Years sold: 1996-present (except 2010)
MSRP new: $5199 (1996) to $6399 (2013)
Blue Book retail value: $1830 (1996) to $4985 (2012)
Basic specs: An air-cooled, 644cc, single-cylinder, 40mm-Mikuni-carbureted dual-sport bike with a 58.7-in. wheelbase, a 34.8-in. seat height and weighing 366 lb. with its 3.4-gallon fuel tank fully topped up.
Why it’s desirable: It’s not going to win any enduros or cross-country races, and it’s far from the lightest dual-sport motorcycle ever built. And it hasn’t significantly changed since it first became the SE model rather than the SR 17 years ago. But for anyone looking to do some fun, not-too-intense off-road exploring on a bike that can easily stay ahead of four-wheel traffic—or even run away from it if necessary—the DR650SE is an excellent, affordable choice. Not only is the SE’s counterbalanced engine noticeably faster, torquier and smoother than the big Singles powering its closest competitors (Honda’s XR650L and Kawasaki’s KLR650), it has a reputation for being downright bulletproof. What’s more, the chassis provides enough on- and off-road handling competence to let you have a good time without scaring the bejeezus out of you or hammering you to a pulp. Plus, if you’re a tad on the short side or don’t have an NBA-caliber inseam, Suzuki’s accessory department can provide you with a rear-suspension lowering kit that, in conjunction with a quick-and-easy sliding of the fork tubes up through the triple-clamps, can drop the seat height by about an inch and a quarter. Besides, look at the ridiculously low prices listed here; this is one heck of a lot of motorcycle for not a lot of money.
Useful resources: Two informative forums (drriders.com and thumpertalk.com) offer a lot of useful insights into Suzuki’s DR models, the majority of it from owners of DR650SEs. Scouring the Internet will also lead you to numerous sites hawking parts, accessories and performance equipment, as well as several others providing reviews of the DR650SE from media sources all around the world.