Rumour: Suzuki is building a new DR Big

Supposedly, Suzuki is releasing a new DR Big, based on the V-Strom 1000 V-twin, not a massive thumper like the original pictured here.

A Spanish dirt biking mag has started a rumour that’s got the Interwebz abuzz: Supposedly, Suzuki is planning to make a new DR Big.

For those of you who weren’t around for the first DR Big, it was truly an awesome beast, a full-sized adventure bike built around the biggest mass-produced single-cylinder engine ever. Also known as the Desert Express, or as the DR750 in its original form, the first version built in 1988 and 1989 had a massive 727 cc air/oil-cooled thumper powerplant. In 1990, it was boosted to 779 cc, and called the DR800. Production ended in 1999.

These days, you can order a big-bore kit that takes a DR650 even further, to a crazy 790 cc, but when you’re talking factory bikes, those old DR Bigs still hold the record. They were dinosaurs, but legends in their time, raced at Dakar when the event was still a dangerous African adventure. You still see them on the road from time to time, but they’re definitely rare.

Now, the hot gossip is that Suzuki wants to take the engine from the V-Strom 1000 and build a new DR Big. And, taking a few things into consideration, it might actually make sense.

First: Although Suzuki already has a litre-class adventure bike, the V-Strom 1000, there’s definitely a market these days for ruggedized versions of softer adventure machines. See also: Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled, Triumph’s Tiger XC and Scrambler XC lines.

Second: Suzuki is all about recycling its older tech these days. The new Katana? Old naked bike components recycled from older superbike components. The SV650X cafe racer? Just a restyle job on the classic SV650 naked bike. A machine based on the V-Strom 1000 would fit into that pattern.

So, we’ll see; if the rumours are true, we’d expect a glimpse of the bike on this year’s show circuit.


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