2018 Suzuki DR650SE – The modern retro motorcycle

Suzuki DR650SE

One of the most affordable new motorcycles in 2018 is the venerable Suzuki DR650 but is it special? The DR650SE is a dual purpose motorcycle with on and off road capability. It’s essentially like the modern day SUV or a ‘Trail Rated’ Jeep  for example.  The DR650 has been on sale for since 1992 nearly 30 years in basically the same design and specification. The latest model is called the Suzuki DR650SE and priced under $9000 AUD on the road.

It’s key selling points are that it is a trail bike and that it is LAMS or learner compatible. There only real competitor to the Suzuki DR650 is the Kawasaki KLR650 is priced at  $9449 also at a on road price. The slightly lower pricing in one factor the Suzuki is my choice and that the current KLR looks a little silly with wicked witch claw front mud guard.

In terms of design and looks the DR650SE is pure trail bike design from the late 1980’s. It is such the stereotypical design used by many Japanese and other manufacturers over the years it could be called  iconic as Suzuki has not changed the design. You could arguably call it a retro motorcycle. Since retro is the current ‘in trend’ in motorcycles this Suzuki is good place to start.

Mechanically the DR650SE is simple even by modern motorcycle standards. The most retro part is the carburettors no EFI here!  Other retro parts include  the single disc brakes and 5 speed gearbox. It’s old age means that there are plenty of aftermarket parts and problem solving if you encounter any problems. The alloy rear swing arm is one of the more modern parts on the DR650. The ride height may be a concern to normal size people, so there is a ride height reduction kit from 885 to 845mm.  Critically the lack of any changes also imply the lack of real competition from any other manufacturer. Of course the imminent emission regulations will mean that the DR650 will be discontinued or revised.

Is the DR650SE a special motorcycle? Yes it’s been around for decades essentially unchanged which means it’s a good thing and most of all  any rider can buy it and ride away to virtually anywhere they want.

Suzuki DR650SE Key Specifications (2018)
Engine: Single cylinder SOHC 
Capacity: 644cc
Power/Torque: 34Kw @ 6400RPM 50Nm @ 4650RPM
Gearbox: 5 speed
Kerb Weight: 166Kg Approx
Performance: 0-100kph NA seconds Approx
Max Speed NA Kph Approx
Fuel Economy: 13 litre fuel tank
Approx 4 litres per 100km
Seat height: 885mm
Dimensions: L2255 x W865 x H1195
Recommended Retail Price: $8,990 (2018) On road

Yamaha YZF-R125 Review

The Yamaha YZF-R125 is a sports motorcycle in the under 250cc class. Being a single cylinder 125cc engine it is for the learner rider or those who just want a great looking inner city motorcycle. Other riders will double take as I did!  I think it looks great especially in Yamaha team racing colors or the limited edition of the R1 titanium or was it gun metal?

The YZF-R125 genuinely looks like a smaller version of the Yamaha R6 which is one of the best looking sports motorcycles of 2011. The YZF-R125 is easily better looking than the now dated its logical competitor the CBR125R, even the 2012 Ninja 250R and more aggressive than the 2012 CBR250R. However I understand KTM will be releasing something even better in 2012 to Australia…(Although the Aprilia RS2 Megelli beats them all!)

In terms of engine and chassis technology the YZF-R125 has almost all the technology as per its larger brothers and equals our 2011 learner favorite, the CBR250R. Engine specifications include EFI and alloy frame and race rear swing arm and front Brembo brakes! The only issue preventing us on a technical basis from buying one is that it is only 125cc and although perfect for city riding will not be as nice on fast moving freeway stretches. Mind you in the corners on my favorite roads this bike would be fantastic! Might have to buy a ute and take it to a track for some fun…

Overall the Yamaha YZF-R125 looks like a great choice except for its price which is very high for this motorcycle class that said if other reviews are to be believed this is THE 125cc bike to get. Unfortunately the Aprilia RS4 125 4T is even better… Mind you the considering that the YZF-r125 has better specifications than even the Ninja 250R except for engine capacity and equipped with a few extra things that the CBR250R doesn’t have so you have a hard time deciding, which is part of the fun!

One final word, this TZF-R125 arguably one of the best looking and proportioned  motorcycles regardless of engine capacity! It may not have the latest design trends but it looks great seriously good stuff.

Honda CBR250R Key Specifications
Engine:   IL1 cylinder 4-stroke 4 valve DOHC (EFI)
Capacity:  124.7cc
Power/Torque:  11Kw @ 9,000 RPM 12.24Nm @ 8000 RPM
Gearbox:   6 speed
Kerb Weight:  138Kg
Performance:  0-100kph 10 seconds Approx
Max Speed 140Kph Approx 
Fuel Economy:   13.8 litre fuel tank
Approx 4 litres per 100km
Seat height:  818mm
Dimensions: L2015 x W660 x H970 x WB1355
 Recommended Retail Price:  $6999 (2012)