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.

Calendar Contest Voting is now CLOSED. Results to be posted shortly.


LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 2 Jan 2006
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Sydney NSW Australia
Posts: 20
drz400s or drz650se for dessert riding

I want to do a ride from sydney heading west to gascoyn junction for an "off center rally" in august this year. I want a bike that is light, light and more light. I find the TTR250 excellent for me in the dirt and sand but for this ride and other future off road rides I need something bigger for the distances involved. The return trip will be fast back on bitumen via the nullabor. The TT will be hard pressed to keep up with the other bikes GS1150, Tenere, GS100 etc 5 other riders altogether at this stage.
So, I figure the DR400 would be the lightest option, with a bigger fuel tank, a modified seat, a rack of some sort for carrying basic and minimal gear. I did a trip last year from delhi to istanbul on a F650 PD and was disappointed with the weight and the fuel injection problems. I want this bike to not only be able to do this trip but also to cross russia and mongolia. Will the 400 be the right choice or should i go with the extra hp of the 650 and suffer the extra weight that the extras will cause. Im not an excellent sand rider but the ttr250 makes it seem easy so there in lies my thinking that lighter is definately better.
Comments please.

neva williams
Neva Ierace
Reply With Quote
Old 3 Jan 2006
beddhist's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Whangarei, NZ
Posts: 2,225
I own a DR650SE, but I won't be able to help you much, I'm afraid, cause I've never really been in the dirt with it. It is lighter than a BMW, but heavier than the DRZ, but you already know that.

All I can say is that I don't think either bike can keep up with big bikes on the open road. But then again, if you travel a little slower you will arrive only a few minutes after your friends. So, who cares? You don't have to ride in a convoy, do you?

Have you read the post in the Suzuki Tech forum?

Europe to NZ 2006-10
Reply With Quote
Old 3 Jan 2006
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 1,366
Lighter is better. Mud, sand or tight stuff.

Remember that you have to carry stuff on the bike so you will need a rack, bags etc. That stuff will reduce the % difference in wieght between the two bikes.

Coming back that way ... well you have speed limits. Will the 400 do say 110 km/h loaded all day?
Regards Frank Warner
motorcycles BMW R80 G/S 1981, BMW K11LT 1993, BMW K75 G/S
Reply With Quote
Old 3 Jan 2006
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Oxford UK
Posts: 929
I"ve also been considering a DRZ as a replacement for an old XR600 for "mid level" overlanding (eg UK to West Africa etc) but researching them on the web seems to suggest that they may need a fair bit of preparing.

Problems seem to include loose primary nuts (some from new), leaky water pumps, cam chain adjuster problems, thin side cases that need reinforcing and engine sprocket nuts that need loctite to keep them on. A small battery suggests a retrofit kickstart might be a good idea if you're going somewhere remote
Any DRZ owners want to give hands on insights into whether these are real concerns or just a bunch of isolated problems that you'd be really unlucky to get in any one bike?
Reply With Quote
Old 26 Jun 2006
Contributing Member
HUBB regular
Join Date: May 2006
Location: ...
Posts: 34
drz400 my VOTE

First things first, I do not own either of the DRZ’s as of right now. I am currently looking for a DRZ400s for myself as I am selling the XR650R and a F650.

For me I think the DRZ400s is where it is at. So here is my 2 cents:

I feel you can make the DRZ a equivalent light weight Adventure LC4, but in a smaller package. Being in AU you don’t have to worry about the S vrs E as much as we do in the states. I am going with the S over the E. I feel it has many options that are more suited for an adventure-touring bike. The down side of the S over then E is the weight. You need to check out ThumperTalk’s DRZ400 project bike.


I plan on also adding the kick-start. It is cheaper and lighter than adding an E to bikes, like the XR650R. Also it has been out for a while and there are heaps of aftermarket parts, like a Corbin seat that lowers it an inch or two.

Also you need to try to can pick up a 2002 or later DRZ400

This may or may not help since the question was asked 6 months ago, but i hope it may help someone.

take care

Reply With Quote
Old 27 Jun 2006
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Danbury CT USA
Posts: 103
There is no need to add a kickstarter to a DRZ 400, any more than there is to add one to a japanese street bike, or a Toyota for that matter. The battery and starter systems are very strong. Twice I drowned mine in deep water crossings, and pumped out water from the cylinder and exhaust for a couple of minutes, and the battery still showed no sign of fading.

The cam chain tensioners are a weak point though. If your good running DRZ all of a sudden starts knocking like the crank is about to blow out, it is probably the cam chain tensioner. The tensioner mounts to the back of the cylinder with two allen bolts, basically a simple replacement except there is not much room between the air box and the tensioner to fit an allen key.

The magnesium engine case covers are very thin and break easily, so guards for those and the radiators, as well as the radiator hoses, are highly recommended.
Reply With Quote
Old 7 Aug 2006
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 73
DRZ400 rocks!

Agree with above, the DRZ400 is a great bike, with relatively simple upgrades:

- bigger tank (Clarke)
- case covers (Thumpertalk)
- loctite on engine sprocket
- radiator cover (Thumpertalk)
- possibly cam chain tensioner (I installed it, not sure if necessary on newer bikes)
- hard luggage (Happy Trails are pretty sturdy)
- consider wider aftermarket seat (Bill Mayer - expensive but good)
- here in the U.S. jetting and 3x3 airbox mod
- smaller rear sprocket (41T)
- long distance tires (Avon Distanzia)

You will have a bike that can handle pretty much any overland trip.
Did 10,000 miles on mine, one set of tires, chain and sprockets. Rode through Mongolia and Siberia. The bike can handle cheap gas, gravel, sand, desert, russian highways. Pack light and take advantage of the light weight of the DRZ. Still good enough to cruise at 80 mph.
Great bike IMHO. Never rode the DR650, though. But it is older, heavier, worse power to weight ratio. Just my 2c.
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Aug 2006
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 43
Hi Neva, a good local source of info can be found at DBW http://www.dirtbikeworld.net

On the up grade side IMO go the DR 400, with the end of the XR line in aus and the GS650 not really as off road enginered,

As for it keeping up all day i dont think with the right gearing there should be to much of an issue, you could always take a spare front and or rear sproket for the really funky off road bits, although I have a road gear set up on the ttr and had very little trouble on fraser island with all the camping gear etc..

Sounds like a brill trip, have fun..
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Aug 2006
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: the Netherlands
Posts: 138
i didn't read what everybody said but i would go for a drz400s and put in the carby , camshaft and ignitionunit of the drz400e. that way you got the better subframe (s-type) and electric wireing and less compression (for poor fuel). and the better carb (fcr) hotter cameshaft and the ignition that makes the power GOOOO
this way you got stock parts and a bike with a good set up. than you can start to ad other things that are needed for specific tasks rally/rtw/commuting
I’m not afraid to go fast, it’s the crash and burn part that sucks.
Reply With Quote
Old 14 Dec 2008
exiliadodecordoba's Avatar
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Teresopolis, RJ - Brazil
Posts: 1
RALLY / Touring preparation of DRz

Hi, Im Santiago;

Im owner of a DRz 400e, and looking for get some preparation of this bike for similar to rally tours...
Iputed in my bike allready a IMS fuel tank of 4.0 gallon... but now Im feeling that need a Fairing similar as KTM... I have an 640 Adventure.... and fairing... mean a big diference for off road touring.... Ok If some body has an idea.. please....
Reply With Quote
Old 14 Dec 2008
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Slovenia
Posts: 43
I would go for the DR650. A fully prepared DRZ for long trips will be just a little better on the sand than the DR, but will be a lot worse on the pavement. If your mate will be riding a GS1150, you will be with the DR650 way ahead on the sand and off-road, no problem for that.
Life is always a compromise, and DR650 is for me a better compromise for off-on road touring. It is bullet proof, light in his category, cheap, good off road, less maintenace.
Reply With Quote
Old 3 Jan 2009
Steve Pickford's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,013
If going for a DRZ of any sort, don't forget to replace the standard mild steel wheel & front sprocket spacers with stainless versions. The spacer behind the sprocket is the more important of the lot as it can corrode, chewing up the oilseal in the process leading to the bike dumping its oil. 10 minute job with right tools & a new tab washer.

Bigger tanks - the Acerbis tanks don't allow room for the radiator fan whilst I believe that the IMS / Clarke tanks do - worth taking in to account if planning to ride in sand / mud etc as the bike will get hot, no point in cooking the engine......

If you're worried about stock cam chain tensioners, manual versions are available although the later Suzuki items are better than the early versions.

If you're short in the leg, Talon supply lowering links for the rear. I also fitted 'bar risers to my g/f's DRZ to lift the 'bars up to allow the forks to be pushed up through the yokes to level the bike out.

Decent bashplate that protects the waterpump etc.
My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
Reply With Quote
Old 3 Jan 2009
Big Yellow Tractor's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: England
Posts: 572
Originally Posted by Steve Pickford View Post
If you're worried about stock cam chain tensioners, manual versions are available although the later Suzuki items are better than the early versions.
I originally fitted the manual CCT but found it a worry and a bit of fannying around to adjust. I have since fitted the later model automatic version and have had no problems. I think the early(crap) ones are silver and the better/later ones are a gunmetal colour but check.
Reply With Quote

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


HU DVD Spring Special!

Buy the Achievable Dream Collectors Set and get Road Heroes Part 1 FREE!

Achievable Dream - The Whole Enchilada!

Cooped up indoors in crap weather? Binge watch over 20 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers! Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to order them both and use Coupon Code 'BoxSet+' 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


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 10:55.