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Streetbike to DRZ SM...?

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Hey all,

First post but been a long time "lurker" for quite some time.  I hope this topic hasn't been beat to death, I've tried the search function and have done a few google searches out there and have read some decent threads but thought I would start one for my own needs.  As the title states I'm considering parting ways with the streetbike and looking to get into a DRZ SM or something similar but am having some reservations on how it's going to compare to what I'm used to for street riding. I currently have a kawi Z1000 and have been riding streetbikes since shortly after getting my drivers license.  As much fun as they are to ride, I just don't have the time much anymore, and the kind of riding I enjoy anymore is up in the twisties instead of the boring daily commute.  I used to ride everyday rain/shine/ and in some cases even snow...but with a 6mo old now taking over our household I'm starting to see my mindset shifting a bit, as well as the time to enjoy these hobbies shrinking...but those of you with kiddo's can agree it's all completely worth it. 

How many of you on these forums came off a streetbike?  How was the transition? Do these 400cc SM bikes have enough power to scratch the itch?

I guess why I'm considering the DRZ SM is the simple fact that in all of the reviews and threads Ive read...I'd say over 95% of the guys/gals on them love them and find themselves riding it more than other bikes they may have in their garage. I'm thinking/hoping that for the type of riding I enjoy to do it would be about perfect.  I've always known a streetbikes HP is somewhat useless on the street unless you're ok with losing your license and going to jail.  Been in those situations many times, especially exit speeds on some of the sweeper roads I like to frequent but I'm starting to transition my thinking into a "slower" bike that I can rail on and still be somewhat legal.  Doesn't have a sub 160 mph top speed and wont break the speed limit clicking into 2nd gear.  That extra reserve of power is nice but I feel like the whole saying of "it's funner to ride a slower bike fast" comes into play here.

I think my biggest reservation is hwy speeds, and just overall power.  I know going in these aren't powerhouses, and because of that they are dead nuts reliable but am I going to open it WOT and wish there was more? Usually a handful of times a year we'll take a small group ride with some co-workers to various destinations.  Some interstate driving, some backroad carving, ect.  Can I ride one of these 400 miles in a day and feel comfortable?...and not be taxing the bike on the highways/interstates.  I'm used to no fairing and hwy speeds as my current bike is a naked streetbike but I've read the seats are about as comfortable as a 2x4... How do they handle "off road" (nothing crazy, mainly dirt trails ect).  Can I throw a set of S/E wheels and knobbies on it and have a decent trail bike too?

Then I have the question of buying new or used?  The local dealer right now has a 17' SM for $7200.  Most used in this area seem to plateau at a minimum of about $4k.  OR do I buy a higher mile DRZ for cheaper and replace the moving parts with a big bore kit?  Part of the appeal for me is the endless aftermarket goodies these bikes have so that's a definite option as well.  My background is aircraft maintenance so I feel completely comfortable tinkering with the engine internals.  But is $1k+ justifiable for the outcome you would get in return? 50ish HP on a 300lb bike has got to be a hoot!

What's your thoughts?  Sorry for the book...I've got a lot on my mind! lol  

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Hey all,

First post but been a long time "lurker" for quite some time.  I hope this topic hasn't been beat to death, I've tried the search function and have done a few google searches out there and have read some decent threads but thought I would start one for my own needs.  As the title states I'm considering parting ways with the streetbike and looking to get into a DRZ SM or something similar but am having some reservations on how it's going to compare to what I'm used to for street riding. I currently have a kawi Z1000 and have been riding streetbikes since shortly after getting my drivers license.  As much fun as they are to ride, I just don't have the time much anymore, and the kind of riding I enjoy anymore is up in the twisties instead of the boring daily commute.  I used to ride everyday rain/shine/ and in some cases even snow...but with a 6mo old now taking over our household I'm starting to see my mindset shifting a bit, as well as the time to enjoy these hobbies shrinking...but those of you with kiddo's can agree it's all completely worth it. 

How many of you on these forums came off a streetbike?  How was the transition? Do these 400cc SM bikes have enough power to scratch the itch?

I guess why I'm considering the DRZ SM is the simple fact that in all of the reviews and threads Ive read...I'd say over 95% of the guys/gals on them love them and find themselves riding it more than other bikes they may have in their garage. I'm thinking/hoping that for the type of riding I enjoy to do it would be about perfect.  I've always known a streetbikes HP is somewhat useless on the street unless you're ok with losing your license and going to jail.  Been in those situations many times, especially exit speeds on some of the sweeper roads I like to frequent but I'm starting to transition my thinking into a "slower" bike that I can rail on and still be somewhat legal.  Doesn't have a sub 160 mph top speed and wont break the speed limit clicking into 2nd gear.  That extra reserve of power is nice but I feel like the whole saying of "it's funner to ride a slower bike fast" comes into play here.

I think my biggest reservation is hwy speeds, and just overall power.  I know going in these aren't powerhouses, and because of that they are dead nuts reliable but am I going to open it WOT and wish there was more? Usually a handful of times a year we'll take a small group ride with some co-workers to various destinations.  Some interstate driving, some backroad carving, ect.  Can I ride one of these 400 miles in a day and feel comfortable?...and not be taxing the bike on the highways/interstates.  I'm used to no fairing and hwy speeds as my current bike is a naked streetbike but I've read the seats are about as comfortable as a 2x4... How do they handle "off road" (nothing crazy, mainly dirt trails ect).  Can I throw a set of S/E wheels and knobbies on it and have a decent trail bike too?

Then I have the question of buying new or used?  The local dealer right now has a 17' SM for $7200.  Most used in this area seem to plateau at a minimum of about $4k.  OR do I buy a higher mile DRZ for cheaper and replace the moving parts with a big bore kit?  Part of the appeal for me is the endless aftermarket goodies these bikes have so that's a definite option as well.  My background is aircraft maintenance so I feel completely comfortable tinkering with the engine internals.  But is $1k+ justifiable for the outcome you would get in return? 50ish HP on a 300lb bike has got to be a hoot!

What's your thoughts?  Sorry for the book...I've got a lot on my mind! lol  

Ben on street since 92, had every brand litre bike, raced for several years, bought drz, have only ridden my Street Triple R twice this year so far. DRZ relaxed pace, comfortable seating position, you can attack anything you've got the balls to try. I find my Street bike way too limiting now, can't wait to get to the end of the pavement. I can still run down all the street guys around here on 21 inch knob, DRZ on dirt tires will still carry very apex speed, plenty entertaining. And you gotta flog the bejeezus out of it to get a ticket. The only downside is vibration and you'll be pissed you weren't on a dual sport years ago. You'll love being able to jump curbs, wheelie around, flog gravel roads, attempt steep hills and trails, explore everything to the end. If you're a fast street guy, it won't slow you down too much. Go SM only if you're a long way from dirt.

 

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I traded in my SV650S for my SM , but I had always been a dirt bike rider. A R1 has also come and gone since I've owned the SM. I will probably never sell it.

 

Stock, the DRZ is gutless. Consider the 3x3 mod, jet kit and at least a slip on mandatory if you want a bike that can pull the front end off the ground with throttle only in 1st gear

 

With my current mods, 15/38 gearing, FCR-MX carb, shaved flywheel, MRD SSW exhaust, 434cc and OSHC/Web 540 cams, I have a bike that will comfortably run at 70 MPH and still stand up in 3rd gear at 50 mph with a twist of the throttle.

 

The SM's only change since it's inception in 05 was axle sliders and a 1.125" diameter handlebar in 07. If your end goal is to build it up it my be worth picking up a cheaper used bike and rebuilding it into what you want. If you want to top 50HP, you'll need to stroke and bigbore to do it reliably.

 

 

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I made this switch and haven't looked back. If you can get over the low top speed, the fun factor is unmatched. Twisties and go kart tracks are really fun, and you can do some light off roading too.

Since it's not great on highway, long distance stuff is pretty annoying due to the seat and lack of wind deflection. I've passed on some group rides because I knew I couldn't keep up with the sport bikes and didn't want to do the distance. I would do what @HeavyRotation does and have a street bike just in case. I want to add a 636 to the garage but will probably get an enduro first.

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I think the drz400sm makes the best additional bike you can add to your garage. I loved mine but I don't think it would have been the only bike in my garage.

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A lot of this depends on your location. What's the minimum travel time to twisty pavement, to dirt? Are you in the middle or on a coast or in the mountains? Drz on dirt wheels is perfect where I live, but anywhere it takes an hour to get to good riding an SM would be preferable.

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my thoughts are that coming off a z1000 your going to feel like a dumptruck will give you some sht when you try to pass it ... my opinion is the drz is alot more comfortable to ride than the z1000, i have a ninja, bout the same thing .. its just a different experience ... for getting around the drz is light and fun, i wouldnt waste money on a good running bike, if you want fast keep the z1000 .... the drz will be pretty capable offroad with some dirt rims and tires, and even with the sm rims it will beebop across the median and go over curbs ect with finesse, things you wouldnt ever even think of trying with a 500lb streetbike .. so the choice is yours, theyre both 'bikes' .. with a kid and family you can get killed and fcked up on the dizzer as good as anything else ..

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' .. with a kid and family you can get killed and fcked up on the dizzer as good as anything else ..


There is a lot of truth in that statement!
On one hand the SM can out brake and manuver any normal road bike. But it does also invite holiganism. I never crashed any of the road bikes, but I've hit the asphalt and cashed in 2 of my seemingly endless 9 on the DRZ.
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i agree with you .. if your a seasoned rider the drz is alot quicker to respond to 'panic moments' so i'd say that it actually is a bit safer .. i whacked a deer one time on a large cruiser at about 60 and saw it coming- busted the bike and my ankle all to hell .. it just felt like there was nothing i could do on the giant machine fast enough, on the dizzer i would have probably dodged the bullet ..

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I completely understand you can get hurt regardless of which bike you're on.  Someone can t-bone me in my car too. It can happen anywhere.  I just think the drz would be a good change of pace and to try something different. The hooniganism does play a factor in my decision though... who wouldn't want to on a bike like that!  Just knowing there's no real place you can't go has a cool factor in my book. 

As for my location I'm in the Midwest so what curvy roads we have are actually out of state about an hrs drive away.  WI & SE MN have some decent stretches so I think the SM would suit me well for the kind of riding I'd do with it.  Any of the group rides we do are with any kind of bike. Cruisers, standards,  sportbikes you name it. Normally the sportbike guys will ride up front when we get into the technical curvy stuff and then wait until the next intersection or town to get everyone together again. Everyone rides at their own pace with a goal to just get everyone together and hit the roads and have some fun. 

Having one of each would be ideal but I'll see what kind of deal I can find out there. It's paid off so anything I get for it can go towards a new bike although the wife would love that money to go to house projects lol.  My brother also has a klx400 so I'm sure we'd do some riding together as well. Both on and off road. 

 

If I could find a decent used bike I wouldn't be opposed to performing the big bore mods over the winter but I think the 3x3/jetting/ and exhaust would be a good first start. 

 

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