SETO - the DR(D4-7R) Moto

Overland Hadley

on a journey
I bought a moto! This has been in the works for about three years now, and this summer I was pushed to the edge and I jumped.


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Here is where the bike sits now, under a cover behind the couch. Building it up for my use is my winter fun project. :)

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My two wheeled history:
Motorcycles, all of 20 minutes.
Bicycles, well most of what I remember of being a kid was exploring on a bike. And I continue to enjoy mountain and road biking.



For the last three years I had really gotten the itch to buy a motorcycle. Mostly this would happen during the long dark winter months, and it was always a moto, never a snowmobile or something that I could use during the six months of cold/snow that we have. I have plenty to do during the warmer spring/summer/fall months, and for that reason I thought I would probably not actually get one. There was also some self doubt, worried about hurting myself and feeling that since I did not grow up around motorcycles it was not smart for me to start now.

Then this summer one of my crew on the sailboat bought a dual sport bike, and it was agonizing to watch her come and go on her bike. After hours of talking about motorcycles with her I decided to ask if she could teach me to ride, starting with the very basics. A quick lesson turned into a couple hours of me puttering around on her bike, which is woefully to small for me. A few days latter I found an add from somebody I knew who was selling one of their dual sport bikes, and I decided to go look at it just for the hell of it. That bike was also too small for me, but he let me take it out for a test ride and that is where I really got hooked. So I started searching for a motorcycle in ernest.

I already had a few bookmarks of places to look for used bikes on the internet, but mostly I used BikeFinds.com. I did not really know what I was looking for, mostly something that fit my 6'4" frame and was affordable and easy to maintain. Strangely for me, I did not do tons of research, maybe because it was the middle of the crazy season for me, and maybe partly because I still was not sure about me and a motorcycle. Then one morning there was an add for a DR650 with no photos, and for some reason that made me call the guy. Over the next few days I talked to the guy three or four times, each time he did not remember who I was. But the details of the bike sounded promising, 2004 with 3,000 miles and it had been owned since new by a gentleman in his mid 70s. It sounded like the whole family had DR650's as their play bikes, but supposedly this bike had never been driven off the pavement or in the rain, and had always been stored inside. The guys son was the one who was selling it, and I got the feeling that he did not really care if or when it sold, as he was not getting any of the money for it.

So I wanted to go look at it, just to check it out, you know. But I was working 12-14 hours everyday and the bike was three hours away, so I had no idea if I could get the chance to take half a day to go look at it. Then we got hit with a huge storm and I had the afternoon away from the boat. I got ahold of the guy, and of course he had a hard time remembering who I was. I told him I wanted to come look at the bike, and he told me that he did not even live in the same town as where the bike was. Huh, what? But not to worry we could both drive to the bike and look at it. Okay.

I purposefully did not bring cash for the bike, I did not even bring enough for a little deposit. I told myself I am just going to look and get a feel for it. When I got to the address where the bike was supposed to be stored the first feeling I had was "I am going to get mugged or murdered by a stranger from craigslist." The "garage" where the bike was supposed to be stored was in the middle of an industrial slum, and while I waited for the guy to show up I felt more and more uneasy. When he did show up I followed him into a dark mess of a shop. But as the lights warmed up I saw the bike sitting in the corner, and it was beautiful. The bike had been used but it was in show room condition. The back tire had been worn, but only down the middle, did the guy never go around a corner? The thing that I really liked was the owners manual, it was carefully covered in shaky handwriting noting torque specs and maintenance intervals. This bike had been taken care of.

I wanted the bike, but I had made a deal with myself that I would think about it. Over the next week I researched the bike specs, and made sure that I did not want to get another model, like the Honda XR650L. I also kept in contact with the guy and reminded him I was the guy who had come to look at the bike and liked it. Finally I decided to get the bike, and I made arrangements to meet at the bikes location, me driving three hours and him driving two hours, at least I think as I am still not sure where the guy actually lived.

The autumn was spent getting myself geared up for riding, safety gear and MSF-BRC were all needed. I had a couple of crashes on the bike from my lack of skill, nothing major but enough to keep me really sore for a few weeks. By the end of autumn I was commuting on the bike. Best part of commuting on the bike was I could do 75 out of 100 miles on dirt forest roads each day. That was a great couple weeks, 75 miles of dirt a day will teach you a lot.



The goal of riding the bike is twofold for me:
First, I want to learn and become proficient in a new skill.
Second, I want to re-explore the hundreds of miles of forest roads that I have been on in this area. I want to connect the roads and lakes of these woods and a motorcycle is a great tool for that.



I will have lots of basic questions about the bike and riding in general, please bear with me on that.



Oh, if you were wondering about the name of the bike. SETO is Superior (national forest) Exploration Moto. And DRD4-7R is the restless/wanderlust/explorers gene, described in this National Geographic article. I blame it for this motorcycle, among other things in my life.



Here are some photos from my rides and commuting this autumn. Enjoy, as it will be six months before I have new out and about photos to share.

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mkitchen

Explorer
What a great introduction

Here's to you and your new DR 650 (SETO). You have picked a fine bike and you should have lots of fun with this machine. My son has a DR 650 and he rides it most every day. I am sure you will hear from others on what you should do to make it fit you and your riding style so I will let those with more experience chime in there. I too am new to motorcycles and am just learning on my bike, a KLR 650. I will tell you one thing, these bikes are sure a lot of fun. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures.
You work on a sailboat? Wow, that would be a hard but no doubt fulfilling job. Not to mention commuting 100 miles with 75 dirt? You will certainly enjoy your new acquisition.
Mikey
 

Overland Hadley

on a journey
Here's to you and your new DR 650 (SETO). You have picked a fine bike and you should have lots of fun with this machine. My son has a DR 650 and he rides it most every day. I am sure you will hear from others on what you should do to make it fit you and your riding style so I will let those with more experience chime in there. I too am new to motorcycles and am just learning on my bike, a KLR 650. I will tell you one thing, these bikes are sure a lot of fun. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures.
You work on a sailboat? Wow, that would be a hard but no doubt fulfilling job. Not to mention commuting 100 miles with 75 dirt? You will certainly enjoy your new acquisition.
Mikey
Thanks for the kind welcome to the moto section of ExPo!
 

Overland Hadley

on a journey
I wanted to add that the BRC (Basic Rider Course) was really good and I highly recommend it to anybody who is starting riding.

I am hoping to be able to attend some of the advanced courses. Although talking to the instructor, he said that the last couple years they had all been canceled due to the lack of students. I know of a couple other people who would like to take an advanced course, so hopefully we can all get together and make one happen. It is hard when the closest location is 120 miles away.


On a side note, my girl decided she wanted to get a moto permit, take the BRC and get her endorsement as well! It was great to have her along. And she did fantastic on the road test, getting the second lowest (best) score of the whole group. Yes, she did better than I did on the road test! Now I need to get her on her own bike, she likes the looks of a scrambler style bike. I told her to find a bike small enough to fit (she is petite) and we can build it cool, I mean functional. :ylsmoke:
 
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Overland Hadley

on a journey
I need new tires for SETO, and I would like some advice.


I am planning about 20% street 80% dirt, but I really want a tire that will not have any surprises on pavement.

So, do I go with the Dunlop D606, Continental TCK80, Shinko 244, or another option?


I like the idea of the D606 as I will mostly be on dirt roads and I am really tiered of the poor grip the current worn tires have. But I am worried about their performance on pavement, especially wet pavement.

Then should I go the "safe" route and do TCK80's? Not as good in the slick clay we have up here, but better on road?

I have read good things about the Shinko 244. But they cost 1/3 of the other choices and I am afraid of cheap tires.

Is there another tire I should consider for my projected 20/80 use. I need good traction in clay, but solid on pavement with no surprises.


Then again I see a photo like this, and I "need" D606's, so sexy!

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mkitchen

Explorer
Can I add to the confusion?

You might look at the Michelin T63. Not quite as aggressive as the Dunlop but a good dirt tire. I think the differences with Dunlop and Michelin and the more expensive conti is the wear factor. The conti is going to last much longer but if you are more focused on local rides, you may do fine with the less expensive tires.
Mikey
 

Overland Hadley

on a journey
You might look at the Michelin T63. Not quite as aggressive as the Dunlop but a good dirt tire. I think the differences with Dunlop and Michelin and the more expensive conti is the wear factor. The conti is going to last much longer but if you are more focused on local rides, you may do fine with the less expensive tires.
Mikey
Thanks Mikey. Going to look into the T63.

Yes this is a local rides bike, thus the SETO name. It is my training bike. ;)
 

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Cabrito

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I can second the T63 as a pretty decent tire, and they are cheap!! I've got hundreds of miles off pavement and thousands on and they work well for everything. Been through two sets of them.
 
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