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Rest easy, thumper fans, the DR650 is here for another year

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2020-Suzuki-DR650.jpg

You know that end-of-an-era feeling? Like when your favourite sports star retires? Or when your favourite classic rock star, having miraculously survived their 20s, finally kicks the bucket in their 70s?

Well, fear not, fans of the DR650, you will not have to experience that crushing heartbreak this year, as Suzuki has confirmed its antiquated trusty air-cooled single cylinder duallie will return for 2020.

But wait, it gets better! To make sure you aren’t jaded by any unasked-for changes, Suzuki will also sell the exact same motorcycle, without even any of the incremental changes that you can expect from the Euro dirt bike manufacturers (“we changed the handlebars, lightened the piston, made the seat even less comfortable, so even though it looks the exact same, it’s ALL NEW!!!”every enduro motorcycle marketeer, ever).

Well, that’s not quite true: it’s almost the exact same, but you will have to deal with the shocking Bold New Graphics. Having decided the black-painted 2019 models were just a bit too scary-looking, Suzuki is painting the 2020 model Solid Iron Gray.

Serious question: Is Suzuki just spray-bombing these bikes with whatever’s left over in the paint mixer at the end of the year’s production run? Because they’re getting less attractive every year. At least Honda had the sense to keep the XR650L painted red, year after year, making it recognizable and avoiding all silly pretension.

Anyway, there are two ways of looking at this. The first is to throw shade at Suzuki for still, STILL not updating this bike. It’s basically unchanged since 1996, and if you look at the pre-’96 models, there really isn’t that much difference in the grand scheme of things. Would it kill Suzuki to simply add LED lights, or an updated stator, even?

The other way of looking at it is, why mess with a good thing? The DR650 has long been a successful model for Suzuki in the markets where it’s sold (its most popular bike in Canada, at one point!). The bike is reliable, and while many owners would like EFI and a few other basic upgrades, Suzuki is able to keep the price down by not messing with the formula. The aftermarket for the DR650 has exploded in the past decade because it’s the same bike, year after year. Now, with the KLR650 out of production and the XR650L also disappearing from many markets, why would Suzuki want to drop the ball?

One interesting point: Suzuki’s press release about its 2020 off-road models for the US did not mention the DR-Z400 models. Hrm. Could those bikes finally see their much-needed six-speed tranny upgrade? Or is Suzuki just holding out information, to keep us on our toes? Whatever the story is, we’re pretty certain it isn’t being discontinued, as very reliable sources inform us the Dizzer is the most popular dual sport bike in the world.

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