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DR-Z400S mountain camping build

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While the DR-Z400S as it rolls off the lot is fine for some things, I wanted to optimize the bike for use as a camping vehicle here in the Rocky Mountain west.

 

I wanted  a simple, reliable bike and the goal with powerplant improvements was to maximize engine power with no degradation in engine reliability, so I did not touch the carb (other than the jets), valves, cam or bottom end.  I also do not want the maintenance and repair complexities with a pumper carb or fuel injection so that's why I am running this bike.

 

Other than that I replaced pretty much everything except the frame, wheels, bottom half of engine and sprockets.

 

I already created a post to start this awhile back and I wanted to update it but it looks like someone may have deleted the thread.

 

I may be able to answer some questions but I'm moving to Kenya, east Africa soon so I'm pretty busy.

 

Below is pretty much the information I have.

 

I rode about 1000 miles on the bike as factory configured, and about 2000 miles since the rebuild of which 400 miles were a single highway trip.

 

With the top end and other engine-related work the bike should now have about 44HP up from about 32HP and it seems to run at 75 MPH at 5500-9500 feet elevation with me, rally gear, and 40lbs of camping gear for hours with no problem.  I've had the bike to 11,300 feet and it loses some power but can run at 65MPH up hill no problem running mountain highway passes.

 

At 75MPH it gets 52MPG highway and 35MPG offroad running high revs (again at elevation).

 

Where I live at 7400 feet elevation top speed with my 200lb weight plus rally gear and no cargo is 84MPH with TKC80's and 94MPH with Heidenau Scout tires.  

 

I like the Heidenau tires on pavement but find them very slippery in the decomposed granite we have here in the Rocky Mountains.

 

In retrospect I'm unsure if the kick starter is worthwhile as I can't seem to kick start the engine when cold, but can if the engine is hot.

 

I also would put on the next "more powerful" rear spring given the load I'm running. I jumped the bike and the suspension bottomed out and broke off the chain guard.

 

The purpose of the RAM-mount and power dashboard configuration is to provide options not to be used all at the same time.  I mount items based on the trip and my needs: GPS, iPhone, emergency location beacon, GoPro, etc. I love it and it works great.  I also pulled power into and thru the Wolfman tank bag and I plug my heated clothing into that BMW plug facing me.

 

Upgrades and some approximate prices:

 

  • 2012 Suzuki DR-Z400S
  • 3x3 air intake modification
  • Agri Supply Manual Canister, Large w/ Neoprene Seal 67670       $4.99
  • Air Hawk 2 Comfort Seating System Cruiser Pillion Neoprene Motorcycle Pil Cush w/ cover SN A2309248 UPC 613732056896 PN U30999
  • Bash Plate-Sump Guard Skid Plate (eBay user in the UK ad-tekproducts)               $149.23
  • Billet Racing Products Triple Clamp and handlebar risers
  • Braided Front stainless steel brake line
  • Britannia Composites Lynx Fairing and HID lights ~$650.00 http://www.britanniacomposites.com/index.php/productmenu/lynxmenu
  • CFC Offroad Engine Armor           $29.99
  • Clarke Fuel Tank Natural/Translucent 11409-00-12 (S model) 3.9 gallon   $199.99
  • Continental TKC80 120/90S-18 TT DOT    $69.95
  • Continental TKC80 90/90T-21 TL DOT       $117.95
  • Countour Windham RM Mid Handle Bars
  • Cycra brush guard set
  • Cylinder Works Big Bore Cylinder Kit 434cc Fits: 2012 SUZUKI DR-Z 400S 41001-K01 CW BB 434CC KT           $650.00
  • DoubleTake Mirrors
  • FMF PowerBomb Header 040038              175.95
  • FMF Q4 Muffler 043207 $289.95
  • FMF Racing Universal Header Heat Shield Titanium 040230           $40.02
  • Grip Heaters
  • Hammerhead extended gear shifter
  • Heavy inner tubes front and rear
  • Heidenau K60 Scout K60-9 120/90T-18 TL DOT
  • Heidenau K60 Scout K60-9 90/90T-21 TL DOT       $112.95
  • Hella 006958611 12V 5.5 amp Universal Disc-Type Low Tone Horn #006958611 UPC 760687112594               $20.78
  • High-amperage wiring to dash
  • Keintech Extended Fuel Screw KOUKFS-2             $16.00
  • Low-pressure Inner-tube rimlock front and rear
  • Pingel petcock
  • Pivot Pegs
  • Powerlet sockets (various)          $579.77
  • Pro Moto Billet Rear Billet Rack PMB-01-4201B   $229.90
  • Race Tech Fork Springs 43.2x510mm 0.48 kg/mm FRSP 4351 48
  • Race Tech Rear Shock Dirt Shock 66.9x267mm 5.7 kg/mm SRSP 6727 57
  • RaceTech Electric High Output Stator G180           $70.00
  • RaceTech Electric High Output Universal 3-Phase voltage regulator R100                $50.00
  • RAM Mount Square 2-inchx1.7” base with 1” ball
  • Rejet for high altitude, big bore and FMF exhaust
  • Replaced wiring harness and relay and fuses to increase reliability
  • RIK Piston Ring Set Segmenti D.94.00 No G4 110X110X20 590394000001
  • Scott’s SFN-3600 Sharkfin Rear Disk Guard           $139.96
  • Scott’s Steering Stabilizer
  • Sergent saddle
  • Procycle Sheepskin seat cover
  • Shorai battery
  • Suzuki Kick Start Kit         26300-29814       $189.99
  • Tool Tube Adaptor, aluminum (eBay user man_cave_international) $24.99
  • Trail Tech Voyager 010-ELV-112
  • Unibiker radiator guards
  • Vertex Piston & Power Big Bore D.93.96 Size B 23533B BM02 22333 Suz/Kaw LTZ/KFX400 03-05 94mm Top End Gasket Kit 41001-G01 294368
  • Wolfman Side Racks (no longer available)

 

 

I will try to answer questions as I have time and may be able to answer more questions after I've moved to Kenya in a few weeks.

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Edited by DRZCamping
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Awesome bike. Looks ready to explore the ends of the earth! U taking it to africa with you?

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 U taking it to africa with you?

Thank you!  I may.  I need to get there and get things sorted and figure it out.  It would cost about $2K to fly it over and then I'd probably have to get it back at some point... There is a dealer close by so I'll look at options.  I'm not sure I want to ride in the city traffic - it's pretty crazy as there are no traffic controls - stop signs, lights etc, everyone just goes when they can and not sure I want a femur fracture there!  Perhaps for cross country but need to try a rental bike and see how it goes...

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I thought my bike was farkled out...

 

I dont have my TurboCity windshield with my LEDs, deer whistle...and air horn in this pic

 

BUT I am almost ready to start my world traveling soon with my bike (oh...ok...just around Texas)

drz tank.jpg

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I thought my bike was farkled out...

 

I dont have my TurboCity windshield with my LEDs, deer whistle...and air horn in this pic

 

BUT I am almost ready to start my world traveling soon with my bike (oh...ok...just around Texas)

Oh, I forgot to mention the blue neon lights underneath the frame and when I flip a hidden switch it makes the front wheel hop up and down :-)

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I like the Lynx fairing...I have the TurboCity windshield with the rack on the front which has the LEDs, electronic deer whistle, and air horn...deer are a very very serious issue here in Texas and I am trying to give my myself as much notice as possible

 

I made some brackets and such for heated grips, voltmeter, power outlet and then I added the HID headlight

 

the Lynx fairing with HIDS would have been my choice but a little too pricey for me

 

bike looks awesome and ready to go

 

I have the Wolfman racks...how do you like their Expedition line of luggage?

Edited by motobobintexas

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I have the Wolfman racks...how do you like their Expedition line of luggage?

I use the Monarch Pass when I'm in town a lot and running errands; the zip top is easy to use.  When on longer trips and off-road then I put on the Expedition as they keep out the dust and wind-driven rain.  While they are a little more work to open and close, they do hold a bit more volume as the top only needs three folds at the top to keep sealed.  I also like the yellow as high-viz for longer-distance on-road use.  I just rode from eastern Utah to central Colorado and like the yellow for these trips.

 

I was just at Overland Expo in Flagstaff, AZ and it's interesting to see how people configure their bikes (and 4WDs) and I see a fair amount of Wolfman when people are using soft vs. hard luggage.  I fall over too often in the dirt to use hard luggage  :facepalm: .

Edited by DRZCamping
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so you think better off to just spring for the Expedition line? as you can see, my bike is very yellow so I was gonna get the black version, I want to get the tank panniers, saddle bags, the "U" shaped bag and tank bag, they only made the Expedition tank panniers for a little while and I really wanted everything to match

 

yeah...I just read about the Overland Expo in ADVMoto magazine...see some really creative ideas there I am sure

 

I like the soft bag approach as well, going down in sand or dirt would be worse with steel panniers, with 28 liter Safari tank I get quite good protection up front but I fear tank panniers would be wind issue asd the bike would be quite wide...so how does the bike handle with all those extra goodies as far as stability at 70mph or so?

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so you think better off to just spring for the Expedition line? as you can see, my bike is very yellow so I was gonna get the black version, I want to get the tank panniers, saddle bags, the "U" shaped bag and tank bag, they only made the Expedition tank panniers for a little while and I really wanted everything to match

 

yeah...I just read about the Overland Expo in ADVMoto magazine...see some really creative ideas there I am sure

 

I like the soft bag approach as well, going down in sand or dirt would be worse with steel panniers, with 28 liter Safari tank I get quite good protection up front but I fear tank panniers would be wind issue asd the bike would be quite wide...so how does the bike handle with all those extra goodies as far as stability at 70mph or so?

Well I try to minimize the number of bags as I always find a way to fill them up :-)  The other consideration on color - black specifically - is how hot it is and how long the bike will sit in the sun, but of course your choice.

 

And remember with that nice fuel tank you have and the extra gear -- and you -- that the suspension needs to be balanced for you.  IDK about you but I'm not some small Japanese guy with no luggage that the bike may have been designed for.  Suspension is really important for performance and safety.

 

Also remember - as with 4WD accessories - GVWR!!!

 

The bike handles fine but remember that I have a Scott's Steering Stabilizer and when the tires are pumped up pretty high for the asphalt I turn that baby up to the max and it's fine.  It can get squirrely on concrete above about 75MPH if there is a cross wind or truck passing.  Asphalt is more stable.  At 75MPH and below it's okay.  I was in a wide flat valley and got hit by a dust devil and it blew me into the next lane of traffic - fortunately no one was there - but the bike steering was stable.  I just have to remember that I'm wider with saddle bags if passing cars in a packed set of lanes at the gas station.  

Edited by DRZCamping

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While the DR-Z400S as it rolls off the lot is fine for some things, I wanted to optimize the bike for use as a camping vehicle here in the Rocky Mountain west.

 

I wanted  a simple, reliable bike and the goal with powerplant improvements was to maximize engine power with no degradation in engine reliability, so I did not touch the carb (other than the jets), valves, cam or bottom end.  I also do not want the maintenance and repair complexities with a pumper carb or fuel injection so that's why I am running this bike.

 

Other than that I replaced pretty much everything except the frame, wheels, bottom half of engine and sprockets.

 

I already created a post to start this awhile back and I wanted to update it but it looks like someone may have deleted the thread.

 

I may be able to answer some questions but I'm moving to Kenya, east Africa soon so I'm pretty busy.

 

Below is pretty much the information I have.

 

I rode about 1000 miles on the bike as factory configured, and about 2000 miles since the rebuild of which 400 miles were a single highway trip.

 

With the top end and other engine-related work the bike should now have about 44HP up from about 32HP and it seems to run at 75 MPH at 5500-9500 feet elevation with me, rally gear, and 40lbs of camping gear for hours with no problem.  I've had the bike to 11,300 feet and it loses some power but can run at 65MPH up hill no problem running mountain highway passes.

 

At 75MPH it gets 52MPG highway and 35MPG offroad running high revs (again at elevation).

 

Where I live at 7400 feet elevation top speed with my 200lb weight plus rally gear and no cargo is 84MPH with TKC80's and 94MPH with Heidenau Scout tires.  

 

I like the Heidenau tires on pavement but find them very slippery in the decomposed granite we have here in the Rocky Mountains.

 

In retrospect I'm unsure if the kick starter is worthwhile as I can't seem to kick start the engine when cold, but can if the engine is hot.

 

I also would put on the next "more powerful" rear spring given the load I'm running. I jumped the bike and the suspension bottomed out and broke off the chain guard.

 

The purpose of the RAM-mount and power dashboard configuration is to provide options not to be used all at the same time.  I mount items based on the trip and my needs: GPS, iPhone, emergency location beacon, GoPro, etc. I love it and it works great.  I also pulled power into and thru the Wolfman tank bag and I plug my heated clothing into that BMW plug facing me.

 

Upgrades and some approximate prices:

 

  • 2012 Suzuki DR-Z400S
  • 3x3 air intake modification
  • Agri Supply Manual Canister, Large w/ Neoprene Seal 67670       $4.99
  • Air Hawk 2 Comfort Seating System Cruiser Pillion Neoprene Motorcycle Pil Cush w/ cover SN A2309248 UPC 613732056896 PN U30999
  • Bash Plate-Sump Guard Skid Plate (eBay user in the UK ad-tekproducts)               $149.23
  • Billet Racing Products Triple Clamp and handlebar risers
  • Braided Front stainless steel brake line
  • Britannia Composites Lynx Fairing and HID lights ~$650.00 http://www.britanniacomposites.com/index.php/productmenu/lynxmenu
  • CFC Offroad Engine Armor           $29.99
  • Clarke Fuel Tank Natural/Translucent 11409-00-12 (S model) 3.9 gallon   $199.99
  • Continental TKC80 120/90S-18 TT DOT    $69.95
  • Continental TKC80 90/90T-21 TL DOT       $117.95
  • Countour Windham RM Mid Handle Bars
  • Cycra brush guard set
  • Cylinder Works Big Bore Cylinder Kit 434cc Fits: 2012 SUZUKI DR-Z 400S 41001-K01 CW BB 434CC KT           $650.00
  • DoubleTake Mirrors
  • FMF PowerBomb Header 040038              175.95
  • FMF Q4 Muffler 043207 $289.95
  • FMF Racing Universal Header Heat Shield Titanium 040230           $40.02
  • Grip Heaters
  • Hammerhead extended gear shifter
  • Heavy inner tubes front and rear
  • Heidenau K60 Scout K60-9 120/90T-18 TL DOT
  • Heidenau K60 Scout K60-9 90/90T-21 TL DOT       $112.95
  • Hella 006958611 12V 5.5 amp Universal Disc-Type Low Tone Horn #006958611 UPC 760687112594               $20.78
  • High-amperage wiring to dash
  • Keintech Extended Fuel Screw KOUKFS-2             $16.00
  • Low-pressure Inner-tube rimlock front and rear
  • Pingel petcock
  • Pivot Pegs
  • Powerlet sockets (various)          $579.77
  • Pro Moto Billet Rear Billet Rack PMB-01-4201B   $229.90
  • Race Tech Fork Springs 43.2x510mm 0.48 kg/mm FRSP 4351 48
  • Race Tech Rear Shock Dirt Shock 66.9x267mm 5.7 kg/mm SRSP 6727 57
  • RaceTech Electric High Output Stator G180           $70.00
  • RaceTech Electric High Output Universal 3-Phase voltage regulator R100                $50.00
  • RAM Mount Square 2-inchx1.7” base with 1” ball
  • Rejet for high altitude, big bore and FMF exhaust
  • Replaced wiring harness and relay and fuses to increase reliability
  • RIK Piston Ring Set Segmenti D.94.00 No G4 110X110X20 590394000001
  • Scott’s SFN-3600 Sharkfin Rear Disk Guard           $139.96
  • Scott’s Steering Stabilizer
  • Sergent saddle
  • Procycle Sheepskin seat cover
  • Shorai battery
  • Suzuki Kick Start Kit         26300-29814       $189.99
  • Tool Tube Adaptor, aluminum (eBay user man_cave_international) $24.99
  • Trail Tech Voyager 010-ELV-112
  • Unibiker radiator guards
  • Vertex Piston & Power Big Bore D.93.96 Size B 23533B BM02 22333 Suz/Kaw LTZ/KFX400 03-05 94mm Top End Gasket Kit 41001-G01 294368
  • Wolfman Side Racks (no longer available)

 

 

I will try to answer questions as I have time and may be able to answer more questions after I've moved to Kenya in a few weeks.

 

Thats quite the list ... nice bike and set up!

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What tooth sprockets are you running?

Factory for the DR-Z400S.  According to Pachow, that is 15/44. I discussed changing it with my mechanic but for my use I actually think this ratio is perfect.  

 

I do not run hard-core trails with the KTM dirt-rocket guys and gals; I run 4WD/Jeep trails to dirt roads to 2-lane highways to interstate highways where the speed limit is 75MPH - often in the same day, and with the extra HP from the engine upgrades -- and that is key here -- the factory sprockets are great.  Having said that, like everyone else I wish for -- and still sometimes look for -- that phantom 6th gear. Perfection with five gears - not sprockets but gears -- for me would be a lower first and a higher fifth, but I'm not willing to give up my current 5th or 1st as I'd have to if I changed sprockets.

 

However that's for my conditions - your's may be different and a change in sprockets might be the bee's knees!

Edited by DRZCamping
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Factory for the DR-Z400S.  According to Pachow, that is 15/44. I discussed changing it with my mechanic but for my use I actually think this ratio is perfect.  

 

I do not run hard-core trails with the KTM dirt-rocket guys and gals; I run 4WD/Jeep trails to dirt roads to 2-lane highways to interstate highways where the speed limit is 75MPH - often in the same day, and with the extra HP from the engine upgrades -- and that is key here -- the factory sprockets are great.  Having said that, like everyone else I wish for -- and still sometimes look for -- that phantom 6th gear. Perfection with five gears - not sprockets but gears -- for me would be a lower first and a higher fifth, but I'm not willing to give up my current 5th or 1st as I'd have to if I changed sprockets.

 

However that's for my conditions - your's may be different and a change in sprockets might be the bee's knees!

I also like the stock 15/44 gearing on the S,  and like you do trails and then hit freeway speeds,  they work great,   you should look into doing the ACT wide gear sets,  gives you a higher 5th gear, if i could afford it,  id do it.

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I also like the stock 15/44 gearing on the S,  and like you do trails and then hit freeway speeds,  they work great,   you should look into doing the ACT wide gear sets,  gives you a higher 5th gear, if i could afford it,  id do it.

Is that the $2K+ gear set out of Australia? Is there a link to the product webpage?

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Update: I rode 400+ miles back from Overland Expo in Flagstaff. The bike did fine.  I actually ran 75mph for much of the run - got 65MPG with luggage.  Then a couple weeks later I rode to the top of pikes peak w/o luggage - over 14K feet. It ran fine but right before I began the ascent I removed the air filter cover plastic on the side and put it in my saddle bags to maximize O2 flow at elevation. The bike did great - no loss of power whatsoever. The engine mods were a great value based on these experiences.

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