I wandered in and out of motorcycle shops in San Diego county, studying all the new models of every available brand for several months as the new two-wheelers were released last fall (2017) and this spring (2018). My hope was to find a bike good enough that I could easily develop it further until it surpassed my already highly developed KL650A’s and DR650SE’s, to which I have made more than three dozen improvements each over the past 28 years and more than a half million logged miles. (I’ve logged more than a million total motorcycle miles since 1955.)
There I was with a checkbook in my pocket that could handle anything on two wheels, and yet I was unable to find a worthwhile beginning platform that would lend itself to building a bike that was better than what I already have. In fact, in many cases motorcycles are getting worse, not better, especially in the suspension, ergonomic comfort and overall weight categories.
I had a further problem which required special attention. I have a 91 year old wife who declines to end her 40+ year multi-surface tandem motorcycling career. As long as Pauline can ride behind me I need a motorcycle set up just for her.
I ultimately decided to add a 2018 DR650SE Suzuki to the other three I already own (a 2009 and two 2011’s). The new street bike would be easier to set up because I had already done most of the development and had many of the parts: IMS 4.9 gallon tank, shortened and improved stock front forks, Ohlin’s/PPS rear internal piston gas shock, WARP9 rear cast wheel, Buchanan’s 19