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

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  I have had a BMW F800GS since 2013,  I bought a used DRZ 400S last year.  I ride the DRZ 400 more often because it is more fun.  If I intend to go over 80 mph or more than 50 miles (one way) I prefer the BMW F800GS.  My Girlfriend doesn't like riding on the back of the DRZ 400,   (but she will without complaining for less than 50 miles )  while she loves riding on the back of the BMW F800GS all day.   The BMW F800GS is an amazing bike it is lighter than the other 2 cylinder ADV bikes (392 dry,  456 wet) and the power delivery makes it easy to ride.   But for me at least riding the BMW F800GS in deep sand can be scary, while doing the same on a DRZ 400 is all fun and games. The BMW F800GS will go through some really nasty terrain but the weight can make it scary. When riding sand I often need to accelerate to keep the front end light so I find myself going faster than I want and looking for places where it was possible to slow down without letting the front tire sink.    I love having both and every time I ride one I really appreciate the things it does better than the other.   I was riding with my Girlfriend through a Mexican Pine Forrest on deep sand with tire ruts when I decided I really wanted to own a lighter smaller bike  

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45 minutes ago, Barry Ries said:

 (392 dry,  456 wet)

😲😲😲😲😲😲😲😲😲😲😲😲

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Barry Ries said:
 
 
 
 
 
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1 hour ago, Barry Ries said:

  I have had a BMW F800GS since 2013,  I bought a used DRZ 400S last year.  I ride the DRZ 400 more often because it is more fun.  If I intend to go over 80 mph or more than 50 miles (one way) I prefer the BMW F800GS.  My Girlfriend doesn't like riding on the back of the DRZ 400,   (but she will without complaining for less than 50 miles )  while she loves riding on the back of the BMW F800GS all day.   The BMW F800GS is an amazing bike it is lighter than the other 2 cylinder ADV bikes (392 dry,  456 wet) and the power delivery makes it easy to ride.   But for me at least riding the BMW F800GS in deep sand can be scary, while doing the same on a DRZ 400 is all fun and games. The BMW F800GS will go through some really nasty terrain but the weight can make it scary. When riding sand I often need to accelerate to keep the front end light so I find myself going faster than I want and looking for places where it was possible to slow down without letting the front tire sink.    I love having both and every time I ride one I really appreciate the things it does better than the other.   I was riding with my Girlfriend through a Mexican Pine Forrest on deep sand with tire ruts when I decided I really wanted to own a lighter smaller bike  

It's great to hear an honest review from someone with both an F800 and a DRZ400.  I've ridden with a guy who rides an F800GS and it's an impressive machine.  Even on double-track, it's quite capable.  There's no hiding that it's a heavy bike but even so, it's one of the more versatile bikes I've seen and that's what draws me to it.  Unless you're planning on riding single-track or are often riding offroad in sand etc, the F800GS appears to capable to some degree offroad.  And if you plan on riding all single-track and off road, then maybe a KTM 250 would be better suited anyways?  I also like how capable the F800 is right out of the box, without needing a lot of upgrades.  You could almost buy one and set off across Canada the next day, riding all the backroads you feel like and even explore a fire road or two along the way.

As I mentioned earlier, if I lived in Squamish British Columbia, with endless fire roads and trails through the woods, the DRZ would be a much better choice than the F800GS (or similar middle-weight ADV bike).  However, I'll still probably keep my DRZ for a while longer (or end up with 2 bikes).  The DRZ really is a blast to ride and makes me smile for sure.  It's quite a challenge to find that one bike that fully suits our riding preference and environment.  The Honda CRF450L is also quite impressive, although very dirt oriented like the DRZ and would probably have similar limitations for 2-up and highway riding.

Edited by trekker
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Any bike you own you will modify....it's just the law of owning bikes.  But the DRZ was never a good highway or 2-up bike to begin with.  Wrong tool for the job. 

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Yes, sounds like you bought the wrong bike for what you need/want. The DRZ was never intended for 2 up riding. The only negative I have for BMW is the cost of parts. You might want to consider that when it comes to your next bike purchase. Surprised no one here has mentioned the DR650 but really I'm not sure if that would fit well with what you want to do with your bike. Can't imagine a passenger would be comfortable in the dirt on anything smaller than a 1200. 

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Going 2 up I would imagine the drz feels terrible (don’t know never did it). But a mid sized adventure bike would probably be a much better thing to buy and not have to dump any money besides guards.

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27 minutes ago, azr33 said:

 The only negative I have for BMW is the cost of parts. You might want to consider that when it comes to your next bike purchase. Surprised no one here has mentioned the DR650 but really I'm not sure if that would fit well with what you want to do with your bike. Can't imagine a passenger would be comfortable in the dirt on anything smaller than a 1200. 

  The cost of parts is the worst thing about a BMW.     The F800GS does great with a passenger and If you ever try riding one through a sandy forest the last thing you will be craving is more weight.      

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1 hour ago, trekker said:

It's great to hear an honest review from someone with both an F800 and a DRZ400.  I've ridden with a guy who rides an F800GS and it's an impressive machine.  Even on double-track, it's quite capable.  There's no hiding that it's a heavy bike but even so, it's one of the more versatile bikes I've seen and that's what draws me to it.  Unless you're planning on riding single-track or are often riding offroad in sand etc, the F800GS appears to capable to some degree offroad.  And if you plan on riding all single-track and off road, then maybe a KTM 250 would be better suited anyways?  I also like how capable the F800 is right out of the box, without needing a lot of upgrades.  You could almost buy one and set off across Canada the next day, riding all the backroads you feel like and even explore a fire road or two along the way.

As I mentioned earlier, if I lived in Squamish British Columbia, with endless fire roads and trails through the woods, the DRZ would be a much better choice than the F800GS (or similar middle-weight ADV bike).  However, I'll still probably keep my DRZ for a while longer (or end up with 2 bikes).  The DRZ really is a blast to ride and makes me smile for sure.  It's quite a challenge to find that one bike that fully suits our riding preference and environment.  The Honda CRF450L is also quite impressive, although very dirt oriented like the DRZ and would probably have similar limitations for 2-up and highway riding.

  The F800GS and the DRZ 400 is a really great combination.     The Yamaha 700 Tenere also looks like it could be a winner if it ever shows up at the Dealers.  It is the same weight as the F800GS but with 10 less horsepower and a better suspension.      

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Your 110lb passenger needs her own ride.

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11 minutes ago, 38super said:

Your 110lb passenger needs her own ride.

I've been trying to convince her of that!  Surprisingly the DRZ hasn't sent her off to find her own bike! 

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33 minutes ago, trekker said:

I've been trying to convince her of that!  Surprisingly the DRZ hasn't sent her off to find her own bike! 

     I was trying to convince my passenger that the Yamaha XT 250 was the way to go but she wanted a Honda Rebel 500. 

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Posted (edited)

Trekker, I own both bikes (400S + 800GS) and they both serve me well for what I enjoy doing but again it's all about the right compromise for your needs because no bike out there is perfect.I love to ride my Z in the forest trails and having to ride for an hour or more on the black stuff before I get to the dirt is not a problem. But it pretty much sucks on the highway .On the other hand, the 800GS is great on the tarmac and the wife seems to enjoy it too but I wouldn't go crazy on it offroad - too scary .

 

Edited by antonyp
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First bike should be comfortable and easy to ride in order to build confidence.  Often new riders pick bikes that look like old shoes, less visual intimidation.  We on the other hand realize the short comings and push for a more capable bike.  It depends on the rider, some times the progression requires many steps.  What matters is taking the first step, be there for this person (and try not to yell or laugh).

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I had the same thoughts about my DRZ many years ago and yet I still have the bike. It's a great bike for inner city riding and has a low maintenance engine but I still want more power. Years ago and even now I keep looking at a KTM 690 and recently a Yamaha MT 07

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4 hours ago, ktmenvy said:

Check out this video for another take on a "lightweight" adventure bike.

 

 

I've been curious about this bike for a while. Seems like a good in-between for the DRZ and a full sized ADV bike

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This thread is too much fun to miss.  You need to sit down and do a ride needs assessment, which should have been done 15000$ ago!

I had a 2005 KLR for 8 years, and loved it...and rode the hell out of it off road: my buddies on their KTM's called it "the tractor" as it would chug chug up and through the most amazing stuff...but I was pushing it way too hard off road for its capabilities.  It was solid on the slab, and rode two up just fine with my wife.  (I had two sets of wheels, a tall and short windscreen, etc and a Corbin seat).   This bike weighs 400lbs plus, and can be picked up when it tips over, but is a job.  Inexpensive, has tons of advice and parts avail, rides 2 up okay, does fine on slab, gravel, and can be pushed into pretty gnarly stuff but is a challenge.

My analysis, which led to tears in my eyes as I really had a relationship with "Red" my name for my tractor, was that I needed a lighter and more capable off-road machine, as that is where my interests were pushing me.  I did not wish to abandon DS and go to trail, as I truly enjoy the hard cornering on good twisty slab, but really enjoy that mud/boulder climb to the top.  Accordingly, I got a DRZ and am super happy: it is far lighter to pick up, comes with enough power stock to do lots of very aggressive off-road, and has the same cult-following/world team of expert advice, cheap and readily avail parts, etc.  It does not do 2 up...although I custom built a seat that extends the custom seat (installs in 2 minutes) and my wife is happy on it for day rides.  It does not willingly do some of the most difficult trail stuff, and does not have the jump to wheelie without forcing it.  Perfect fit for me.

Many folks are dedicated to remaking their DRZ into something else...which to me indicates a failure to do the needs assessment I already alluded to.  If more power is your thing, then possibly you should consider any of the most excellent hard core trail machines (which come with a high cost and high maintenance schedule) rather than buying the cheaper DRZ and then spending a ton remaking it.  I am not sure that many of us can reengineer the DRZ to surpass the performance of the high end machines for a cheaper cost, and even if we do, we end up with a one-off machine and are on our own for repair/maintenance etc.  The stock DRZ, with some guards on it, is a dang good DS machine for pretty aggressive DS riding, one up.

From your points I glean: you talk about fast riding on slab, about 2 up, you are looking at BMW (heavier, much less capable off road, great slab and two up: I rented one for a day in Germany and my wife and I did a day of twisty slabs with local family members and dragged my sneakers on the pavement in the turns, what a blast....but no way would I ever consider taking this off-road where I like to ride)  or VSTROM: again smooth, heavy good 2 up, not capable for the tough off road.  Etc.  These bikes are all heavier, faster, better two up, smoother, and thus are ADV touring, etc. bikes, but not aggressive DS.  The DRZ is a great aggressive DS bike for one rider.  

You bought the wrong bike, and had fun modding it.  You really should consider liquidating the accessories you can unmod, and selling the bike.....and finding the fit for your true riding desires.

BTW, I am in Ottawa....and might be tempted by some of the mods...ha ha.  Where are you located?

 

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