Big-bore Suzuki “DR790” from Texas…
The Suzuki DR650 has been in production for nearly 30 years now, a 46-horsepower big single that’s earned a reputation for ruggedness and do-it-all utility. The air/oil-cooled engine is counterbalanced, making the bike quite smooth for a big thumper, and Suzuki continues to advertise the DR as one of the most versatile bikes ever made, eager to tackle a wide array of terrains, climates, and jobs/adventures. It’s hard to think of a better platform for going off the main roads– especially without the cost and weight of a multi-cylinder ADV bike.
Enter Jesse Cruze of Houston, Texas, who balances his day job as an art director in the advertising field with his second vocation, building bikes:
“I spend a lot of time designing on the computer as it is — naturally I find it therapeutic to transfer that same energy into something more readily tangible like motorcycles.”
Amen, sir. This 2013 DR650 project came from a friend, Eli Gautreaux, whose riding style necessitated a bike that was tough and reliable:
“He’s an avid rider who shows little mercy to the machines he rides, which is always a challenge and sort of measuring stick for the builds.”
Fortunately, Jesse has always preferred to build bikes whose purpose, functionality, and value aren’t sacrificed for style. This DR650 now sports a 790cc big bore kit, 4-gallon total fuel capacity, custom-tailored subframe, wireless charging, upgraded suspension, and much more. Below, we get the full story on the build straight from the builder himself.
Suzuki DR650 Custom: In the Builder’s Words
I’m an art director in advertising by trade, so I spend a lot of time designing on the computer as it is — naturally I find it therapeutic to transfer that same energy into something more readily tangible like motorcycles. I started working on motorcycles back in 2011 when I was about to graduate college.
I don’t make enough income off my projects to call myself a shop, but I spend enough time out in the shop doing it to call it my second vocation. Most of my projects are personal projects that I flip for more junkers to rebuild. I like to keep my hands busy.
In terms of “philosophy” I love all motorcycles but I would say not all bikes are created equal. There are a lot of bikes created to look fantastic at a show, I would say they even edge more towards fine art — but I’ve never had much of an interest in that style. The thing I love about design, at least in my field, is that every choice must be weighed against functionality first. It’s a process of subtraction where you see how much can be taken away without compromising purpose and value.
Anyways, I built the bike for my friend Eli Gautreaux and I owe him a great deal of gratitude as he always seems to bring me the best projects. He’s an avid rider who shows little mercy to the machines he rides which is always a challenge and sort of measuring stick for the builds. I really enjoy riding but always seem to get the most satisfaction spending a few months in the shop re-imaging what a bike could be and how it should function, it’s a labor of love.
About the Bike…
I started with a a great DR650 donor with relatively low miles. I ungraded the engine to a hefty 790cc and threw an aftermarket performance carb and uni filter on it. Made a new subframe with angles and proportions more suitable for the rider’s size.
Fabbed a 1-gallon aluminum rear fuel cell to compliment the 3-gallon Honda gas tank. Handmade aluminum side covers. Fit new Excel rims front and back, new tires and rotors. Handmade a new aluminum front fender and fairing with lens guard to house a Rigid Industries two function LED bar.
Completely new and simplified wiring harness with Motogadget M-unit and mini bar mounted Motoscope mini. Dash also includes a Ram phone mount with wireless charging.
Routed a new tail pipe and Supertrapp muffler to the rear of the bike and had a new seat upholstered locally.
Other upgrades include relocated rear master cylinder with shield, new mini brake lines, Highway Dirtbike NexGen handguards, ceramic engine paint, Acerbis bash plate, custom painted frame and accessories.
Last but not least a new built to spec Cogent Dynamics Mojave rear suspension kit and drop in damper cartridges for the front.
Follow the Builder: @wisdomteeeth