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Reviews: GSXR750 & DRZ400 Motard

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by koma, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. Well i just spent the last 20 minutes doing a full writeup on these two bikes only to have a damn fuse blow in the house losing ALL of the writeup... so this is going to be a summarised version of what i CAN remember.

    '06 DRZ400 Motard
    This thing is fun! I'd been keen on taking a motard out for a spin for a while now, and given the opportunity i was grinning from ear to ear. For a taller rider like myself to get in and around the city... nothing, i mean nothing would beat a motard! This is all a bit of a shock for me as i've always been one of those pure-bred sports bike guys... but i'm coming to terms with it slowly.
    Now when i say this thing is fun, i don't mean fun in the same sports bike kind of way that's likely to see you hand in your license within the week of taking ownership. This kind of fun is the sort that can be had at mostly-legal speeds, doing mostly legal things. This all comes about as the main grunt of the DRZ400 is between 0-70km/h. Over 70 and it still 'goes' just it seems to take on a more functional requirement of being able to attain freeway speeds - which it does comfortably.
    Anyway, i'll go through the positives and negatives:
    + Suspension and geometry took a little getting used to but are awesome fun once your in the swing of things!
    + Front brakes are phenomenal! Stoppies just seem to happen... 'honestly officer!'
    + Enough grunt to have fun as long as your in first or second gear. I say this as it really does emphasise that your more likely to have fun around the city than you would out in the sticks.
    + Surprisingly comfortable for such a pathetic looking seat, not sure about the long haul though.

    - Not quite enough power to keep me entertained for the long term. I did get chatting with the guy at the dealership who said an extra bit of kick is pretty easy to get from them with an aftermarket pipe, bigger carbs and a bit of tuning. I do believe him as it sounded like it was being choked.
    - Exhaust note really didn't sing... although i think this is why the bike sounds like it's being choked.
    - Instrumentation was a bare minimum... it passed the ADR and with lights and mirrors it got a roadworthy so it's good enough for me!
    - I don't have one in my garage. :(

    Overall: 9/10 (city), 7/10 (outer-burbs)
    Final thoughts: If someone can recommend a motard with a bit more mumbo than this one, i'm keen to try it out. I reckon a 600 or a 660 donk would be perfect for a bike like this! I'd still be more than happy with the DRZ400 as a city bike, as i'm getting tired of the warp speed commute on my FZR1000. Only problem would be i'd probably replan my commutes to take in the best twisties and intersections... which would quadruple my commute time!

    '06 GSXR750
    + Exhaust system and note is freaking awesome! Can't believe it's a stocker.
    + Loud enough to make school girls flutter and wave (i pissed myself laughing)
    + Confidence inspiring suspension and geometry.
    + Excellent dash for a digital readout... last bike i rode with one (ZX636) turned me off digital readouts; this Gixxer has restored my faith in them!
    + Enough power to get lofty in first under power, and second with a clutch up.
    + Nice EFI (coming from a carby 1000) meant everything was crisp... possibly too crisp (see negatives).
    + Looks could kill... and i'm a Yamaha man!

    - For a 6'3" rider it was surprisingly comfortable for a short testride, however longer than half an hour might see me unable to undo the contortions required to get on it. That said the tank is cut in a way that even my long legs fit it! I do also have a preference of sitting in a bike rather than on it, and found the GSXR750 to have a nice half way point.
    - Location of exhaust meant that when taking off from quickly and trailing my legs the exhaust gases were being splarted directly onto my shin! I still forgive the location of it as the exhaust system is still damn nice!
    - Bars need to be bent out about 5-8 degrees forwards so it might be possible to actually get to the steering stop before i bash my wrist into the tank. Stock location made it impossible to complete a 90 degree turn into a side street without beating my wrist into the tank.
    - Takes too long to wind up and get going... but that's just a relative thing coming from a 1000cc bike. If i could learn to keep the rev's up in the lower stratosphere again like i did on a 250, i think i'd learn to love it.
    - I'm still not sure why it happened but twice during my test ride i gently wound on the throttle whilst exiting a corner to find the rear tyre just spin up and start to step out. The impressive thing is that it did it in such a fashion that i could easily hold it spinning and return to normal programming with not so much as a conscious thought! I'm putting this down to the crispness of the EFI combined with the grunt of the 750 motor. I've never had an issue with this on my 1000, nor any of the other carb'd big bored i've ridden. Only comparison i can draw would be to the '05 ZX636 which was far more snatchy on the EFI but didn't do fun tricks like the GSXR750.

    Final thoughts: It's an awesome bike... and in the right hands it'd be a weapon. In my hands it was just an oversized pair of scissors about to cut up my license. Most likely if i wasnt on a test ride i would learn to ride it in a more sedate manner... but to hear that banshee scream from the exhaust as the revs approched the limiter is intoxicating.

  2. Well, the KTM 625SMC would be the obvious candidate... BTW, how tall are you? These DRZs look like they should come with their own ladder...

    Edit: oh, sorry, I missed that - you're 6'3"... no wonder DRZ is comfortable for you :)
  3. Good words Koma,

    How do you reckon you would go commuting on a Motard over longer distances 60kms each way?

    Must say I love the look of these and everyone who rides one says they are a lot of fun.

    Can you transform a motard into a dirt bike if so desired for a dirty weekend?
  4. Aha... yeah, the KTM is the one i've seen a few guys on around the city and it's caught my eye! I'll have to go and check them out when i get a chance.

    I'm 6'3" by the way, so believe it or not the bike is actually the PERFECT height for me! Literally, when i stop at the lights i just stand up and my bum is about 1" or so above the seat. :grin: For all those shorter riders out there... i would feel sorry for you, but for me it's usually the other way round! (bikes being waaaay too small).

    Matti-san: I'd say the commute from Mt Martha to Melbourne would be tolerable, but you'd really have to test out the ergonomics of the bike for yourself. I could easily imagine myself commuting from Mt.E (used to live there) in to the CBD, but on a cold day when your after a bit of protection from fairings... i guess you'd just have to rug up with an extra layer. Head down to Frankston Suzuki and test it out for yourself! It really has opened my eyes to a style of riding i previously had no interest in. I actually took both bikes for a testride through Frankston and Mt. Eliza and had an absolute ball! The twisty roads in Mt.E are perfectly suited to the DRZ's style of riding.

    Not sure on the converting to to a dirt bike. I was chatting with the guy in Suzuki about going the other way around and he said the suspension was different, the carb's were different, and a few other little things were different. Perhaps a more experienced Motard'er will be able to advise.
  5. You could do worse than swing your leg over one of these babies.

  6. Thanks Koma, might just have to try one out. I had a look at teh KTM at Frankston and it does look pretty mean.
  7. The Yamaha XT660X might be worth a look then.
  8. I'll add that one to the list but im not so sure Aprilia would be keen to let me out with one. :wink:
    KTM on the other hand seem to have a much more hooligan ideal to them at the moment, so i'll go with them first. :grin:

    PS. Long time no see Nova! Hows that GXZR Yamaskada going?

    Also added the Yamaha to the list.
    Looks like alot of the manufacturers had the same mind set as me... if only i could stick a ~600cc engine in there it'd be sex sideways on wheels!
  9. Hmmm they look quite rude...
    A Twin so they still would have a little bit of top end, and the look nice and light...
  10. I see they are also listed on Aprilia's Australian site, but I wonder if are they actually available for sale yet?
    Another thing I wonder about is their engines - a few months ago I read they were so much like the race versions they needed practically a rebuild after every 60 hours of use... to which my reply would be, 'thanks but no thanks' ...
  11. Yep not too bad, I see your FZR has grown a bit :p
  12. Hehe, while at a certain dealer today:
    Salesman: guy and his mate came in yesterday and test rode the 750 gixxer and that DRZ400 there, reckoned it was fantastic, just mentioned perhaps a touch more power and it would be a goer.
    Me: hey! I think I know who that was!

    That 750 is good fun. Bit too uncomfortable for me though. I had a ride on a FireBlade next door. Now that was bloody nice.. hmmmmm...
  13. Nice write up! Looks like thats the beasty i wanna take for a spin.
    These things are addictive... very very addictive.

    Hey jbray, i take it you had fun?
    Yeah, i did get chatting with one of the guys there as the DRZ was that much fun! I'm encouraging every die hard sports bike rider to take one for a serious spin and try not to come back giggling like they just pulled their first proper mono. :wink:
  14. Very much so. Actually I've ridden in the last few days: Fireblade, GSXR 750, FZ1 06, Aprilia Tuono and Honda CB1300. The last two were up in Cairns. What a great city and place to be riding, the weather was absolutely awesome and some fantastic roads to have some fun on. I just need a ride on a GSXR 1000 and an R1, that would complete this exercise :) Don't think I'm going to have much luck though.
  15. Hey,

    Koma / jbray exactly where is this mysterious dealer? I spent most of my day today running around looking for a SM model and didn't have much luck. Apparently all the PS stores have sold all their stock, and the other places I tried, and later rang, either didn't have a model at all or definitely didn't have a demo model.

    I'm freaking desperate to actually ride this thing... I know it or the KTM are going to be the next bike but I need to actually test ride one first.

  16. The one that we both went to is the Frankston Suzuki.
    Have fun with the test rides... i'm still looking around for my next ride aswell.
  17. Peninsula Suzuki, 37 Wells Rd. Seaford. I bought my GSXR1000 from there. Give a wave to Martin and Erin for me if you go there. Actually I dunno if that DRZ is still around, I don't recall seeing it when I was there on Saturday.
  18. That's Seaford there?
    Its next to Kananook station... a few minutes north out of Frankston, and round the corner from Seaford Driving Range (for the golfers amongst us).
  19. Yep, I tested the GSXR750 at Peninsula Suzuki as well. Nice people, very helpful. It's right next to a honda dealer too if you wanted to test different brands.