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School me in the DRZ

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No matter the thread location, forum, or random conversation I evesdrop, I hear guys rave about their DRZ. 

I really expected to hear people rave about their Yamaha or Honda 250s but it's nothing compared to the almost cultish following of the DRZ. 

So tell me (I'm genuinely interested to know) what is so great about the DRZ compared to the other options out there?

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The DRZ was the first "legit" dual sport, stock it has good suspension and good power, also compared to other bikes in it's class (at the time it was introduced) it's not too heavy and it's very reliable.  Suzuki originally targeted the Honda XR400 when they came up with the DRZ, when released the kick start DRZ (i.e. the base model) was more powerful, lighter and better suspended than the XR400 and it ran better.  Also, because it was liquid cooled, it could handle being modified without melting down like the XR.  The "SE" (street legal) model and the electric start off-road models really turned a lot of riders onto the DRZ and that's when it reached cult classic status.  The SM (Super Moto) only adds to that.

Now, thanks to Suzuki never really doing any serious updates to the bike, and because the original model was (is) pretty good, the aftermarket companies know that something designed for the DRZ won't go obsolete and that it is backwards compatible on nearly EVERY DRZ model (some 15 plus years of production).  Which means that you could "almost" turn a DRZ into anything that you want by shopping the right company.  You only need to browse a web site like https://procycle.us/bikepages/drz400.html to get an idea of what could be done to a DRZ.

If you do get one, change the exhaust, open up the air box and either re-jet or install a different carb and you'll be amazed at what your DRZ has become.  ~ I did and I was.

Edited by zig06
Had to fix the hyperlink
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FYI:  When I say "legit dual sport" I mean that it really is a good bike on and off road.  KTM's EXC's since 2016 have exceeded that but you'll spend several grand more getting one, plus they still can't beat Suzuki's reliability.  But the KTM's do have better suspension, are lighter and the 350, 450 and 500's are more powerful.

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Great insight Zig

I get frustrated at times that my WR450F isn't street legal and wish I'd have considered a dual sport. 

Im not a crazy rider and just like to ride mountain dirt roads so I am considering taking the leap but don't know whether I'd rather keep the Yamaha and use it here and there while still owning a street only bike or if I should go dual sport. So I really appreciate the insight on what makes the DRZ so popular. 

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No problem, I will say that the #1 complaint against the DRZ is the high seat height, which can be fixed with spacers inside the shock and forks when you service the suspension.  When I had my '05 DRZ (which I never should have sold) I did try the Kouba link to lower the rear suspension but it changed the linkage ratio and made it way too soft, so I pulled it back off.  I also tried the low gel seat but that just made it uncomfortable ~ the gel seat for me was over rated.

Nope, if you get a DRZ and the seat height is too high, find a suspension shop that can lower it (by reducing the suspension travel).  Did that with my current DR650 and love it!

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If you stick to mountain roads you will enjoy the DR-Z. A get-off in some tight woods will make you wish you had never seen one.

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Reliability.
I have 18.7k miles on my 2006 SM. The worst failure to date is the power wire to the CDI rubbed through and grounded out. At around 16k I put a big bore in it and found the piston, rings, and cylinder still well within specification. Despite have aftermarket cams all of its life, I have never had to shim a valve.

The motor is basically the same as the LT-Z400 so there is a wealth of knowledge to make them into rocket ships. The reason for the excess weight of the bike is the engine is built bury, without shaved down parts like modern 4 stroke mx bikes. It's still modern design, cam over bucket dohc ,over square engine. The head is well know by tuners to flow better stock than most 450's. You can build a 60 horsepower engine and it will still run for 10's of thousands of miles with only oil changes and air filter cleanings.

Not to mention it just sexy.IMG_20170825_171024474.jpg

Sent from my XT1650 using ThumperTalk mobile app

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Ignorant question:

do you have to change the oil a bunch like I have to with my WR?

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1 hour ago, DaveCR said:

If you stick to mountain roads you will enjoy the DR-Z. A get-off in some tight woods will make you wish you had never seen one.

Compared to what? Other street-legal bikes in its class, or purpose built dirt bikes?

I know my DR350 is a handful in some tight places, but it actually surprises me at what I've been able to negotiate.

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Great insight fellas!

I drove by my local dealer today on my lunch break and had to fight to stay away for fear that I may come home with a new bike. 

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