The DRZ Chronicles

The Beginner's guide to the Suzuki DRZ-400




The DRZ is a heavy bike, both in actual and felt weight.  What I mean by this is, not only does a fueled DRZ-400S weigh in the low 300 pound range, it feels every bit of the 300 pounds.  In comparison my first ride on a 500 pound KTM 950 Adventure was shocking in that it carried its weight very well and actually felt almost as light as the little DRZ.

If having a heavy bike is undesirable, look elsewhere before purchasing this machine.  Minor weight loss can be achieved by stripping off some of the extra street parts and swapping out the headlight for a lighter aftermarket unit, but this is not very cost effective - and some of the aftermarket headlights actually perform worse than the stock ones.

The stock 400S taillight/fender is overly large and ugly.  Forest at Wheeling Cycle Supply carries the full line of DRC Edge taillights which are much more attractive and can save a pound or so.

One of the biggest problems on the DRZ is that the weight is carried forward and up high.  Switching to smaller, lighter mirrors, such as the handlebar mirrors from Dual Star, will give a lighter steering feel and be less likely to break when you crash.  An aftermarket gas tank will also allow you to shave a few pounds, provided you don’t end up carrying more gas than stock.  Also take note of the steering feel before adding a fender bag for carrying a spare tube/tire tools.  On my bike it gave the bike a heavier, sluggish feel, which was undesirable.

The moral of the DRZ story is live with the weight. If you want a significantly lighter machine, the easiest way to do so is to sell the DRZ and buy a lighter bike. If you don't believe me, please – try a motocrosser or any of the lightweight Euro dual-sport / enduro bikes – they will give you a different perspective on your riding abilities.

This is not to say that weight doesn’thave its advantages.  When the going gets rough, the portly DRZ will do a better job at holding a line than a lighter bike; this is enhanced by the Dizzer's plush suspension, which provides a cushy ride in all but the most punishing of trail riding conditions.  It also will feel more stable and be less affected by the wind when driving down the road.



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