I am the weakest link...

What I'm about to relate might seem obvious to the more experienced guys out there, but it might be of some help to new riders or those getting back into riding after a long lay-off (like me).

Over the past couple of months, I've posted several whining messages along the lines of "my bike feels funny" and questions about suspension setup. It all began when I started to use my new DRZ-S for commuting to work and became concerned about the bike's on-road manners. I was convinced there was something wrong and I've spent hours checking and re-checking tyre pressures, wheel bearings and chain tension and fiddling with the suspension. Last weekend I found the cause, and it wasn't what I expected.

In reply to one of my early messages, some sage person wrote "are you sure it's not you're ass that's loose?" I started thinking about that and when I went out on the bike and I made a concious effort to relax, enjoy the bike and try to ride as smoothly as possible. Suddenly, the bike felt solid and sharp and the perceived handling problems disappeared. It turns out that my ass wasn't loose, it was too tight (yes, I was being a tight-ass).

A DRZ isn't a 'blade or a 'busa, it's a trail bike with over 10" of suspension travel and semi-knobbly tyres. There's no way it's going to handle as well as a sports bike on the road and if you ride it hard, tarmac seams, diesel spills etc. ARE going to cause you minor (and maybe major) dramas from time to time. When you realize this and that fact that by sitting rigidly on the bike with your hands gripping the bars so tight your knuckles hurt you're actually making your own life more difficult (and dangerous), only then can you start to chill out and just RIDE the thing, dammit.

Exactly the same thing applies off-road, only more so. Even on the relatively tame terrain that my abilities limit me too at the moment, I'm spending more time on the pegs rather than sitting down paddling wildly.

Like I said, this is no doubt laughable to most of you but I had to share my revelation and it'll hopefully help some other dual-sport novice.

Right on. Glad you found the grove.

Come on Hotler don't tease us. LAY IT ON US BROTHER. :D

Have you been reading them high speed street bike mags? :)

Tell all and you will feel better. :D

Glad you foud the grove with yor DRZ. Now its time to bond with it. hahahaha

plasmasurge, I identify with you, not so much as far as road riding, but with the trail riding. I had been away from trail riding for 20 years. I fell a lot in the woods in the beginning. But now I find myself not falling and I am beginning to find the groove. I actually feel more confident on this bike on the tarmac than I did on my Kawi ZR7. I remember last summer going around a corner and riding a seam of new and old pavement. The bike got a little wobbley and got my heart pumping a few extra beats. This seems to handle irregular surfaces without the extra excitement. I guess it helps that it is about 150 lbs lighter. But anyways, like Moredesert said, I'm glad you found the groove. It can only get better. :)

YES, YES, YES, the force is with you now. Always be light on the bike especially in the nasty stuff. You are the third suspension member. :)

PS. Have any of you "S" or supermotard riders learned to back it into a corner on the street yet? If so tell us how you did it.

[ December 17, 2001: Message edited by: Hotler ]

learned to back it into a corner?

Well I can lean the bike pretty far down with my street tires on it (not the trail wings).

but I'm thinking you mean something else?

When I slaped on the street tires on my stock rims ther was a day that I went to work and I backed it in to my favorite off ramp at about 50 MPH .I was a gear too low and trying to slow up real fast the back end came right out on me !! With the dirt tires I would have pulled in the clutch and let the bike snap back but with the added traction from those sticky street tires made it feel ok to be layed out on my side with no fear of high siding or droping the bike on it's side . So my riding style on the DRZ got looser and better! One day I met up with a guy that works near me and he races sport bikes and road with him on a trip down town, after that ride he all ways calls me Supermoto man so I went all the way with it .SSSOOOOOOOOO much fun :D:):D


yea it can be fun sliding the bike in corners, takes a long time to get used to it, I'm still not used to it! But the drz really can out-handle, out corner the street bikes in the city.

The drz can take a much sharper corner then a street bike.... Although it would never keep up with a street bike in a big long fast turn.

When I get out of college I'll be buying a street bike so I can have the best of both worlds. Dirt and over 180mph :D Well unless my prioritys change.......... lol :) yea right!

How can this be. Sounds fun but I figured the center of gravity is way to high on these bikes for that street stuff. Please tell more.

Another Question: I was looking at Dirt Rider mag at the grocery store and on the cover there is this front view photo of all the hot dog Mx stars coming around a rutted corner with there inside foot off the peg, foot stuck out front. You could see the soles on all of there boots. I thought the idea was to keep your weight on the pegs to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. Whats up with that? Oh young sages of speed!

all I know about putting my foot out is, that it has become second nature. I can see using the method when on the trail going along soft corners and almost washing out. Or on the street I could see doing that when your not so sure you will be keeping traction.

The drz may have a higher centre of gravity, but it also turns much sharper, and is lighter.

just works better in the 90* corners and such.

I learned to ride by roadracing when I was 16. Yes all the fast guys are hanging the rear end out going into the corner just like a flat tracker only on asphalt. I have a KX500 supermotard street legal, it just doesn't have enough engine brake to get the rear to hang out so I just ride it like a TZ250 and lean it.

Sticking your foot out front over the front wheel helps weight the front for more traction. MX and roadrace tracks ok, but watch hanging your foot out on the trail it will get ripped off by rocks and/or roots.

Originally posted by EZGZ:

[QB]How can this be. Sounds fun but I figured the center of gravity is way to high on these bikes for that street stuff. Please tell more.


I know a few guys who have thrown a leg over a Supermoto ,who swore that the sport bike rules until that moment...

So now the sport bikes were sold or gathering dust just waiting for that HWY ride once and a while.

Do to the shear fun factor of the SM style of riding and like jumping curbs , loading docks , loading ramps , stairs , side walks , steep streets SanFransisco like and full throttle over cobble stone roads , stoppies , wheelies BLAH BLAH blah....... :D

I do not think that a sport bike would stay together with me kickin the $hit outa the poor thing :)

I spectated at two supermoto races near Belfast Ireland and driving up to watch the first one my brother remarked that it was like when we were younger and used to scobe around town and the back country roads on our old XT600s.

Any way first supermoto i seen, it was brilliant fun even just to watch and listen to those tires howl :)

No feet out on corners BTW most seemed to keep that inside boot on footrest.

Lots of fun, pity it has not caught on as big in Canada yet, i put a post in CMG Online once and not many had even heard of it.

It would be far less expensive and more fun than road racing IMO.


The best part is when you catch the left turn arrow just right off of a fast street and hang it out in front of all the people in their cars stopped at the light, they're thinking what a crazy ba$tard and you're going yeehaa! :)

I love motorcycles.

Originally posted by Hotler:

The best part is when you catch the left turn arrow just right off of a fast street and hang it out in front of all the people in their cars stopped at the light, they're thinking what a crazy ba$tard and you're going yeehaa! :D

I love motorcycles.

You show em Hotler


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By Bgringo
      I've read a lot of threads about this but still haven't found exactly what I'm looking for.  I'm pulling my 2004 DRZ400S out of storage sometime this week and getting it ready for the season.  I live at 9,000 ft, but my first ride of the year is probably going to be at around 5,000 ft.  I was going to pull the 145 main jet I'm running and put in the 150 adjusting the needle from the 2 clip to the 3rd, then re-jet once I got home.  I already have the extended fuel mixture screw in place so I started thinking that I should just run the 150 jet set up and adjust the fuel screw to compensate for the higher elevation where I'll be doing most of my riding.  I will be going down in elevation for rides until late May or June depending on snowfall, but riding on the street when I'm able.  Are there any disadvantages with this?
      I'm new to posting on this forum, so please forgive me if I didn't get the right search words in and there is already a post about this.
    • By Markl5557
      I am currently running 10w 40 Belray non synthetic and I want to switch to full synthetic amsoil .... is it ok to switch from regular to synthetic? I have read it’s not safe to go from synthetic to regular can someone explain if it’s safe to go from regular to synthetic!? Thanks !
    • By RockyMtnMark
      Good Morning,
        Last night I measured my valve clearances for the very first time (I know...) on my DRZ400S.  It's a 2002 and I've owned is since 2011.  I bought it with t's got about 15,000 miles on it and most of it's miles these days are on dirt.
      Intake specs are 0.10-0.20 mm.  Exhaust specs are 0.20-0.30
      My intake valve clearances are in spec, forgot to write them down.  My exhaust valve clearances are between 0.1778 and 0.2032 which is slightly out of spec.  They are no more than 25 microns out of spec.  My question is, do I really need to shim these?  Will this kind of out-of-spec cause performance, mechanical, or other losses?  As far as I can tell, I'd have to buy a whole shim kit which is like $80.  Thanks!
    • By Zach440
      Selling my 2009 Drz400sm. Been a great bike but it’s time to let go . Not looking for any trades - spring is just around the corner ! Located in northern Virginia . Cash only $4200- willing to negotiate I have some wolfman luggage options available as well. Love to make a package deal for someone 

      -11640 miles . Mild off-road never wrecked.
      -Oil / filter changed every 1500 miles
      -New did chain , brake pads , front sprocket at 10400 miles .
      - valves checked and within spec at 10,000
      - jetted with JD kit and 3x3 mod
      -doubletake mirrors
      -waterproof usb wired and located next to Speedo
      - drc large foot pegs , barkbusters with integrated turn signals . 12oclocklabs tall delete with upgraded circuit board
      -thumpertalk case savers
      -sergeant seat (amazing) and Clarke 3.9 tank (190mile range )
      - fog lights wired in so they shut off with high beams
      -Shorai lithium battery
      -led headlight

      - stock gas tank and seat will be included

      The bike is dirty in photos and I apologize my water is currently disabled outside due to freezing temps . Radiator guards and skid plate NOT included but can be for some extra $$. Rear tire could be replaced but front is fine .
    • By tplayer100
      Currently have a 2000 drz400s work stock suspension. From my understanding this is the worst suspension the drz ever came with without even rebound damping adjustment. Therefore I'm looking for a upgrade. I'm seeing three approaches to take. First being a newer year s model suspension with dampening adjustment. A SM model USD forks and triple tree or some USD forks and triple tree from a rmz. So if you were going to upgrade what direction would you go. I currently ride off-road mostly but I do have some 17s for on road with as well so have to keep that in mind. Thanks