is very high. So it’s not surprise we’ve started getting pinch flats. Just like enduro riders heavy duty tubes should be compulsory reducing the chances of flats in rocky or ritty conditions. Maxxis have just the solution with their heavy duty tubes. Call McLeod Accessories on 07 3621 9000 for your nearest dealer.