Preparing a DR650 for traveling


I plan on doing some traveling on my motorcycle. This is the list of changes and equipment that I think is needed for any type of long distance travel. Your ideas may be different than mine so use this as a starting point for your packing list.

Bike Maintenance:

This should be done right before the trip. A well running bike makes for a much smoother trip.

  • Adjust the valves.
  • New Tires
  • New sprockets and chain
  • Change the oil, oil filter, and spark plugs
  • Tighten Neutral safety switch if the bike has over 20,000 miles

Bike Modifications

These are things that are simple to do for the most part but can make the trip much more enjoyable and a lot less tiring.

  • Remove upper chain roller and fill the hole with silicon.
  • Add a small lawn mower type inline fuel filter
  • Don't modify the stock exhaust or the airbox, modding these things gives you power but not reliability so leave them stock. Same thing with any other engine mods, the engine is very reliable stock so leave it alone. Extra power just gets you into trouble easier on the road.
  • Strengthen the main wiring loom, put some duct tape and old inner tube around where it chafes on the head stock. Easy to do but if you don't and it rubs through some wires it can make a mess of your electrical system.
  • Cut the foam out of the back seat of a car from a junkyard that seems comfortable and fit it into the stock seat making it as wide as possible.
  • Add an air cushion over the improved seat to eliminate vibrations.
  • Add highway pegs
  • foam/gel handgrips if you are not using good gloves
  • rubber tie down strap modified and fit on the bike for a cruise control
  • mirror extensions if you need them

Packing the bike

Have an easy to use system for loading all your stuff and keeping it safe. You will be unpacking and packing it every day so make sure whatever you pick is convenient for you.

I used dirtbagz saddle bags and their mount kit. The Allen Complete ATV Outfit 5pc package is made for use on an ATV but it works great on the DR. It contains a tail bag that straps on the dirtbagz without any real modifications, handlebar grip covers for cold days, and a tank bag that fits the DR. The fender pack does not fit anywhere and can be used for whatever else you want but I don't use it. It could be sewn onto the tail bag if you are good at sewing. The tail bag needs support or it sags pretty badly. The easiest thing to make it out of is 3/4 inch white PVC pipe and glue from any hardware store. Just make a frame and either mount it inside the bag or under it. If you are handy with a welder you can weld it out of anything. I used 1 inch square tubing and also built a backrest into the bag.

What to pack

The bigger the tent you take the nicer it is camping but the harder it is to assemble and pack, practice a few times with whatever tent you choose and make sure it fits your requirements.
Some people like using a sleep pad but some of the newer air mattresses are very strong and don't get punctured easily but they are way more comfortable to sleep on.
The sleeping bag you choose should match the conditions you are going to be in, sweating or freezing is annoying and doesn't help you sleep.
You need a couple changes of normal clothes because sometimes you might want to do something that involves looking like a normal person and not a power ranger.
Speaking of looking like a power ranger you need good gear on, armored pants and jacket with cordura or kevlar protection. Good leather gloves and boots.
Lots of underwear and socks since it is hard to tell when you can find the next washing machine.
Zippo hand warmers, lighter fuel and a lighter. These are great to keep warm and are unbeatable in the cold. I keep a pair of them.


All the prep work you have done to the bike before the trip should be done only with your toolkit you have on the bike. If there is something missing this is the easiest way to find it. Also if one of the tools is not good enough to actually use then you can toss it and replace it with a better one.
get six to eight screw type pipe clamps from a hardware store, they can be stored by clamping them on easy to get to sections of the bike frame. You can also use them to secure your tire irons to the frame so they are out of the way.
several wire coat hangers, you can cut the ends off and fold them up in a neater shape but they are handy to have.
Duct tape, the handyman's secret weapon