DRZ vs. 2-stroke

I'm trying to decide between a DRZ-400E and a KTM 200 EXC. I know there's not much in common but the price. Is it unreasonable for me (a street biker) to be looking at a 2-stroke? I'm concerned about the DRZ being heavy, I;m looking to mostly trail ride(rocky mtns,) do maybe 2-3 enduros, occasional MX tracks, ride in cold temperatures, basically an all around bike that I won't grow out of for a few years. Anyone ridden both? Can anyone give me 2-stroke warnings? Is the DRZ going to run well in near freezing temps? Thanks in advance...

I rode my buddys KTM 200 and he rode my DRZ400E, and he took off like a shot and I had trouble even staying on his bike. Once you are used to the weight it becomes your friend. Suspension over rocks is definately superior and the motor is awsome compared to the KTM. My opinion. Probably not as good an MX bike, but if it were it would be the perfect bike.

Thanks for the review. I'm still concerned about trail riding. Speed might not be my biggest concern. Handling, throttle response, more bang for the buck componentry are important. Am I going to spend a grand to get the thing dialed? Which bike can I use off the crate without mods? (until my bank account fills back up)

For what you describe the DRZ would be the best choice (not perfect choice). The DRZ is heavier than a two stroke and it's not great for motocross, but neither is the kiss of death. It is a great trail bike. Compared to the two strokes I've ridden (YZ's and KX's) the DRZ has a far smoother engine, much more linear power delivery, it's easier to ride in just one gear instead of shifting all the time, and the DRZ electric start is a God send. The suspension on the DRZ is also set up towards trail work while the MX bikes are much more firm. I could ride my DRZ over rocky terrain far faster than my buddy on his YZ, because he was bouncing everywhere. The only time you'll notice the weight of the DRZ is when you drop it and have to pick it up (unless you spend much time at the MX track, and then you'll notice the weight in turns, on jumps, and over whoops; basically everywhere), but even at aggressive trail riding pace or enduros, the weight is not a determining factor. I've rode my bike at temperatures in the low 40's, and it had no problems (although my S does have a different carb than the E). I doubt that anyone here has had any real problems with cold weather.

It all comes down to the fact that the best way to tell is to be able to ride all bikes you are considering, and be honest with what you want it to do.

The KTM200EXC is one hell of a trails weapon. Best suited for tighter trails than open ground. The center of gravity is much lower on the 200EXC and it feels it when you turn. The suspension on the late model KTMs is far better with less maintenance than the DRZ. The components are top-notch on the KTMs.

The DRZ is is better suited to higher speeds than the 200EXC and has a full-size frame. If you have room to open it up, the DRZ is in it's league. The DRZ requires no oil in your gas which is handy out on the trail. The DRZ will need case guards before you ride on the trail (if you are smart.) The DRZ can be bought at bargain prices, especially as compared to KTMs.

Like I always say, try to get rides on each before you decide which one suits yourself best.

For what you want to do and what you want the bike to do for you, the DRZ is the hands-down bike of choice. If you're used to riding a BMW, the DRZ will feel like a feather! If you've never owned or ridden a 2-stroke you won't know any better anyhow, right? You will find the DRZ to be much more user friendly than any 2-stroke as well. Compared to the "traditional" 4-stroke, the DRZ is very versatile and the absolute KING of the trails. It has sufficient bottem-end for gnarly, tight, slow going, but it will also rev to the moon w/ a healthy mid-range punch. All summer long, I rode w/ guys on CR500's, KX250's, XR600's and KTM400's and had no problems either keeping up or pulling away. Depending on your weight and/or riding skill, the only major modification needed will be suspension work. The stock suspension is on the soft side, but has a wide range of adjustability. I'm 175 lbs and fairly aggressive on the trail, but I find the suspension really good. I could probably have it modified to be better, but I can't justify the cost at this point. Good luck! :)

Thanks All- this site is great...

I think I'm going with the Suzuki. I've found a 2001 for $5100, but I might wait for a new 2002. (I think the minor changes might be worth the exrta $400, new headlight, cooling, rear shock adjustability) We'll see if I can get the price down...Do you have anyone on the Front Range with better deals?

More importantly, can you tell me your favorite rides in CO? Can we drive most of the state on dirt, or what?

Case Guards? Where, how much, huh?

[ December 28, 2001: Message edited by: aspenj ]

[ December 28, 2001: Message edited by: aspenj ]

I don't think the initial hit of depreciation is worth buying a new one. Wait till the 02's come out then find you a 00' or 01' model. Only difference between the two is color. $5,100 is too much for a 01' model, unless it's loaded w/ aftermarket goodies. Two months ago, my neighbor bought a 00'E-model for $3,700 here in Colorado Springs, but at the same time, that was a steal! You could check with Apex Sports(800-748-1799) or Rocky Mtn. Cycle Plaza(719-591-9700) in "The Springs" for deals on 01' models.

I've been riding the Divide Trail System a lot, but going to Pueblo Motorsports Park since it's been cold now. There's more tails in Colorado than you can shake a stick at! Contact Fay Meyers Motorcycle World in Denver for a video for like $19.95 which highlights like 19 different trail systems in the state.

Fragile Cases?

Maybe my mind isn't made up...

Is this a problem on all bikes? Say, a KTM?

I know damage is inevitable, but I have this thing about flawed design. (But, I'm also realistic that nothing's perfect)

I think it's going to have to be under $4500 (out the door) for me to get a new one.

The way the laws are going I want at least one 2-stroke in my stable. I like my DRZ don't get me wrong, it's just that kick-start, castor oil-premix 2-strokes are very much a part of motorcycle history, I'll give up my big bore 2-stroke when the tree huggers pry my cold dead hand from the throttle. :)

P.S. Everybody should own two, one for the trail and one for the street. :D:D

[ December 29, 2001: Message edited by: Hotler ]

I just got my DRZ E a couple months ago. I have been riding it in temps in the 30's most of time it has been flawless. I bought a new 2001 and the dealer sent in the paper work for a license plate Which I just got without a inspection. Just proof of insurance.

I bought the skid plate right off and filed down the shifter. I have droped it many time's without incident. No high speed get off's. This bike is a dream come true and I like the gas milage over the 2 strokes. I live over the hill in grand jct. and there are just unlimited riding places. I think I could ride for years and not cover every trail that is within a 200 mile radias. I would get the 2002 if I where to do it over but that's just me. No major reason. Have fun maybe we can all get together and ride sometime. That Pueblo motor park has some neat trails and it is a year around spot Like grand junction.

i'm with Hotler! even though i just put money down on my first (off-road)4-stroke,i still love the simplicity,raw power and attitude of a 2-stroke. i have the same hatred for tree huggers,and any other "un-american" group thats always trying to ban something fun.(hot rods,guns,2-strokes,public nudity,etc.,etc!) anyway,if you want cheap,raw power, then a 2-stroke is the way to go. plus,they respond to mods very,very signifigantly! also,you'll be more apt to leave it stock because the EPA isn't considered while the factory jets these machines. on the other hand,4-strokes produce awesome torque,they are less maintenance intensive and get better fuel economy(it's a dirt bike!who cares about fuel economy?!?)at the expense of a more complicated engine(compared to a 2-stroke)and more weight.then again,these new 4-strokes are producing nearly the same power characteristics as 2-strokes,but,cubic centimeter for cubic centimeter,you still can't beat the power of a 2-stroke. the gap has narrowed,it's just what you like in an engine. just my 2 cents worth.

Don't like 2 smokers or the sound they make.

The nearest KTM dealer is 40 miles away. I would need to take a day off just to get parts.

My $.02

You don't need a KTM when a inexspensive easy to get parts for KX500 will work and last just fine, they are not that hard to ride.


Thanks for the input, Kawasaki's were the first dirt bikes for me.

I'm going to get the thing street legal, so the KX's won't do me much good. A KDX might be a cheap way to get going, a 200 (under $4K new) might be a little tame.

I do like the idea of having a 2-stroke bike grandfathered in...better make it a good one.

[ December 30, 2001: Message edited by: aspenj ]

There's a 01' E model in the denver post classifieds for $4,700 obo. "Less than 100 mi".


That's all the add says. :)

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