Help me make a decision...

I’ve been a proud owner of a 1999 DR350 Off-Road for the past few years, before I owned the ’99, I had a ’90 DR350s, a ’96 DR350SE and a ’94 XR250. I have done extensive mods to my DR350 including RMX forks and an RMX swingarm to help smooth things out during aggressive trail riding here in Michigan. I’ve always had a thing for the air-cooled DR’s as they are great to ride and extremely simple to maintain.

This past spring I discovered a lump under my left arm (armpit area) and had it removed in May. It was a very rare and aggressive cancerous tumor called a “synovial sarcoma” (Details can be found here ). I underwent 3 surgeries, brachytherapy (radiation) and am just completing 6 rounds of the most aggressive chemotherapy my cancer center has EVER prescribed to anyone in the history of the hospital. With that said, I am doing extremely well and my wife is coping quite well also.

My dilemma is this: The tumor that was removed was wrapped around my left radial nerve, which dictates all movement to the arm and hand. The tumor was pretty much “shaved” off of the nerve and main artery, which caused some nerve damage. Right now I have very limited use of my arm, I cannot lift my wrist and my fingers are pretty much immobile. I do however have great grip strength and am undergoing “occupational therapy” to strengthen and hopefully regain movement in my hand.

In “dirtbike terms” here’s my point. I can grip the bars but I cannot lift my fingers to use the clutch. I love my DR350 but there are no automatic clutch kits available for the bike and working the manual clutch is out of the question for now.

A more modern bike may be in my future (after the mountain of medical bills are taken care of) and I’ve kind of narrowed the field down to a WR450F or a DR-Z400E. Believe it or not, my wife mentioned the fact that if I can’t ride my DR I should get a different (new) bike! Man I love her! :applause: I want a bike that is reliable and doesn’t require excessive maintenance can be dualsported and has electric start; I feel that the WR and DR-Z fit that bill. I won’t be able to ride quite as aggressively as I have in the past but I still want a bike that is capable of some serious off-roading. I’d also like to ride my bike more than wrench on it.

I’d like to know the pro’s and cons of the WR450 as well as the DR-Z400E, I am a 6’3” 215lb trail rider. The trails I ride here in MI are pretty tight, extremely sandy and strewn with rocks.

I’ve always liked the DR-Z since it came out. The DR-Z is 262 lbs dry (I know, who rides a bike with no fluids?) and has a 2.6 gal tank. However the DR-Z is a bit heavier than my DR350 (no electric start)

The WR450 is 249 lbs dry (weighs the same as my DR) and is equipped with a 2.1 gal tank. I have envied this bike since the electric start was introduced but think it MAY be too much bike for me. It also costs $1300 more than the DR-Z. My wife likes (the blue one” better too.

What do you guys have to say about your respective mounts, contrary to my owning 3 DR’s there is not really any brand loyalty on my part between the Yamaha and the Suzuki. I appreciate any info you all can pass along.

I am posting this in the WR and DR-Z forums so that the respective owners can respond about the bikes they ride.


First of all glad your doing so well !! And wish you the best..... :applause: I had a WR450 03. I loved the bike very little maint. Just the basics, change oil and filter and clean air filter,check valves every 6 months and thats about it.. Best bike ive ever owned, got a new YZ450f on the way. :ride::p

It won't be to much bike for you, I started out on one.

Great bike.

Aside from 3 issues the WR is a better choice. These are:

1. Possibly too much power

2. More maintainance

3. More money

No. 1 is easily fixed. Just leave the throttle stop at WR length and gear it down. Gear it back up and chop some threads off the throttle stop when you feel you are ready for it.

No. 2 is the tricky one. You will need to change your oil and check your valves more often. You have the worry of squashing your rads as well, but some decent rad guards should protect against this.

No. 3 only you (or perhaps your wife or accountant) can answer.

I went with the WR but i wanted the better suspension so that i can play at riding motocross a bit. If you aren't looking to MX and dont want to wrench on it much then get the drz.

Good Luck with everything. My prayers are with you.

I know that you are a big guy but have you looked at the WR 250. I know that you may think that they don't have enough power but go ride one. Without getting into the engine you can bump up the horse power with the mods.

If that is not enough power then get a kit to bump it to a 290(pretty sure). I am not sure if 4-stroke tech is still around but there are some good companies that will do it for you. There is about a $700 difference between the 450 and the 250 so there is the $$$ for the 250 kit.

I have seen quite a few, above average size guys, riding them and they do very well.

Give it a thought

i believe the DR's have a registration ready version of the bike,and the WR's take some doing($$ and work) to make them street legal. if rekluse makes a clutch for the DR you'd have saved enough money for the clutch and suspension mods. one other thing about the WR is they don't come with a title,just a certificate of orgin. the WR is a much better off-road bike,but.....the DR will be much easier to register :applause:

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