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

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17 minutes ago, trekker said:

On a new F800GS Adventure for example (which I'm looking at) I wouldn't need almost all the upgrades I've done on my DRZ.  The F800 either already has the upgrade or doesn't have any need for it.

  • 3x3 airbox mod
  • UNI Air Filter
  • JD Jet Kit
  • FMF Powerbomb Header
  • FMF Q4 Exhaust
  • Seat Concepts Seat
  • Scots Steering Stabilizer
  • Galfer USA Oversized Front Rotor
  • Galfer USA Sintered brake pads
  • Galfer USA Stainless steel braided brake line
  • Bark Busters
  • Pro Taper Bars
  • Tusk Pannier Racks
  • Top Rack
  • KLX Headlight Shroud
  • HID Headlight bulb
  • Continental TKC80 Tires with Motion Pro Rim Locks
  • TT Case Savers
  • UFO Front Fender
  • Countershaft Loctite Fix
  • Stator and Starter Clutch Loctite Fixes

A DRZ and BMW GS are not even on the same planet as far as intended use.  One is vastly better off road and the other vastly better on road. Most of your high ticket mods to the DRZ were in the areas of power and comfort where the GS already had it beat.  You clearly needed a comfortable mount for the street more than an off road bike so yes you would have been better served with a GS to start with.  Had you been more interested in off road some of your early mods would have been spent on suspension and that's an area that the GS never would have matched up with the DRZ.  It's already been said, but you just bought the wrong bike for your use, but you still would (or will) have many mods to the GS, it's just human nature.

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You're an adventure tourer not a dual sporter.That's the difference.Have you analyzed how and where you ride?

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18 minutes ago, OUTERLIMITS said:

A DRZ and BMW GS are not even on the same planet as far as intended use.  One is vastly better off road and the other vastly better on road. Most of your high ticket mods to the DRZ were in the areas of power and comfort where the GS already had it beat.  You clearly needed a comfortable mount for the street more than an off road bike so yes you would have been better served with a GS to start with.  Had you been more interested in off road some of your early mods would have been spent on suspension and that's an area that the GS never would have matched up with the DRZ.  It's already been said, but you just bought the wrong bike for your use, but you still would (or will) have many mods to the GS, it's just human nature.

 

6 minutes ago, bumtarder said:

You're an adventure tourer not a dual sporter.That's the difference.Have you analyzed how and where you ride?

So true, I really appreciate the great feedback and thoughts.  The DRZ remains a wonderful machine and I will always love it for all the things it does well.  @bumtarder I think you're right.  As much as I'd like to be a dual-sporter, 99% of my riding is on paved or dirt roads.  Where I live plays a big part in this.  I really just want a bike I can pack with camping gear and take trips with, exploring back roads whenever I can (sometimes solo, sometimes 2-up).  I really enjoy multi-day trips and need to have the option to take the highway sometimes (although I'll always prefer secondary roads, preferably country dirt or paved roads). 

I also do a fair bit of city riding, where I think the DRZ is probably better suited, as it's much more nimble and fun to zip around on.  I imagine an F800 would be less fun driving around the city.

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I frequently ride both maintained and seasonal dirt roads by necessity every day on my SM but in the grand scheme of things it only represents about 5% of my total riding conditions and not enough to justify setting up that bike for 50/50 off road use like a S model.I have a dedicated E model for that as well a 4x4 utility atv for that purpose.The loose gravel roads on a sm slow you down a little but hard packed dirt is fine with a soft compound performance street tire.I don't ride it in sandy or muddy conditions as it's just not set up for that just like I don't ride my woods bike on the street any more than necessary with aggressive non-dot knobby tires.

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MT-09 SE (the one with the olins active rear shock)  On my shopping list for next March.  I love the upright riding position and bonkers power (all kinds of power in Jay Leno speak).  Also conforms to motorbikes having an odd number of cylinders, 3 in this case. I'll never sell the DRZ though - way to much fun and tinkering to be had.   
I've also thought about buying the FZ as they are known here several times but haven't pulled the trigger yet. I pick up a Ninja 400 for a track bike this year and it has stolen lot of my attention.

My DRZ is 1 of 2 bikes I'll never sell for the same reasons you mentioned. I think once you get into the uncorked larger displacement realm you'll be even more impressed with the bike. When you have to stop using adjectives like smooth and pleasant and replace them with explosive and fast the fun factor increase exponentially. It's a shame the bike doesn't come from the factory with 50+ HP. A lot of the whiners would stop whining.
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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Bm1997 said:

Do you have pictures of this seat extension? I've been wanting to do something like that for my girlfriend so we can go on longer rides. I have an extra seat pan and the stock foam and cover, was trying to think of a way to incorporate that maybe 

Here you go: I bought a chunk of flat ABS 1/4 thick, drew out the shape desired, got the foam and heavy fabric for it, then pulled/screwed the fab down.  I designed the attachemnt hardware to integrate into my rear rack, with a slide under tang at the back, and two bolts at the front that I used knobs and wingnuts on. Image shows robertson head machine screws, but I have substituted knob/wingnuts now to facilitate the one minute install.  She sits up a bit higher which is better for her view, and allows her knees to be less bent to fit on the pax pegs.  The added cushioning also helps with the comfort.  To make this work you really need to figure out the mounting system, which needs something to attach to.  Let me know if you need more images of my setup and I will take some dedicated photos to show you more.

IMG_5119.JPG

Edited by dad2u
added clarity

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55 minutes ago, dad2u said:

Here you go: I bought a chunk of flat ABS 1/4 thick, drew out the shape desired, got the foam and heavy fabric for it, then pulled/screwed the fab down.  I designed the attachemnt hardware to integrate into my rear rack, with a slide under tang at the back, and two bolts at the front that I used knobs and wingnuts on. Image shows robertson head machine screws, but I have substituted knob/wingnuts now to facilitate the one minute install.  She sits up a bit higher which is better for her view, and allows her knees to be less bent to fit on the pax pegs.  The added cushioning also helps with the comfort.  To make this work you really need to figure out the mounting system, which needs something to attach to.  Let me know if you need more images of my setup and I will take some dedicated photos to show you more.

IMG_5119.JPG

looks really pillowy and nice 😃

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5 hours ago, trekker said:

Keep in mind it's $5000 CAD worth of upgrades.  Here's the upgrades list with prices for all you skeptics! 😉 

Upgrade Costs (Total $5195 CAD)

  • 3x3 airbox mod - $0
  • UNI Air Filter - $35
  • JD Jet Kit - $100
  • FMF Powerbomb Header & FMF Q4 Exhaust - $950
  • Seat Concepts Seat - $550
  • Scots Steering Stabilizer - $850
  • Galfer USA Oversized Front Rotor, Sintered brake pads & Stainless steel brake line - $500
  • Aluminum skid plate - $135
  • Bark Busters - $195
  • Pro Taper Bars - $130
  • Tusk Pannier Racks - $225
  • Nelson Riggs Soft Bags - $260
  • Top Rack - $100
  • Aluminum Rad Guards - $150
  • Denali Sound Bomb Horn - $150
  • KLX Headlight Shroud - $40
  • HID Headlight bulb - $100
  • Edge 2 Fender Eliminator - $75
  • Continental TKC80 Tires with Motion Pro Rim Locks - $400
  • TT Case Savers - $75
  • USB charging port and RAM phone mount $100
  • UFO Front Fender - $75
  • Countershaft Loctite Fix - $0
  • Stator and Starter Clutch Loctite Fixes - $0
  • Side-stand kill switch removal - $0

Thanks. I was one of the skeptics but I mentally underestimated the "1 CAD = $0.77 USD" factor. One could argue that many of these upgrades are highly discretionary and/or fungible, but I think that misses the point. It's your list. You took the effort to lay it out. I'm convinced. "Over $5000 CAD" it is!  :)

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10 hours ago, dad2u said:

Here you go: I bought a chunk of flat ABS 1/4 thick, drew out the shape desired, got the foam and heavy fabric for it, then pulled/screwed the fab down.  I designed the attachemnt hardware to integrate into my rear rack, with a slide under tang at the back, and two bolts at the front that I used knobs and wingnuts on. Image shows robertson head machine screws, but I have substituted knob/wingnuts now to facilitate the one minute install.  She sits up a bit higher which is better for her view, and allows her knees to be less bent to fit on the pax pegs.  The added cushioning also helps with the comfort.  To make this work you really need to figure out the mounting system, which needs something to attach to.  Let me know if you need more images of my setup and I will take some dedicated photos to show you more.

IMG_5119.JPG

Thanks for the description. This might motivate me to finally go through with it. If it's no bother I wouldn't mind seeing more pictures of your mounting. Like I said I still have my stock foam, I might try to cut two pieces out of that foam and make it double wide. It would have a crack in the middle where I join them but I guess it might allow for some airflow for her rear lol. How far out does your extension sit on the subframe? 

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So here you go.  From the underside photo you can see that I put on a cross piece, aluminum, that drops down onto the side faces of my rack, and is secured by a bolt on each side.  You will also note a tang (aluminum) that I bent so that it will slip under the rack, between the two mounting bolts that secure the rack to the subframe.  A final photo shows the knob and wingnut that I used to secure the front on each side to the rack side faces.  You may also note the two grabhandles that I made out of aluminum pipe....these are good for the passenger, but are AWESOME for picking  the machine up, or for others to grab onto if assisting me through a tough place....an altogether different story.

IMG_5523.JPG

rack interface2.JPG

Tang and rack2.JPG

IMG_5527.JPG

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Posted (edited)

Is it worth it?

In my opinion, absolutely not. What is the obsession of trying to turn a bike into something it isn't. Why not buy the right bike for what you want to do in the first place?

I've been down this route so many times. The DR650, fun bike, did just as many modifications as you did, only to have a heavy pig on the trails. The Honda CB500x, same thing, wrong rims, crash guards that mount on the engine? and the same goes for the DRZ.

The way I see it, the manufacturers are slowly coming out of the up-sell game. They want you to go from the 250, to the 400 to the 650, to the 1200 WTF? Next thing you know you find yourself trying to go up a trail and you will die alone pinned under an Africa twin weighing 2 tons.

So if you are riding as a couple, doing highway, some gravel and a bit of highway, yeah I would have gone with a brand new F850GS and you would be riding instead of tinkering.

Personally, I'm enjoying a Honda CRF250L Rally to hit the trails and camp. But I'm not modifying it to ride a highway.

Buy the bike to suit your needs and if the manufacturers like Suzuki can't make a bike to compete then go to another. Great company but anybody who has wired the screws to hold a neutral sending unit in place will shake their head in agreement.

And if anybody disagrees, sell them your DRZ for 12k and call it a day...

Edited by Schnupp66
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7 minutes ago, Schnupp66 said:

Is it worth it?

In my opinion, absolutely not. What is the obsession of trying to turn a bike into something it isn't. Why not buy the right bike for what you want to do in the first place?

I've been down this route so many times. The DR650, fun bike, did just as many modifications as you did, only to have a heavy pig on the trails. The Honda CB500x, same thing, wrong rims, crash guards that mount on the engine? and the same goes for the DRZ.

The way I see it, the manufacturers are slowly coming out of the up-sell game. They want you to go from the 250, to the 400 to the 650, to the 1200 WTF? Next thing you know you find yourself trying to go up a trail and you will die alone pinned under an Africa twin weighing 2 tons.

So if you are riding as a couple, doing highway, some gravel and a bit of highway, yeah I would have gone with a brand new F850GS and you would be riding instead of tinkering.

Personally, I'm enjoying a Honda CRF250L Rally to hit the trails and camp. But I'm not modifying it to ride a highway.

Buy the bike to suit your needs and if the manufacturers like Suzuki can't make a bike to compete then go to another. Great company but anybody who has wired the screws to hold a neutral sending unit in place will shake their head in agreement.

And if anybody disagrees, sell them your DRZ for 12k and call it a day...

I did every mod under the sun to my first bike- the DR650- like you.  Big bore 790 kit, upgraded cams, fork and shock swap, exhaust and saddle, Baja Designs headlights, sumo wheels, and on and on and on.  It was a great experience to learn how to work on a bike as my own mechanic. The mods made the archaic bike pretty awesome both on and off road.  I had the money, the time, and the interest in doing it all.  Didnt mind that there was no rhyme or reason to the myriad different screw and bolt heads and how nothing was streamlined for a simple toolkit like a KTM.

These days, I've shifted over to primarily dirt riding and the DR790 gathers dust in the garage.  Its setup great for motoadventuring and motocamping, but like you mentioned, I ended up getting better tools for the job.  Now, Im way more happy to truck into the mountains, set up basecamp, and use a proper dirtbike oriented for whatever terrain im riding. It's overwhelmingly more fun, and Im not wrestling a 400 lb pig when I dont have to.  It cracks me up to see fellas plodding along on their giant adventure bikes or ridiculous KLRs as I cruise past them on my agile trail machine.  (I will say at times I have been pretty impressed with the riding skills of some guys on the giant bikes in difficult terrain- they deserve a beer)

The problem is, ANY bike is going to require a lot of money to set up right if one will be riding in dirt- from tuning the suspension to your weight, to disc/linkage/engine armor, proper tires and maybe a mousse or tubliss setup, and so on.  

Biking can definitely be done on a low budget, but generally speaking this is a very expensive hobby/lifestyle.  I figure, if it floats your boat and suits the type of riding you want to do at this phase of your life, do whatever mods to whatever bike you want- everything will cost you money and time anyway.  My advice to anyone is to learn to be your own mechanic.  It is an invaluable skill that translates to so many other areas of your life and thinking.  A capable man can do anything he desires, so just learn and have fun, and have the self-awareness to know if what you are doing is really what you want to be doing. A DRZ is a good bike to learn to tinker on and much more forgiving than the sweet eurotra$h bikes Im riding;)

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Yes, terrible idea buying a DRZ 400 and putting all of those mods into it. Why don't you sell it to me and buy something else 😛

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On 7/14/2019 at 12:15 PM, dad2u said:

So here you go.  From the underside photo you can see that I put on a cross piece, aluminum, that drops down onto the side faces of my rack, and is secured by a bolt on each side.  You will also note a tang (aluminum) that I bent so that it will slip under the rack, between the two mounting bolts that secure the rack to the subframe.  A final photo shows the knob and wingnut that I used to secure the front on each side to the rack side faces.  You may also note the two grabhandles that I made out of aluminum pipe....these are good for the passenger, but are AWESOME for picking  the machine up, or for others to grab onto if assisting me through a tough place....an altogether different story.

IMG_5523.JPG

rack interface2.JPG

Tang and rack2.JPG

IMG_5527.JPG

Thanks for the post. I'm gonna make my own rendition of this soon hopefully

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Posted (edited)
On 7/13/2019 at 4:05 AM, Dmouse said:

 I actually have a spare exhaust tip that I could throw on, I'd have to go back to something close to stock jetting though. I had a miserable time removing/installing the FCR to re-jet, I don't plan on taking that carb back off unless I absolutely have to, like for a different issue

Unbolt the rear part of subrame where the airbox mounts and pull it up for easy fcr removal, prob a good post on it if you search.  use a heat gun or blow dryer to heat up rubber if your having trouble getting the airboot and or intake fitments to get a good seal.

You buy a DRZ and mod you will never make your money back, it just becomes part of the family, like that one kid who you love even though they are a  bit of a POS, although secretly you love them the most.  Unless I am missing something most of your mods arent performance based; cams, carbs, larger displacement, gearing would assist in that area.

Edited by RingwoodRaceway
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On 7/11/2019 at 12:34 PM, trekker said:

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?

I've had 2 DRZs and back when there weren't many alternatives (mid-00s) it was worth doing the upgrades even after most of them you were still several thousand a head of a street legal KTM 400/450/525 EXC.  Today I'd never put the money into one.  

If riding in comfort 2up is a high priority the RE Himalayan can't be beat!  It's CHEAP too.  I rode one 2up through the foothills of the Himalayas with gear and over lots of rough roads.  35638327326_56382d5854_c.jpg definitely not as trail worthy but surprising capable.  

The G650GS Sertao is another single that I've got a lot of saddle time on and it handled offroad and interstate really well loaded up with me and camping gear (didn't do any 2up but wouldn't hesitate to take a pillion).  Although it's way more expensive than a DRZ or Himalayan.  The 800GS is also a good bike and it's been awhile since I rode one, but as others have said it's in another league of bike.  Expensive and too heavy for real trail riding; I've taken the DRZ400 really deep into the woods in places I'd never get an F800 out of.  

The DRZ was a great bike when it came out in 2000.  There wasn't really any competition back then, yeah the KTM RFS existed but not that many were being sold  because KTM was just starting to prove themselves.  The faults you cite aren't even what keeps me from ever buying one again; it's the fact that the gearing is atrocious.  No 6th for the road and the 1-2 shift is so wide you could fit a gear between the 2! 

To the group who say "Euro bikes are too expensive" is true IF you keep your less expensive antiquated big 4 Japanese bike stock.  The first time I rode a 525 I was actually mad at myself for spending so much time and money tweaking a DRZ.  The fist thing that came into my head was "This is what I always wanted to the DRZ to be!".  And that was a bike that was developed at the same time.  I can only imagine how good the 500 is!  I wouldn't recommend the 500 to the OP though as it's more geared to trail riding and not cruising 2up.  But from someone who bought a DRZ and modding it they would have spent less just buying the 500 in the first  place.  

 

 

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3 hours ago, Greg Huston said:

I've had 2 DRZs and back when there weren't many alternatives (mid-00s) it was worth doing the upgrades even after most of them you were still several thousand a head of a street legal KTM 400/450/525 EXC.  Today I'd never put the money into one.  

If riding in comfort 2up is a high priority the RE Himalayan can't be beat!  It's CHEAP too.  I rode one 2up through the foothills of the Himalayas with gear and over lots of rough roads.  35638327326_56382d5854_c.jpg definitely not as trail worthy but surprising capable.  

The G650GS Sertao is another single that I've got a lot of saddle time on and it handled offroad and interstate really well loaded up with me and camping gear (didn't do any 2up but wouldn't hesitate to take a pillion).  Although it's way more expensive than a DRZ or Himalayan.  The 800GS is also a good bike and it's been awhile since I rode one, but as others have said it's in another league of bike.  Expensive and too heavy for real trail riding; I've taken the DRZ400 really deep into the woods in places I'd never get an F800 out of.  

The DRZ was a great bike when it came out in 2000.  There wasn't really any competition back then, yeah the KTM RFS existed but not that many were being sold  because KTM was just starting to prove themselves.  The faults you cite aren't even what keeps me from ever buying one again; it's the fact that the gearing is atrocious.  No 6th for the road and the 1-2 shift is so wide you could fit a gear between the 2! 

To the group who say "Euro bikes are too expensive" is true IF you keep your less expensive antiquated big 4 Japanese bike stock.  The first time I rode a 525 I was actually mad at myself for spending so much time and money tweaking a DRZ.  The fist thing that came into my head was "This is what I always wanted to the DRZ to be!".  And that was a bike that was developed at the same time.  I can only imagine how good the 500 is!  I wouldn't recommend the 500 to the OP though as it's more geared to trail riding and not cruising 2up.  But from someone who bought a DRZ and modding it they would have spent less just buying the 500 in the first  place.  

 

 

With all my whining about lack of 6 cogs I'd forgotten about how bad the ratios of the drz's 5 speed are.  People have gone to great lengths to improve those gears.  I believe some company sold a complete revised gearset.  Not sure if they still do.  But yeah, those are some really wonky ratios suzuki cooked up.

Ok here we go:  ACT WIDE RATIO GEAR SET

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25 minutes ago, timmy.g said:

With all my whining about lack of 6 cogs I'd forgotten about how bad the ratios of the drz's 5 speed are.  People have gone to great lengths to improve those gears.  I believe some company sold a complete revised gearset.  Not sure if they still do.  But yeah, those are some really wonky ratios suzuki cooked up.

Ok here we go:  ACT WIDE RATIO GEAR SET

Not everyone hates the DRZ ratio's. With tall gearing, 16/41 the first 4 gears have good spacing, then a big gap to the overdrive 5th. Relaxing at 105 kms(65 mph) on hiway and first will take me up any steep, rough, washed out road. What's not to like? I've heard some don't like the huge gaps between gears with the ACT set.

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1 minute ago, bucket list said:

Not everyone hates the DRZ ratio's. With tall gearing, 16/41 the first 4 gears have good spacing, then a big gap to the overdrive 5th. Relaxing at 105 kms(65 mph) on hiway and first will take me up any steep, rough, washed out road. What's not to like? I've heard some don't like the huge gaps between gears with the ACT set.

That's true, it's possible the act set makes it even worse.  Only so much you can do with 5 cogs.  When you can't have great you gotta settle for good-enough i suppose...

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1 hour ago, timmy.g said:

That's true, it's possible the act set makes it even worse.

Agreed. The ACT gears are different but not better for everyone (e.g., me). I like the stack and ACT ratios about the same.

And I agree that many riders – including those that spend some time in the dirt – would benefit from a higher final ratio if they must ride freeways to get to the dirt. Dirt performance on the trails that I ride would not be seriously compromised.

For the quantitatively minded rider, see the graphic.

 

drz wide ratio gearing vs stock.png

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