Suzuki DR 650RSE


Make Model

Suzuki DR 650RSE




Air/oil cooled, four stroke, single cylinder. SOHC, 4 Valve per cylinder.


640 cc / 39 cu in
Bore x Stroke 95 x 90.4 mm
Compression Ratio 9.7:1


40 mm Flat side BST40  Mikuni





Max Power

32.8 kW / 45 hp @ 6800 rpm  (at rear wheel 30.6 kW / 41.1hp @ 6500 rpm )

Max Torque

57 Nm / 5.1 kgf-m / 42.0 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm


5 Speed

Final Drive


Front Suspension

Telescopic fork

Rear Suspension

Full Floater swingarm, single shock, gas/oil damped

Front Brakes

Single 280mm disc, 2 piston caliper

Rear Brakes

Single 230mm disc, 2 piston calipers

Front Tyre


Rear Tyre



Length: 2385 mm / 93.9 in

Width:     870 mm / 34.3 in

Height:  1330 mm / 52.4 in


1510 mm / 59.5 in

Seat Height

890 mm / 34.8 in

Dry Weight

178 kg / 392 lbs

Wet Weight

184 kg / 406 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

21 Litres / 5.5 US gal / 4.6 Imp gal

Consumption  average

5.5 L/100 km / 18.1 km/l / 42.5 US mpg / 51.1 Imp mpg

Braking 60 km/h - 0

14 m / 45.9 ft

Braking 100 km/h - 0

41.8 m / 137.1 ft

Standing ¼ Mile  

15.1 sec / 144.7 km/h / 89.9 mph

Top Speed

162.5 km/h / 101 mph

Road Test

Motosprint Group Test 1990

Suzuki's latest alleged trailie falls into the hands of nicky and frustrated supermotard star, Paul Blezard, "Is this fair?" cries Suzuki

THE NEW Suzuki DR650ES has the civilising gizmos that earlier dual-purpose bangers lacked: a balancer shaft smooths out vibes, electric start saves sprained ankles and a frame-mounted fairing spares neck muscles - all with less weight and cost than the 'Dr Big' DR 800.

A kick start is not even fitted, just pull out the choke and press the button... whirr whirr... then follow the instructions on the sticker: "Always close throttle grip completely when starting engine" the automatic decompressor does its stuff and the beast bursts into life.

The oversquare 640cc four-valve sohc engine has the SACS air/oil cooling kit pioneered on the GSXRs, complete with jets squirting oil directly onto the cam-lobes and the underside of the piston crown, but it sounds like a tractor at tickover and the rattling rasp at full throttle is so loud that I checked the exhaust for signs of leakage, and wondered how the bike passed the latest noise regs. It's not completely devoid of vibes either, but those that remain are eminently tolerable and do not blur the excellent mirrors.

Power is a claimed 45bhp, one up on the DR600, but pulling out of the car park in Rhayader for the first time, I was disappointed by the DR's apparent lack of low down poke. It gave a smooth ride though and carved through the bends on the Welsh back-roads in pleasingly predictable fashion, although the high seat and low bars make you feel more 'on' the bike than 'in' it. The front brake lacked bite and the back brake was too sharp for comfort, locking up at the merest touch of a motocross boot (soon adjusted with the aid of the underseat toolkit).

Caning the DR on a wide open road revealed it was stable at speed and very high geared - into a headwind it struggled to make the ton, whereas coming back the other way it ran off the clock at an indicated 115. The good-looking tyre-hugging front mudguard must help the aerodynamics compared to the flapping motocross-style air-brakes fitted to its predecessors, and the very long (59.3in) wheelbase must help the stability - it is 4 inches longer than the DR800, and has more rake but less trail than the DR600.

A flat-out blast down a Welsh lane inches deep in gravel failed to faze the DR or its rider - on that sort of terrain you could leave any sport-bike for dead, but a first attempt at trail riding on a muddy climb was a complete non-starter -the 17inch rear Dunlop spinning uselessly at the slightest provocation. On a deserted nearby dirt road though the DR came into its own, feeling quite safe and hugely enjoyable to squirt along at 70mph. Later I found a firmer green lane and the big Suzuki plonked happily o'er hill and dale, taking rock steps and grassy knolls in its stride.

The next morning an undulating stony track around the Claerwyn reservoir provided ideal DR terrain and when confronted by the water authority's illegally locked gate on a bridge further on, it was no bother to negotiate the rocky stream bed to the other side. Rushing back to Rhayader- on tight B-roads strewn with gravel the DR was 'the biz'; I just wish someone would teach the sheep the Green Cross code!

Heading south down the A470 in pouring rain towards Abergavenny I felt confident enough in the bike and its tyres to keep it humming along at 90 plus. After a day and a half of all-round use over a couple of hundred miles my initial impression was of a bike as close to the Transalp 'rally touring' concept as it is to the lighter and more off-road oriented Dominator.

A further five hundred miles of hard driving reinforced most of my early impressions, but not all.

The DR's apparent lack of oomph off the mark must be due to its high first gear - it goes to 40mph before hitting the rev-limiter. In a top gear blast the DR was nowhere near the red line so I changed down into 4th and it slowly pulled away, going to an indicated 110 before hitting the rev limiter, then sailed off the clock in top.

The DR clearly has an extremely optimistic speedometer and 5th is almost an overdrive except in the most favourable conditions, but it gives the bike a relaxed feel.

A blast up the A12 to Aldeburgh in Suffolk revealed an unfortunate trait in the Suzuki's handling; if you put even a small amount of weight on the rack or pillion seat, the DR starts to weave when you put your feet on the pillion footrests. So perhaps it ain't so stable after all...

It is possible to ride in mud on the flat, as long as you keep the power on, the front light, and your heart in your mouth... and you can drop it without breaking anything.

My final few days with the DR were spent Up North, where the DR proved ideal for stony trails like Rudland Rigg on the North Yorkshire Moors. The Suzuki can be started in gear, a vital difference when you're struggling on a trail. The clutch has to be pulled in though, even if the bike's in neutral.

A friend complimented the bike on its good looks and relative pillion comfort, and found the grab handles built into the rack very useful. Another nice touch is the snail-cam adjusters for the rear wheel, although a tool to turn them would be handy. I managed to drop the bike on my foot while putting it on a moto-cross stand (no centre stand) reminding me just how heavy the bike is - my XL500 felt like a 125 alongside it. One major black mark against the DR was the lack of any heat-shields on the much-vaunted stainless steel twin silencers - an unforgivable omission which scarred my poor hold-all for life.

Fuel consumption was a little disappointing at only 40mpg average, (ridden hard nearly everywhere) although the large tank gives a 150 mile range even with that thirst. Suzuki claim it holds 30 Litres , but I ran it dry and could only get just over 18 in. The halogen main beam provided good night-time penetration - until the front dived as I put the front brake on - but the cut-off on dip was a little severe.

All in all I liked the DR650ES; it makes a damn good all-rounder, whether you want to despatch on it or tour Europe's dusty backroads and byways. It looks good, it's a really pleasant and relaxing bike to ride sensibly, and good fun to go scratching on. D

Source Bike Magazine 1991