Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Which Bike?

Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

AMERICA’S PREMIER MANUFACTURER OF MOTORCYCLE SUSPENSION

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 26 Jun 2008
UK Autumn HU Meeting Organiser
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Wells, UK
Posts: 85
DRZ400 for RTW

Okay, so tomorrow I am probably going to buy a 2003 DRZ400S. I already have a DR350, but having a few problems with paperwork (stolen and recovered) and have therefore reviewed my RTW choice. I saw the bike today and loved it, mostly because its yellow colour matches my blonde locks ;-) but I haven't had much time to do any research on its RTW prowess (I spent days if not weeks researching the DR350), so was wondering if you guys could give me a hand.

I don't really need info on which bikes are worse or better than this bike, but just the meaty stuff on this bike; the pros and cons personal to this bike.

Much obliging you.

Char
__________________
Don't be scared your life may end,
Be scared that it may never begin.......
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 26 Jun 2008
kentfallen's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Isle of Sheppey, Kent, England, UK
Posts: 668
I never could resist a lovely blonde!

The DRZ400 is a superb little bike for a women to use as a general RTW bike. It's small, light, robust, put together well and has a very reliable power plant. The only negative point is the standard seat which is like sitting on a cheesewire! Ouch... Fit a gel seat replacement!

Offroad it's truly superb. The bike may struggle a bit on the motorway but providing your happy plodding along at 60 mph all day, it's not a real problem. Try not to overload the bike too much as it develops less than 40 BHP.

I know others on here that literally swear by this little bike. It would be my own No1 pick if I wanted a sub 600cc RTW bike. My NO1 choice for a RTW would be the venerable XT600 (no surprises there then).
__________________
Triumph Bonneville 800 (2004), Yamaha XT600E (1999), Honda XBR500 (1986).


Last edited by kentfallen; 26 Jun 2008 at 22:27.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 26 Jun 2008
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 19
I have a drz400sm and I don't think I'd take it around the world.

I'm 5'7" and even the sm was too tall for me (I shaved an inch off the seat and it's fine for me now). It's a very narrow seat and for distance you really need to modify or replace it.

Gearbox is smooth but the lever action is too long resulting in many missed changes.

Mileage is so-so, about 50mpg with a very small tank. You'll need to fill up every 100 miles.

Turning circle is abysmal for a dirtbike (maybe it's better on the S).

Engine was to me disappointing- little torque, poor spread of power. Yet first gear is too tall and top gear is too short. Obviously it runs very lean so maybe airbox and carb modifications would help - at the expense of even poorer fuel economy. It's nice enough in the midrange and pretty smooth. Just very flat. There's a very bad stumble just off idle which I will investigate once my warranty has runs its course.

Handling is good. Manoevering at 2mph is very well balanced. The sm has a steeper head angle than the s and is twitchy over bumps at speed. I travel a lot faster on a ratty back road on my dr650 than on the sm.

No problems with the electrics though even used every day the battery seems marginal, barely up to the task. No kickstart on the sm. Lights are just adaquate.

Things to watch out for: the front sprocket loosens off causing wear on the other side of the gearbox casting - loctite it well. Mine has come loose twice in 10,000 miles.

There are rumours to the effect that the automatic can chain tensioner is suspect and overstresses the chain. A manual version is available.

(Sorry this is mostly negative - actually I still enjoy the bike as a commuter. To me the dr350 would actually be better on account of the 6th gear).

NF
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 27 Jun 2008
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Fort Lauderdale,Forida,USA
Posts: 742
Talking Drz400s

HI Charlotte,
I took a friend of mine for a trip from FL to Panama and back (over 10000 miles)on his DRZ400S
here are few things to change on the bike to make ita better ride for long ride.
-Large tank
-better seat (very important)
-better shock spring (if you carry a lot of gear)
-Handguard
-sproket need to be change for better HWY speed( standar will make you run 65 to 70 Miles?H)
-better tires
a small windshiel (spitfire)
I had the DRZ400E and loved it , the E and S are great bike all arround and easy to work on , a lot of cheap accessories fun off road and pretty good on road (for a 400)
Good luck in your venture.
__________________
Hendi Kaf

http://Hendikaf.com

http://webbingthegood.com/
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 27 Jun 2008
UK Autumn HU Meeting Organiser
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Wells, UK
Posts: 85
Keep it coming

Thanks guys...keep it coming......I have 10 hours before I pick the bike up (or not????).

Ned, cheers for the negative response, and in such detail - it does help no end to know the crap stuff about the DRZ and its interesting to see the contrast with what Kentfallen has to say (cheers for the warning about the cheesewire! I had suspected as much...)

HendiKaf - cheers for the breakdown of mods - jolly useful!

Is there anyone out there that would say they would definitely not take the DRZ (the key point here is that I want a small bike for RTW)

Cheers!

Char
__________________
Don't be scared your life may end,
Be scared that it may never begin.......
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 27 Jun 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Salisbury, UK
Posts: 112
I'm a 5'8" lady rider and love my DRZ to bits.

I think alot of Ned's negatives are due to the fact his is the SM model. Mine is the E (enduro) model which was intended for off road use. The S is pretty similar to the E - the main differences being the carburettor, plastic petrol tank and suspension.
Definitely check/adjust the cam chain tensioner. I believe the tensioner problems were on the earlier models.
It might also be worth changing the output shaft spacer for a stainless steel one. The standard ones eventually rust which tears the lip seal and dumps your oil. It's a pretty quick/easy job and kits are available.
Also, as standard the carburettor breather pipes hang down below the engine. Route a couple of them up under the seat otherwise the engine dies when going through water (fords, big puddles ets.)

Would I take it RTW? It depends on how much serious off road I intended doing. It's a bit slow and uncomfortable (seat) for alot of road work but fantastic in the dirt. Any bike is going to be heavy when fully loaded and certainly the off road handling will be compromised.
If you honestly intend doing mostly off road - go for it. Be honest with yourself and don't buy it because it looks cool or 'just in case' you do the odd dirt road.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 27 Jun 2008
mollydog's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: california
Posts: 2,298
First gear is a bit tall for trail hacking,

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 17:55.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 27 Jun 2008
mollydog's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: california
Posts: 2,298
Hendi's got it mostly covered here. TAKE NOTE!

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 17:56.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 27 Jun 2008
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 19
Patrick,

Yep, I need to fix that stumble. I tried adjusting the fuel screw and ended up back where I started. Some day soon...

Charlotte,

If you're trimming the seat, remove the foam from the base and cut from underneath.

Alec in coreracing.co.uk will sell you an safari tank (28 ltres?). Very good product. I've one on my dr.

I've lowering links which I'll sell you for half the purchase price if you're interested. Used once. However they mess up the suspension action so I can't really recommend them (I'm some salesman!)

One last thing, in the drz's favour it does have great low speed poise, which comes into its own when doing u-turns, manoeuvering on slippy ferry decks, parking on gravel drives etc. This makes up for a lot.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 27 Jun 2008
stuxtttr's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Lutterworth,Midlands, UK
Posts: 470
Charlotte did you get the DRZ I am looking at one myself so all these comments are useful to many. One thing I noticed you already have the DR 350, would it not be worth sticking with it the engine is simpler so you would have less hasel with water cooling. Just a thought but if you really want a new ride good luck and enjoy it.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 30 Jun 2008
UK Autumn HU Meeting Organiser
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Wells, UK
Posts: 85
persist with the DR350

Right guys, so I didnt get the DRZ in the end. All your comments were wonderfully helpful, but when I actually rode the bike all that paled into insignificance - it just didnt feel right - for one it was hoooooooge - I barely had my big toe on each foot on the ground, which although some lowering would sort out, at the end of the day I didnt immediately mould with the bike....unlike my DR350. The DRZ for me was too off-road orientated, in its stance, what the engine had to give, and how it reacted to me. The guy selling the bike was also a bit of a nob which always puts me off.

It has however rekindled my love for my DR350.....I cant wait to get her back on the road and start mod-ing her - but it may have to be a different bike because of the whole stolen and recovered paperwork thingy, so if anyone knows of a DR350 going then give us a holler.

Cheers guys

Char
__________________
Don't be scared your life may end,
Be scared that it may never begin.......
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 30 Jun 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Nairobi Port Alfred London
Posts: 197
Get the DR 350 on the road

Hi Char.

Those guys on Mondo Enduro did ok on their DR350's so I would have to say go with that.
I was either going to get a DR350 or the XT600 that I ended up with. The DR was a tad too small for me, but then I probably have an advantage on you going down hill...
I seen too many little DR's struggling as theyre being passed by trucks whilst they wobble their way around the M25 enroute to a ferry. Hence getting the bigger bike

Considering the money you are going to spend on a newer bike, I think that its totally worth getting your stolen recovered back onto the road, Youll have much more money left for your trip, and a sixth gear.

And you'll need to get the rest of this gear anyway:

Get a bigger 23l acerbis tank, strengthen up the rear subframe by integrating it into your luggage rack, and do a total engine rebuild. Whilst youre there Sand blast and then spray the chassis Yellow to satisfy your sensibilities.

Old bikes have a lot going for them:
Cheap carnets, easy to maintain, simplicity to run and everyone already knows how to work on them and where they go wrong.
You also dont need to stress so much about loosing the bike. Additionally its not worth as much to anyone else.

I'm regretfully watching Sahara at this very moment and wishin I were there now.

One day...

Cheers G

P.S. The DR400 is an amazing bike, I'm pretty impressed that that many faults have been picked up! Thats really nitpicking! try sitting on the New BMW X Challenge... Thats high!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 3 Jul 2008
kentfallen's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Isle of Sheppey, Kent, England, UK
Posts: 668
In my opinion you will be extremely hard pressed to find a goodun left! In the UK at least. Most DR350's have had a hellish existance or have simply been ridden into the ground.

Why oh why can't the manufacturers carry on making the things? If it works then why fix it.

It's a great shame cos they were such a damn good bike though...
__________________
Triumph Bonneville 800 (2004), Yamaha XT600E (1999), Honda XBR500 (1986).

Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 8 Jul 2008
Neil's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: London, UK
Posts: 170
Dr-z

Hey Charlotte Goose, did you get the DR-Z in the end? If so how is it? What condition and price did you pay for it (assuming you did buy it).

I just went for a test ride on one today, what fun! Whatever, I'm buying I need to buy at least 3 of them for my team mates so I'm going to try a few different model bikes out before i decide.
__________________
Neil's in... (the website)
Also you can follow me on FaceBook, YouTube or Twitter.

And let's not forget: The Suzuki DRZ Repository (a side project I'm working on)
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 8 Jul 2008
beddhist's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Whangarei, NZ
Posts: 2,227
Hey Neil, Charlotte beat you to it. She's already answered your question.

Charlotte and others going long-distance on the DR350: there is a topic in the Suzuki section about a serious engine problem with a link on how to check and fix. Read and act before leaving home.

Another suggestion, may apply to other bikes with high gearing: take the smallest front sprocket available as a spare. It will help you no end in certain tight spots where you have very rough roads. I dropped my DR650 a few times, because it stalled in 1st, *with* a small front sprocket.
__________________
Cheers,
Peter.

Europe to NZ 2006-10
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
DRZ400 Larger tank davidlomax Suzuki Tech 23 13 May 2009 20:48
Drz400 IsleOf Which Bike? 5 8 Feb 2008 19:51
DRZ400 tOP END RATTLE... davidlomax Suzuki Tech 20 14 Oct 2007 20:20
Suzuki DRZ400 shipped to Croatia Pivo Trip Transport 0 13 Oct 2004 11:58

 
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events

 

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.



Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 18:20.