Off the beaten track

by Andy Bryenton

Adventure is rarely found inside one’s comfort zone. That’s an adage which has remained true since the time of the hardiest early explorers, and one which still holds true today.

To really find the great outdoors, you need a machine that’s equal to the challenge.

When it comes to motorcycles, that means sticking with a tried and true recipe.

While ‘adventure’ bikes designed with road tyres and a suite of creature comforts abound for the two-wheeled traveller, the classic combination of a big, torque-delivering single pot engine, bulletproof and simple, mated to a high-riding but responsive frame is still king.

That’s why, after years of producing award-winning and competition beating off road bikes, Suzuki still stick to the original template when they upgrade their dr650 series.

The latest generation of the big adventure bike is uncompromising as a tool for leaving civilisation behind, offering paramount reliability, agility and grunt to stomp down even the gnarliest terrain.

The surprise here, then, is not that the dr650 is a consummate off-roader.

The real trick is the calm, smooth road manners of the big Suzuki single-cylinder bike on tarmac.

Offering the best of both worlds can sometimes be a difficult proposition, but Suzuki’s engineers have hit the nail squarely on the head thanks to years of refinement and customer feedback.

A combination of plenty of power from that 644cc air cooled, single overhead cam four stroke mill and a smooth five speed gearbox means there’s plenty of down-low grunt and grip, as well as long legs for cruising.

While every panel, guard, fender and component is tough to take the knocks, it’s a handsome beast as well.

Weight has been pared back, too, adding to the crisp handling characteristics of what has always been a sure-footed model.

Speaking of sure footing — and long legs — there’s even an option to drastically lower the seat height on the dr650, allowing those of a less towering stature to plant their feet comfortably at traffic stops.

Lighter, tighter and still the kind of machine which takes off-road punishment in its stride, the dr650 continues a long line of Suzuki offroad dominance which has seen this recipe for success imitated — but rarely beaten.

With the complete package coming in well below the 10k mark in price, there’s plenty left in the budget for all the camping and outdoor gear which this classic adventurer can haul to just about any point on the map.