leaning DRZ400 kicker vs. S help me decide

Hi.  New poster but I have gained a lot of knowledge from this forum over the years.  So thanks for that.  I owned a DRZ400S a few years ago and enjoyed it greatly.  Had to sell when we moved.  I am now looking at DRZ's again.  I live in the woods, and near forest service.  I want a DRZ that is all it can be off road but manageable for an occasional 1 hr commute to work (on the highway 75 mph).  I'm really leaning toward the Kicker as it should be no problem to plate it here (Idaho).  Because of it's higher compression, cams, FCR carb, and lighter weight it appeals to me vs. upgrading an S model.  I would also consider an E but have a line on a clean kicker at the moment. 

Question:  Will there be any problem getting the necessary electrical working for street use without a battery?

any other thoughts or insights would be appreciated.  

The Kicker has a lower stator output.
If you want lights for JUST legality there is enough wattage using a standard halogen headlight.
If you want a GOOD headlight, your going to need to use all LEDs in lighting, headlight, taillight and blinkers (if required)
In many states, a road legal vehicle needs a battery as the lights most be capable of being illuminated with the motor off. I dont know what the laws are in your state but check them. you may need to add a battery.

The wiring is what it is, adding the circuits needed is easy if that is something you are familiar with and have the tools, or difficult if you have no  tools, experience or understanding of motorcycle electrics.  
 

Thanks for quick reply.  Good info.  I have tools and reasonable skills and can learn from you fine folks.

Anyone know of a dual sport electronics package that is all L.E.D.?  I could cobble a system together but one stop shopping is Nice! 😊

Mostly lights are for legality.  Very little nighttime riding for this bike.  I have others for that.

Edited by stb808
Added info.

I hear you on leaning towards the kicker, because I would have bought an E had I been able to plate it. SO, I have been converting my S into an E a little bit at a time. Watching my buddies suffer with their Baja Designs light kits on their WR's makes me happy to have the factory wiring of the S.

You have a tough choice ahead of you. :smirk:

IMG_20160612_163113.jpg

Nice bike!  Love that exhaust.

plausible to add a small 4c anti-gravity battery?  would the stator charge it?  what else would I need?  rectifier?

25 minutes ago, stb808 said:

Nice bike!  Love that exhaust.

Thanks! :thumbsup:

5 hours ago, stb808 said:
plausible to add a small 4c anti-gravity battery?  would the stator charge it?  what else would I need?  rectifier?


The kicker has a regulator rectifier.
Check running voltage at about 3-5K RPM’s if you have 13.6 to 14 volts it’ll charge a Li ion battery just fine

I have an 01 kicker as well, I plan to use the Tusk kit to convert the bike for roads in Colorado. The DRZ400 kicker version of the kit comes with its own rechargeable battery to power the lights and appears to be all LED, I've read some have had issues with the quality of the kit but at $211 it's hard to beat. I figured for longer rides all I need is a second battery, which is $30. The headlight should be powerable from the bike's electrical system I'd assume. Was eyeing an X2 dual sport light for the bike myself.

 

https://www.rockymountainatvmc.com/p/1156/26723/Tusk-Motorcycle-Enduro-Lighting-Kit-with-Handguard-Turn-Signals?v=2001-SUZUKI-DR-Z-400

36 minutes ago, Shanemcg said:

I have an 01 kicker as well, I plan to use the Tusk kit to convert the bike for roads in Colorado. The DRZ400 kicker version of the kit comes with its own rechargeable battery to power the lights and appears to be all LED, I've read some have had issues with the quality of the kit but at $211 it's hard to beat. I figured for longer rides all I need is a second battery, which is $30. The headlight should be powerable from the bike's electrical system I'd assume. Was eyeing an X2 dual sport light for the bike myself.

 

https://www.rockymountainatvmc.com/p/1156/26723/Tusk-Motorcycle-Enduro-Lighting-Kit-with-Handguard-Turn-Signals?v=2001-SUZUKI-DR-Z-400

Awesome!

For me, it's all about a dirt bike with a plate.

Thanks for the link.  Looks like a good solution.

 

That poor motor will be screaming at 75mph for an hour - even if you gear it up a bit, and still have it be usable off-road

Buy an S, plate it, pipe it, put a seat on it and go riding. Electrics get really annoying when they're homemade. I really miss my S, she was a good one.

WP_20160403_001.jpg

4 hours ago, daman6996 said:

That poor motor will be screaming at 75mph for an hour - even if you gear it up a bit, and still have it be usable off-road

Why would it be screaming any more than an S if I change sprockets?

3 hours ago, Maxmission said:

Buy an S, plate it, pipe it, put a seat on it and go riding. Electrics get really annoying when they're homemade. I really miss my S, she was a good one.

WP_20160403_001.jpg

Yeah, I miss the one I had too.  Wanting a bit more power and less weight this time.  The road riding will be secondary.  I have other road bikes.

I have an '02 kicker and got the Tusk kit.  It works pretty well and was easy to install (using the youtube instruction video that is).  It isn't perfect, but is relatively inexpensive and you don't have to cut any wires unless you plan to run a hi/low headlight.  Mine has been pretty stable.  Below are some miscellaneous things about it.  I'm not sure if the kit has been updated since then (5-6 years ago), so this could be out of date.  Keep in mind, it is super easy to plate a bike in MT.  I could plate a CR500 if I wanted (no inspections - just turn in a check list and pay the money - MT just wants the $ revenue lol). 

Tusk kit:

1) The mirror isn't very good.  If you have wide shoulders, it is tough to see around.  I would highly recommend getting a better mirror if you do a lot of street riding.  If it is just to get it legal, then it is fine.  It is easy to tuck away on the bars for off roading.

2) It has an on/off switch which takes up a bit of room on the handle bars (I really don't have any room for anything else since I have hand guards and the manual decomp. lever), but you can save battery life by shutting it off when off road.  It lasts about 10-12 hours roughly.  It is a little Ni-Cad battery that I used some stick on velcro to attach it to the frame under the seat.

3) The rear brake light switch causes it to not fit the factory reservoir mounting hole.  You'll have to add a different length hose or modify it somehow and relocate the reservoir.

4) It doesn't come with a front brake switch, but you can order one separately if your state requires it (at least when I bought it).

5) I'm not sure if kickers have a hi/low bulb stock.  I think it depends on the year.  I don't ride at night, so I didn't bother with that. 

Kicker overall:

As far as going for an S vs. a kicker (or E for that matter)....if you live in a state that it is easy/cheap to plate a dirt bike, I'd go for the E/kicker every time (assuming both were well cared for).  That is mainly because they are usually quite a bit cheaper used and you've got all the good mods from the factory (an FCR sets you back $800+ these days).  I rode a friend's S (granted it was stock other than knobbies - I've heard 3x3 and re-jet does wonders) and mine is slightly modified (exhaust, air snorkel removed, re-jetted) and 15/47 vs 15/44 gears, but mine felt significantly more peppy than his (seat of the pants - didn't race).  It is noticeably lighter as well. It is still a heavy feeling bike though (top heavy).  I had to give his S more throttle to hold 70 mph, where mine you barely touch the throttle to do that.

As far as highway use, it all comes down to gearing (no difference there between the S).  I run 15/47 gears and cruise at 65-70 mph (about 6500-7000 rpms).  I think 15/44 would be fine for 75 mph (assuming you can handle it).  It'll be buzzy for sure, but as long as the loctite fixes are done, MCCT installed, valves in spec, fresh oil, clean air filter, etc. the bike seems to handle it just fine. 

One thing I did notice is that mine doesn't seem as buzzy as my buddy's S was.  I do have aftermarket Renthal bars, Acerbis hand guards, and pillow top grips, so maybe that has something to do with it.  Or it could be the lighter fly wheel.  This was going off memory though.  I didn't ride them back to back, so it could just be in my head. 

It certainly is a pain to start when you crash on a hill though.  :)

...oh one last thing, I've heard the kicker crank shafts have been discontinued, so if you ever need a bottom end, it could get spendy unless you can find an old surplus one sitting on a shelf. 

Edited by jl73sat
8 hours ago, stb808 said:

Why would it be screaming any more than an S if I change sprockets?

jl73sat explains it well.  Gearingcommander.com is a great tool to decide on gearing.  I own a 2000 kicker that is plated in Colorado.  I run 15/47 gearing and that is tallest I can go and still have it be usable on the more technical terrain.  I just don't like running 7500 RPM (@75mph) on the highway for long periods of time, I've considered buying a rekluse clutch and going taller on the gearing, but in the end I don't want to spend that much money on that bike.    

I can't imagine there will be alot left in the tank once you get off the highway. Dirt bikes are poor highway bikes. Buy the kicker and use it for riding around town and connecting trails. If you want to communicate a hour 1 way on the freeway then buy a legitimate street bike.

 

 

8 hours ago, jl73sat said:

I have an '02 kicker and got the Tusk kit.  It works pretty well and was easy to install (using the youtube instruction video that is).  It isn't perfect, but is relatively inexpensive and you don't have to cut any wires unless you plan to run a hi/low headlight.  Mine has been pretty stable.  Below are some miscellaneous things about it.  I'm not sure if the kit has been updated since then (5-6 years ago), so this could be out of date.  Keep in mind, it is super easy to plate a bike in MT.  I could plate a CR500 if I wanted (no inspections - just turn in a check list and pay the money - MT just wants the $ revenue lol). 

Tusk kit:

1) The mirror isn't very good.  If you have wide shoulders, it is tough to see around.  I would highly recommend getting a better mirror if you do a lot of street riding.  If it is just to get it legal, then it is fine.  It is easy to tuck away on the bars for off roading.

2) It has an on/off switch which takes up a bit of room on the handle bars (I really don't have any room for anything else since I have hand guards and the manual decomp. lever), but you can save battery life by shutting it off when off road.  It lasts about 10-12 hours roughly.  It is a little Ni-Cad battery that I used some stick on velcro to attach it to the frame under the seat.

3) The rear brake light switch causes it to not fit the factory reservoir mounting hole.  You'll have to add a different length hose or modify it somehow and relocate the reservoir.

4) It doesn't come with a front brake switch, but you can order one separately if your state requires it (at least when I bought it).

5) I'm not sure if kickers have a hi/low bulb stock.  I think it depends on the year.  I don't ride at night, so I didn't bother with that. 

Kicker overall:

As far as going for an S vs. a kicker (or E for that matter)....if you live in a state that it is easy/cheap to plate a dirt bike, I'd go for the E/kicker every time (assuming both were well cared for).  That is mainly because they are usually quite a bit cheaper used and you've got all the good mods from the factory (an FCR sets you back $800+ these days).  I rode a friend's S (granted it was stock other than knobbies - I've heard 3x3 and re-jet does wonders) and mine is slightly modified (exhaust, air snorkel removed, re-jetted) and 15/47 vs 15/44 gears, but mine felt significantly more peppy than his (seat of the pants - didn't race).  It is noticeably lighter as well. It is still a heavy feeling bike though (top heavy).  I had to give his S more throttle to hold 70 mph, where mine you barely touch the throttle to do that.

As far as highway use, it all comes down to gearing (no difference there between the S).  I run 15/47 gears and cruise at 65-70 mph (about 6500-7000 rpms).  I think 15/44 would be fine for 75 mph (assuming you can handle it).  It'll be buzzy for sure, but as long as the loctite fixes are done, MCCT installed, valves in spec, fresh oil, clean air filter, etc. the bike seems to handle it just fine. 

One thing I did notice is that mine doesn't seem as buzzy as my buddy's S was.  I do have aftermarket Renthal bars, Acerbis hand guards, and pillow top grips, so maybe that has something to do with it.  Or it could be the lighter fly wheel.  This was going off memory though.  I didn't ride them back to back, so it could just be in my head. 

It certainly is a pain to start when you crash on a hill though.  :)

...oh one last thing, I've heard the kicker crank shafts have been discontinued, so if you ever need a bottom end, it could get spendy unless you can find an old surplus one sitting on a shelf. 

Thanks for all this great info.  I plan to do all the standard "fixes" right away, as well as performance mods.  I think the tusk kit will be fine for me.  I am on my way to pic up an '03 kicker today.  It's 4 and a half hours from me but VERY clean.  been sitting since '09 (recently resurrected and carb rebuilt) .  Looks like new.  So excited to get it, and get to work.

17 hours ago, daman6996 said:

That poor motor will be screaming at 75mph for an hour - even if you gear it up a bit, and still have it be usable off-road

Or give it more power and add ACT gears 

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