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Buying DRZ today, help me choose please!

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Hey guys, I'm new here, and new to dirt riding with a motor :) For a little background, I grew up Downhill racing mountain bikes, so I've ridden 7-8in travel full sus bikes in dirt for about 10 years now, I also ride BMX (540s out of bowls, etc) and now I'm riding motorcycles. I've had a ninja 250 for almost a year, and thats the extent of my experience for actual motorcycles, did my MSF and was told "you're the kind of rider that makes this job easy", all of this said not to toot my own horn too much but to say that I have pretty decent bike control and a good understanding of traction on many surfaces (got caught in snow on my ninja and didn't die lol, also regularly ride sketchy gravel roads on it and have survived so far) but I am still venturing into unknown territory.

 

There are two bikes I'm looking at, with the goal being to have something I can go back and forth to school on when the weather is nice, and also go squirt some dirt/sand/gravel. There is an off-road park within about a mile from my house, which is all sand/beach on a Jetty (I live in Arcata, CA and the North Jetty is where I mean) so I'd like to ride that. There are also plenty of dirt trails that I hear about but have investigated very few so I'm not sure how tame or crazy they may be. My commute to the college is about 2 miles of 55 mph, a mile of city, and another 2 or so of 65mph freeway. On my ninja, I find myself humming along at 70 pretty regularly, and hitting 90 on occasion in passing situations or just taking a quick buzz through the gears before letting out of it back to cruising speed. I realize there are pros and cons to each bike, and so I'm asking for help in deciding.

 

Bikes are

 

09 DRZ400sm:

"452 stroker 13:1 je piston stage 2 hot cams. 60 rear wheel HP. Dyno'd.

The list of what isnt done to it is shorter everything but graphics and seat after market."

is what the seller says about it. It has a trailtech computer on it rather than stock cluster so I can't confirm mileage on chassis but was told 5k on chassis, and then the computer was installed with the motor build which reads 1200 mi. It has tons of aftermarket stuff on it, LED head light, yoshi pipe, bark busters, shifter, skid plade, you name it. I rode it, and though it seemed like it was jetted a little fat, and started a little hard after I accidentally killed it (i imagine this is the starter trying to kick over way bigger bore and more compression) once it ran, it was downright scary, like I didn't want to go more than about a quarter throttle. I actually happen to know the guy who built it at Humboldt Motorsports and he said its a really solid build, and the nastiest DRZ they've done yet, the original owner dropped like $8k getting everything done on the bike, after buying it. The things that worry me about the bike are the reliability, and how well I can do in dirt/sand with it, as well as having to reverse engineer whatever was done on the bike if I need to chase down a problem. I like the short standover, the streetability, and I imagine I can get used to the bike, but it scares me right now. Also, the seller is not the original owner so I won't have any stock/spare stuff in case something does go wrong nor be able to get info on the mods from him. It leaks a little oil from what appears to be the oil drain, maybe the feed tube from the frame, grips are shot and kind of general wear which suggests possibly more mileage than the owner is letting on, overall not as clean/well taken care of as the other bike, will need to source tires as its running slicks right now, and I'd like something with some tread to it for offroad.  

 

07DRZ400s: Bike is very clean, pretty stockish compared to the other one, has big tank, something done to the stock pipe to where its gutted, airbox mod, jetted, dunlop 606s, geared shorter for dirt, comes with all stock parts, spare front tire, has racetech springs all the way around, kickstand kill delete, nice aluminum rack, runs very smooth and comfortably, good power from what I could tell (owner said I didn't come close to really thrashing on it and I wasn't trying to since I don't wanna kill myself on an unfamiliar bike) 3600 mi, looks brand new and very well taken care of. I am worried about streetability on this bike, especially as it does rain a lot where I live, so doing that on skinny knobs seems dicey, and I'll be doing quite a bit of highway/freeway/backroad riding to trails, also the occasional couple hour highway trip so I'm concerned about tire wear, because he said he only had about 500 mi on the dunlop on the back and its showing quite a bit of wear... I'm thinking maybe the SM with more street oriented tires will do better for mixed/freeway/wet pavement, and also the wider tires would theoretically "float" better in sand yea?

 

Both bikes are the same price and have their pros and cons, mainly the SM being so souped that its a gamble reliability wise and whether its any good offroad, and the S being taller, not good on freeway/wet situations, buying lots of tires riding on pavement. I'm basically after the closest thing to a ninja 250 speed/practicality wise, that can go off road.

 

Sorry for writing a book but I wanted to be thorough. I did lots of searching, so I understand the base differences about the bikes, but lack in experience with riding the bikes and how all of these things affect the respective styles of riding/reliability. I'm buying one or the other later today, so please help me make an informed decision. Thanks for any advice you guys can give!

 

 

 

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Edited by Norcalshadow

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The 452 sounds awesome but big bores r very hard on the lower end... Being a stroker who knows it might handle the added power but all the gears and crankcase might not handle. My advice is to build the bike that's not built already as u desire more out of it. Make it "urs" and don't kill ur self on a bike that u may not be ready for.

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