Buy an E or an S for someone new to dirt?

Hi folks. I'm right on the cusp of buying my first DRZ (my third bike, first dirt capable). It's between two very clean, low mileage/hours bikes - one E, one S. I have been a casual street rider for thirty years - nothing really long distance or ultra challenging. My gal pal and I want to do some adventure riding and not too hairy dirt stuff - nothing technical, our middle aged bones have gotten brittle and we are both new to dirt. I'm petite - 5'4" 120 lbs and will lower either bike with a "low" Seat Concepts saddle and a 1.75 Kouba link. At my weight, I'm hoping the suspension won't need a major rework.

Here's my dilemma. My pal's boyfriend is an extremely accomplished dirt dude. He is concerned that the E may be too much bike for me! He says they have a reputation for having a bit of a "whiskey throttle" (never heard that saying before). Personally, I think the lighter weight of the E, along with better suspension (as it will be lowered) are advantages worth considering. The weight of the E would be the same as the bike I ride four times a week and less than a bike I ride summers. That said, my biggest bike has only been a 450.

They are both drool worthy bikes and I would be happy with the S, no doubt. It is modded out a bit better than the E. Still, being a GIRL, I do like the weight advantage of the E. Will it cost me much on the highway if I still go ahead and regear the E to 15/44? Don't plan to do much interstate, just state highways, fire roads, two track. Will I get tossed around more at high speeds on the E?

Ok, I'm rambling now. TIA for your learned opinions!

If you are planning on running the highway, does the E have a street legal kit?  At 120lbs, either bike has enough power for you. The E has a better carb and exhaust hence more power, but the S should be easier to register and has a locking fuel tank and handlebars should you need to leave it. It is also already street legal with all the necessary wiring and electrical. At your weight and riding style you mentioned, the S suspension will be just fine, even with lowering links. 

 

If you are set on a DRZ, I would definitely review the FAQ for the preventative maintenance fixes you should do if it hasn't been done already. Welcome to the DRZ family!

if your going on the pavement the S is a no brainer ... tall bikes though, your going to have to slam them to reach at 5'4,  i'd say risers on the bar and raise the forks and 2" lower links in the rear,  might have to shorten the kickstand .. i wouldnt worry about it being too much to handle as far as power if you have riding experience, too tall can get you in trouble with the weight of the bike though ...

The E is getting a DS conversion kit as I type, so it will be street legal, a must. I definitely am clued into lowering it, without a doubt. Again, with the lowering, thinking the better suspension on the E will help and then there's the lighter weight....

I've seen the FAQ's and this forum is amazing! How did we live before the internet connected us all?

Know that lowering links greatly affect spring rate due to mechanical advantage.  Your riding weight should not cause excessive suspension bottoming (we are envious).  Do ride with ATTGATT, dirt bike riding gear may not be the street fashion spot light but it works.   Find a nice sandy place (no rocks pls) and learn the bike.  Casual dirt rides does not mean complacent.  Learn how to pick up your bike.

 

Welcome aboard, scenic pics and stories always appreciated.

Hi folks. I'm right on the cusp of buying my first DRZ (my third bike, first dirt capable). It's between two very clean, low mileage/hours bikes - one E, one S. I have been a casual street rider for thirty years - nothing really long distance or ultra challenging. My gal pal and I want to do some adventure riding and not too hairy dirt stuff - nothing technical, our middle aged bones have gotten brittle and we are both new to dirt. I'm petite - 5'4" 120 lbs and will lower either bike with a "low" Seat Concepts saddle and a 1.75 Kouba link. At my weight, I'm hoping the suspension won't need a major rework.

Here's my dilemma. My pal's boyfriend is an extremely accomplished dirt dude. He is concerned that the E may be too much bike for me! He says they have a reputation for having a bit of a "whiskey throttle" (never heard that saying before). Personally, I think the lighter weight of the E, along with better suspension (as it will be lowered) are advantages worth considering. The weight of the E would be the same as the bike I ride four times a week and less than a bike I ride summers. That said, my biggest bike has only been a 450.

They are both drool worthy bikes and I would be happy with the S, no doubt. It is modded out a bit better than the E. Still, being a GIRL, I do like the weight advantage of the E. Will it cost me much on the highway if I still go ahead and regear the E to 15/44? Don't plan to do much interstate, just state highways, fire roads, two track. Will I get tossed around more at high speeds on the E?

Ok, I'm rambling now. TIA for your learned opinions!

 

 

I'd definitely go for the E. 100%. The weight difference is by far the biggest un-changeable factor.

 

The suspension is going to need a relatively major rework - BUT suspension is inherently quite simple! So just go for it! Any competent shop will be able to lower and revalve for you, and it can even be done in the garage at home. Don't use lowering links - have the suspension internally lowered.

 

Any whiskey throttle can be fixed. The carb can be tuned, and you can add a "throttle tamer" throttle (less initial action, more gentle ramp-up). The DRZ motor character is not inherently jumpy. Jumpy throttle may mean it's not well tuned around idle / low RPM and "jumps" suddenly when it gets a better air/fuel mixture. At least the S is jetted very poorly from the factory. Jumpy power might also mean the exhaust packing is blown - happened to me.

 

With the same gearing, the E is exactly the same as the S interstate. Except it's going to run better. I've never understood why weight should affect highway handling to any great degree - by FAR the biggest difference is the self-steering of the front wheel, determined by trail, which is determined by suspension setup. (In short, lower the bike a little more at the rear and you get super stable handling).

 

The ONLY reason NOT to get the E is if it can't be plated.

 

However, smaller, lighter bikes are smaller and lighter ... Depends on the market. The DRZ will work for you, but it's prudent to have a look around. Any Husaberg 390's around? It's the perfect smooth but agile bike! Plated KTMs? WR250R? Kawasaki did make some pretty nice smallish dual-sports too iirc?

Thanks gents! What does it me to "revalve"? I understand putting in spacers but...

Thanks gents! What does it me to "revalve"? I understand putting in spacers but...

 

 

The suspension is controlled by oil flowing through valves - The suspension behavior can be changed by opening up the forks and replacing some thin metal shims by different shims :) "Revalve" is short for "changing the valve shim stacks". It's a relatively simple job in practice, and is the meat and potatoes of what suspension shops do. You technically don't need a revalve to lower the bike, but it's going to make the bike much more predictable and better-handling. They bounce around a bit (because in essence the oil will flow too willingly (except in some situations where it doesn't flow enough ...))

 

If you're having the suspension opened by someone to get it lowered, might as well improve the valve shim setup while they're in there :)

Thanks Anthon! Got it. Can I do the suspension lowering myself (I'm pretty handy and will have access to a pro garage where I will be in the summer). Are parts hard to source?

As for ATGATT, that will be tough for me. I live on an island in the Bahamas most of the year. Shopping means jumping on the bike in shorts and sneaks for a 75 mile RT to the store.... Just got back from a grocery run!

Thanks Anthon! Got it. Can I do the suspension lowering myself (I'm pretty handy and will have access to a pro garage where I will be in the summer). Are parts hard to source?

 

 

I ... think so! I think that generally handy people can do it. Maybe the tricky part is recharging the rear shock with nitrogen, but I'm not sure how super specialized that is anyway? The main thing is whether you enjoy the work or not :) Or whether you can convince yourself to enjoy it :)

 

I've done a front revalve and it was easy once I just started digging in. And got the proper tools. Impact driver is a must for the front! Not sure if anything beyond those basics is needed for a rear revalve. I'm pretty sure the lowering work is of similar caliber.

 

Someone did a really nice thread on here about internally lowering the DRZ the other day!

 

Parts shouldn't be that difficult to find, but I have no idea about the situation in the Bahamas :) I'm on a pretty out of the way island myself and I could get anything done I think.

 

That said, I tear my bike apart and put it back together much more than the riders around me so my view may be uncommon :) And it's really hard to define "handy" :)

 

Maybe find some good online videos on working with suspension stuff - the "Dr. Dirt" suspension videos are very clear, intuitive and practical. Lucid. Here's one that shows roughly how difficult (or not) it is to open up a fork ... (and while it's nice to have some of the tools he has there, you don't need all of them!):

 

Edited by Anthon Berg

Great vid! With time, I could do that. I will be in Texas regularly this summer and my bike will live there so I can ride with my gal pal. She owns an auto shop so tools (other than moto specialty) won't be a problem. Still, I will be going back and forth between DC and Houston and may have a shop do it so I can RIDE when I'm in town. We'll see. I'm impatient to ride and lowering will be a priority. I already purchased links but could easily undo that fix if I don't like the handling.

Went on the site for G2 throttle tamer and it sounds like a good mod to have in case, especially for an inexperienced rider lik myself. Reviews were raves.

Really appreciate your point that weight is an issue that can't be changed. Also thinking the carb on the E is another plus that should weigh heavily.

Thanks again....

Knowing how your bike ticks, why it ticks or what's that tick is valuable knowledge.  Order a shop manual, get in there and wrench.  Yours is a refreshing voice asking for help than do you like my bling.

 

I know it's hot in Texas, but if you ride fast enough it ain't so bad.

Knowing how your bike ticks, why it ticks or what's that tick is valuable knowledge.  Order a shop manual, get in there and wrench.  Yours is a refreshing voice asking for help than do you like my bling.

 

I know it's hot in Texas, but if you ride fast enough it ain't so bad.

Well, it's hotter in the Bahamas! It's why I'm so bad about riding gear. Island life is also why I'm no stranger to taking things apart to see what's what. It's kind of a necessary survival skill here. And I love it! Keeps me on my toes.

Thanks to all for your input. I'm chewing hard on this one.

I like a little umbrella over my drink, keeps the rain out.

One thing to know, when you ride dirt you expect to wipe out on occasion. My sister does not enjoy hard trails quite yet but she still has plenty of drops. I drop the bike about 5 or more times a ride on the trails but I hit the hardest lines I can find. The point i'm getting after is simply to make sure you can pick the beast back up when you drop it. With proper technique, anybody could pick up the drz. If you can squat down with the bike behind you, you should be able to use your legs while gripping the bike and stand it up. My sister likes to ride my drz but she can only pick it up with a squat and she's 5'9 160lbs.

These bikes are amazing though, you will love it! You just need to make sure she's tuned right, expect the front wheel to come up if you pop the throttle in 1st or 2nd :)

Also, in terms of maintenance this is the exact dirt/street worthy machine you want. These bikes are very user friendly and the wealth of free info on the internet is unrivaled. Parts are cheap and often fixes involve simple DIY solutions. With as many years of riding experience as you have, you'll appreciate this thumper.



10154569_10204823796416226_8931865505652209062_n.jpg

One thing to know, when you ride dirt you expect to wipe out on occasion. My sister does not enjoy hard trails quite yet but she still has plenty of drops. I drop the bike about 5 or more times a ride on the trails but I hit the hardest lines I can find. The point i'm getting after is simply to make sure you can pick the beast back up when you drop it. With proper technique, anybody could pick up the drz. If you can squat down with the bike behind you, you should be able to use your legs while gripping the bike and stand it up. My sister likes to ride my drz but she can only pick it up with a squat and she's 5'9 160lbs.

These bikes are amazing though, you will love it! You just need to make sure she's tuned right, expect the front wheel to come up if you pop the throttle in 1st or 2nd :)

Also, in terms of maintenance this is the exact dirt/street worthy machine you want. These bikes are very user friendly and the wealth of free info on the internet is unrivaled. Parts are cheap and often fixes involve simple DIY solutions. With as many years of riding experience as you have, you'll appreciate this thumper.

attachicon.gif10154569_10204823796416226_8931865505652209062_n.jpg

I can pick up my 260lb bike( and my 280lb bike) no problem, without a squat. That's one of the reasons the E appeals - I KNOW I can pick it up because, as you mentioned, in the dirt, that's the reality (especially as a noob).

I've never popped a wheelie......don't know how! Was going to watch some YouTubes but thought maybe that wasn't the best idea at my age

I'm so psyched. There is "so much love" for this bike that I've read about that I'm confident I've picked a winner, either model. I was a little nervous about buying a bike without riding it myself, but I've read so many positive threads on the net I'm sure I've made the right choice. The info on the fixes and mods sounds pretty straightforward and I'm confident that I can tackle whatever I need to do (with everyone's help). This bike sounds perfect for what I'm planning for it - easy dirt and state roads.

My friends are going to look at and ride these two TODAY! The E looks clean, but it's lack of documented miles/hours makes that a bit of a wildcard. And the seller literally bought it last week so won't be wealth of info on its history (he bought another bike on w whim, decided to flip this one). My pal's boyfriend already black marked another bike they looked as it had lunched its air filter. I'm confident that between the two of them, they will pick a bike that puts a huge smile on my face.

I like a little umbrella over my drink, keeps the rain out.

Me too, but after you've guzzled a few of them, you'll change your mind about them.

Seat Concepts has replacement foam and cover for a lower seat height - http://seatconcepts.com/products#!/DRZ-400/c/14368030/offset=0&sort=normal

 

Anthon is a big contributor on suspension tuning (long read) - http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/1035004-drz-fork-revalve-shim-stack-discussion-recommendations/

 

Look here for jetting (Mikuni BSR36, Keihin FCR39, CVK40 & other carbs) - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1HNSB3DrqJqHTInjVDKKS4HNSHZPbdK0ElbfNI5HxuZg/edit?hl=en&pli=1#gid=1172546203

 

Mind your road manners or you'll become a hooligan like us.

Seat Concepts has replacement foam and cover for a lower seat height - http://seatconcepts.com/products#!/DRZ-400/c/14368030/offset=0&sort=normal

 

Anthon is a big contributor on suspension tuning (long read) - http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/1035004-drz-fork-revalve-shim-stack-discussion-recommendations/

 

Look here for jetting (Mikuni BSR36, Keihin FCR39, CVK40 & other carbs) - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1HNSB3DrqJqHTInjVDKKS4HNSHZPbdK0ElbfNI5HxuZg/edit?hl=en&pli=1#gid=1172546203

 

Mind your road manners or you'll become a hooligan like us.

One of the bikes already has a seat concepts saddle. I would prolly take some foam out to lower it a bit for my shorty self. Heard nothing but good things about SC seats and the price is nice.

Read a page of the valving discussion til my eyeballs started to bleed and I had to stop! That's way over my head for now, but thanks for the link. I'd have read on, but I didn't think that they were going to get into lowering options. Sounding more like interest in better dampening, etc than lowering and then matching a light rider.

Great spreadsheet. I'm a little puzzled as to why they listed different model years. Won't it be the same for any year?

I got banished to the Bahamas years ago for hooligan like behavior......I'm better now that I'm older.

And the S wins. The owner of the E jacked the price up to cover the DS conversion so it was $500 over the S, which sported over the E,seat concepts saddle, Clarke tank, rack, engine covers, bash plate, bark busters, ram mount, 12v plug, fender eliminator with LEDs, extra set of clean plastics, extra tires and good rubber on board (606's). The owner of the E had only had it for a week, knew little about it, including no knowledge of hours. I had E lust but I'm happy with the bike. You could eat of it and it checked out mechanically.

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