Suzuki DR650S Off-road Motorcycle Test —— Is this Old Technology Reliable?

DR650S has not been upgraded with the times by motorcycle modification – adding electronic control devices. Instead, it has been using its basic power platform for nearly 30 years. There are only a few modifications, such as turn signals, headlights, rearview mirrors, and plastic exterior parts. It looks like the design of the last century. But who does really understand this motorcycle, and who does care about it? The important thing is that the DR650S has accomplished its dual task well-commuting and off-roading in the mountains and forests, and you can play mud happily on weekends. The DR650S is an excellent professional-purpose motorcycle because it is reliable and calling for low-maintenance. It can take you almost anywhere that the wheels can reach.

The SOHC air-cooled engine with oil cooler uses a 40mm Mikuni carburetor, except for hot summer, a throttle valve is required when starting in all other situations. After preheating, the 644cc throttle valve is ready. Yes, because there is no fuel gauge (this one is also streamlined?), you must maintain the riding distance since the last time you added gasoline to the 13L tank. Just reset the odometer and make sure you can reach your destination.

As one might expect, the 2019 Suzuki DR650S is indeed an off-road sports motorcycle. The standard 88cm motorcycle seat height is a bit high for the average person, especially on rough roads. However, Suzuki designed the DR650S to be easy to lower in height and tilted it back 4cm so that you could land on your toes when you stopped.

The weight of the DR650S is 166KG, which can be as light as the conventional 650 on the street. Suzuki also provides a low gel seat cushion (about 1200 yuan), which has the effect of increasing the relative height of the handlebars and the pedals, thus changing the original Well-conceived ergonomic rider triangle. It is also important that the reduction process is developed and adapted by the factory and will not produce any negative effects.

It’s hard to overemphasize how the lowered engine feels for the DR650S. I flipped the DR650 on a rough and uneven street. In this lowered configuration, the DR650S actually feels more like a novice friendly DR200S than a heavy off-road motorcycle.

Dual sports motorcycles are perfect for commuting, and the DR650S is no exception. The upright ergonomic design and higher saddle. Even with the low sitting height option, I can get excellent vision when riding with four wheels, and the long-distance suspension can take care of the harshness of the ground street and highway Road conditions. The DR650S is also very narrow, so even if you are not familiar with the road, you can easily navigate and maneuver confidently at low speeds.


At highway speeds, the upright motorcycle seats, wide handles and no windshield are refreshing, but only if the pointer on the speedometer starts to dance at 70KM/h. Although the journey to and from getting off work is less than 30 kilometers. What is reassuring is that the motorcycle is completely stable at these speeds. The balancer does a good job of controlling the vibration of a single cylinder, while the buzzing sound from pins, rods or motorcycle seats is very small. The wise square rearview mirror (as old as an analog speedometer) reflects clear images at almost all speeds.


The Bridgestone Trail Wing tire combination has a hemispherical pattern, which can treat the surface of the highway well. Therefore, even if the DR’s fuel tank area is too narrow, I cannot hold it with my knees. However, I still feel that I am riding a motorcycle, and it will not make me feel vague on the road.

The carefully matched 290mm single-disc brake disc at the front improves the confidence of highway riding. With the help of block double sports tread, the rubber contact with the road is reduced. When you step on the brake, the front shock absorber will dive as expected.


One of the most pleasant things about the DR650S is its torque engine. It goes from idling to the highest gear, and I don’t think I need to downshift to overtake on the highway. Even with the five-speed, I never found myself looking for sixth gear.


On weekend, the DR650S performed well on medium dirt roads and trails. I think I might find it rarely because it is not the lightest dual sports motorcycle currently. When playing in the mud, I usually stick to a smaller engine. With a weight of 70KG, I don’t need extra power, nor the motorcycle seat height that comes with ten inches of suspension travel.

The 38mm of travel lost due to the reduced sitting height is not important to the performance of the suspension, and it lowers the center of gravity a lot. The DR’s 21-inch front wheels can reliably ride on rocks and ruts, and the deflated Trail Wing tires performed better than expected on wet hard bags and off-road in loose, rock-scattered environments.


The sound and power of DR are particularly attractive when off-road. The deep sound and smooth power transmission allowed me to choose the tricky section, then step on the gas and climb up to climb the hill. The feel of the front brake lever is suitable for the initial engagement when off-road. Similarly, the rear brake pedal will not overreact to the intervention.


When transferring between off-road sections, the Suzuki DR650S becomes a very interesting forest road bike. All terrain is suitable for this, and sufficient power makes everything simple. Even with a soft suspension, DR650S can still maintain its lines well through corners. Once you get used to it, due to its motorcycle modification – relatively light weight and sufficient torque, you can spend a very pleasant time on DR.

As expected by off-road enthusiasts, the DR is equipped with hand guards, off-road motorcycle-style handles and firm narrow motorcycle seats, although not as high-performance European off-road sports motorcycles. The role of these hand guards is more to prevent wind than the twisting branches on the trail.

The 2019 Suzuki DR650S is still a stable off-road motorcycle with a solid motorcycle modification and upgrade. No fancy configuration is needed, because this stable all-round motorcycle provides a simple and reliable riding experience at an impressive price.

The specification of 2019 Suzuki DR650S

  • Engine

Type: single cylinder

Displacement: 644cc

Bore x stroke: 100 x 82mm

Compression ratio: 9.5:1

Valve mechanism: SOHC, 4 valves

Cooling: air with oil cooler

Refueling: 40mm Three Kingdoms BST carburetor

Start: electric

Lubrication: wet oil pan

Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh

Main drive: DID 525 O chain

  • Shell

Front suspension; stroke: height-adjustable front suspension; 260mm (reduced to 220mm after testing)

Rear: height adjustable, connecting rod assist, spring preload and rebound adjustable backpack-type fuel tank shock; 260mm (reduced to 220mm after testing)

Wheels: spokes

Tire: inner tube type

Front tires: 90/90 x 21; Bridgestone trail wing 41

Rear tire: 120/90 x 17; Bridgestone Trail 42

Front brake: 290mm floating disc with 4-piston calipers

Rear brake: 240mm disc brake with 2 piston calipers

  • Dimension

Wheelbase: 58.7 inches

Motorcycle seat height: 880mm (reduced to 840mm after testing)

Ground clearance: 264mm (reduced to 220mm after testing)

Fuel capacity: 13L

Curb weight: 166KG

Color: pure black

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