The other day Pauline and I had a nice surprise when Jay and Emily Wilgus and Jay’s mom Linda dropped by to say hello before returning to Bolivia to retrieve their 2 garaged DR650SE’s. The Wilguses as you may know are on their journey from Michigan to the southern tip of South America, but needed to return home to raise more money for the trip. Now back in Bolivia, Jay will re-prep the two DR’s and then head south again.
Over the course of the next few months we will keep track of the two long distance travelers, and if you are interested in following the journey, check out their website at www.liveitrightdreamride.com.
So far there have been no major problems with the two DR650SE’s. Jay did the prep-wrenching and I helped him with information I have gleaned over the years about riding and working on DR’s. I can assure you that I wouldn’t cross the Mexican border and head for Tierra del Fuego on any of the new heavy and complex “ADV” bikes. A properly set up DR650SE is as close to bullet proof as you’ll ever find.
Back in 1990 I purchased my first DR350 after talking to the world’s greatest Suzuki parts specialist, Paul Tomlinson (now of Cochise Motor Sports in Sierra Vista, AZ) . He told me that he had never sold, nor did he expect to sell, any major electronic parts for DR’s. Paul was right. Now, after 25 years and more than a quarter of a million miles logged on multi-surface DR350’s and DR650’s, I have not had any electronic failures.
Mechanically I had one broken ring in a DR350 which still got me home from Baja. The DR650SE record is one broken header flange, one plugged defective factory fuel filter, and one broken upper chain wheel mount, all problems that I have solved during a 25 year development process.
Fortunately for Jay and Emily, I believe we had worked out all of the fixes for the DR650SE that would have caused them a breakdown. I only wish my new custom Top Gun rear shock spring had been available for their bikes before they left. Our spring would have given them a better ride and our new “chain master” would have extended chain life.
Inspired by the Wilgus’ choice of DR650SE’s for their journey, I am now working on a series of articles that will detail every improvement we make on our Top Gun DR650SE’s. We believe that if you duplicate the process you will be riding a copy of the most reliable all around multi-surface motorcycle available.
In the meantime, let’s keep pulling for Jay and Emily!
Editor’s note – we just received an email from Jay and Emily – from Ancud, Chile! You can also track their progress at Midwest Motorcyclist (www.midwestmotorcyclist.com) where they write a monthly column. You can also find them on Facebook at The Live It Right Dream Ride.