Suzuki DR650 Street Tracker

DR650 Street Tracker by Mike Sternick

DR650 Street Tracker by Mike Sternick

Whenever we talk about all around motorcycles on The Kneeslider, the kind of bike you can ride every day no matter where you're going, someone will mention the Suzuki DR series, a bike capable of taking on both urban streets or the occasional off road foray. The comment is usually along the lines of "someone should modify a DR" or "I was thinking about converting a DR." Mike Sternick, on the other hand, did more than think about it, he actually did the work and the end result looks pretty good.

The DR is a single cylinder dual purpose bike and comes from the factory dressed in the usual off road garb, a look which might turn away the more street oriented rider, even though that same rider might love the bike. Hmm ..., what to do.

DR650 Street Tracker by Mike Sternick

DR650 Street Tracker by Mike Sternick

Well, here's what Mike says he did:

The suspension's been lowered 3" with a 18" front and 17"rear rim. I used the stock seat panel and just recut the foam. Rear fender is off a trailer. Side panels were cut from sheet stock left over from another project. I'm not sure what the tank is off of, an old AMF maybe. The exhaust is one off with a two brothers muffler a friend gave me. A little loud for the neighbors but just right for me.

DR650 Street Tracker

DR650 Street Tracker

This street tracker still retains lots of suspension travel but sheds the off road look and dressed like this, would fit in most anywhere Mike decides to take it. It's amazing how a few well thought out changes dramatically alter the appearance. With lots of used DRs for sale, someone might get the idea of trying this themselves.

Nice work, Mike!

DR650 Street Tracker from Mike Sternick

DR650 Street Tracker from Mike Sternick


  1. Alan says

    Sort of mutant motard, or “mutard.” I’ve been thinking about a winter project, and this is one way to go.

  2. Kenny says

    Just looking at a build like this makes you realize how many other directions there are for modifying a nice simple bike like this.
    Excellent work Mike, I’m loving the bare-bones back-to-basics look.

  3. Greybeard says

    Only one problem.
    When cool builds like this show up you can’t touch one on Craig’s for twice what they were going for yesterday!

  4. Nicolas says

    Oh man, that’s a great bike, I love it ! Great job keeping it simple as can be … excellent work.

    I used to have DR650, this thing can do anything anywhere, from embarrassing yourself in the dirt wood trails to embarrass sportbikes buddies in the mountain twisties, doing the daily commuting, all that without any mechanical worries …

  5. Jim says

    I’ve seen lots of single-cylinder dual-purpose bikes on the street and thought that with a lower frame, different rims, street tires and a decent tank in place of the plastic atrocities, they’d make good street bikes — sort of taking them back to their roots. Mike has it just right! Is that tail light a Bates “non-Viagra”?

  6. Skizick says

    Fun lookin’ ride. An oil cooler full of mud would make me want a front fender tho. Cool oil preceeds cool looks.

  7. John says

    I think Sternick could make money cranking out kits for the DR. The exhaust design needs a little cleaning up, but otherwise it’s great-looking!

  8. Marvin says

    Very nice looking bike from another Suzuki single, looks like you have two ways to make a bike like this, lower a crosser or lift a small cruiser like the S40 featured a while back. I really like these leave the frame alone but transform the look of the bike conversions they are inspiring and often (like this one) look really good.

  9. todd says

    I’m in the middle of doing this to me XR650L (another, awesome candidate). I first changed it to a motard with CBR600 wheels but since there are better dirt bikes I am planning on lowering it for a 100% street look. So far none of the tanks I’ve offered up to it fit well but it hasn’t stopped me so far.

    On the flip side, my R75/5 that I converted to a cafe racer a while back is now a scrambler. That’s the fourth iteration so far; stocker, bobber, cafe, now scambler.

    This post is great inspiration. Once I figure out some pieces for the XR that don’t require too much modification I’m going to start producing kits.


  10. lostinoz says

    … do i detect a hint of GN/GS in those forks?
    looks GREAT love the tracker, cafe, and motard looks, and with this bike, you can see all THREE shining through…
    im working on a seca 550 cafe right now… and to be honest, after looking at this build, im considering giving up the seca.

  11. Jim says

    Hey, Sick Cylinder, it’s a street tracker — no mudguard necessary. But for practical use, I’d install a front fender from an early 70’s BSA or Triumph — one of the nicest-looking mudguards ever, and being from a country where the weather rarely cooperates, highly practical.

  12. Scott S says

    It never ceases to amaze me that you can find these wonderful builds Paul. It looks like a good project that I can come close to with number two son over the winter.I am looking… As mentioned.. Craigslist and E bay will like this thread.

  13. rfileger says

    I love it! It looks like a motorcycle, I’m sure it has plenty of go and it doesn’t weigh a ton.

  14. Craig says

    I like Alan’s description: “Mutard”. Great combination of art and tech. Well done Mike!!

  15. Cameron Nicol says

    This Is what I was talking about on the What can motorcycles learn from furniture factories. The big four all make a decent enduro. Just lower it, put on street wheels, replace a bit of body work and sell it. No new mechanicl parts. Keep it simple. A street bike for the same price as the enduro model.

  16. wade says

    the absolute, most favorable UMC of all time. this bike can be an 80mph dirt bike, a near hundred mph street fighter, or a super light chopper that can embarrass people who spent 50 grand on a painted-up abortion. still an icon with no respect, the suzuki 650 single is far greater than its reputation.

  17. Alan says

    Well, Cameron, Honda and Yamaha did that with their 500cc enduros back in the ’80s. Those Ascots, SR’s and SRX’s sort of languished in a sea of more powerful bikes. They still have their cult followings, and they had much longer lives outside the US, but this is a market that always wants faster–or at least bigger.

  18. Grant says

    I gave an ’86 Honda XL600R the same basic treatment with two omissions: It hasn’t been lowered (yet), and I still have an up (supertrapp) pipe. Oh, and I am running a maier supermoto fender up front, because sometimes I get caught in the rain. Rock on, Mike!

  19. Brent says

    I was looking at these DR650’s on line the other day thinking what good bikes they are but how ugly a plastic body is especially after the sun gets to them and there awful stickers. I was trying to imagine one decked out like a old TS but little did I imagine when I checked out today’s article I’d get to see one. It looks great! I seen someone wanted him to clean up the exhaust but I didn’t see anything wrong. It would be neat seeing the seat leveled, a old “leg burner” TS style exhaust installed and maybe a front fender. The old TS was a air cooled Two-Cycle engine so by comparison you would be working with more in some places and less in others. But I love this bike he does need to start putting out a kit for these and maybe some other bikes. He seems to be modest with his design and his kits could be a affordable solution for cleaning up old DR’s.

  20. Another Jim says

    I’ve mulled a DR as a street bike conversion off and on and love this. Well conceived and executed and seemingly done with junk yard parts rather than lots of custom fab. Love it.

  21. Parkwood60 says

    Whenever I see a custom built bike without a front or rear fender I always think these are bike built but never ridden. Or bikes built by guys who don’t ride very frequently. I was a motorcycle mounted messenger. After a face, or back full of dirty garbage water, a bike without fenders will always look wrong. You don’t even have to ride in the rain. Even in Los Angeles in a drought you occasionally run across puddles of mystery water.

    Put a front fender on it and finish the exhaust system and I like it.

  22. Alan says

    Or maybe they come from mountain biking or BMX, Parkwood, where getting dirty is no big deal. Or dirt track. Or choppers.

  23. Jim says

    Speaking of running through things, does anyone know how to remove burned-on plastic grocery bag material from a pipe without scratching the chrome?

  24. 850Commando says

    EZ Off COLD oven cleaner, tape off any rubber / plastic nearby, spray it on COLD pipe, let is sit, if needed rub with a sponge or Mr Clean white sponge thing, rinse repeat.

  25. Jim says

    850 Commando —
    Thank you! I’ll give it a try. BTW; the bag is stuck to the pipe on my ’72 BSA B50, currently not running because a chunk of Amal cracked off and was swallowed by the engine at about 3,000 rpm last week. Not unheard of with English thumpers. I’ll have the top end off soon, and she’ll be back on the road before long thanks to the good folks at Baxter Cycle. Do you still ride a Norton or have you given up on trying to start the thing?

  26. Mule says

    Jim, Get it smokin’ hot again and then scrape it off with a piece of wood. Wood doesn’t scratch the chrome. Then when it’s cold again, rub it out with polish.

    Parkwood, front fender = a bike that gets ridden? Good thing that doesn’t apply to bicycles! None would get ridden. Actually I see that the flattrack guys in Europe are fitting front fenders, but they’re riding on all sorts of slimey tracks in all weather. Just like the speedway guys.

  27. Scotduke says

    Nice bike, those DRs are good bikes and good base to work from. I’d happily ride something like this. I commute by motorbike and this would do the job and make the trip fun as well.

  28. L.K. says

    Awesome, I’m in the beginning of a previous gen kick only dr650 street conversion… (a bike I’ve owned for years, and love). This is great inspiration – some of the choices, like wheel sizes, are similar to mine, its good to see that it’ll look good.

  29. Thom says

    I like it. I think the exhaust is great the way it is, and I’ve run streetbikes with no front fender for years….. Though on this style bike I’d probably opt for one if for no other reason than looks. Also, I LOVED the SRX. Both the 250 and 6. I’ve been looking for one for ages with no luck, and thanks to this idea, I might not have to bother. But if anyone has one for sale….? LOL. Oh, and didn’t the DR come stock with a 17′ wheel on the rear?

  30. vb says

    I really like the clean simple look of this bike. I love my ’98 DR650 but its white/yellow/purple is getting pretty dated, maybe this is just what is order

  31. Bob says

    I dig the intent, but, I’m not feeling the look of the execution. I know it’s using lots of the original bike, but, when I think streettracker, I think framers with 19″ front and rear, maybe XR tanks and tails. Stock frame and forks… I’d look more at motard, maybe with a streetfighter kinda aftertaste.

  32. Klaus says

    Beautiful! As far as I recall the whole motard / supermoto thing started in Europe with the DR650 – people realized what a great bike the DR would be with smaller rims and street rubber. Remember it started in France where they called them “motard” which sounds a bit weird to english speakers (like the rest of that language) so when the fad caught on they called it supermoto.
    I had a XR650L with a jetted carb, K&N filter and a Supertrapp exhaust at the same time I had DR650 – the DR blew the XR away stone stock! The engine makes the power down low and the 3rd gear is just sweeet. The Honda looked better, though.
    Not than this one!

  33. JT haney says

    This is a real cafe racer! the bike as a whole completed statment is great. I appreciate this very mtch.


  34. Klaus says

    A short fat exhaust like on the SRX600 would give the front half more weight visually and keep the rear end open and cleaner looking.

  35. Mule says

    Klaus, A bit of history as I know it. And some opinion. In the late 70’s ABC Wide World of Sports threw together a made for television event called “The Superbikers”. This was in a time when everything was “Super”. It was to be run on a course with pavement (roadracing), flattrack, TT, and motocross sections. Riders from all the different racing disciplines would compete on a single bike that they thought would work best fand provide the fastest way around the course. They ran the event for a few years. I went to 2 of the events and watched live. Dave Aldana, riding an XR500 Honda did a wheelie all the way down the Carlsbad dragstrip (the pavement portion). He looped it right in front of us and slid on his ass for a really long way. Nylon motocross pants on the pavement! He then had to ride back to the pits with the seat of his pants missing and his entire ass hanging out to the roar of the crowd!

    Anyway, “Some” people thought it would be the next big thing, but they were’t the people that mattered. It died and found more appreciation in France as Super Mottard. Then faded for several years until (the opinion part) the introduction of 4-stroke motocrossers. Then it seemed to take off again. There have been some attempts to bring it back in the USA but it seems to have stumbled. If the Big-4 had brought all the Mottard models in from Japan that they were selling there and sold them here, perhaps the look, ride, sound and techniques would have helped the racing here flourish (opinion). Mottard bikes now seem to be just another model in a crowded market place.

    Another opinion on the demise of the The Superbikers here was that the right guys weren’t winning. It gravitated towards motocrossers instead of GNC winners and Roadrace World Champions. Yes, Motocross was really big, but the race required a certain type of fan base that didn’t exist in big enough numbers.

  36. David says

    I bought a 81 dr500 a few months ago and it is complete but this conversion looks better nice ride

  37. GT Mike says

    I tried to keep as many parts in there stock location for easy service.It turned out to be a great daily driver.Soaks up everything any road in Jersey can throw at it.Weight was about 35lbs.I’d love to make a kit but know after market parts company seemed interested.I lowered it another inch and it still needs a fork brace and front fender.
    Tires are Prelli Scorpion A/T.ITS NOW FOR SALE SO I CAN START A WINTER PROJECT.asking $6000.00 obo


  38. Alex says

    what was the final seat height after you lowered it all the way down? I am a shorter rider, I have been considering a build like this for several months, but I need know my feet will reach the ground before i dig in.

  39. Norm says

    I love my DR. It’s amazing on the pavement even with knobbies. Your conversion (idea) has been in my head for a few years. Now that you’ve shown me the bike \in the flesh\ I’m really getting anxious about it. I have a Ducati 916 seat that would finish the rear (it would have to be trimmed lower and narrowed). No front fender is ok as I have other bikes. Lighter, cleaner, simpler is the way to happiness. I like the blacked-out engine and forks but highly polished (very British) would look great too. BTW, I have the Mikuni Flat side carb on mine. It really smooths the DR out for a more pleasant full day ride. I’d hate to give up my dual sport ride so I guess I’ll be looking for an additional DR. I’ve got a photoshopped version ready. How can I post it?

  40. Tom says

    Whoa… Mike, by far the coolest DR I have ever laid eyes on!!! Got my biking taste buds tantilized. A job well-done

  41. matt lynch says

    i am working on doing this do my dr250s right now. so far the engine has been giving me trouble, or maybe the carb. i dont know. inverted stock bars feel pretty great when you have no thick dirt bike seat.

    do you know if there is a build thread for this awesome ride?
    im totally lost when it comes to frame modifications, and my dad, who can weld, doesnt know i have another bike, which is something i have supposedly gotten beyond. bleh.

  42. Luke says

    That is awesome! Makes me want to go pick one up and start building a project bike. I have seen a few Honda XR builds, but I would think the Suzuki would be a less expensive route to start from.


  43. pietro says

    I like it a lot, good job. It is do aggressive.
    This is a good idea for my project about Suzuki DR500.
    According to you is possible to realize a street tracker with my Suzuki?