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

Like Tree3Likes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 20 Mar 2014
Contributing Member
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 19
DRZ400 for Trip & Trails

Hey everyone,

Ive recently sold my bigger bike in favour of getting something more able at the rough stuff but is still capable of the longer distances.

The DRZ400 has always caught my eye but posting on the TRF forums has generally gone with them persuading me against it. If i were looking purely for a trail bike id agree but having only space for means i need to compromise.

So i figured id call on the varied experience of you guys. Can the DRZ be both good at a bit of fun on a Sunday as well as longer trips?

My only concern is that the latest model was released (i think) in 2009 making any bike i buy at least 5 years old. What would be the modern equivalent of the DRZ?

The CRF250L seems to be highly rated.

Thanks everyone

Lee
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 20 Mar 2014
*Touring Ted*'s Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wirral, England.
Posts: 4,384
I rode to Capetown on mine... Did the job fine with some sensible modifications.

If you're in a rush and like comfort, don't bother....

If you like a simple, lightweight, off-road capable bike...... Bother


I have a page on DRZ prep on my blog...

Ted
__________________
www.TouringTed.com
1994 XR650L
2001 NX650 Dominator.

BMW Dealer Technician
Welder/Fabricator

Ushuaia - Colombia 2007/8
UK- South Africa 2010/11
India 2012
Yukon 2012
S.E Asia 2014
U.K - Magadan 2015
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 21 Mar 2014
Contributing Member
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 19
Thanks Ted.

Im hoping to also learn to do my own maintenance so a simple bike like the DRZ would be a great start I think.

Ive already checked out some accessories so know i can get a bigger tank and pannier rails if neccessary (got some ardcases already).
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 21 Mar 2014
mollydog's Avatar
Banned
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: california
Posts: 2,134
Quote:
Originally Posted by retryrider View Post
Hey everyone,
Ive recently sold my bigger bike in favour of getting something more able at the rough stuff but is still capable of the longer distances.

The DRZ400 has always caught my eye but posting on the TRF forums has generally gone with them persuading me against it. If i were looking purely for a trail bike id agree but having only space for means i need to compromise.

So i figured id call on the varied experience of you guys. Can the DRZ be both good at a bit of fun on a Sunday as well as longer trips?

My only concern is that the latest model was released (i think) in 2009 making any bike i buy at least 5 years old. What would be the modern equivalent of the DRZ?

The CRF250L seems to be highly rated.

Thanks everyone

Lee
Howdy Lee,
Can we assume you're in the UK? I'm in the US ... so riding requirements/opportunities may be a bit different. What "big bike" did you sell off?

It sounds like you're looking more for a road bike that can do some "light" off road? If that is the case, the DRZ400S is a pretty good pick. No idea what TRF is (some UK forum I suspect?)

I owned the "E" model DRZ (off road only). No longer made. It was the BEST of the DRZ line. There was also a K model early on. The S model is what you now get in UK, and far as I know, it has not changed a bit since it's 2002 introduction.

I would not worry about a 5 year old bike. Take your time, be willing to pay a bit more ... and find a true Virgin.

There are a few other choices but most are more OFF ROAD oriented, and most are more expensive than a DRZ400S ... and NONE are as reliable as the Suzuki:

Husky TE250, TE450, TE650 Terra
KTM 250EXC, 450EXC, 690EXC
CCM 450 (new, not released yet)
Yamaha WR450F (off road only but can be made street legal)
BMW 450 (no longer made but may be around used)
Beta 450 (excellent bike! Not sure if sold in UK)

About 250's
The current crop of 250's are pretty interesting and getting better all the time. The new (made in Thailand) Honda CRF250L is rated very high, but for most the WR250R rates highest and does most things better. It's expensive and I'm not even sure you can get it in the UK. It's street legal (unlike the WR450F I listed above)

Thing about 250's is ... they pretty much suck on fast roads and long-ish runs. If you lived or traveled in S. America or Asia ... I'd say go 250. Reason? Towns are slow and crowded, even on highways speeds fairly moderate. 250's work there.

In UK, EU or USA ... not so much. Most 250's top out at about 70 mph ... and may not be that smooth or comfortable at that speed. Off road of course they have a BIG advantage over heavier bikes if set up right. (a big IF)

The DRZ-S can be a good choice and work on road with some good mods. Find Adam Lewis's thread (Jedi Master), he rides (or rode?) a DRZ400S.

I'd say it for sure will need a custom seat. For ALL ROAD, better lights (HID),
next would be suspension work to suit and then some elegant solutions for carrying luggage. Go higher gearing for road use ... and lower for off road. Could just work.
Good luck!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 22 Mar 2014
Contributing Member
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Howdy Lee,
Can we assume you're in the UK? I'm in the US ... so riding requirements/opportunities may be a bit different. What "big bike" did you sell off?

It sounds like you're looking more for a road bike that can do some "light" off road? If that is the case, the DRZ400S is a pretty good pick. No idea what TRF is (some UK forum I suspect?)

I owned the "E" model DRZ (off road only). No longer made. It was the BEST of the DRZ line. There was also a K model early on. The S model is what you now get in UK, and far as I know, it has not changed a bit since it's 2002 introduction.

I would not worry about a 5 year old bike. Take your time, be willing to pay a bit more ... and find a true Virgin.

There are a few other choices but most are more OFF ROAD oriented, and most are more expensive than a DRZ400S.

The DRZ-S can be a good choice and work on road with some good mods. Find Adam Lewis's thread (Jedi Master), he rides (or rode?) a DRZ400S.

I'd say it for sure will need a custom seat. For ALL ROAD, better lights (HID),
next would be suspension work to suit and then some elegant solutions for carrying luggage. Go higher gearing for road use ... and lower for off road. Could just work.
Good luck!
Thanks for the helpful feeback Molly.

Right now id say your right, 70% road is what im working to at the moment. My previous Tiger 800 was just too road focused.

The TRF is an organisation here in the UK that fights for the rights trail riders have to use the green lanes. The members are seeming to concentrate on that bit rather than the all round nature im looking for, so they also suggest 250cc or less.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 22 Mar 2014
mollydog's Avatar
Banned
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: california
Posts: 2,134
I agree with the TRF guys regards 250's if you'd only be doing technical off road riding. 250's are the perfect starter bikes ... and even work for experts. My last dirt bike was a Yam WR250F. Now sold. The F is off road only race bike, not road legal. It was a great bike on the tough trails. Hopeless on road with a top speed of about 60 mph!

Wow, you're lucky you had an 800 Tiger! Great bike. But it would be a shame if you dropped it off road. Lots of breakable and expensive plastic and parts. I've ridden the 800 ... but not off road.

Good shopping!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 23 Mar 2014
Big Yellow Tractor's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: England
Posts: 593
Lee,

Saw and replied to your post on the TRF forum.

The trail-only guys will try to convince you to buy something a lot lighter and racier than a Dee Arr Zee but for a do anything bike, you can't go wrong.

Yes, they are heavier than a modern enduro bike but they cost bugger-all to buy, run and own.

I have two. My "E" has been raced and trail-ridden hard for the last 10 years (it was two years old when I bought it). My "S" has toured; camping and trailriding in the UK and I've ridden it through FRance and into Spain for more of the same.

If you want to get narly on the trails on a Sunday then get a 250 and have a lot of fun learning your craft.

If you want a do anything bike, and S or an SM(with trail-wheels) will just about do all you ask of it.

If you're local to Aldershit, I can let you have a cabbie if you want. Just post here or PM me and we'll arrange it.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 23 Mar 2014
Contributing Member
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Yellow Tractor View Post
Lee,

Saw and replied to your post on the TRF forum.

The trail-only guys will try to convince you to buy something a lot lighter and racier than a Dee Arr Zee but for a do anything bike, you can't go wrong.
Thanka BYT, wasnt having a dig at the TRF at all most of the posts seem a bit one-way thinking as you say. Between HU and the TRF im hoping to get the views on both uses so ill sit right in the middle.

Thanks for the offer, not a million miles a way but am going to give one of the off road schools a try before doing anything else.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 30 Mar 2014
Contributing Member
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 19
After much more reading (square eyed and eye drops needed) im pretty much decided on a DRZ400SM.

In its basic form its not the best for off roading but for fire roads and the less technical stuff all info points to it being ok with the right tyres.

Some also consider the suspension being stiffer therefore less likely to bottom out and its easier/cheaper to swap wheels than suspension. For road riding the brakes are better apparantly. On the wheels front i can get the larger ones from the S and make use of the existing rotors, only issue being the speedo drive.

Ive worked out that my immediate goal is an adventure trip to Morrocco so that shouldnt call for to deal with anything like deep mud. Theres a few companies that run these sorts of trips.

Anyone point out anything where ive gone wrong in my logic?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 30 Mar 2014
Big Yellow Tractor's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: England
Posts: 593
Quote:
Originally Posted by retryrider View Post
After much more reading (square eyed and eye drops needed) im pretty much decided on a DRZ400SM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Yellow Tractor View Post
If you want a do anything bike, an S or an SM(with trail-wheels) will just about do all you ask of it.
There you go Lee, I'm not often wrong (ask my wife !!!)
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 30 Mar 2014
mollydog's Avatar
Banned
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: california
Posts: 2,134
Quote:
Originally Posted by retryrider View Post
Ive worked out that my immediate goal is an adventure trip to Morrocco so that shouldnt call for to deal with anything like deep mud. Theres a few companies that run these sorts of trips.

Anyone point out anything where ive gone wrong in my logic?
For an adventure trip to Morocco the DRZ SM will do fine on road sections of the ride. Once off road ... it may not be ideal. For a first "adventure" ride a guided tour is not a bad idea! Sometimes these companies provide a bike. Maybe use their bike for your first ride? Less liability.

If you're willing to absorb the expense ... and difficulty ... of changing out wheels and tires on an SM and then trying to balance front to rear bias and re-set geometry so the bike will actually handle well ... then go for it.

Taking on such an endeavor is, IMO, an Experts Only project.
Are you an expert? Or can you pay an expert to convert your SM to a dual sport bike ... and do it right? ( a bodged up job means the bike will never handle properly ... and you may never know it! )

EDIT .... The below bit is WRONG ... my mistake, sorry! SM wheels are spoked 17's, front/rear
The SM stock wheels are WIDE 17", cast Alu road race wheels. No normal dirt bike knobby tire will fit. Plus ... cast wheels may CRACK (or dent) if ridden hard off road on a loaded up bike and no longer hold air! Spoked wheels like on DRZ S are far tougher off road.

Mounting knobbies on wide stock SM wheels may be akin to "Lip Stick On A Pig".

If you change out stock SM wheels for 18"/21" "S" spoked wheels/rotor ... then you may as well just buy an S model DRZ to start with.

I'd be curious to hear from SM owners who have done this conversion and hear comments on how the bike worked on a Morocco trip (or similar) in full ADV mode.

The SM is a fun twisty road hooligan bike. (my best friend own's own, and I work on it for him) It's a low cost option for a beginner's SM bike ... but it's been designed from day one as a street bike. Wide wheels/tires, street biased suspension/brakes, a light weight minimalist bike.

The DRZ S model dual sport with its 18/21" spoked wheels, can use any knobby or dual sport tire made. It has off road oriented suspension, is super tough and reliable. (like all Suzuki's! )

Wide 17" wheels W/street tires not ideal off road. The front will have a tendency to easily "wash out" in corners. The rear can step out under power. Sure, you can fit TKC 80 semi knobs (that's about it) ... but it's just not going to be ideal in rough going or when making progress on challenging mountain roads in Morocco on a loaded up bike.

And ... if you need a spare tire ... you may be out of luck. Wide, 17" TKC semi-knobby is Not a common tire.

A 21" knobby front gives far more confidence (and "feel") on loose scree or any challenging trail or Piste. A 21" front steers better and rolls over objects better than a wide 17" wheel/tire. Ruts and big rocks are handled easier with a skinny 21" front tire. It just flat works! Nothing else is as good.

You could leave the 17" rear on and convert front end to 21". Be careful with geometry and balance here. You are treading into unknown territory. If it's done ... hopefully it gets done buy someone with experience doing this specific conversion, someone who's done lots of testing and development.
Sure, it can be done, but to do it wrong would be a shame.

As a raw off road Newbie ... I would not try to re-invent the wheel just yet.
Go with a tried and true machine. Do the common and proven mods ....
AND GO RIDING. At this point seat time is THE most important thing.


DRZ400S ... Bone stock ... 2000 miles of Baja off road. (yes, this is my pic)

Last edited by mollydog; 31 Mar 2014 at 00:41.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 30 Mar 2014
lynch180's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Ireland.
Posts: 115
Hi,
I think the 400s would be a better buy than the 400sm because you can have a proper laugh with the 400s on dirt tyres (t63) on road but then go up the side of a mountain if needs be..............cant say the same for the 400sm
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 30 Mar 2014
Contributing Member
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
For an adventure trip to Morocco the DRZ SM will do fine on road sections of the ride. Once off road ... it may not be ideal. For a first "adventure" ride a guided tour is not a bad idea! Sometimes these companies provide a bike. Maybe use their bike for your first ride? Less liability.

If you're willing to absorb the expense ... and difficulty ... of changing out wheels and tires on an SM and then trying to balance front to rear bias and re-set geometry so the bike will actually handle well ... then go for it.

The SM stock wheels are WIDE 17", cast Alu road race wheels. No normal dirt bike knobby tire will fit. Plus ... cast wheels may CRACK (or dent) if ridden hard off road on a loaded up bike and no longer hold air! Spoked wheels like on DRZ S are far tougher off road.

Mounting knobbies on wide stock SM cast wheels may be akin to "Lip Stick On A Pig".

If you change out stock SM cast wheels for 18"/21" "S" spoked wheels/rotor ... then you may as well just buy an S model DRZ to start with.

I'd be curious to hear from SM owners who have done this conversion and hear comments on how the bike worked on a Morocco trip (or similar) in full ADV mode.
Unless I'm mistaken most of the SM'd have spoked wheels and need tubes, for example:
SUZUKI DRZ400 SM 2007 SUPERMOTO MOTORBIKE | eBay

The main reason for sticking with the SM is that there's a lot more around that the 'S's and for now at least my main focus is still the road which a little bit of experimenting off road. I'd like to get a different set of wheels mainly to not have to sod around which changing tyres if I get into more serious offroading.

Even when I had the Tiger I was considering the Heidanau K60 Scouts and there seems to be a suitable version for the SM in the form of 150/70 (stock is 140/70), I think's thats right anyway. There was similar issue with the Tiger in that stock is 100/90 where as Triumph confirmed a 110/80 would fit.

Completely illogical reason but i do prefer the look of the 'S's with it's bigger wheels.

Appreciate all the feedback.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 30 Mar 2014
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: on the road...
Posts: 420
for those not in the UK, the TRF is the Trail Riders Fellowship- an organisation that campaigns to keep 'green lanes' (trails) open to all traffic, and organises and promotes responsible trail riding.

There are very few DRZ400S for sale in UK, and tonnes of SM for sale.

I bought an SM.. and it came with S wheels, although it turned out the rear was a 19' so I bought an 18' (19' tyres and 17' tyres were very hard to come by in some countries).

Changing the wheels over is easy- tweeking the suspension is not rocket science either, but maybe worth paying a visit to someone who knows their stuff and getting them to set it up and write down the settings for riding both with and without luggage.

I did some TRF rides in East Anglia on the DRZ, sometimes it was the biggest bike, sometimes there were was the odd BMW along too.. the DRZ was never to big for the rides, the only setback was my riding ability, which would obviously not be so much of a problem on a more nimble bike.

I busted two rear shocks on the SM, one in Turkey, one in Iran, I have a much heavier shock now, and would obviously recommend going down this route.
__________________
'Life begins at the end of your comfort zone'-
http://fernsforays.com/ UK to Asia on a DRZ400 2012-2013
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 31 Mar 2014
mollydog's Avatar
Banned
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: california
Posts: 2,134
Quote:
Originally Posted by retryrider View Post
Unless I'm mistaken most of the SM'd have spoked wheels and need tubes.
You are 100% correct ... my mistake! I must have been thinking of one I saw at the track a while back. But I still believe the wide tire thing may catch you out off road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by retryrider View Post
The main reason for sticking with the SM is that there's a lot more around that the 'S's and for now at least my main focus is still the road which a little bit of experimenting off road. I'd like to get a different set of wheels mainly to not have to sod around which changing tyres if I get into more serious offroading.
Two sets of wheels makes sense ... but would you go with the same size wheels as stock or go to a 18/21 combo? I have two sets of wheels on my DR650 ...(both stock sizes) one has knobbies, other street tires. And you're right ... much easier than swapping tires.

Quote:
Originally Posted by retryrider View Post
Even when I had the Tiger I was considering the Heidanau K60 Scouts and there seems to be a suitable version for the SM in the form of 150/70 (stock is 140/70), I think's thats right anyway. There was similar issue with the Tiger in that stock is 100/90 where as Triumph confirmed a 110/80 would fit.

Completely illogical reason but i do prefer the look of the 'S's with it's bigger wheels.

Appreciate all the feedback.
The wider tire looks cool for sure ... but wider is not a formula for success off road!

You could run Scouts ... and they'd be fine on hard packed Piste or dirt roads in fair condition. Rougher stuff, steep, rocky, muddy ... not so much.

Riding off road, front tire is the more important one for control. But try all this out ... see how it works for you. If you just swap tires ... then no need to worry about geometry changes or even a different rotor set up.

Hope you find a good deal. I'd love to see how you rig up luggage to suit for travel. Do post up some pics if you snag a good one!
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 Lowering links/ Dog bones by Talon. UK chris TRAVEL Equipment for Sale / Wanted 4 18 May 2014 22:15
Trails in the Spanish Pyrenees jqd05a Europe 1 29 Jan 2014 13:11
DRZ400 bike/spare parts for sale Irkutsk Russia lspence TRAVEL Bikes for Sale / Wanted 4 1 Sep 2013 17:16
Zurich Switzerland: Bike Parts DRZ400 and Gear Ladies for sale lspence TRAVEL Equipment for Sale / Wanted 0 28 Aug 2013 19:14
Laos on a Lifan Steve canyon Ride Tales 59 23 Jun 2013 08:34

 
 



Renedian Adventures

HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

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

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 04:41.