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Suzuki DRZ400 Review

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by boingk, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. Hi all - I'm on my L's, so bear that in mind if I say something which seems off. Anywho, down to business...

    As luck would have it, I've been able to have a fang of a DRZ400 for a few weeks seeing as its owner was kind enough to lend it to me. I'm a tallish brute, a tad over 6'2" [187cm], and something like 88kg, and I'd say those dimensions work extremely well with the Suza, it carries me quite well and isn't a hassle to mount whatsoever. It feels solid and the impression is of a well-made machine with rough-and ready capabilities...the sort of thing that screams to be ridden and taken over back roads.

    This particular bike starts pretty well with the electric boot, and has a provision for a kickstart to be fitted; whether they come stock with this or not I don't know. Once running the bike is a dream to ride, power being quite accessible from pretty much anywhere throughout the rev range, especially mid-range. Low down torque is pretty good too, enough to do pretty much whatever you want with. I'd say there is enough on tap from the watercooled single to give you a lot of fun without letting you have such a weapon of a machine that you'll hurt yourself.

    Gear ratios are well-spaced, but more suited to offroad or around town as they are fairly revvy and effectively limit your speed to the posted limits. This does give crackerjack acceleration though, especially if you're used to 250's or the ubiquitous posties. I've seen 130km/h on the digital display [easy to read, etc etc] but personally I wouldn't take it over 110. Cruising at 80-100 is perfectly doable. Er...I heard that from a mate seeing as I'm restricted to 80 :wink:

    The bike is very responsive, the suspension and frame giving a good ride devoid of any excessive vibration from the big single...or any terrain you might reasonably encounter. Off-road capabilities are awesome, especially with its knobbly tyres. The same tyres do limit road-holding on the tarmac however...but if you aren't being a fool you'll be fine [no superbike turn-ins, big lean angles etc]. I found the suspension could have been stiffened somewhat for my weight. Braking is quite good, with discs front and back you'll pull up in a hurry with no dramas. Watch the tyres on the road in the wet however, you might slide a bit. Surprisingly for a bike aimed at the off-road market, the seat was surprisingly good and I found no discomfort to be had. The riding position was typical upright stuff and good for the rides I took around town and on the highway up to a half-hour.

    Fuel consumption could be a bit better, as it is fairly average. I'd suggest for those wanting to use this on-road for the majority of the time to fit a smaller rear sprocket by several teeth at least to remedy this and produce a less high-strung cruising speed. Along with this gearing is the issue of noise...which with the stock pipes fitted is quite loud, although not too intrusive. In town you'll turn heads, but nothings wrong with that as long as you're being sensible.

    I think the only thing I could ping on this bike [apart from the gearing as mentioned] would be its lights. They really are more suited to trail-riding, and I found it intimidating to ride at anything above 80 clicks at night. Having said that, what the lights lack in penetration they gain in spread, lighting up the whole of the road and then some quite well. Low beam is crap at night, I used high-beam only. The fuel tank is somewhat small, I'd peg it at 8 to 10 litres, but this shouldn't deter you as its perfectly adequate for a half-hour ride somewhere, stuffing around once there, and then a trip back with plenty to spare. Reserve cuts in nicely and has usable capacity to get you somewhere inhabited.

    Overall, I'd seriously consider buying a DRZ400 for my L's if I had the dosh...and then keep it as a weekend-weapon for my off-road craving soul. I'd recommend it to other learners, but would have to say its more suited to the over-6-foot-club as its physically quite large.

    Cheers all - hope this helps

    - boingk
  2. Agree with everything you've said, except the seat - the proverbial plank :shock:

    They're a great bike, hold their value well and very good compromise dual sport - much better than the 650's off road, but as you stated at 110kmh aint that much fun.
  3. ahhh but you can lower these babies easily.

    im not tall and have a great time! Because of how light they are, height doesnt matter so much anyway.

    also... so what if you cant get it above 130 - speed isnt everything and you will find that 100 is the limit in most places ;)
    they have plenty of go in the city and corners - overall a fantastic bike which i highly recommend. you will grin just from sitting on one :grin:
  4. The DRZ seat is great compared to a lot of the others on offer!

    And agreed. None of the enduro lights are worth a damn (that I know of). Even worse when riding on the road with more dive under brakes coming into corners on the tarmac. Need to be replaced ASAP.
  5. ??? :shock: :?
  6. Yep gotta love NSW laws!

    DRZ looks like fun and the motard version doesn't look half bad as well. Although I have heard that the dirt version is easier to motard than the other way around.
  7. And from memory the "e" version has a touch more power
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. I swear I've been seeing more DRZ Motards on the road than any other bike lately :shock:

    Seem like a good buy so I can't blame them!
  9. E model has the flatside carb, SM model has the USD forks.
  10. 88kg....I think you mean more around 135kg....
  11. I think he meant his own dimensions, not the bikes...
  12. i rode a drz450 back to back with a klx450 and crf450 (and a berg, not sure what size) and must say the drz felt like the most learner friendly of the bikes, overall was very impressed with with how it rode and put it's power down down and handled, all very predictable.

    The honda for me was the pick of the bunch though, that motor was just a grin machine....and the berg's suspension was just amazing.....but yeah the suzi stacked up well compared to the others and i can see why it's should be on the LAMS list:D
  13. Yeah, I hover around the 90 mark and the bike is stated as 119 dry, so probably an easy 135kg ready to roll. Very manageable in any case.

    A mate has a competition-level CRF450, and that thing is an absolute demon, I imagine the base bike would be very good as well. Almost 4k on top of the Suzam, though. Makes you really consider it as an option I reckon.

    - boingk
  14. It's not just price or performance.

    CRF you'll be doing far more frequent oil changes, shimming valves, and pulling it down for a checkup when the DRZ is just run in.
  15. Mate of mine got a black '09 400E a month or two ago and has just organised the 17" wheels, black spoke and hubs, anodised red rims, Dunlop GPRA-10s. Carbon fibre bash plate and guards/protectors, K&N filter. Just the yoshi system, sprockets and a few luxury bits left to do.

    He can't believe the mount of aftermarket gear there is available for these bikes over in the states.

    I think I'll copy him :D
  16. devotard - Exactly, totally different machines. I'd go a stroker before a CRF I reckon.

    Sooty - Carbon fibre doesn't have great impact strength or abrasion resistance from what I can gather, although its good for tensile forces. I may be wrong on this. The Yoshi system, though, is a brilliant thing! Sounds awesome. Get one.
  17. I had my doubts about it but after looking at them, they're fairly solid. I'd say they're on par with aluminium. He's also getting matching engine covers. It's going to be on the road more than scrub so I guess the carbon fibre is suitable - I would certainly think twice for a decent off-road setup.