Simple Reliable Fun
I love my DRZ400SM. I'm 5 years in to ownership and i still love riding it daily to work. I have a Suzuki GSX-R1000 2010 and I have more fun riding the DRZ. There are a few things that you could call bad about the bike but I tend to think of them as good, But these are the main ones: Gearbox is only 5 speed, Most bikes in this class now come with 6 gears however the DRZ 5 speed box is bulletproof if you are running stock power. Fuel is delivered via a carburettor, The competition all run EFI. An easy upgrade for the SM is a Keihin FCR 39 Flatslide Carburetor, Keeping the bike simple the carb allows for more home maintenance. The frame is constructed with steel, the competition mostly run aluminium. This makes the bike a bit on the heavy side but also makes it very easy to weld at home should the frame crack. I believe that Suzuki have not made any modification to the DRZ400SM aside from cosmetics for over a decade, Part availability both second hand and new is incredibly easy and affordable. Compared to CRF or WR motards that recommend oil changes at approx. 1000km the DRZ can be serviced much less frequently due to its lower compression and lower power output, I usually do a filter and oil change at 2000-3000 KM. This results in a more reliable bike for practical daily use. As the bike has not been changed in so long there is also a very large aftermarket scene. The DRZ400SM shares the same frame & motor as the DRZ400, The major differences are the wheels and front suspension. Any mods for a DRZ400e or DRZ400 engine/seat etc will usually work on all models of the bike. Does mad skids and wheelies for days.
Bought my DRZ400SM in 2011 after 25 years away from riding, it's been a great way to get back into riding. Great commuter, nimble, great fun, easy maintenance. A bit of research shows the common issues so I added case savers and rounded off the gear lever where it is likely to contact the engine casing. Ive also added a rear luggage rack and 28 litre top box which I can lock my helmet in. I also got a set of dirt wheels complete with brake rotors and sprockets fitted (this also requires a spacer). 30-40 minutes and I have an adventure bike. Performance is good, needs to warm up a bit in cooler weather, seat is terrible, 30 to 40 minutes and pain. I bought the genuine gel seat and it was worse, so I stripped it back to the pan and over a couple of years when the mood took me modified it to the point where I can now spend 4hrs (300km) on it. Found a forum that showed how to widen it and then I tried different variations of foam until I was happy. For me it's not nice on the highway at 100km/h, revving to hard and vibration. I've changed the rear sprocket to improve this but it's not really the intended use. Only problem I've had is leaking front fork seals, twice. Very happy with this bike, and will be keeping it, even if I get another for longer highway speed rides.
Reliable Tractor DRZ400SMK8
Love this bike! Been a daily rider on it for 9ish years 60,000Ks and still going strong with minor maintenance issues. I've found as standard out of the box its rather sluggish however was good to start out with and can be given a bit more GO with out breaking the bank and as you can afford with easily available after market parts and You tube vids that show you how to if you need it. Highly recommend getting an exhaust system for it; 3x3 mod, jet kit if you want to keep the standard CV carby or going to a FCR carby and getting rid of the unnecessary pollution rubbish that's on it. Fuel range on the standard tank is ok for around the streets and short rides aprox 160ks/ tank average. With a easily fitted 17LT Safari tank fitted the average is more friendly at around 350ks. All in all a great bike and after this amount of time i know it inside out and trust it to get me home.
The DRZ 400 is mechanically speaking a bit of a simpleton, many see this as a bad thing and find anything less then cutting edge engineering not worth there time, that is until something complex and expensive goes wrong in the middle of the bush, anything you happen to break on the DRZ can easily be bored together with cable ties, a few bolts and a bit of thought.
The Drz is a true low maintenance bike, oil and filters is pretty much all you need to worry about other then the occasional valve check, assuming your filters are clean and fitted right you won't find the valves out of spec, a reliable bike thats even the most novice spanner monkey can look after.
suspension is plush, on the soft side and can bottom out for a heavier rider pushing hard or taking to the sky, ride it at a decent pace and keep the wheels closer to the ground and you are guaranteed a comfortable and capable ride.
The motor offers great lumps of torque whenever required pretty much anywhere in the rev range of any gear and as such really lends itself to lazy, learner or played back riding, enough power for highway trips if you need it and there is no where this motor will not happily and easily take you.
For a Dirt bike its heavy, for a dual sport its light but lacks the legs of the 600's and you would need a larger tank to take series touring work but these are easily found and fitted so it can be done so long as highway work doesn't require speeds above 120kph.
the build quality is typical Suzuki, be it top of the range sport bike to the most lowly scooter Suzuki paint is measured in microns not mm and is prone to flake and chip, this can be reduced by using frame guards and other protection is available, keep the pressure washer at a safe distance and steer clear of harsh cleaners and solvents. apart from the paint and some metal work corroding quickly the bike seems to last and all the important components just keep going so its only really cosmetic issues to be concerned about with regards to general quality.
lastly there are simply tons of aftermarket products available for the bike, whatever you want to make this thing or where ever you fancy taking it there is the product available to do the job.
This is my 2nd bike. Use it as an everday commuter and for recreational trail riding. It's an absolute workhorse and I love it. Cheap to run. Will take you anywhere. A great 2nd bike if you like to save your pride and joy for sunny days and esp if your pride and joy is limited to sealed roads only. May not be cutting edge moto x but highly recommended for general & tail use.
This is my mid to late life crisis bike and it has not disappointed. I have other dedicated discipline machines (trials, touring, etc.) but the DRZ-400SM is the Swiss Army Knife of motorcycles; it brings back in spades all those wonderful feelings I remember from early morning rides when the world and I were both young. My son is also impressed so it appears to have multi-generational appeal.
Great handling, quick, responsive and manageable power band, lower seat height than dual sport machines.
Seat does get uncomfortable after a 1/2-hour or so; will look for after-market gel pad cushion or something similar to ease the pain in my old butt.
Great city/short trip bike. Light weight & easy to ride. More than enough power to keep up with or in get in front of the traffic, even on the freeway. Handles like a dream. Good fuel economy but only has a 10 litre tank, so only good for about 200 kms.