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How to make DRZ handle turns better

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Gents, I ride in the mountains, sort of fire road trails. But this particular trail has lots of sharp 90, 120 degree turns, very rocky, lots of ruts…

My DRZ is stock, I am not comfortable in the turns, front wheel wants to wash out (AC10 Michelin). I shift my weight back in the turns and it helps, yet not feeling much comfortable. I rode my old XT550 1983 last week; difference in turns is day and night…the XT hooks in turns unreal.

 

I think problem is my DRZ is way too tall. What do you think I lower the back and front forks by 1”.

Lowering the back is easy, but looking at the front forks I don’t see how I can do that without fork hitting the handlebar. Do they make handle bar risers for the stock drz or I have to go to Pro tapered/after market handlebar?

 

I am not concern about losing a little suspension travel, no big jumps, lots of rocks and turns and I want to be able to whip the bike around without much trouble. I’m short too 5 6.

 

Please let me know what you think.

 

Thanks

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Edited by CaptainReza

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I would invest in handle bar risers and then slide the forks up and inch into the triples and see how that feels. I broke my stock handle bar mount and replaced it with risers and couldn't be happier. The cheap easy way to lower the rear would be to get a shaved seat, followed by lowering links. Or you could have the shock worked by a suspension shop and lowered internally.

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Apart from what the first poster said about bike set-up, my first instinct would be to critique your riding technique.  Not knowing anything about you, the technique I was taught at Cornerspin.net riding school is to sit forward on the bike, elbows out and up, and to keep your body straight up even though the bike is leaning in the turn.  Sitting back on a dirt bike is probably the best way to have the front end wash out in a turn.  

 

Don't take anything I say as an insult - I don't know if you have been riding for 40 years or not, or what your background is - but riding technique has a lot to do with how a bike handles in the dirt.

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No insult taken.

 

Very new to riding. I read that front wheel wash out is due to over loading the front wheel, therefore you take the weight off the front wheel, allowing the fork extend up. The more you load the front, the higher chance of wash out. I think I read it here in someone's article and everyone praised it. By moving my weight forward, wouldn't I over the front wheel?

 

I am open to any help!

 

My XT is a shorter bike and man it handled so great, I was hauling a ss with it with the same riding technique...problem with XT is it has no suspension by today's standard!

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exactly, that's what I am going to do. Any particular brand of handle bar risers considered best bang for the buck?

I would invest in handle bar risers and then slide the forks up and inch into the triples and see how that feels. I broke my stock handle bar mount and replaced it with risers and couldn't be happier. The cheap easy way to lower the rear would be to get a shaved seat, followed by lowering links. Or you could have the shock worked by a suspension shop and lowered internally.

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I recently added bar risers in order make room to raise the forks in the triples. I bought Zeta risers and imo the quality is very good. 

I would also have to agree with the comments concerning technique. I would think that trying to unweight the front wheel while turning will contribute to washout.

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Suspension .... make sure the bike is set up with the proper springs and set the sag. Make sure that the suspension is balanced front/rear and go from there. Too much or too little sag can cause the front end to wash. Forks can also be adjusted up or down in the clamps to alter bike geometry.

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Agreed 100%! I have just adjusted the sag, made the back stiffer..I thought it had too much sag, right now I have about 90mm with my gear on, haven't tried it.

Exactly my point that suspension is what's causing most of my drama. I let my friend ride it and he's been riding for 30+ years, he said he felt my frint feels really washy and I should reduce the sag on the back but ultimately I was thinking just lowering the back and front by these hadnle bar risers if the sag alone didn't solve the issue. I want to make the bike a litte lower like my XT, I think that's what's making my XT handle so much better.

 

I have not played with the clickers yet. I doubt I would gain anything by them for cornering...

Suspension .... make sure the bike is set up with the proper springs and set the sag. Make sure that the suspension is balanced front/rear and go from there. Too much or too little sag can cause the front end to wash. Forks can also be adjusted up or down in the clamps to alter bike geometry.

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Gents, I ride in the mountains, sort of fire road trails. But this particular trail has lots of sharp 90, 120 degree turns, very rocky, lots of ruts…

My DRZ is stock, I am not comfortable in the turns, front wheel wants to wash out (AC10 Michelin). I shift my weight back in the turns and it helps, yet not feeling much comfortable. I rode my old XT550 1983 last week; difference in turns is day and night…the XT hooks in turns unreal.

 

I think problem is my DRZ is way too tall. What do you think I lower the back and front forks by 1”.

Lowering the back is easy, but looking at the front forks I don’t see how I can do that without fork hitting the handlebar. Do they make handle bar risers for the stock drz or I have to go to Pro tapered/after market handlebar?

 

I am not concern about losing a little suspension travel, no big jumps, lots of rocks and turns and I want to be able to whip the bike around without much trouble. I’m short too 5 6.

 

Please let me know what you think.

 

Thanks

seeings how you are 5'6" i would get the bike to a height that you are comfortable with first off. lowerering links, seat height and forks and adjust the sag and front susp.. i have noticed this bike likes to be under power through corners with the back tire planted and the front kind of does its own thing. when im in the ruts on a corner i give it as much power as i have the nuts to give it and lean back as well with no issues. with this bike being heavier than some i would think that doesnt help with washout either.

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I had a lot of front washout trouble. I tried many things. I went through my suspension by having ProActionBob build it up for me with springs and valving. I installed a fork brace. I changed tires. I worked on my riding postion and technic. It was technic and position that got me so much better. Yes I had to be taught and shown before I got it. Weight forward but just to the saddle of the seat. Not up on the tank or high sloping part of the seat. Elbows up, body/back straight and feel the bike movement under my spine. Counter weighting on the pegs. And lots of practice. I also slowed down. Thats right I slowed it down. Tires and technic can not over ride simple physics. Dirt is not a stable surface with predictable friction and grip. If you are going to fast into a corner on a loose surface you are going to wash out or blow the turn. Momentum wins. I love to go fast. But when it comes to turns I respect them and the limitation of my bike and self. Once out of the turn or at the apex its on! ;)

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Lots of good advise here!! Thanks guys!

 

I am not going too fast in the corner, say 20 mph. I havent taken a spill either BUT the front as79 Ford said is doing its own thing..it feels loose!

 

I even managed the height being a short guy and that doesnt bother me as much but again, it will feel more secure if I start lowering it...I resisted lowering but I may not have any choice but do it... I rode this OLD XT and never once I felt I had no control over the front...I was riding that bike at 20-30 mph in the corners where I slow down to crawl on my drz...

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Loading a tire improves grip there. I'm thinking whether the advice to unload the front wheel by leaning back when coming in to the turn was supposed to be a preparation for then loading it with your weight IN the turn when the time comes when the front wheel needs maximum grip. If you unload and then load the front wheel, you can leverage the bike's weight on the suspension to get even more weight on the front when critically needed.

 

You might want to play with the front/rear height of the suspension - chiefly by setting rear sag and also by raising/lowering forks in the yoke. When the bike is low in the front and tall in the rear, the fork angle is steeper, there's less trail, and the bike is more flightly (or agile). If you drop the rear and raise the front, you have a steeper steering angle and more trail and the bike is more self-stabilizing. Of the off-road bikes I've ridden, the DR-Z is quite flighty as stock. Overly agile for its lumbering weight. I much prefer a more stable bike. As you NEED to lean forward to get weight on the front tire, then if the bike is tilted towards flightiness/agility, it's going to get even flightier then. Something to think about and experiment with :)

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Lots of good advise here!! Thanks guys!

 

I am not going too fast in the corner, say 20 mph. I havent taken a spill either BUT the front as79 Ford said is doing its own thing..it feels loose!

 

I even managed the height being a short guy and that doesnt bother me as much but again, it will feel more secure if I start lowering it...I resisted lowering but I may not have any choice but do it... I rode this OLD XT and never once I felt I had no control over the front...I was riding that bike at 20-30 mph in the corners where I slow down to crawl on my drz...

 

 

more preload on the rear, drop the triples on the forks, get your weight forward, work on your braking. there are a ton of GREAT how-to-ride videos on youtube. check out DIRTWISE stuff, and give them a go. 

 

 

i washed the front end a bunch until i set the preload properly for the rear, and played with the clickers. it got better. then _I_ got better, and wash outs became much rarer. i'm not saying i'm GOOD by any means, but the wash outs decreased ;-) 

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Lots of good advise here!! Thanks guys!

 

I am not going too fast in the corner, say 20 mph. I havent taken a spill either BUT the front as79 Ford said is doing its own thing..it feels loose!

 

I even managed the height being a short guy and that doesnt bother me as much but again, it will feel more secure if I start lowering it...I resisted lowering but I may not have any choice but do it... I rode this OLD XT and never once I felt I had no control over the front...I was riding that bike at 20-30 mph in the corners where I slow down to crawl on my drz...

 

 

more preload on the rear, drop the triples on the forks, get your weight forward, work on your braking. there are a ton of GREAT how-to-ride videos on youtube. check out DIRTWISE stuff, and give them a go. 

 

 

i washed the front end a bunch until i set the preload properly for the rear, and played with the clickers. it got better. then _I_ got better, and wash outs became much rarer. i'm not saying i'm GOOD by any means, but the wash outs decreased ;-) 

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Thanks so much oh-good! I am not trying to be a pro here either....I'm 40 years old and want to have fun without breaking bones lol I'm after no trophy, just want to feel more comfortable and enjoy the ride more :)

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