DR350 Workdays, Part I

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Boy I haven’t been doing a very good job at keeping this updated.

On Sunday I finished buttoning up the engine so I could maybe ride this “new” bike.

Since I tend to buy my oil by the gallon I needed an easy way to measure how much oil was going into the bike so I could have a nice baseline with this new unfamiliar machine. Off to Amazon I went. When the package arrived Holly asked if I was going Walter White on her…

While I had it in the garage I figured I would tackle two of the issues I had with the bike. First the bike had lowering links (-1.5″), at six feet tall I really don’t need those so I went off to eBay and got a set of OEM links. I also found that the original street model shock was blown out, badly enough that I could hear oil squishing when compressing the suspension with my own weight. I found a DR350 dirt model shock on eBay for a good price and snagged it up, this gave me rebound damping adjustment.

Low-ride-er rides a little slower.

Next on the agenda was to clean up the main harness. As with many bikes a common modification on the DR is to remove the sidestand safety switch. Whoever did it used this dubious patch to do the job (note, I had already unwrapped the factory tape from the loom here).

Since I like my electric stuff to work I trimmed the entire sidestand switch dogleg out of the loom then soldered the two wires together, covering them in sealing heat shrink tubing.

Last I wrapped the entire loom in dry vinyl tape (no messy glue). When I wrapped it I added in two 14 gauge wires for the auxiliary lights I’ll put on later.

I put the loom back in the bike, put the tank back on and other critical items and though I’d go for a nice ride.  Things don’t always go as planned.

It was a bit late on Sunday when I finished up so I saved the ride for Monday after work. I left work, picked Sebastian up, then rushed home to play with my motorcycle. I pulled it out of the garage and started kicking…


I kicked some more. I got tired. Damnit.

I checked over everything, all looks well, I double checked. Ultimately, well after dark, I decided to take the risky move. I pushed it down the street to the hill. Rolled it down and tried to bump start it. Tried three times on the little hill, on the third time it lit but the engine raced real bad. As I was fumbling for the enricher knob I stalled it.


Up the hill I go. Down I go, no luck. Up/down/up/down, hey! It hits again! This time I get a good 200′ down the road before I fumble and stall it, again the engine is racing. So I push it some more but never get it started again. At about 12:30, after about a dozen times pushing it up the hill I give up and push it home.

On Tuesday I try again. This time I get it to fire on the second time down the hill and run it for a good 1000′, engine racing the whole way (moderating speed with feathering clutch and brake). I stall it out then walk it home and pull the carb. I realized it was racing due to me setting the throttle screw wrong, oops. But while I have it apart I notice a few little things wrong in the carb. such as some grit causing the accelerator pump to stick so no harm in pulling it.

I put the carb. back on and walk the bike down the street to the hill. Push it down, jump on, and bump it. Now I’ve done this quite a few times, I have a system for the DR350. The bike is so light that popping the clutch in 2nd just causes the rear wheel to lock up. To mitigate that I hold both the clutch and decompression levers in. When I jump on the bike I release the clutch and let the engine spin with no compression, then I release the decompression lever. Letting the engine start moving before giving it full compression does the trick and, provided I have enough speed, starts it every time. I do need a hill to do this though because I can’t quite run fast enough on flat ground and hop on before I lose all my speed.

Anyway, it starts and idles at a reasonable speed. Victory! I let it warm up for a few seconds then reach down and hit the throttle screw to keep the risk of stalling it down, now I’m going to ride it! I haven’t ridden a motorcycle in nine months!

Pull the clutch, push the shifter down. Hits the skid. Damnit. Oh well, fuck first. Go up into second and take off. Try to shift to third. It isn’t there. Run around in second a bit then ride home to adjust the shifter.

Take it back out. Still no first, but sometimes I can find third. Damnit. Oh well, I ride it around about a mile anyway just to get it going (and as an excuse to ride). Then I pull it in and set it in my side yard for the night.

Category: DR350, Projects

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