The Evolution of an Adventure Bike

Jul 20, 2017 View Comments by

Evolution of an Adventure BikeRoadRUNNER reader Rich King has been documenting the evolution of his Suzuki DR650 from a stock bike to an adventure bike and wrote in to share the process with our readers.

I learned how to drive a 1928 Chevy truck when I was 11, and with my grandpa’s help rebuilt it at 17. I’ve loved working on mechanical devices ever since, especially modifying them. I started riding motorcycles when I was 21 and since then have owned more than 40.

I’m building the DR650 up as a low-budget adventure bike. I’m hoping to ride it to Alaska and back, so there are still quite a few things to do to it before it’s ready. It still needs suspension mods, heavy-duty wheel bearings, and a few other details before I ride it that far. Time and money—right? If I can scrape up enough toy money, I’d really like to make an Adventure Motus MST one of these days. That would be a screaming kick.

Changes I made on the first pass: Stock tank and side panels were removed and replaced with a Honda tank and custom-made aluminum side panels. A low-gel seat was installed, the stock exhaust was replaced with a much lighter SuperTrapp silencer, a centerstand was added and footpegs were lowered, and I added a Buell Ulysses windscreen modified to fit with RAM mounts.

Evolution of an Adventure Bike

Latest version: I added an Acerbis 6.6-gallon tank with Herculined knee rests, Tusk panniers, a Kolpin gun boot, Tusk handguards with LEDs, an Acerbis blue front fender, heated grips, widened footpegs, highway pegs, a modified Harley rear rack, and Rigid running lights. I repositioned the rear blinkers, fabricated a low pipe and added a pipe guard, re-jetted the carb, fabricated the engine guards, and added an MP3 player, a four-inch 12V fan for the oil cooler, and a fork brace.

Evolution of an Adventure Bike

Another view: The panniers are removable. I’ll make one or two smaller sets using ammo cans that will be more practical for day-to-day use, but will use the same quick-release brackets. The Kolpin gun boot is normally on my quad, but the test-fit slides in nicely where the stock exhaust would normally be and still leaves room for passenger pegs. Front and rear suspension upgrades are the next big-ticket items, then a nice pair of Heidenau dual-sport tires. That should just about do it.

Evolution of an Adventure Bike

Text and Photography: Rich King



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