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Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

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Photo by Michael Jordan
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Zangskar Valley, India



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  #1  
Old 21 Jul 2008
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DRZ with 28 litre tank - how does it perform?

I'm considering a DRZ 400 for a trip around Africa. I am particularly interested in this bike because of the 28 litre safari fuel tank that is available - and because i am told the bike is very easy to handle.

My question is how practical is the bike when equipped with what sounds like a whopping 28 litre tank?

- How much does a tank this big affect the performance of the bike? Is it considerably slower when full?
- How is the weight distributed? Does it give the front forks a hard time?
- Is there a noticeable difference in handling?
- how many miles can you get off a full tank when travelling say a consistent 65mph

Apologies for the somewhat vague questions - i hope you catch my drift!

If you could help with any of the above or pass on any of your experiences that would be great!

Many thanks!
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Old 21 Jul 2008
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I don't have any direct experience overlanding with a DRZ400 with or without tank but the only problems I have come across with them have been snapped rear subframes, so weld in some bits of bar as struts to sort that out. I do however have some experience riding bikes with large high tanks and it doesn't seem to affect the handling too bad. I believe that the large tanks for the DRZ have a fair bit of storage down each side which helps reduce the 'sloshing effect'. This is only realy a problem turning in for corners on tarmac as the fuel moving over means you tend to lurch in.

As for the forks getting a ahmmering this will depend on what you ride on and how you ride on it. As there will be more starting weight than normal it would probably be wise to put in harder springs and heavier oil in the forks and increase the preload on the rear shock. If you intend on giving the bike a proper pounding fully loaded maybe a heavier spring....

As a health warning I would also wait for advice from someone with direct experience of this bike and tank!!
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Old 22 Jul 2008
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Hi,

A friend of mine has a DRZ with 28 litre safari tank. It looks extremely cool, I'll say that for it!

The tank looks massive on what is quite a wee bike. However, my mate thrashes it around off road willy nilly. I've seen him pound around an enduro track, getting quite good air (as far as I'm concerned) with the tank on. Although he does empty it so its only got a few litres in it when he's off-roading. As Henry says, the Safari tanks come quite far down the sides which keeps the centre of gravity a bit lower, although this apparently renders some fuel unobtainable by the fuel line.

Despite being fiercely loyal to my XT 600 as an all-rounder, if I was going somewhere where many of the roads were dirt it is exactly that set up I'd choose. DRZ with 28 litre safari tank, with Andy Strapz soft panniers on the back.

Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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Old 22 Jul 2008
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How many miles .... ?

Now I am no rocket scientist, but if you have a 6.15 UK gallon (28 litres) tank and you get about 70mp(UK)g (cruising at a steady 60-65 mph) ....

Anyway, I agree with the other posters that a DRZ400 with a 28 litre tank and as little luggage as possible makes for a very interesting dirt touring proposition

Last edited by colebatch; 22 Jul 2008 at 14:10.
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  #5  
Old 22 Jul 2008
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Before my trip to Libya last winter I borrowed a 27-litre tank from a friend of mine and compared it with my 16-litre Clarke tank. I filled it up completely and rode some tracks I know and can take as a benchmark. I have a 2003 DR-Z400S (so she has the newer suspention) and did not have any luggage with me on these test rides. The tank was made by Johann Hartmann in Swizerland, name of the version is "Ksar Ghilane".

Handling of the bike was more different than expected, the center of gravity moves up quite a bit. So it felt like balancing a pear on its stem. The fork had a hard time to support the extra weight and some of the spring travel was lost. For non-transient use I would concider changing the fork springs for progressive ones.

Seat comfort wasn't too good either. The tank has a steeper angle at the back where the seat is fixed. And it is longer. So I had to stretch my arms longer then I am used to which forced me into a position I wasn't comfortable with.

Maybe with some more effort, other fork springs and a real need for that much petrol on hand I would have decided different, but I unmounted the large tank and went with my standard equipment.
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Old 6 Sep 2008
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I've got one of the 28 liter tanks and the motorcycle handles fine with the extra weight and without a noticeable decrease in top speed. My DRZ with 15/41 gears got around 45mpg touring around Canada but I was going over 65 on paved roads but spent most of my time on graveled roads. If I switch to 14/47 gears my mileage is about 10 mpg worse at high speeds, but the top speed is the same if not better. The DRZ isn't the most comfortable bike for long distances, but it does admirably considering, not to mention a blast once you are off the pavement. A
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