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-   -   DRZ 400 S or E (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/which-bike/drz-400-s-or-e-67715)

Rfothy 5 Dec 2012 22:31

DRZ 400 S or E
Hi I am planning a trip from the UK to Oz in 2013.

I have my hart set on a Drz 400, but have heard conflicting opinions on the different models.

I am asking what model people prefer? and why?
Also what modifications are suggested (apart from the larger tank). Do the drz 400's do well on long motorway stretches too?


Genghis9021 6 Dec 2012 00:15

I think you mean 'K' and 'E' models. The 'K' is ONLY an 'S', the 'E' comes in 'S' and 'SM' models.

The 'K' version has a kick start and higher compression engine (due to a thinner base head gasket). 'E' versions are electric start and come in 'S' ("enduro") and 'SM' (supermotard) versions with much better front forks, a marginally shorter swingarm and 17" vs 21/18 wheels. Street only ? SM all the way.

The aftermarket tanks and racks which fit are generally different between the 'E' and 'K' models. Sometimes, there are differences based on 'S' and 'SM' models.

If you'll be in areas of dodgy gas the extra compression will only mean greater chances for pre-ignition (detonation) and with good gas a very mild increase in power.

The motors are very durable but have a few well-known problem areas which can be addressed beforehand: primary drive torqued & threadlocked; threadlocked stator bolts; CS sprocket (needs locking washer); the waterpump should be re-sealed with RTV prior to any long trip and an extra ceramic seal and oil seal carried - the repair is NOT roadside., etc. The charging system is good for 200 watts peak, 100 nominally. The stator cannot be rewound to increase power. The stock headlight is typically bad and night riding not encouraged.

The euro and asian models often have a PAIR valve which is easily and beneficially removed. A simple rejetting and airhole enlargement in the airbox both increases power and economy. Make sure the forks and shock are sprung to your weight PLUS gear.

They ride "heavier" than their weight as it's high and forward. They are fair at highway speeds but without the airbox/jetting mods rather pushed and a thumper on a highway just isn't fun for long in any case.

Make sure there's plenty of life in the front disk before departure. The brakes are barely suitable for the OEM bike's power and weight.

Big Yellow Tractor 6 Dec 2012 06:45

In the UK, the models are

K - Kickstart only, enduro version
E - Electric start only, enduro version
S - Electric only, dual-sport
SM - Electric only, Supermoto Style.

I'd go with either an S or an SM but buy and fit a kickstart kit from the USofA.

I found the carb on the E very grumpy about big changes in altitude. The S (after getting all the odds and sods mods done) was much more tolerant.

The S & SM have indicators and slightly better lights. Also the sub-frame is a bit more luggage friendly.

I'll dig out some links to info later if you want but a quick search will bring up loads of stuff.

dash 6 Dec 2012 14:02


Originally Posted by Big Yellow Tractor (Post 403079)
In the UK, the models are

K - Kickstart only, enduro version
E - Electric start only, enduro version
S - Electric only, dual-sport
SM - Electric only, Supermoto Style.

Pedantically, it's actually...

DRZ400 - Kickstart, enduro spec (higher engine tune, no pillion, plastic tank)
DRZ400E - Electric start, enduro spec
DRZ400S - Electric start, trail spec (less power, stronger subframe, pillion pegs, steel tank)
DRZ400SM - the 'S' version with 17" wheels and upside-down forks.

The 'K's you see in the model descriptions are just, as with all other Suzukis, the model year from 2001 onwards. So a DR-Z400SK4 is an 'S' model bike made in 2004.

The one thing they all have in common is a horrifically uncomfortable seat, so if you're planning on doing distance you might want to budget for having it remade with some actual padding in ;)

Rfothy 6 Dec 2012 20:11

Thanks for all the help people, I will be looking for the s model it seems. Will have to look into doing the modifications explained here too.

If anyone knows anyone with one of these bikes. Please keep me posted.

Any other information and suggestions... please post below. Will be much appreciated..

Is it suggested to go with soft luggage on these bikes? or boxes?

Genghis9021 7 Dec 2012 11:19

"Kicker" carburetor . . .
Forgot this . . . the higher compression "kicker" (only) has a Kehin flat-slide carb which effectively "pumps" fuel into the throat of the carb (like an accelerator pump on a car) to provide better throttle response.

The flatslides are common performance upgrades but do NOT add power per se to the bike but are a bit finicky starting in the cold or with elevation changes. Economy almost always suffers with a flatslide and the irresistible throttle response.

There's a video on YouTube showing two SMs - one with a flatslide and Yoshimura pipe and the other with a stock Mikuni CV carb and the MRD-SSW pipe. In a quarter-mile race the Mikuni & MRD run down the flat-slide easily.

My DRZ with Mikuni CV, MRD and air box hole get 28km/l and throttle wheelies in 2nd gear with 41/15 (stock) gearing.

dash 8 Dec 2012 13:05


Originally Posted by Genghis9021 (Post 403196)
Forgot this . . . the higher compression "kicker" (only) has a Kehin flat-slide carb which effectively "pumps" fuel into the throat of the carb (like an accelerator pump on a car) to provide better throttle response.

As does the 'E' model. They also have slightly different cams and a different exhaust.

In practice, for a UK buyer, forget the Kickstart model even exists. I've only ever seen one for sale. The choice is, as in the thread title, 'E' or 'S'.

Genghis9021 8 Dec 2012 13:32

Not alot of evidence that the cam makes/made any difference.

But then again, those bikes haven't been available in California for almost 10 years.

Don't recall a different muffler - but maybe the US-spec machines were different. They didn't get the PAIR valve, either.

Agree completely that it's really only an 'S' or 'SM' choice.

*Touring Ted* 8 Dec 2012 15:17

I did Africa on an S

Even that was TOO offroad bias for the trip. The E would be pointless unless you're unloaded and offroading.

The S is way more economical, has all the electrics you need and the lower state of tune will prelong engine life.

RTW on an E or K sounds mad to me.

marcm 9 Dec 2012 20:02

I've had s model...or tin tank,call it what you like and an sm,not the ideal motorway bike but the sm one done some big mileage days with some bubble wrap tape on seat and was ok...I had the offer to borrow a friends BMW for one of trips,but went one the drz,knowing that I'd be very bored with staying completly on Tarmac,the sm one coped fine on dryer going I'm Southern Europe off road,I would do another trip on one without hesitation..for me the ideal bike would be my 84 34l tenere with the 660 motor from the 2008 model tenere stuck in it..comfortable seat,good tank range,not too heavy and reasonably long legs on motorways...

Rfothy 13 Dec 2012 20:37

I have seen a very good deal on an SM model....

Some of you have said that you would go for the 'S' or the 'SM' model, but your opinions sway more towards the 'S' model.

My next question is the much of a difference?
Shall I wait it out to try and find an 'S' model....

Genghis9021 14 Dec 2012 00:37

S or SM
There's little difference in the components but those all favor the SM. For instance, the forks. USDs off an RM 250 on the SM. Conventional forks with the PIA gaiters on the S with poorer performance and greater maintenance requirements.

But . . . if anything beyond graded gravel is considerably in your agenda - the 21/18 wheels of the S will be far better matched than the 17's on the SM. If it's all tarmac - SM.

Dirt or tarmac - upgrade the headlight. It's barely a joke. I have a 35w HID on mine and can now actually see at night and am seen much better in the daylight. (You'll need to add a relay as the Suzuki's headlight power wires are really not sufficient for an HID.)

Rfothy 5 Feb 2013 18:22

Hello I wonder if anyone can help me... I am looking at a drz tonight.

It was previously an import though, now registered in the UK.

Would the fact that it was previously an import affect me on my travels, such as border crossings etc?

dash 5 Feb 2013 19:34

No chance, as long as it is now properly registered in the UK.

The only difference is that on the registration document a UK bike will say:

"Declared new at first registration"

While an import bike will say:

"Declared manufactured [year]"

There is no way in the world a foreign policeman/border guard is going to even notice that, let alone care.

Rfothy 5 Feb 2013 21:02

Top stuff.

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