I did not have a good experience with this bike. It spent more time on the stand getting worked on than it did on the trails. When it did run well, it was a fun bike but its not suited for the woods. The suspension just wore me out in the woods and the power band made traction a chore. I got pretty good clutch control because of it tho. Mx 2smokes are always crappy in the woods and are tiring to ride. Between the mechanical issues with the bike and the fact that i was riding a mx bike in the woods... this is probably the least fun bike I've owned.
Bought this to drop my interest rate on R1 parts after i totaled my buddies R1. Its a fun little bike. I put HD springs, HD wheels & spokes, jetted, airbox delete & gyrt (or whatever) foam filter, home brew rear hand brake for WHEELIE TIME :) It goes about 40mph with me on it and is really fun for wheelies and ripping around the neighborhood. The semi auto trans kind of sucks if you have any semblance of clutch control on a real bike. I have taught 4 or 5 people how to ride on this bike and then threw them on my ancient XT250. I guess this bike would be pretty awesome for a child. It has a throttle stop and the brakes actually work really well if you keep them adjusted properly. I can roll 60-70' endos from 2nd gear no prob on it.
This beater turd/buddy bike has almost no power, MAYBE 3" of suspension travel and the clutch drags like its going out of style. This is the most awesome piece of crap i've ever bought. This thing has a bald, dry rotted rear tire and gets traction everywhere...because it has no power to spin lol. Sadly, this bike is on its last leg and closer to yard art than a functioning motorcycle. I'm sure my friends will introduce it to the reaper one of the next times out.
First dirt bike. Seat was held on with zip ties, subframe was snapped off, no rear fender, silencer was held on with hopes and dreams. Despite being a haggard piece of garbage, i loved this bike and was very sad when it died. The blown out suspensions didn't have the clearance for a big rock and i cracked the motor and rode it back towards the truck until it ceased. Anywho, this little bike had a hell of a power band and was deceivingly fast for what it was. Great little bikes
This is actually a 2016 FE350, i tried adding the right year but it kept saying no tag available... whatever. Compared to the other bikes i've owned, this bike is absolutely incredible. The drz was a pick-up truck and this bike is a wrc rally car... so to speak. Every facet, detail, nuance...etc of this bike is an order of magnitude better than any bike i've ever owned or ridden. Also, its really light, it makes me giggle its so light. Its so light it makes me loathe my drz. The husky is lighter and makes more hp (and its more usable!).
Motor & Trans - linear power band, torque everywhere, gearing compliments the power band very well. Low end grunt all day, the bike seems to like to be short shifted with all the low end. However, it will scream up to 13k if you roll on the throttle and float the front tire. First gear is nice and low for the technical sections or to dump down to on super steep hill climbs or if you get bumbled up on a climb, its a crawler gear. You can lug this bike to no end, it wont stall. 2nd gear is like 5mph+ and as long as you carry SOME momentum into a corner, you don't need to down shift or fuss with the clutch much. 3-6 are spaced very nicely and have pushed my 200lb ass to 85mph on reasonably compacted wide power line trails. Shifts are smooth as butter and the brembo hydro clutch is dreamy... in the past i have spent $$ trying to improve clutch pull and feel, i don't plan on doing anything to this clutch at all. Exhaust is pretty loud for a factory exhaust but damn does it sound good. Being in CT, its illegal to ride everywhere but your lawn so I do not like loud exhausts. This one is right on the cusp for my stealthy ways. If it didn't sound so damn good i would be slightly upset about the volume. Its got a spark arrester (arrestor?) and a big fat stamp on the tire side of the can stating so and the part number...awesome if you ride where that is required.
Suspensions & Brakes - suspension is awesome in stock form. I haven't even set the suspension for my weight or the right sag. If i remember, i'll update this whole review once i have some more hours on it and get it dialed in. The rear is just amazing, it absorbs EVERYTHING. The front is a little twitchy but again, i haven't set it up properly yet. Going slow it soaks up the smaller stuff with ease and can be loaded and bounced around like a heavy trials bike. I can actually bunny hop this bike! At speed, the suspension just gets better. 85mph through the 3"minus compacted stone powerlines and i wasn't even gripping the bike with my legs, its so stable. I accidentally hit a new ditch (from errosion) at speed and just bounced over it. I've been bucked off my other bikes hitting smaller stuff going slower. Brakes, stock brembos... amazing stopping power, feel and feed back... just awesome.
Chassis - Its got a composite subframe... they say it can take more abuse than an alumn one with out cracking or bending... we'll see about that. Thats the only part of this bike i'm concerned about. Its a pretty narrow bike and feels even lighter than it already is. Stance on the bike is awesome, transitioning from sitting to attack position/standing is easy. The seat is pretty comfortable, grippy and you can really get up on the front of the bike in a corner. Stock bars are OK and they're adjustable so if the sweep suits you, you can mess with rise and offset. It has some cool hand holds at the back of the seat that are surprisingly handy.
Aesthetics - Great looking bike. Just about all the graphics are color molded, not stickers. The model # graphic is a thick sticker and mine are staring to peel. I'll beat the dealership up for new ones. The front of the bike looks great but its totally white. There should be some color slapped in there to break it up a bit but honestly, who cares. Its a great looking bike and it performs even better.
What it needs - All liquid cooled bikes NEED rad guards, period. The factory composite skid plate isn't going to hold up to my rock and stump bashing but would be fine for most, i think. I run bark busters on all bikes since I fractured my hand on a sapling... some people say bark busters will break your wrists if you go over the bars... bullshit. As someone who has been bucked over the bars many times in the past 15yrs of offroad riding, I just can't see that happening. case savers are just cheap insurance. Clutch slave cyl guard, this is super important IMO. Rear rotor guard because rocks.
In bone stock form the drz lacks any semblance of traction off road, the stock deathwings really live up to their name. They have washed out on me a few time now. Factory ergos are cramped and confusing... if you are small enough for the geometry of the pegs, bars and seat to fit, you won't be able to touch the ground. Conversely, if you are tall enough to touch the ground (i'm 5'10") the bars are too close, the pegs are too far forward and the seat is awkward to choke up on. With about $1000 worth of parts on order to fix suzuki's design flaws, I have high hopes for the dizzer. Its on road performance is better than expected, even with the deathwings installed. All the complaints i've read about it not weak in the sack are unfounded. It will hum along the highway at 85mph with minimal shake and yet still have the "lugability" to dip right into some powerlines and truck right up the steep, loose ledge and trap rock here in CT. Traction CAN be found with about 10-12psi in the rear tire as long as the bike is not leaned. Although riding on road or turning fast is sketchy at best with the deathwings at those pressures. Suspension needs work to shine. Its too soft (i'm 185lbs) for any sort of hard riding but fine for casual adventures. Stock tail light and lower rear fender assembly is hideous and makes all sorts of noise. The headlight and fork covers give the bike a "frumpy" antiquated look which is unfortunate but easily changed. I am pleased with the bike overall. With some basic bolt on parts to fit the bike to my preferences and address aesthetics, the DRZ should be a great bike to get me just about anywhere I feel like going.
Update after 2500 miles - this bike is a true dual sport. It does nothing well. That being said, i'm very glad I bought this bike and put miles on it. I learned a lot riding this bike in the woods, all 325lbs of it (i swear it weighs more). Almost all of my miles were off road... maybe 60-70 miles on pavement. I was run off the road twice and had a very close call with a semi on the hwy. After that I threw big knobbies on it and went up three teeth on the rear sproket and stuck to the dirt. Those mods helped the bike out alot in the woods (new england single track) however made it just about useless on the street. The drz400s is a great dual sport if you want to actually dual sport/adventure ride and don't care about going fast. Its a great bike that will get you to the trail, get you through everything but the most technical terrain and back home with out missing a beat... i just wont do it fast. To make this bike really perform, you'd spend so much money that you'd easily eclipse the MSRP of a husky or ktm and regardless of how much money gets dumped into it, it will never come close to the performance of a husky or ktm. I have a husky fe350 now and it really is THAT much better.
Mods: Pirelli DOT knobs, biggest ones they make, can't remeber the MT# +3 rear sproket Tubliss on the rear - everyone should run this system, its awesome protaper risers & protaper cr high bend bars bigger pegs ez pull clutch bark busters skid plate case savers rad guards HID head light LED blinkers low pro plate bracket I'm sure i'm forgetting something.