South America 2019-2023
unknown length - solo travel - Suzuki DR650

DR650 Maintenance and problems log

May 15, 2019  —  Various
Oregon - United States
Puncture repair.
Arizona - United States
Pulse coil replacement.


0 km (starting from Quebec, the bike has 18896 km)

new bearings front/rear - 5 bearings (Moose Racing)
new brake pads front/rear (EBC Long Life Sintered)
new chain (DID 525 ZVMX)
new sprockets - JT 43T and JT 15T
new oil and oil filter
new air filter (Twin Air)
new spark plugs
new battery - Yuasa YTX9-BS

+8200 km

pulse coil is dead - used spare part I already had

+10415 km

rookie mistake - when putting back the rear wheel, I forget to put the middle spacer
− after a few kms, the bearings are destroyed, two spacers are slightly damaged
− bearings are all changed
− I changed the two spacers on each end of the axle
− luckily, damages to other parts are minimal

+23500 km

a bolt on the luggage rack is broken in two - I then notice that that bike rear/left rack bracket is broken
− new welding of a bracket with reinforcement
− managed to remove and replace broken bolt easily

+27317 km

changed brake light bulb and headlight bulb

+33607 km
After a 6 months break at home, I have returned to Mexico to retrieve the motorbike and continue my trip. I took the opportunity to bring back some new spare parts. It was not necessary to change them now, the chain could have done a few thousands kilometres more. However, it is easier to buy parts in Quebec, and I installed them when I got back to Mexico. On a motorbike, space is too rare to be able to carry many spare parts.

new air filter (TwinAir)
new spark plugs 2x
new front sprocket - JT 15T
new rear sprocket - JT 43T
new chain (DID 525 ZVMX)
brake light bulb

+43104 km
After a brief three-week round trip home, I bring back a new air filter.

new air filter (TwinAir)
 - Hidalgo - Mexico
Rear Shinko 705 after ~12000 km (1st set).
 - Hidalgo - Mexico
Rear brake pad after 23104 km (1st set).

+47482 km
The motorbike was shipped by cargo plane from Panama to Colombia. During my stay in Bogotá, I take the opportunity to go to a mechanic from a complete check-up.

tuning + new timing chain
valves tuning
clutch tuning (wow, a new clutch plate was added)
new gasket - clutch side
new gasket - stator side
carburetor: new float, new slide, new needle, tuning
oil change of front and rear suspensions
suspensions tuning
new engine oil and filter
air filter cleaning
chain support
new spark plugs
new clutch lever
misc. screws
alignment of panniers and racks
alignment of front light! new tires
Bogotá - Colombia
Bogotá - Colombia
Maintenance in Colombia (+47482 km).

+52028 km
Most of what was done in Colombia was bad work, thus I had the motorbike checked again in Ecuador. In fact, the mechanic in Colombia was a scam. Some changes he supposedly did were not done, or they were done with used parts somewhat less worn out than the one I already had on the bike.

valve seals
carburetor cleaning + new slide + new jet needle
rear wheel bearings
new timing chain
gaskets (clutch, stator, valve...)
new piston and rings set
o-ring seal on radiator
cush drive rubber dampers
friction clutch plates
welding and strengthening of the luggage rack and frame
new rear suspension spring (more rigid)
Quito - Ecuador
Sata, mechanic/owner of Moto Hell in Quito.

+57490 km

welding of the luggage rack

+59280 km

fork seals changes

+63590 km
One morning at about 5 Celsius, a screw on the oil filter cover broke after a cold start. I lose all the engine oil. Towing to Iquique.

screw replaced by a custom repair (stud + blue Loctite + 2 bolts)

+70769 km
Panniers repairs at an aluminum workshop.

welding of broken seams
welding of numerous cracks

+70993 km
In January 2020, I decide to take a break at home in Quebec without knowing that a Covid-19 pandemic was about to cause havoc. Since I planned to travel again after a few months, I didn't prepare the motorbike for a long hibernation in a storage facility. I didn't empty the fuel tank, nor the carburetor.
The motorbike was in dire need of proper maintenance and a deep cleaning of the carburetor.

carburetor cleaning - new seals and new jet
new chain and sprockets
new battery
draining and cleaning of the fuel tank
new fuel filters
engine oil and filter change
welding on the frame (two small cracks)
welding on the luggage rack
new tires front and rear
change of the Allen screws on the front and rear brake assembly

+71787 km
Again, welding of the luggage rack. After removing the rack, a tube fall on the ground and another breaks with a simple twist by hand. This time, the welding technology used is called MIG.

+83779 km
The alternator is not charging when the headlight is on, and the problem is intermittent. After an inspection, I found a few electrical wires whose sheath was partly gone; thus short-circuits were possible. I repaired four wires. I hope it's fixed.

+87979 km
Problems with the alternator are not over; one of the three phases of the stator is dead. With two phases, there is enough current generated to run the motorbike, but it explains why the battery is not recharging when the headlight is on. I replace the headlight by an LED bulb in order to continue my trip. I order a more powerful stator from ProCycle in the USA and I have it sent to Santiago de Chile... I also order some other parts: a starter, front/rear bearings, fork seals, front/rear sprockets.

The rack for the right pannier is broken. In Uyuni, I have it welded and I add two reinforcing metal plates around the top screws...

+89942 km
A stop in Palmira, Mendoza for fixing the motorbike. The main repair was the rear shock that had lost all its oil and whose inner tube started to deteriorate. The cracks on the aluminum panniers were welded and I cleaned and varnished them.

rear shock: inner tube rebuilt, new internal parts, oil and nitrogen
welding on the alu panniers, cleaning and varnish
valves adjustment
cleaning and painting of the exhaust pipe
air filter cleaning
new screws on the skid plate
grease and new o-ring for the starter
oiling of the cables (brake, clutch)
changing the three screws on the oil filter cover for helicoils and longer screws

+90530 km
A screw on the pannier's rack broke, thus for another screw, the bracket on the frame also broke.

+94904 km
I return to Quebec for family reasons. Meanwhile, my trusted mechanic in Palmira carries out the following work.

new 250W stator, old one had a burned phase
new starter, old one was good, old one still works, preventive maintenance
valve clearance adjustment
new rear bearings
new spark plugs and caps
front suspension oil change
honing of front suspension + new fork seals

+100504 km
In Asunción, capital of Paraguay.

one of the rear brake pistons was blocked and wear on the pad and disc was uneven
new lip seal on engine clutch lever
repair of the rear brake light support; it was broken due to vibration
front/rear brake oil change
the left fuel petcock began to leak; a stone had broken the lever several months earlier

+101640 km

new rear bearings

Engine oil and filter:

At the beginning of the trip, I was changing oil every 6000 km... After Ecuador, every 4000 km or so.

0 km oil change + filter
+5 800 km oil change
+11304 km oil change + filter (30200 km)
+17649 km oil change (36545 km)
+23986 km oil change + filter (42882 km)
+30234 km oil change (49130 km)
+33607 km oil change + filter (52503 km, after 6 months in storage)
+39272 km oil change (58168 km)
+45418 km oil change + filter (64314 km)
+47482 km oil change + filter (64314 km, at the mechanic in Colombia)
+52028 km oil change + filter (70924 km, at the mechanic in Ecuador)
+56225 km oil change (75121 km)
+59280 km oil change + filter (78178 km)
+63590 km oil change (82486 km, after a screw broke...)
+66717 km oil change + filter (85613 km)
+70769 km oil change (89665 km)
+70993 km oil change + filter (89889 km)
+74890 km oil change (93786 km)
+79007 km oil change + filter (97903 km)
+83779 km oil change (102675 km)
+87979 km oil change + filter (106875 km)
+++ km I stopped taking statistics; oil change every 4000 km or so.

Brake Pads:

0 km new rear/front
+23104 km new rear/front (rear 90% gone, front 60% gone)
+39288 km new rear/front
+52028 km new rear
+59280 km new front
+70993 km new rear/front
+87979 km new rear
+++ km I stopped taking statistics


0 km Dunlop 606 tires
+1000 km front tire changed - Trailwing
+5800 km rear tire changed - TKC 80
+10400 km tires changed - Shinko 705 (longevity: ~12000 km rear)
+23104 km tires changed - Shinko 705 (longevity: 16184 km rear, 24 378 km front)
+39288 km rear tire changed - Dunlop Trailmaster (longevity: 8194 km rear)
+47482 km tires changed - Michelin Sirac (rear changed at 8743 km, split tire)
+56225 km rear tire changed - Pirelli Scorpion MT90 AT
+70993 km tires changed - Rinaldi Rallye R-34, made in Brazil (rear changed at 12786 km, maybe 1000-2000 km of life left)
+83779 km rear tire changed - Corsa Platinum Cross Z, made in Indonesia
+++ km I stopped taking statistics. For the rear tire, I drive about 10,000 to 15,0000 km per tire from the USA or Brazil. Asian brands last only 4,000-8,000 km. The front tire easily lasts 20,000 km.
Parque Nacional Los Volcanes - El Salvador
New Dunlop Trailmaster.
Bogotá - Colombia
Dunlop Trailmaster after 8194 km.
Michelin Sirac @ 500 km.
Cajamarca - Peru
Michelin Sirac at 8743 km, 1 cm slit.
Cajamarca - Peru
New Pirelli MT90 A/T.
Palmira - Argentina
Pirelli MT90 A/T - 14798 km.
Palmira - Argentina
Michelin Sirac front - 23511 km.
Palmira - Argentina
Rinaldi Rallye R-34
Abancay - Peru
Rinaldi Rallye R-34 - 12786 km
Abancay - Peru
Corsa Platinum Cross Z


+6700 km a nail - rear - United States
+10000 km a nail - rear - United States
+35144 km a screw - rear (tube replaced) - Guatemala
+37403 km a piece of metal - rear (tube replaced) - El Salvador
+38501 km a thorn - rear (tube replaced) - El Salvador
+38973 km a nail - rear (tube replaced) - El Salvador
+50211 km a metal pin - rear (tube replaced) - Ecuador
+56124 km tire has a 1 cm slit - rear (tube replaced, new tire when back in town) - Peru
+83189 km tube was installed with a fold - it already had two repair patches and it still lasted another 12,000 km before starting losing air - rear (tube replaced) - Peru
+86284 km cactus thorn - front for the first time (tube replaced)... a few kilometres later, I hit a rock and the tube split open (new tube)... I carry the latest tube from Canada and it was already punctured probably due to the transport (new tube) - 3 tubes in a few hours - Peru
+++ km I stopped taking statistics. I have a puncture from time to time; always the rear tire.
Road from Cara Sucia to El Imposible Park - El Salvador
First day in El Salvador. A puncture.