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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:34 pm
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Location: South Carolina, US
I want to start riding dual sports but I've never had a motorcycle before. I was thinking it might be a good idea to an older, lower cost model that I can learn to ride on and work on. Would a 1991 dr650 be a good choice? I've found one for $800. The owner says it runs well and has brand new clutch exhaust and chain, but that the carb needs some adjusting. 16000 on the odo.
Do you have any advice on whether to buy it or any questions to ask the owner?
I'd be doing mostly easy trail riding ay first and then would expand to more road riding.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:12 pm 
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Location: SE Denver-ish
The older generation DRs have a chain driven counter balancer. It's a high wear item when neglected and since you have to remove the engine cover to check it, most are neglected. Add to that that those parts are becoming unobtainium, I'd recommend saving for a '96 or newer DR.

Along those lines, the pre '96 bikes have a very limited aftermarket supply while the '96 and up have a huge aftermarket which results in a plentiful supply and low prices.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:14 pm 
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Location: Plattsburgh, NY
A friend of mine had one just like this... It was kick start only which made it a huge PITA trying to diagnose problems.
Something to think about. :s_dunno


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:34 pm 
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Adventure Rider
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If your hell bent on a DR save your money and get a 1996+ version. Better engine design and more stuff readily available for it. So you know the 1996 thru 2018 DR650 are all the same.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:38 pm 
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ER70S-2 wrote:
The older generation DRs have a chain driven counter balancer. It's a high wear item when neglected and since you have to remove the engine cover to check it, most are neglected. Add to that that those parts are becoming unobtainium, I'd recommend saving for a '96 or newer DR.

Along those lines, the pre '96 bikes have a very limited aftermarket supply while the '96 and up have a huge aftermarket which results in a plentiful supply and low prices.


This counter balancer was also called to be checked at each oil change interval. Is rarely or probably never happened.

At a minimum if this bike is the one before I bought it I would drain the oil and look for metallic flakes. If so its not a good sign. Honestly of you don't find metallic flakes the owner just changed the oil.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:01 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California
wtwest86 wrote:
Would a 1991 dr650 be a good choice? I've found one for $800.


That's not a bad price.

The electric start makes everything easier but once you get the kick starting routine down.......no problemo.

Everyone is correct with regards to the aftermarket for 1996 and newer......it's massive. Aftermarket stuff for pre 96 are sporadic at best on ebay and non existing at worst. There are things to be had for it and most serviceable items are still available.

As far as checking counterbalance tension most never do it and I probably did it at most 3 times however I had over a 100k miles on mine before the motor went "boom" so it's not life essential to do it every oil change.

For $800 I say get it! Good luck


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:30 am 
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Location: Koolskamp - Belgium
I've bought a 1992 DR650RSE about one year ago for 700€. It's not my first bike but the best one i've ever had :-)
It sure is a good choice for a first adventure bike, I took it for several trips along europe. For a first bike it is quite heavy and high but i love the riding position.
This winter i will give the bike a thorough check up but so far i really had no significant troubles. I would buy it :-)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:51 pm 
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Location: Northants, England, UK.
the spares and balancers chain scares are always trotted out by the post 96 brigade. I guess they;ve never maintained an old brit bike as keeping a Dr on the road is a walk in the park by comparison.

Yes spares are more scarce, but I've not had a problem yet

yes the balancer chain can be neglected, but so long as you don't there is not a problem, I check mine every 5k and it doesnt slacken much. If you leave it 10k then yes you will get problem, but then when didnt neglect cause problems? dont blame the chain blame the neglect.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:49 pm 
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got to follow along with a couple others in the thread, i would definitely go with a 96+ model DR, it is so worth the difference in cost, there is just no comparison in the two bikes. for $800 it would be great second bike to have in the stable.......but thats about it.

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2006 DR650 Race Bike: FMF power bomb header, FMF power core 4, DDC and Race Tech springs, Cogent Mojave Pro Series, Ohllins spring, Pro taper bars, Clarke 3.7 tank, Seat Concepts seat, air box mod, Twin air filter, sumo fender, Acme Zoom panniers, off road gearing, Warp 9 Gold hubs and Black wheels, 320MM big brake kit, TM40 Carb, Mad Man Engineering built head, decked cylinder, engine assembled and tuned by VAR.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:30 pm 
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Adventure Rider
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Location: South Central PA
Clanger wrote:
the spares and balancers chain scares are always trotted out by the post 96 brigade. I guess they;ve never maintained an old brit bike as keeping a Dr on the road is a walk in the park by comparison.

Yes spares are more scarce, but I've not had a problem yet

yes the balancer chain can be neglected, but so long as you don't there is not a problem, I check mine every 5k and it doesnt slacken much. If you leave it 10k then yes you will get problem, but then when didnt neglect cause problems? dont blame the chain blame the neglect.



The big issue is "IF" the tension was checked over the last 26 years. Also a lot of folks on here are at an age where "old" motorcycles are bikes built in the 90's and have never know life w/o the internet or cell phone. Old British temperamental junk (no offense) is still old British temperamental junk nothing is going to change that. But since the late 60's and certainly the 70's and beyond the Asian big 4 worked on reliability to the point that working all week to get it run over the weekend is thankfully a distant memory. This is what set all the British and a lot of Italian manufactures back decades trying to play catch up. It ain't no fun having a bike sitting in the garage needing work to get it going.

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