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2007 Suzuki DR650S Road Test


by Pascal Bastien ,

This type of motorcycle is growing more and more popular.
The dual-sport segment, which includes motorcycles like the DR650S, has been one of the least innovative over the last few years -- at least in the Quebec market. In Europe, dual-sport and supermoto bikes are extremely popular; manufacturers invest huge amounts of time and money to develop them... and the competition is very fierce. Meanwhile, Quebec consumers are still highly influenced by their neighbors of the South and they rarely purchase single-cylinder bikes.

This year, with all sorts of rumors flying about rising registration fees, some dealers saw their dual-sport bike sales increase, while their large-displacement sports bike sales have melted.

Suzuki launched the DR650S ten years ago. Other than new colors, there are no improvements and no changes to report about. However, we should point out that this medium-displacement, dual-sport motorcycle was exceptionally well designed and built from the start. With a couple of subtle changes for 2007, the DR650S is still very much in the game. This Suzuki currently makes a lot of sense for anyone who wants to buy an adventurous, quality motorcycle at a very affordable price.

Strong heart
The DR650S delivers an impressive performance.
The engine of the Suzuki DR650S is an air-cooled, 4-valve, single-cylinder unit with a small engine oil cooler located underneath the fuel tank.

This very reliable 644-cc engine works extremely well. It generates sufficient torque (as much as a 800-cc cruiser engine) to deliver decent-to-good accelerations. In addition, the DR650S weighs about 80 kilos less than most cruisers, which gives it a pretty interesting power-to-weight ratio. Incidentally, it achieves the quarter mile in 14.4 seconds, figures that are quite impressive for this type of mount.

The queen of all DRs is very much at ease on the highway, where it has no problem maintaining the speed limit. Thanks to a well-designed and calibrated muffler, the exhaust note produced by this big single-cylinder mill is music to the ears. Despite its 10-year-old design, the engine offers an output and a quality feeling that can still be appreciated in 2007. The five gears of the DR650S' transmission are well spaced and the unit as a whole requires little effort to manipulate.

Surprising handling
The front and rear suspensions allow optimum performance regardless of road conditions.
The DR650S performs best on small country roads. When the road starts to wind and deteriorate, this Suzuki has no problem keeping the pace set by more advanced and far more powerful motorcycles. Why? The rear suspension is well built and features adjustable compression damping, while the front fork swallows just about anything.

The overall weight of only 147 kilos gives the DR650S a clear advantage when entering a corner. Even the tires, which are designed for a 50/50, road/dirt use, offer excellent grip on paved roads. On the other hand, they prove to be noisy and quick to wear out.
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