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trekker

Looking back on all my upgrades, is the DRZ worth it?

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Posted (edited)

I have a 2014 DRZ400S and I've poured a lot of time and money into making it the best all around bike that I can.  I bought the bike almost brand new for $6000 CAD and I've put over $5000 CAD worth of parts into it.  If I put a price on the countless hours I've spent working on the bike, I'd imagine it would add up to another $5000.  I can't help thinking I should have bought a BMW F800GS in the first place! 

What I've done:

  1. 3x3 airbox mod
  2. UNI Air Filter
  3. JD Jet Kit
  4. FMF Powerbomb Header
  5. FMF Q4 Exhaust
  6. Seat Concepts Seat
  7. Scots Steering Stabilizer
  8. Galfer USA Oversized Front Rotor
  9. Galfer USA Sintered brake pads
  10. Galfer USA Stainless steel braided brake line
  11. Aluminum skid plate
  12. Aluminum Radiator Guards
  13. Bark Busters
  14. Pro Taper Bars
  15. Tusk Pannier Racks
  16. Nelson Riggs Soft Bags
  17. Top Rack
  18. KLX Headlight Shroud
  19. HID Headlight bulb
  20. Edge 2 Fender Eliminator
  21. Continental TKC80 Tires with Motion Pro Rim Locks
  22. TT Case Savers
  23. USB charging port and RAM phone mount
  24. UFO Front Fender
  25. Denali Sound Bomb Horn
  26. Countershaft Loctite Fix
  27. Stator and Starter Clutch Loctite Fixes
  28. Side-stand kill switch removal
  29. Probably more that I'm forgetting...

I love my DRZ, but it still has some major issues.

  • It's terrible 2-up (even the Seat Concepts seat doesn't allow for a small 2nd rider).
  • The upgraded front brakes feel insufficient with two normal size riders (I'm 170lbs and my wife is 110). 
  • It doesn't inspire any confidence when I need to do highway riding.  Above 110km/hr (70miles/hr) it has a tendency to speed wobble and doesn't feel planted since it's so light.  I also feel like I'm pushing the engine too hard at those speeds.
  • The DRZ lacks great equipment such as ABS brakes, fuel injection, a reasonable size gas tank, a windscreen etc.

I want to love the DRZ, but I'm looking back on a lot of time and money and feeling like I should have gone with a GS800 or similar bike from the start.

Thoughts?

Edited by trekker
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9 minutes ago, trekker said:

I have a 2014 DRZ400S and I've poured a lot of time and money into making it the best all around bike that I can.  I bought the bike almost brand new for $6000 CAD and I've put over $5000 CAD worth of parts into it.  If I put a price on the countless hours I've spent working on the bike, I'd imagine it would add up to another $5000.  I can't help thinking I should have bought a BMW F800GS in the first place! 

 

Pretty much in the same boat as you. Same weight my girlfriend is about the same size as yours and we like to ride together. 

For my equipment tho, I have basically everything you have, plus a complete bottom end rebuild, big bore kit, CVK40 carb, and Warp 9 wheels. I only paid $2200 for it however. 

Sometimes I wish I got something else that would have been just as much fun stock. But at the end of the day I love my DRZ and I'll probably never sell it (mostly because I'd never get enough money out of it to cover all the money and hours spent on it thus far)

One day I'll add a V Strom to the garage and that will take care of the comfort side of things 

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Take this with a grain of salt.  You're comparing late 90's tech (RM/DR/DRZ), that you've upgraded tastefully..... to mid teens technology (BMW).  Not to mention they are 2 different classes of bikes.  Suzuki being bottom of the barrel tech and parts, compared to BMW's "entry" class mid level ADV bike.  You can't more apples to oranges.  It'd be like comparing the DRZ to the Wee/Vstrom if you were staying brand loyal.  While i agree it sucks at the things you want it to be good at....but the things that you want, it was never intended to be really acceptable at doing.  

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It looks like the drz isn't the bike you thought it could be made into. You'd have a better shot recovering some of your investment parting out all the accessories. It might be a good idea to ride a GS800 first before moving on. A 500 plus # bike will definitely never be close to a best all around bike either. 

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Posted (edited)

Your right, you made the wrong choice purchasing the DRZ. It's perfect for me and what I'm doing, but not for everyone.

Someone going to get a good bike at a great price, because you'll have a hard time getting value for what you put into it. Good luck, if I lived closer to you I'd give you an offer.

picture of the bike?

Edited by bucket list

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, trekker said:

I should have bought a BMW F800GS in the first place

totally different bike than the DRZ

Have you looked at the V-Strom?

Edited by Beta300recat

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Awesome replies, I really appreciate all the thoughts and advice!  @bucket list I think if I lived in BC (Squamish for example) the DRZ would be the perfect bike!  In Southern Ontario, fire roads, trails and even good dirt roads are not always plentiful or easy to find and a highway ride is often needed just to get out to country roads.  I don't think I'll sell this year, but you're right, there's no way I'll recoup the money I've put into my bike.  I could try parting out some of it as I have a lot of the stock parts, but that's a decent amount of work to put things back to stock.

@76xtdrvr - Good call on the test ride.  I'm on the list to test ride the new BMW F850GS Adventure, which will be interesting because although it's an amazing bike, it's incredibly heavy!  I wonder if I'll dislike it just because it's such a beast to maneuver around compared to what I'm used to with the DRZ.  Or maybe I'll find it still fairly nimble, even though it's almost twice the weight of the DRZ... I have no idea what to expect really.  I do realize a bigger bike like the GS will never have the offroad ability of the DRZ.  But as much as I enjoy trail riding, the reality of where I live dictates that I do a lot more street riding with some dirt road riding whenever I can.

@ctrials - Wise words.  I agree the DRZ was not meant for all that I wish it could do.  It's always interesting trying to find (or build/modify) the best all round bike.  I know the DRZ is not really designed for 2-up or highway riding, but I just want to have it all 😛 

@1hp - Agreed, modding can be very fun and rewarding when you reap the benefits of good upgrades and mods.

@Bm1997 - I've considered, the big bore & CVK40 carb, must be fun to ride with those upgrades!  The V-Strom seems like a nice bike.  Definitely a lot more capable on the highway and 2-up.

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20 minutes ago, Beta300recat said:

totally different bike than the DRZ

Have you looked at the V-Strom?

Not that I've ever had one, but if you set brands aside, Klr650 is probably closer to what he wants. Dual sport capabilities, wind screen, decent on highway, and much more comfortable for 2 riders. In a way I wish I got a KLR, but I'd miss the hooligan dirt bike side of things that the DRZ satisfies

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I'm in the same boat. Tons of upgrades on my DRZ and second guessing myself now. Have had it about 4 years now.

 

I originally bought it to use as an onroad/offroad machine but quickly learned that while it's passable for both, it doesn't excel at either. I had two sets of wheels but recently bought an 06 KTM 250XC for my off road needs. Sold the dirt wheels not long after that. Now i'm craving a lighter weight supermoto. Still have a blast on the ol dizzer but can't help but think I would've been better off with something else.

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5 minutes ago, Bm1997 said:

Not that I've ever had one, but if you set brands aside, Klr650 is probably closer to what he wants. Dual sport capabilities, wind screen, decent on highway, and much more comfortable for 2 riders. In a way I wish I got a KLR, but I'd miss the hooligan dirt bike side of things that the DRZ satisfies

I had a 2008 KLR650 for a couple of years actually and I sort of hated it.  It's so much heavier than the DRZ and feels a lot slower.  The power to weight on the KLR650 not as good as the DRZ.  With that big 650cc single cylinder, I felt like I was driving a tractor all the time... slow and heavy!  In my opinion, the DRZ400 is a WAY better bike than the KLR. 

The KLR is better 2-up, but only slightly better on the highway, but almost everything else is way worse.

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31 minutes ago, Beta300recat said:

totally different bike than the DRZ

Have you looked at the V-Strom?

I've considered the V-Strom but never seriously looked at it.  When looking at that class of heavier adventure style bike, I like the more powerful, sportier, higher-quality of the F800GS or the Honda Africa Twin.

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I never had speed wobble on mine, even going 80+mph; that sounds a bit freaky, really.  It sounds to me like a 2nd bike is in your near future.  And yea, that skinny little dirt bike seat on the drz was never meant to carry passengers for any great distance.  Go check out (and test drive if they'll let you, lol) some ADV bikes, and let us know what you think :thumbsup:

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1 minute ago, timmy.g said:

I never had speed wobble on mine, even going 80+mph; that sounds a bit freaky, really.  It sounds to me like a 2nd bike is in your near future.  And yea, that skinny little dirt bike seat on the drz was never meant to carry passengers for any great distance.  Go check out (and test drive if they'll let you, lol) some ADV bikes, and let us know what you think :thumbsup:

Thanks!  Ya I'll let you all know my thoughts when I test ride the F850GS.  I may also see if I can test the new Honda Africa Twin (I'll have to see if Honda does test rides like BMW does).  Who knows, I may realize the DRZ is better...  grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence right!

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Posted (edited)

Just a few quick notes from my personal exp:

The DRZ is a very fun bike but shades towards the off-road side of things, say 75/25(off/on). There are better dirt bikes, to be sure, but the DRZ has surprised a lot of better dirt bikes.

The F800/850 is a heavy pig off-road, except on fast gravel roads, say 20/80. The only way to make the 800 fun off road is if your feet never come off the pegs. I have the similar F700, which is even more street-oriented, say10/90 but sees quite a bit of gravel/hard pack trails with me. Wife rides one also.

If you are riding 2 up extensively on a DRZ my sympathies to both the rider and his/her victim.

Most off road riders really need 2-3 bikes for their various activities: dual sport/FSR/single track, as no bike does it all well.

Get the bike that makes you smile .....when riding.

PS: Never had any form of head shake on the DRZ, , either on road or off.... from 0 to 140kph

Edited by shuswap1
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Posted (edited)

Learned a lot messing with bike and tinkering with ad-ons mods etc.  All of it was to learn what you know now.  If you had bought a gs800 originally, you may have always wondered if it was too heavy, that you should have bought a lighter bike, that its more expensive to buy parts or get worked on etc etc.   And each mod you did was probably a little enjoyment from putting it on and seeing how it would be? 

  My friend has a gs1200, its big fast and heavy.  He is waiting 2 months from bmw of america to ship him the universal joint/gear thing that goes in the drive shaft, $2000.00 for that part, ya, 2g's,  back ordered.  ugh.   Bike failed him and spun like it was in neutral on side of road.  A meticulously bmw dealer serviced bike, no guarantees if the oranges are better than the apples.  Then he tried some offroad, and a small drop off, the suspension bottomed and broke up the windshield mounts and other stuff.   Has your drz stranded you?   Try owning a european car vs a japanese car, bmw,audi,vw, etc, vs honda, toyota, subaru.  get it worked on, see how reliable they compare, cost to repair,   no thanks anymore on european stuff, even if they are better performance usually, the worry and cost forget it

  If you saved all your factory parts, I don't know if you can put some on and sell the mods, or sell the originals, etc.   If I was going riding somewhere pretty far away, I would put bike in truck and unload near riding place, or trailer, etc.  Then the lighter weight of bike would be the big bonus, and the downside long highway part would be gone.

 

Edited by dual sport seattle
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It’s all about experience and what you take away from it

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1 hour ago, Bm1997 said:

Not that I've ever had one, but if you set brands aside, Klr650 is probably closer to what he wants. Dual sport capabilities, wind screen, decent on highway, and much more comfortable for 2 riders. In a way I wish I got a KLR, but I'd miss the hooligan dirt bike side of things that the DRZ satisfies

KLR is just a water cooled XL, no thanks. Big, heavy and under powered. For two up, a Bonneville or a Sportster is going to be far more stable on a dirt road. 

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1 hour ago, trekker said:

I've considered the V-Strom but never seriously looked at it.  When looking at that class of heavier adventure style bike, I like the more powerful, sportier, higher-quality of the F800GS or the Honda Africa Twin.

The Honda or the BMW will never come close to the Suzuki for reliability. 

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I'm also not a fan of euro bikes either.  If you have money that you'd be fine with literally burning then maybe 😅.  But I bet that africa twin is a real nice bike.  It's way too heavy for any really gnarly offroading imo, but I bet it's a fun as hell bike as an overall package.

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