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650 or 400?

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I am 6'2" 275 and building a 50/50 dual sport/motard bike to use on dirt jeep trails and gravel forest service roads with DOT knobbies, and twisty paved mountain roads with 17" motard rims/tires. I am trying to decide between a '01 DRZ400E or a '02 DR650SE to use as a starting point. I like the 650 engine but not the 70's suspension. The 400E is much lighter with better suspension and has almost as much HP. Would the 400E engine hold up under long term high speed use pulling tall gearing? Will the 400 benefit from having an engine oil cooler installed?

DBM

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I think for a guy your size and weight, and your intended usage, the 650 would fit the bill much better. It has a lazy donk that is easily modded for some extra horses, and is very durable. From what I have read the 400 doesn't like high speed highway running that much, but on the other hand is easily superior to a 650 off road with it's better suspension, much lighter weight and punchy engine. It's water cooled so don't think it needs an oil cooler, but check the DRZ forum on that subject, lots of guys have them and love them.

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It depends on how aggressive you want to ride offroad, and how fast you want to go on the highway.

There were two problems with the DRZ400S I owned. The bike was unstable on and offroad, and the top speed was too slow. I tried everthing I could to fix the instability problem - tires, suspension, fork position, seating position etc. I tried everything except a steering stabilizer, which I think would only help moderately. The top speed of my DRZ with the Dynojet kit was 85 mph (with stock or smaller sprocket the difference is 2 mph). At that speed the DRZ sounded like it was about to explode, and was annoyingly "buzzy". Even at 65 mph the DRZ felt buzzy, and unstable. Worst of all, on the gravel, the DRZ felt DANGEROUS. The front and rear wheels tracked like they were connected by a wet noodle. I let other people ride the DRZ, and they all had the same complaints. Maybe a DRZ400E or supermotard version is a little different. I haven't ridden either so I can't comment. On a positive note, the DRZ400S will put the DR650 to shame on a dirt trail when the going gets tough. The DRZ's suspension is pretty good and the lighter weight makes it a lot more manageable off road.

Basically, the DRZ is a very heavy dirt bike that can take on any trail and is suitable for short runs on the street. Catch some air on the DRZ, and its weight becomes very noticeable (290 dry). It just does not want to come off the ground, and when it does, it's not all that exciting. Fortunately, it handles the landings suprisingly well for such a heavy bike.

The DR650 on the other hand is a 'lightweight' street bike that can take on most trails if taken at a slower pace. Suspension upgrades are a must for any serious offroad use. I've ridden a couple of DR650's over the last 6 months, and also some KLR's. The DR is wonderfully stable at any speed on the road, in the dirt or on gravel. The top speed is in the high 90's, maybe even over 100 (I never tried past 95). Cruising at 75 - 85 mph is easy for the DR's engine and it feels comfortable, stable and smooth. In the slow twisties, a DR (with minor modifications) will hang with, and in some cases embarrass a sport bike (as will a KLR). I've seen it many times. Of course the sportbikes will smoke the DR on a straight.

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I have mainly owned big bore thumpers. I sold my xr650r (made street legal) and have spent some time on my buddies DR650.

I think the DRZ400S I bought is a better bike for every thing except my buddy who is only 5-8 tall. He likes the lower seat on the 650.

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I have an '02 DR650 that I bought used last fall....it had 1000 baby miles on it....bone stock. It's still stock (except for a new rear tire) and has 8000 miles on it now.

I'm 6'4" and 215#...here's my quick take on the DR....

I bought it for commuting to work (25 mi. one way) and boppin' around park roads near my home. I also figured that I would take it off road on occasion as this has been my main form of motorcycle riding for the past 30 years (motocross and harescrambles).

I left the engine alone because I'm getting close to 60 mpg...this is nice! I think that the power is good stock and the DR blows away most road vehicles just the way it is. It's no Hyabusa...but its deceptively fast...smooth power.

The road handling is incredible..I dabbled in road racing in the mid 80's with an FJ1200..I think that I could blow one away in the tight twisties with the DR (the hyperbikes are untouchable at speed though).

On the highway, the DR will top out at just over 100MPH stock....cruise at 80 all day long and deliver high 50's MPG (60 MPG if you go 65MPH). I dont have a problem with the seat although some folks do. They buy a corbin and that seems to fix it.

The dirt......ahhhh....my home!!!! I did not expect the DR to replace my CR250 off road......and it didnt. However...I was amazed at how fast I could blast the trails. I ran it through deep mud, sand, hills and some pretty nasty trails. I could not sustain a competitve race speed and expect to live, but I was impressed with what it could do. It felt really good to off road it!!!!! I even left it filthy for a few days.

Bottom line....IMHO the 400 would be small for highway use; especially with your weight. If I had to race either a 400 or a 650..I would take the 400...other than that...the 650 hands down. No matter which bike you bought, you're gonna have to get springs (the DR is cushy stock..probably setup for 160# dude (a little feller!!)). The DR's suspenson is fine for fast trail stuff. For fire roadin', and with stiffer springs, I would say you wouldnt realize a difference between the 400 and 650 suspension. I would also suggest that you try out the DR on the road with stock wheels...it'll impress you (unless you're after the motard look). I was just at the Mid-Ohio Vintage days and watched a few KTM motards racing around the track..they looked great!

Another note is the base gasket problem with the DR..folks say that this is an issue with the '02's (I think pre '03s). Mine is OK so far..no sign of a leak. I figure that if it does leak, I'll do the quick fix as outlined in the forum somewhere using a sealer. The DR's base gasket does not have a real big job job to do unlike two strokes so I think a quicky fix is OK in this case (pun intended). My DR has been so reliable that I feel guilty! I have only had to change oil/filter, clean the air filter and squirt some oil on the chain once in a while.

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I thought long and hard about wich one to get. But when it came time to make my choice, I had to go with the 650. I am 6'2 and 210 pounds, and I thought the 650 felt better for me. The bottom line was, I was looking for the Jeep of motorcycles, and the 650 was the best for all around use. I think that if a bike can not go any length down the highway, than it is not a true dual purpose (aka the 400). Just my thoughts man, go with what you want. :thumbsup:

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I am stuck in the drz400 v dr650 dilemma......tell me 6' 2" riders, does the dr650 feel a little bit cramped to you?

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I've also owned both. For me choosing now after several thousand miles on both is pretty easy. As was said the 650 is a much better street bike...handles better, is more stable and has superior power mod for mod (99mph GPS top speed vs 88GPS on the 400;89mph trap quarter mile for 650, 81mph trap for 400 all on GPS). The 400 does have better suspension especially when returning to the ground and for soaking up washboard etc, however it is a NERVOUS fire road bike compared to the 650 tire for tire. If you're going to try to race/compete or ride very technical stuff mostly then get the 400, otherwise the 650 is a better low tech bike for 90% of what most people do. Best of luck in your choice!

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I am stuck in the drz400 v dr650 dilemma......tell me 6' 2" riders, does the dr650 feel a little bit cramped to you?

Well the DR650 is what I would call a "compact" bike. I'm 5'11" and it seems to fit me perfectly. I've ridden mine 500 mile days, ground footpegs in the twisties and done 100mile hardcore offroad loops with KTM's all on the same trip. Nevertheless it is the most compact of all the 650 class DS bikes and I think the most versatile and reliable.

At much over 6ft and 225 plus pounds you might want to consider the Honda XRL or the KTM 640 as they are larger bikes. The are both a little more dirt oriented and a bit less smooth than the DR but they fit larger riders better.

Ride it and see what you think.

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I am stuck in the drz400 v dr650 dilemma......tell me 6' 2" riders, does the dr650 feel a little bit cramped to you?

6' 0" , 195lbs Get a set of higher handlebars and you'll not be cramped. (the stockers are made of macaroni)

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I am stuck in the drz400 v dr650 dilemma......tell me 6' 2" riders, does the dr650 feel a little bit cramped to you?

i'm six three and 250+ lbs...i've got an '05 dr650......very softly sprung....my buddy has an '05 drz400sm.....much nicer bike for the road in my opinion....suspension is stiffer so it doesn't sag when us big guys sit on it plus the power is comparable and you get the nice computerized speedo on the drz......my 650 doesnt feel cramped at all.....but it is a heavy pig....and seems like a dinosaur compared to the 400....but i still do have a lot of fun on it...

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the dr650 has an adjustable height.......what is it set at when you buy.......low or high?

High. You buy a kit to lower it if necessary.

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I own both an '02 drz400s and a new '07 DR. The DRZ400 just sits in the garage. I am 6'2" and 218. I should have bought the DR first, but I wanted the higher-tech frame, suspension, and engine. It is still too top heavy and geared too high to be a serious off-road beast. Then I discovered that I did not want to ride the trail like a bat outta hell anymore, so maybe the adventure bike-softluggage-fire-service-road-oldman-enjoying-the-scenery type of bike was what I needed. The DR is IT! The only reason I still have the DRZ is to have a spare bike in case I can ever get my brother to ride again. DR rides better, handles the road better, and if you get serious about trails, well add some knobs and re-spring it. It is simple to operate. It does not break. Buy it.

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I own both an '02 drz400s and a new '07 DR. The DRZ400 just sits in the garage. I am 6'2" and 218. I should have bought the DR first, but I wanted the higher-tech frame, suspension, and engine. It is still too top heavy and geared too high to be a serious off-road beast. Then I discovered that I did not want to ride the trail like a bat outta hell anymore, so maybe the adventure bike-softluggage-fire-service-road-oldman-enjoying-the-scenery type of bike was what I needed. The DR is IT! The only reason I still have the DRZ is to have a spare bike in case I can ever get my brother to ride again. DR rides better, handles the road better, and if you get serious about trails, well add some knobs and re-spring it. It is simple to operate. It does not break. Buy it.

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You can lower it yourself w/o buying a kit, you just move some pieces in the forks and the shock. Along with changing the shock to the lower mounting position. There are posts about it elswhere here.

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I'm 6' and 260 lbs of raw muscle :rolleyes: and I have the 07 DR and am very happy with it so far. I love it on the rode since I have a 30 min comute everyday I look forward to riding it. I haven't done much offroading yet but I have attempted it, and lets just say Death Wings in the sand is not highly recomended. I also have a buddy that has the DRZ400S and it's scarier on the highways and more uncomfortable, I havn't tried his offroad well cause he just bought it.

To sum it all up you being a bigger guy like me should be able the 650 in all conditions and easier then the 400. I just think the 400 is awkward in my opinion.

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im 6ft3 100kgs and love my 650, the front and rear springs are no good so i put in rear 8kg front .52 and mate what a difference that made,very nice and firm...

cheers tony....

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I've had a 1990 DR650, a 2001 DRZ400E and now a 2007 DR650, as well as numerous other non-Suzuki dirt, street and sport bikes.

The DR650 is, without a doubt, the best bike I've owned. I found the DRZ400 to be gutless unless I kept the engine wrapped out. At higher speeds the DRZ would quickly numb my hands. It was pretty good for landing jumps and such, but I'm more of an open trail, dirt road, sandy washes rider. The DR650 fits the bill perfectly. Torque is so much more usable on the DR.

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