Suzuki DR 600S


Make Model

Suzuki DR 600S




Four stroke, single cylinder, SOHC, 4 valves


589 cc / 35.9 cu in
Bore x Stroke 94 x 85 mm
Cooling System Air cooled
Lubrication System Wet sump
Compression Ratio 8.5:1


38mm Mikuni flatside carburetor


Starting Kick

Max Power

32 kW / 44 hp @ 6500 rpm

Max Torque

49.5 Nm / 5.04 kg-m / 36.5 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm


5 Speed 
Final Drive Chain
Frame Semi-double cradle

Front Suspension

39 mm Kayaba forks, air adjustable
Front Wheel Travel 226 mm / 8.9 in.

Rear Suspension

Single Kayaba shock, adjustable spring preload
Rear Wheel Travel 236 mm / 9.3 in

Front Brakes

Single 240mm disc

Rear Brakes

130mm Drum

Front Tyre


Rear Tyre

Dimensions Length 2215 mm / 87.2 in
Width     875 mm / 34.4 in
Height  1235 mm / 48.6 in
Wheelbase 1465 mm / 57.7 in
Seat Height 925 mm / 36.4 in

Dry Weight

141 kg / 310 lbs
Wet Weight 150 kg / 330 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

21 Litres / 5.5 US gal / 4.6 Imp gal

Consumption Average

4.8 L/100 km / 20.8 km/l / 49 US mpg / 58.8 Imp mpg

Standing ¼ Mile  

14.6 sec / 143 km/h / 88.9 mph

Top Speed

163.9 km/h / 101.8 mph
Road Test

Kawasaki KLR600 vs Suzuki DR600 1985 


Essaying the alleged merits of motorcycles for monetary reward may well seem like a glorious step back into the Garden Of Eden for many. But sometimes, I can honestly assure you, it isn't. First sight of the Suzuki DR600 was one of those times. The cloying chill of Autumn mist cloaked the Sussex Downs with seasonal drabness and misery. The drizzle did what it was best at — drizzling — whilst that phenomenon known to the medical profession as a 'productive cough' repeatedly wracked the degenerating remains of my pulmonary equipment.

Staggering aboard such an obviously brutish and unforgiving banger isn't on the therapy list for chronic bronchitis away. Being forced to aim the thing ever onward across exposed chalk, baked concrete-hard by the summer sun before being lightly glazed with gripless liquid mud thanks to weeks of rain, suggested only one possible consequence — I was an accident statistic looking for somewhere to happen. Personal survival actually surprised me as much as the big Suzook.

It must have taken considerable courage for Suzuki's Hamamatsu factory to re-join thumper warfare. The gladiatorial arena was already packed from Yamaha. Honda and Kawasaki. Worse still, unhappy memories of previous forays into the large capacity, four-stroke trail market lingered on in both critical public consciousness and red ink entries amongst factory profit/loss calculations. The dreadful SP370, followed by an equally overweight and underpowered DR400, failed to either take anybody's biscuit or carve anything but a comic corner in trail history. The last of that particular two-valve line, the DR500,  wasn't even imported to Britain although to be fair, an example did mysterisly come 3rd in the 1983 Paris-Dakar Rally The DR600. fortunately, isn't an update of past disasters, Its a new bike including as much of Suzuki's proven technology as the designers could cram in, and the reward for this commercial risk and developmental effort is a qualified success.

Following Yamaha and | Honda thumper convention at least part of the way, a SOHC,  four-valve motor lurks down-stairs in the stomp department. Detailed differences, however,  are legion. The hole in the a middle boasts 94 x 85mm over-square dimensions delectably contoured into Suzuki's twin swirl combustion chambers at the top. Explosive efficiency, in terms of swirl, squish and sexiness thanks to these two domes, is further improved by the installation of twin spark plugs. Dubious carburettor sophistication along the lines of twin-choke or twin unit stuff has, taking a hint from the Kawasaki KL's success, been safely bypassed. A single 38mm flat-slide Mikuni with an accelerator pump for lightnin' throttle response does the job as well and probably better. . .

There's no doubt that an impressively massive amount of controlled violence occurs in the top end. Some of it necessarily gets lost, though, in the labyrinthine crankcases because a pair of balance shafts make the lump a particular smoothie. The cases themselves are large, which also means heavy, because Suzuki chose a wet-sump garden path to follow — hence the oil cooler hanging onto the barrel's nearside . For the record, dirt thumper wisdom states that dry-sump logic wins, because it leads to a shorter motor — promising lower C of G — and using a remote oil tank or the frame means easier cooling of the lube. Nevermind. Nobody's perfect...

This engine is hung inside a chassis that, initially, appears to be a mixed bag of do's and don'ts. The frame is a semi double-cradle red meat eater with a box-section front down tube. It is undoubtedly very strong and rigid but is not a little old-fashioned in conception, as it totally ignores any structural properties the motor might have and therefore contains far too much steelwork. At least the rear sub-frame extension and pillion footrest mounts are bolt-on jobs which can be safely bolted-off by judicious weight watchers. . .

The back end is graced by Suzuki's 'Full Floater', rising-rate suspension system which is, without payment of bribes, the finest of the current crop of progressive, single-shock-plus-linkage devices. Unfortunately, the box-section DR swing arm only masquerardes as alloy behind the usual lyin' and cheatin' coat of silver paint. Considering weight problems displayed elsewhere, this is indeed a shame. At the front, leggy leading-axle stanchions with 39mm sliders do the heave-ho act with reasonable good manners. Air caps give choice of pogo rate.. .

Cycle side salads and garnishing are, once again, a mixture of sensible practice and stylistic silliness. Brakes, comprising lightweight slotted disc at the sharp end and rear drum are excellent and sensitive both on and off tarmac. Cleated, folding pegs and foot controls suggest robust dirt biz but plastic pinky protectors do little to divert attention from an exposed, bar-mounted master cylinder and the pair of throttle cables sticking up their hands and asking to be excused by first contact with grasping shrubbery. The pretty blue MX-style safety seat is both bottie-friendly and roomy in forward body-English demands for dirt use. Trouble is, when the frontal crawl-up facility gets used to its limit, world population control is forcefully underlined as the rider's shrivelled seed-sac encounters an upwardly-projecting and awkWardly formed 21-litre fuel tank. This last item contrives to give the bike an exaggerated sense of top-heaviness that isn't real. The offside plastic does little to conceal an admittedly quiet but nevertheless vast silver-toshed silencer. Besides being ugly, it would probably tip the scales on a sack of coal. . . Ugh! Even more weight. .. And that's not mentioning the butch steel stair rod holding the back brake plate when it could be holding up the Forth Bridge. As with the rest of its genre, Suzuki's DR wears cosmetic idiocies designed to kid on prospective punters that it's capable of honouring the most fatuous claim made in the factory's brochure, which is: "This new machine meets the requirements for winning Paris-Dakar Rally."

Ah so! The DR600 is really nothing more nor less than a trail bike, even though that same old inscrutable brochure tries to call it a "Bi-Formance Enduro". Whether trail bikes are road weapons with dirt pretensions, or vice versa, or something else altogether, is a matter of continuing dispute. This Suzuki, just to be difficult, turned out to be both or neither, but it did it rather well.

Off Lizzy's tarmaced territories, the DR's bulk and daunting saddle altitude had given me advance notice of coughing and crashing into Autumnal oblivion, but it didn't happen. Footsure suspension, amazingly responsive steering for so big a bike, and truckloads of slogging power kept me alive. If I hadn't been feeling so terminally ill, I'd have enjoyed it. The only serious detraction from five-star dirt etiquette is the tall gearing. Sure, this problem is, to a great extent, overwhelmed by ample low-down grunt but fine control demands far too much clutchplay for my taste. Enthusiastic and regular trail use would mean a bigger back sprocket as well as a concerted attack on the weight problem with spanners and hacksaw...

On surfaced roads, the bike already belongs and threatens to beat the enemy without modification. The motor's obvious power, smoothly revving out or plodding along with the throttle shut and one or two bangs per telegraph pole, makes it a delight. Suzuki claim 44bhp, about the same as and about as meaningless as opposition porkies. Analysis without dynamometer comparison is a subjective sticking out of neck but I would hazard a guess that the DR is quicker than the other girls — it certainly feels it and the high cog ratios point that way...

Handling, within the limits of long-travel suspension, high gravity centre and dual-purpose block treads, is useful to the point of questioning ground clearance on the nearside — it's possible to deck the folded side-stand without progressing on to knee, elbow and ear contact with Mr Macadam's patentproduct. Grippy, low-profile boots which belie their trail title help a bit, but a reasonable wheelbase and rigid chassis count into the equation, too...

The bike is full of contradictions. Viewing it, just as with all the other gross-out mono plonkers on offer, as a dual-purpose tool is wrong. Multi-purpose would be a better description. I might not like the big tank, but it allows other chaps the touring potential they may desire. They might not like the longtravel legs and quick steering that allows me to get muddy without getting bloody — but that, after all, is the nature of compromise. The Suzuki DR600 is a welcome addition to the best category of motorcycling compromise ever invented. . .

Source Which Bike 1984