I'll give my 2 cents worth on the dual sport 'S', as for the dirt only model 'E', some of the others will help you out. As for slaming thru the woods, this bike has no problems. Honestly, it will eat up what ever is in it's path, rocky trails, hard packed, steap hills, what ever. I was doing some slalom with the trees on this pretty tight trail today. Doing 20 to 30 mph, weaving in and out, I would definitely say that the DRZ is a quick handler. I absolutely love the bike. I can't help with the RM comparision, as I have never ridin one. I used to think it was heavy, when I had to pick it up alot after a spill, but I'm not doing that to much these days after getting used to the bike. I would not consider it top heavy, and the E model is 30 lbs lighter. As for waking up the motor, piece of cake. Slap in bigger main and pilot jets, cut a 3 x 3 inch hole on the air box, take a 1 5/8 inch hole saw and pop out the end cap restricter, and the beast comes out. An MX bike it's not, but a damn good woods bike 'E' and/or the best dual sport bike 'S' out there. Hope I gave you an unbiased opinion.