Scoot Commute

New-to-me DR350SE, or what to buy after the theft of your perfect DRZ400SM

Posted in Bike Buying, Suzuki DR-Z400SM (Elsa), Suzuki DR350SE (1995) by sbahn on 2012/09/08
Riding the DR350 on backroads between Boston and Providence

Riding the DR350 on backroads between Boston and Providence

I’ve thought about it.

I’ve talked about it.

I’ve googled about it.

I’ve written up a spec sheet about it.

And what is “it”? IT is what bike am I going to get to “replace” Elsa, my delightfully customized 2007 DR-Z 400 SM that was so rudely taken by force by some punks in Providence, let them come to a very tragic (and preferably slow) end.

The decision? TWO BIKES!

Happy girl with her new 1995 DR350SE ... why the Honda girl keeps getting Suzukis is a mystery

Happy girl with her new 1995 DR350SE … why the Honda girl keeps getting Suzukis is a mystery

Well, at least I think two bikes. I finally got the paperwork together for insurance so I don’t know what I’m going to get for replacement value plus accessories. I don’t think “the investigator” was too happy with the delay in me getting him the paperwork (receipts for farkles and the stuff that had to be notarized), but really, could the folks who stole Elsa have done it at a worse time of the year, immediately before the start of semester.

The boyfriend has been dealing with the insurance folks and when he said that they’re going to pull credit reports, naturally I asked, “Why would they need that?” followed immediately by “Is this going to be a soft pull?” Apparently we are guilty until proven innocent. Like I would go through all this drama, the waking up in the middle of the night because I hear a bike, the incessant riding around and peering into every yard, abandoned lot, looking, looking, looking.

Last pic of Elsa, the DRZ400SM ... my pink & black perfect bike

Last pic of Elsa, the DRZ400SM … my pink & black perfect bike

I walked up and down Broad Street, handing out flyers in English and Spanish, walking into all the “men only” kind of places, the mecánico and barbershops, all by myself, with the saddest look I could muster, asking if they see the bike, call me. I just want it back. There’s nothing like 8 guys speaking Spanish at you, which I don’t understand, but I did get that they were angry for me. The one barbershop, for the black guys in the neighborhood, the main guy rides because I saw his Yammy outside and his gear inside. He actually stopped playing a video game with his friend to listen to my sob story. He was ready to get out and help me find the bike!

Ok, so back to the bikes.

I decided on a Honda NX250 or a Suzuki DR350 for the small bike, and a Honda NX650 (aka “the Dominator”) for the big bike. Depending on what we get from the insurance, it may be two, but it may be only one.

The only pic so far without a grin the size of Rhode Island

The only pic so far without a grin the size of Rhode Island

I did think about getting another DRZ400SM because I just loved that bike, but the prices!, oh my! They’ve gone crazy.

Which leads me to today’s purchase. I posted a WTB on ADV, wondering if there were any hidden NX bikes hiding out in New England. I was contacted by a guy who was thinking of selling his 1995 DR350SE, a bike he bought for his wife to learn to ride on and for him to do some trail riding on. He’s a street bike guy (um, Ducati anyone? as in “oh, I’d take that out!”), looking for a little fun on dirt.

Me & Dani, the seller ... doncha love his shirt?!

Me & Dani, the seller … doncha love his shirt?!

I think the DR would have been great for what he wanted, but his wife found it a little too tall and heavy. I guess I should consider myself lucky that I’m 5’11” because I can basically flatfoot anything. So enter me in the picture.

He's a Honda guy ... lucky for me, as this wee Suzuki DR350 hits the spot!

He’s a Honda guy … lucky for me, as this wee Suzuki DR350 hits the spot!

From a couple of PMs on ADV to me dragging the boyfriend out of bed on a Saturday morning at 7:15 to head up to just outside of Boston to take a look at the DR. It was perfect. Beat up enough so I wouldn’t feel bad beating it up more, but with good mods like the big Acerbis tank, Mikuni pumper carb and good handguards.

And uh, it’s blue and yellow. Purrrrrrfect for being turned into a Battenburg bike!

So yeah, I bought it. The guy was super-reasonable on price; exactly what I had in my head. So I was happy.

I found dirt on the way home ... a handful of miles outside of Boston!

I found dirt on the way home … a handful of miles outside of Boston!

My prep included bringing full gear, working out a backroads route back home, and having the boyfriend ready to add it to the insurance on the spot.

Off we headed back toward PVD, an uneventful, tertiary roads ride. It’s amazing how much undeveloped land there is 12 miles outside of Boston. I even managed to find a dirt road!

What is that dial thing on the right?

What is that dial thing on the right?

Mileage: 5539.3
Ride: 56.1
Mileage upon arriving home: 5595.4

Librarian boyfriend stopped at the Cumberland Public Library, which is in a former monastery

Librarian boyfriend stopped at the Cumberland Public Library, which is in a former monastery

I stopped just over the border in little Rhody to fill up and it was almost $10. I’m not used to this big tank business. My head almost fell off.

As for farkling this bike, I’m going to keep it how it is until things break. The only things I really want to add are a tank bag and some sort of rack that can handle saddlebags (keep ’em off the exhaust). But I will pay attention to weight, as this thing weighs nothing compared to the DRZ after I added about 40 pounds to her.

So, do I really need an NX650?

It's GPS ready!

It’s GPS ready!

The route home ... where would I be without my ghetto GPS?

The route home … where would I be without my ghetto GPS?

And finally …

it’s a HE and his name is …

Garda. Although the boyfriend wants to call him “Centipede“.

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2 Responses

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  1. MrMoto said, on 2012/09/09 at 8:19 am

    Really happy you found a new bike. Maybe I’ll run into the two of you at Rice-o-Rama today.

  2. Gary said, on 2013/09/06 at 11:53 am

    Sorry to hear of this rip-off & the events afterward. Hopefully your insurance company paid as they should ; You didn’t ask for their Better Business Bureau score before paying the premiums so why should they ask for your credit score before paying on their contract with you? & like MrMoto said last year, hope to run into you & your guy at Rice-O-Rama Sunday in 2013. I’ll have a 86 black Yamaha Maxim-X with CT antique vehicle plates, stop by and say hi.


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