The Ultimate Adventure Motorcycle ™ © requires Traction Control, Fuel Injection, Wheel-Selective ABS, LCD Screens and Bluetooth Connectivity, right?
Poe the DR350
Click on a red dot for more information.
Marzocchi Magnum 45 forks from a Husky TE610. Simple, robust, right-way up forks with shockingly good performance in the rough stuff.
LED lighting all round, with huge rear lights and DRLs on the barkbusters to ensure everyone can see me.
Wilber's 641 Competition shock, all nicely sprung and set up for a comfortable off-road ride.
Seat Concepts High seat kit, because my ass deserves the very best and knee angle makes a huge difference to comfort for me.
In the panniers there's space for tools, spares, shoes, hammock and clothes. The box on top starts empty, giving space for things I don't want squashed.
Designed for the XR650L and fitted with custom made brackets the tank holds 22L of fuel, giving around 600km of range.
Original Suzuki part, it ups oil capacity by about 500ml and keeps things nice and cool.
Mikuni TM36 pumper carb, because we had one laying around the workshop. With it the motor really pops, rather than just plodding along.
The original wiring loom was looked like Edward Scissorhands had been at it, so I built a completely new, minimalist, loom with a simple LCD dash.
I've tried tablets, expensive Garmins, phones and this little 75 quid GPSMAP64s is the best yet.
The hub of all things electronic, my beloved Nikon camera and hard wired USB charging points live and load in here.
Removal of the rubber bushings gives better feel and the Pivot Pegs help with both seated knee angle and getting MX boots under the shifter.
In the name of extreme reliability all safety circuits have been bypassed and the side stand converted to self retracting.
Fuck that. Give me this 28 year old Suzuki DR350. After the last three trips being ruined by the high tech 701 experiencing engine failure of one sort or another it was time to go low tech. The DR was originally picked up by my partner as a cheap trail bike she could join me on, one day, if she got a license. She never did, so I took it over and, me being me, a few “fine adjustments” were required.
By which I mean “a whole year of work including modifying and machining components, ordering stuff from Japan and finishing the thing the day before a 2 month trip to eastern Europe”. Which I will post about sometime over the winter. But it’s ok. I’m a Professional Motorcycle Mechanic ™ © now. Which I will also post about sometime over the winter. Still can’t really claim to know what I’m doing though.
So. What’s been done? The short version you’ll find on the interactive photo above. The long version, well, the first priority was suspension. We picked the Suzuki Height Control version of the bike because the USD forks looked bling. That was a mistake. It rode like a 90s bike with weird experimental suspension. Because it’s a 90s bike with weird experimental suspension.
At work we’re a Wilbers dealer, so the rear shock was an easy decision. With our dealers-discount I picked up their competition line shock for the price of their budget model. Ker-ching! Front suspension was more exciting. We found a Marzocchi Magnum 45 fork from a Husqvarna TE610 lurking in a dark corner of the workshop. Problem being that they don’t fit in the triple clamp of the DR, no surprise. The hope was that the triple clamp from the Husky would fit in the Suzuki frame. Nope. Bearings in the right sizes simply do not exist. The only option was to pull the Suzi triple clamp apart, which took something like 8 tons of pressure, machine the Husqvarna triple clamp and fit the Suzuki shaft into the Husky clamps. Ultimately the best solution possible, I’m still running the standard Suzuki size head bearings, making replacement easier. How does it all ride? Like a dream.
Second priority was the wiring loom which had been brutalised by one or more previous owners. When I say brutalised, I mean it. We’re talking masking tape, short circuits, bad grounds, no battery and a weird dash. I built a new wiring loom from scratch, eliminating everything that wasn’t absolutely necessary. All lights where replaced with LED, with a big round H4 up front and giant sized rear lights to try and ensure people actually see me. A little low-key LCD dash and a lithium battery completed the electrical picture.
With two wheels on my wagon and a working electrical system I was already rolling along. We found an old TM36 carb in another dark recess and decided to clean and jet that, to give the whole thing a little pep. A luggage rack needed to be fabricated, ultimately I decided to use the Kreiga OS Base plastic boards as a base and to fabricate a lightweight frame of sorts to hold them, it’s all integrated into Unpaved Engineering’s fantastic rear carrier.
As this is a small single that is going to be used over long distances an oil cooler seemed a good idea, in fact the bike already had one. What it had though was a rather horrible bodge and try as we might none of us could think of a way to either mount or plumb it that would survive long term abuse. In the bin it went in preference of the OEM Suzuki kit that’s beautifully mounted and had both side impact and front stone guards. The extra 500ml of oil capacity brings the total to 2300ml, respectable.
Have I built the Ultimate Adventure Motorcycle ™ © this time? I’d like to think so.