90-Year-Old Rider and his 2005 Suzuki DR650

A reliable workhorse for a retiree who still loves to ride!

90-year-old Erv Daley and his 145,000-mile Suzuki DR650.Photo: Joe Lang

NAME: Erv Daley
AGE: 90
HOME: Florida
OCCUPATION: "Retired bum."

I've ridden my Suzuki DR650 all over the country. In the summer I leave Florida with my 23-foot motor home and 10-foot trailer with a few bikes in it, and the DR always comes along. When I see an interesting place I pull up, unload the Suzuki, and go explore. Last summer I drove the RV about 2,100 miles (to California), but put about 5,000 miles on the DR! That includes plenty of off-roading in the Sierra.

I bought the DR new in Hubbard, Iowa, in September 2005 and I’ve been riding it nearly nonstop ever since. It currently has 145,000 miles on the clock with no major engine repairs. It’s been totally dependable. I change the oil and filter every 3,000 miles, adjust the valves every 10,000 miles, and that’s it. Oh I do tend to use up chains, sprockets, brake pads, and of course tires! I’ve always used Avon Gripsters, they’re a good universal tire for the DR. This bike has been totally dependable. It doesn’t have any electronics to short out and it’s air-cooled, so there’s to radiator to worry about.

I’ve added a few things over the years to improve the DR. There’s a Trail Tech Endurance computer for accurate mileage and a roll chart for following the Trans America Trail. I also added a tachometer, water-bottle holder, a watch, a thermometer, and a 12-volt socket for accessories. It’s got a home-built roll-up windshield for highway comfort, a low Preston Petty front fender (remember those?) with a fork brace, hand guards, and a 5.5-gallon IMS tank, which will give us around a 300 mile range with conservative riding. I also installed longer dog bones in the rear suspension to lower the rear end 2.5 inches, and installed a Bates leather solo seat ($5 used in 1970 and has been on many of my bikes since then).

Since I started riding in 1943 I’ve owned and ridden many different bikes, but the DR has got to be my favorite. Or was it my 1928 101 Indian Scout? It’s getting hard to remember!