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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.
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  #1  
Old 31 Aug 2011
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How is suzuki dr400 for around the world tour?

Hey guys im thinking to go aroundo the world on 2003 suzuki dr400. Anyone know anything about this bike?
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  #2  
Old 1 Sep 2011
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Why not I say, It's a pretty tough bike.

They have closer service intervals than its bigger older brother the 650 but a bit more power that might be welcome in the harder offroad stuff. I really like both bikes but currently have a 650.

I can't offer you much more.
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  #3  
Old 1 Sep 2011
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Sure you CAN do it on a 400, or even smaller, as has been proven numerous times. But if you´re looking for the best choice (for you, naturally, as there is no one best choice for everyone!) then I´d say it fully depends on what kind of RTW-tour you´re planning. And also what kind of bikes YOU like, which is a very personal choice. Can´t really answer to that on your behalf.

I´ve ridden the 400 a bit in SE Asia, and it´s a great bike for trail riding, and more off-road oriented stuff. But it has clear downsides, too: it suffers (and makes YOU suffer!) on the big highways, it does vibrate, the wind protection is almost nonexistent... and it hates a lot of luggage, at least if you compare it to some other, bigger options.

In fact I would only consider the 400, if I was certain I was going to travel extremely light, AND also planned to do the smallest byways in 3rd world countries a lot (... but doing that regularly would require a looooot of time on a RTW-tour, so how much time have you got??)

For anything else: any longer stretch of main roads, any significant amount of more developed countries (with better roads), and any more luggage than what you´re able to fit in a backpack, and I´d go for at least a DR650, because it is just plain and simple much better for those purposes.

(..Just my opinion of course.)
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  #4  
Old 3 Sep 2011
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Suzuki 400

TNX guys,i thinking smal bike ,coz me and my wife we hv done from Alaska to ushuaia on Honda africa twin(105.000 kms) 23 countres and all states and capitals in Brazil ,now we r loking for smal bike ,125,250 or 400 .
We prefere gravel roads them motorways .
we will keep surching for a smal bike .
thx guys
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  #5  
Old 22 Sep 2011
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Have you looked at the DR350?

There have been quite a few successful long distance trips on them, and the 6th gear makes motorways alot more comfortable without sacrificing offroad ability by adding alot of weight, and they get great fuel economy to boot.

The later years 97-99 have better suspension than the early 400s that replaced them too.

You mention you are traveling with your wife, is she planning to go pillion?
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  #6  
Old 23 Sep 2011
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Dr400

No we r planing 2 bikes
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  #7  
Old 24 Sep 2011
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Have a chat with Dan ...

Dan’s DR-Z400SM | Brighton 2 Siberia

He just did UK to Magadan with one

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  #8  
Old 24 Sep 2011
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I rode Uk-Capetown on one about six month ago. I had the S model.

I would not use one again for a long trip even though I still have a soft spot for the bike.

It is a capable off road bike (if a little heavy for proper off roading) and for an OFF ROAD bike it is very reliable.

BUT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's slow. 55-60mph will be your top speed if you still want it to be able to pull up to that speed with luggage on.. Not nice on highways or days when you have a big distance to cover. If you ride in a group, you will be left behind a lot. I had jetted and changed the exhaust on mine for more power and it was still lacking. It wasn't built for touring.

The ride is painful even with a Corbin and a sheepskin. 200 miles will hurt. It vibrates like a Single Cylinder Enduro bike, obviously.

It's not economical for a 400CC. My mate was on an old BMW650GS and got WAY better economy that me (although his BMW kept breaking down and mine never did). With a 15L clark Tank I had a 200 mile range. Although, that could be down to my jetting.

It requires an oil change every 1500-2000 miles which can be pain if you can't get it.

It requires a fair bit of modification to make it feasible for a long trip, especially RTW. (Tank, Seat, Rad guards, engine case guards, luggage racks, higher handle bars, better footpegs etc)

It has no cush drive which takes a toll on your chain and sprockets.



Now, if I was going for a 3 month trip which I knew I wanted to play in sand or on fire tracks etc, I'd pack it light and have some fun. Then it IS a good bike and it will be in it's comfort zone.

On a RTW, you're going to have a reasonable amount of luggage at a guess, and this is where the DRZ will struggle. After 15-20,000 miles on the road the stator maybe ready to fail and the top-end will need looking at. Lot's of stories of burnt valves (but maybe down to poor maintenance).

It will do it, but why not take something which will do it BETTER ???

If you want a simpler carbed enduro style bike then would take a DR650SE or XT600E over the DRZ400 ANYDAY after comparing all three.

I think I would go for the new 660 Tenere over all of them now if I had the choice. Looks like a perfect RTW bike to me and is on my shopping list for my next long trip.

If you want anymore info on the DRZ, check my website or drop me a email..

Ted
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  #9  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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For Brighton2siberia, my DRZ did pretty well.

My take is as follows:
Small bikes make better overlanders than big bikes. Less weight opens more doors in terms of where you can and cannot go (for a given level of riding ability). No one can get a bigger, heavier bike up the hardest trail they can get a small bike up. It's worth noting that an unladen DR650 or XT660 weighs (quite a lot) more than my DRZ did fully laden.

In terms of the DRZ in particular…
For:
  • The DRZ is available pretty cheap as it’s been around a long time
  • I didn’t suffer with the same level of vibration as Ed did on the WR – and that’s not just my Renthal Twinwalls, as my pegs were no problem either
  • With a decent seat and a big tank, big miles are no problem – my longest day on the DRZ? 965 miles from Stockholm to Cologne on the way home
  • Upgrade or commonly used replacement parts are cheap and easy to find as it’s such a well known and well-used bike
Against:
  • Not as reliable as the more modern Yamaha WR250R
  • Not as economical as the more modern (fuel injected) Yamaha WR-R
  • Carbs are rubbish at altitude, and less reliable than fuel injection everywhere!
I still like my DRZ and, if no one brings out a more modern, light-weight, fuel injected 400-ish cc trail bike before I do another trip, it may get another outing…
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  #10  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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I'd just like to answer a few of Ted's points...
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
I rode Uk-Capetown on one about six month ago. I had the S model.
It's slow. 55-60mph will be your top speed if you still want it to be able to pull up to that speed with luggage on.. Not nice on highways or days when you have a big distance to cover. If you ride in a group, you will be left behind a lot. I had jetted and changed the exhaust on mine for more power and it was still lacking. It wasn't built for touring.
Sounds like yours was in poor shape, geared for a hare and hounds enduro, or had flat tyres. Mine would cruise, laden, at 70mph, though I'll grant you the fuel economy was better at 60. Not a motorway bike, no, but then most people looking at taking a 400 are looking at spending a bare minimum of time on motorways - that's what the lardy GSs are for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
The ride is painful even with a Corbin and a sheepskin. 200 miles will hurt.
Not true! I didn't find it any more painful than any other bike I've ridden long distances on (Africa Twin, various sports bikes). Mine has Ted's previous Corbin and I've never put a sheepskin rug on a motorcycle. My longest day on the DRZ is my longest day on any bike ever. Not to say I'd happily do 965 miles a day for a week, but I got back on it the next day and rode it from Cologne to the UK, without complaining. Maybe my butt is de-sensitised from also riding push bikes long distances, maybe Ted's a big girl's blouse...

Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
It vibrates like a Single Cylinder Enduro bike, obviously.
Well, yes, by definition. But in fairness it vibrates less than some other single cylinder bikes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
It's not economical for a 400CC. My mate was on an old BMW650GS and got WAY better economy that me (although his BMW kept breaking down and mine never did). With a 15L clark Tank I had a 200 mile range. Although, that could be down to my jetting.
Again, flat tyres, enduro gearing or knackered bike. Not as economical as a more modern bike with a proper ignition curve and fuel injection, no. But I was getting 15 miles per litre most of the time, which meant my 28 litre tank would last around 420 miles. Just shy of 70mpg isn't setting the world on fire, but it's not bankrupting anyone either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
It requires an oil change every 1500-2000 miles which can be pain if you can't get it.
"Requires" is a strong word. Suzuki say it needs new oil every 3000 miles. Tin-foil-hat-wearing-conspiracy-theorists-on-internet-forums say it needs new oil every 500 miles or ten minutes, whichever comes first. Aim to change it every 2500 and if you can't find any oil until 500 miles later, you're still within the Suzuki service interval. Not so bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
It requires a fair bit of modification to make it feasible for a long trip, especially RTW. (Tank, Seat, Rad guards, engine case guards, luggage racks, higher handle bars, better footpegs etc)
Not really. RTW isn't any different to any other trip and whilst I chose to fit a tank, seat, engine case guards, handlebars and footpegs and a rack to mine, I'd say you could do without all but the engine case guards if you wanted to (and they cost about twenty quid and take minutes to fit). A bigger tank makes life easier for sure, and I personally think they're worth it, but if you don't mind juggling jerry cans you can tour the world on a 10 litre tank. Handlebar height is a matter of personal taste, different pegs aren't essential, neither are rad guards (mine didn't have any), giantloop luggage is good stuff and doesn't need a rack etc, etc. Don't let anyone dictate what mods a bike needs - do what makes sense for what you want to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
It has no cush drive which takes a toll on your chain and sprockets.
Meh - the 16500 miles I got from my DID X-ring on JT sprockets aint so bad for overlanding. It's more than I got from the same brands when overlanding on an Africa Twin (which does have a cush drive). Both those bikes were fitted with a scottoiler.

Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
On a RTW, you're going to have a reasonable amount of luggage at a guess,
Not sure why you'd have any more than for your lightweight fun three months...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
After 15-20,000 miles on the road the stator maybe ready to fail
That is true - they do go, and with tedious regularity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
and the top-end will need looking at. Lot's of stories of burnt valves (but maybe down to poor maintenance).
No reason at all why valves should burn out unless valve clearances have been allowed to close up. Valves have been known to fail, but mostly on bikes that have been ridden hard (rather than ridden round the world). Cam chains do wear out, but if caught early enough can be replaced without changing the crank sprocket or cams. There are plenty of DRZs out there that have done over 40k miles without major problems if looked after. There are also neglected low mileage basket cases and the occasional pampered low miler with freak-occurence problems. The point to note when trying to conduct some kind of internet-forum-reliability-survey is that it's usually the people who are angry or disappointed who bother to post...

Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
It will do it, but why not take something which will do it BETTER ???
Like what? Define better? We're down to personal taste here and if the man is looking at a DRZ, he probably doesn't want the extra 50kg of a 650. If I wanted to take an extra 50kg, that extra 50kg would be wearing Alpinestars and an Arai...

For me the ultimate overlander would be a fuel injected 400 with vibes no worse than the DRZ, and no more weight. But that's just me.
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  #11  
Old 5 Oct 2011
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Hey Dan..

Seems like you really fell in love with your DRZ. Don't get me wrong. I like the DRZ and it's a bloody good bike. Horses for courses though isn't it. Our trips were very different. This over landing game is about as subjective as it can get...

To reply to a few of your comments...

Mine was a 2003 but in good shape. It was 3x3, JD jetted with a scorpion pipe. It pulled REALLY well up to 70mph but no matter what gearing I used, I just couldn't get it to cruise at 70mph. Not comfortably anyway. No doubt, I had a lot of gear with me. I can't afford to buy 4 gram silk and titanium tents and NASA tool kits. When I did the infamous "Bandit highway" without luggage, I had a blast. I was miles ahead of people just tearing up the boulders and sand. GREAT FUN.

As for comfort.. You seem abnormal. Nice padded arse perhaps ?? 965 miles on my DRZ would of had me in the morgue. I did 350 one day and it destroyed me. I'm not shy of big miles. I've ridden 1000 mile days in Brazil on my XT.


I put the economy down to my jetting/exhaust. Mine was thirstier than Neils but not by much. Enduro bikes are not built for economy anyway. I knew this before I left.

Oil changes are up to the individual and environment. In Africa (like much of the world) the oil is suspect and the quality lower. 1500-2000 miles was being on the safe side. There's only 2L in there. There's no oil cooler either.

Chain and sprockets again are down plenty of things eh. Didn't really bother me as two sets got me 16,000 miles through A LOT of sand, dust and off-roading. I had a scottoiler, DID X-ring/JT combo and kept it at the correct tension. Cush drives DO help though. It's basic engineering as I know you know.

As for reliability. You will never find a stronger advocate. Mine was FAULTLESS bar a broken rad fan and the clutch starting to slip at 25,000 miles. But then, I do maintain mine. I check valves, change oil and keep my rads topped up. If you find some older DRZ threads on the hub of me asking about the bike before I bought it, I had several PM's of people talking about top end burn outs. It didn't stop me though as I'm always fixing bikes of people who think maintenance is kicking tyres.

Luggage...... Everyone is different. No point commenting. Too many variables.

What's better ?? Well, I suppose you have a very good point and an educated opinion to share.. For me just something more comfortable and lower tuned. It's very subjective though isn't it. I just get the 'Feeling' that maybe 8/10 riders wouldn't be happy taking one RTW. I don't feel the benefits of the bike justify it's negatives for a LONG distance tourer. If I was going to ride RTW on dirt roads or do something like Mondo Enduro then I would consider one again. If we're realistic though, 95% of peoples trips are on tarmac or high quality firetracks. Any bike can do that.

I think a well maintained one would last around 50,000 miles before you're looking to do a rebuild. (Will that do a proper RTW ???). It may last longer or maybe less. That's just my opinion. From someone who's been rebuilding engines and bikes semi-professionally for over ten years. By then you would of also gone through three stators and done four valve shim changes. You're suspension bushes maybe twice too.

But... It's just my opinion. Long may there be many to challenge it.
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  #12  
Old 27 Oct 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
Seems like you really fell in love with your DRZ.
Nope, not really. It has it's faults like everything in this world and I was annoyed about its stator going in Mongolia.

BUT - I happen to think that lightweight bikes are a really great way forward and a DRZ is about the cheapest way into the "reliable-lightweight" club. The WR250R is a more modern bike, but suffers from worse vibes and is too new to be cheap. What else really is there that weighs 130-ish kilograms and starts at 1200-ish quid?
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Old 28 Oct 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djadams View Post
What else really is there that weighs 130-ish kilograms and starts at 1200-ish quid?
You've got me there...... The DRZ certainly is value for money. I could only manage 1200 quid when I sold it on. That was with all the exhaust and jetting too
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  #14  
Old 31 Oct 2011
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Quote:
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You've got me there...... The DRZ certainly is value for money. I could only manage 1200 quid when I sold it on. That was with all the exhaust and jetting too
Ted, your was "a little over average mileage" though, eh !!
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Old 31 Oct 2011
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Ted, your was "a little over average mileage" though, eh !!
What's an extra 20,000 miles between bikers
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