2002 Suzuki XF650 Freewind from United Kingdom

Summary:

Comfortable, economical, capable, reliable, simple

Faults:

Primary drive gear nut came loose. Well known issue, shared with the DR650 and easy to fix at home.

General Comments:

The most comfortable bike I've ever owned. The seat is vast, and the fairing keeps the cold winter blast off your upper body. The plush suspension soaks up the potholes and speed bumps.

It works very well as an off roader, and will get you most of the places the more dirt focused bikes will get you.

The bike needs to have the standard endcan replaced or modified to allow the engine to breath. In standard trim the engine is strangled and won't run smoothly below 4K RPM; with a free-flowing silencer it becomes a proper big single, which will pull stumps from tickover.

Fuel economy regularly runs to 60-65 MPG.

Long distance cruising is a pleasure, keep to 70-75MPH and the world's your oyster, the bike will return 60MPG at that speed. It will sit at 80MPH but it will be turning at 6K RPM, which I think is a lot for big single.

Home servicing is a piece of cake, screw and locknut tappets are easily accessed. The air filter is washable so that saves a bit of cash and the oil filters are under £5. The Freewind uses the SACS oil cooling system so it has a big oil radiator and wet sump, which explains the high mileages these engines will turn.

The engine character is that of a long stroke engine (it isn't long stroke, but feels like it is), it's not about revving it to the red and zipping through the gears, it's much happier at mid-range roll ons in higher gears - very good for overtaking on the open roads.

Things to look out for:

- Stripped oil drain plug; if some idiot has used a torque wrench on the plug, it will strip the thread out of the cases.

- Primary nut coming loose. This happened to me. It manifests as a harsh bottom end clonk at tickover, which goes away when riding along. It takes less than an hour to fix; just apply threadlock and torque to 72 ftlbs.

- The threads in the lugs on the swingarm where the chain guard attaches often strip. Easily fixed by drilling and tapping out to M8; there's plenty of room in the guard to use M8 Allen bolts.

- Seized exhaust bolts, not really a problem specific to the XF650 (all bikes suffer with it) but of the three XFs I've owned, they've all had seized exhaust bolts.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st December, 2014

1998 Suzuki XF650 Freewind from New Zealand

Summary:

One sweeeeet ride

Faults:

Nuthin'. Little bit of backfire on the overrun, but fixing that means work. So I ain't doin' it.

General Comments:

I went from a little Yammie Scorpio to this Freewind recently. I tried out a Kwaka W650, but that handled like a pig and tried to spit me off round a bumpy corner, so no deal.

On the other hand, the Freewind handled even BETTER than the Scorpio (high praise indeed), but rode much softer, saving me from backache. Cornering didn't seem at all limited, where the Scorp used to freak me out with vibes from the muffler on my foot when leaned right over.

I don't get blown all around thanks to the fairing, the engine's smooth enough not to numb my hands (which the Scorp did sometimes), and now I've got the grunt to whip past slow farts in cars, and keep up a good canter without straining the bejeesus out of the rev range, a standard feature of the Scorp.

Now the Freewind's done some k's, but it has a big oil cooler, and it feels well built, everything works as it should. Love the digital dash, fun on a long run to keep playing with the numbers.

The Freewind's as big a bike as I want, don't need to go faster, but I can troll along in comfort as far as I want, and still slow down to explore if the urge arises. The 19" front wheel isn't exactly enduro max, but helps a lot with street handling, and feels safer in the rain. I didn't want a dirt bike, just something cheap and reliable that makes riding anywhere fun and a real pleasure.

I have definitely found it here.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd April, 2011

1997 Suzuki XF650 Freewind from Australia

Summary:

Best there is in Duel sport. 10 out of 10

Faults:

My Freewind had a starter motor fail @ 23,000 klm's. Replacement cost $500 au.

General Comments:

For a bike built as a road and trail duel sport, I would have to give the Freewind 10 out of 10.

I have traveled around Australia for the last 5 years, and apart from normal wear and tear, brake pads, tyres etc, the bike has been 100% reliable. Apart from a failed starter motor early in its life, no problems at all.

I just love the flexibility of this duel sport; Suzuki went badly wrong when they discontinued this model.

It can cruise 2 up with the top box fully loaded at 120-130 klm's all day every day, and can out corner and out brake most mid sized sporties.

As for styling? Each to their own, but I love the euro looks and styling. The LCD dash is fantastic!

Faults, I can honestly say, nothing worth mentioning.

Improvements, fit Metzler MT duel sport tyres asap, wear better and handle much better on and off road than the Italian counterparts.

Highly recommend this bike; I've been riding for 37 years, and this is the friendliest and most forgiving bike I've ever owned.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th July, 2007

1998 Suzuki XF650 Freewind from Hong Kong

Summary:

Good motor with not so great styling

Faults:

Front brake caliper binding, but mainly due to neglect by the previous owner.

LCD screen has some parts of the speedometer numbers disappearing.

The seat pushes you down and forward, and is getting a bit soft and not so supportive.

General Comments:

Good commuter, light and economic. Just keep those oil changes nice and regular.

The main problem is finding after-market stuff for it because of a short manufacturing run of 5 years e.g. things like long range tanks if you want to use it for overland touring.

Handling is good for this kind of bike.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th December, 2005