SUZUKI DRZ400S (2001-2008) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Brilliantly competent dual-purpose motorcycle"

Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Riding

"Brilliantly competent dual-purpose motorcycle"

  • At a glance
  • 398cc  -  39 bhp
  • 45 mpg  -  100 miles range
  • High seat height (935mm)
  • Suitable for A2 licence

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Brilliantly competent dual-purpose motorcycle that’s as happy pottering through the gridlock as it is bouncing over a paddock. The DR-Z400S is tough, durable, simple to service and spares are cheap and plentiful. The Suzuki DR-Z’400S' bit heavy for true off-roading but greenlaners love it for its indefatigable charm.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The handling is OK, around town, but as the speeds pick up the 21-inch front wheel makes things feel vague and wallowy and the brakes on the Suzuki DR-Z400S are poor. The wide bars let you fling it around and off-road, once the standard tyres are swapped for something more knobbly, it’s quite easy for novices to get to grips with the DR-Z400S.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Suzuki DR-Z400S' SOHC single is in a low state of tune, so it’s easy for beginners to get on and use. It’s reliable and easy to service at home. There’s enough oomph to lift the front wheel over obstacles and the low down shove makes traffic duties a cinch on the Suzuki DR-Z400S. Doesn’t do motorway speeds with enthusiasm.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

Build quality is fair, but the frame paint is easily rubbed off and the cases look tatty quickly on the Suzuki DR-Z400S. The plastics are rugged and cheap to replace. Reliability on the whole is excellent and the DR-Z400S makes a pretty fair case for itself as an unburstable, unbreakable tool. Just remember to chain it up properly as the thieves love them.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

The Suzuki DR-Z400S is an excellent investment new or used. There’s nothing that offers the same degree of versatility for the money. There are bigger capacity options, like the Kawasaki KLR650 or Yamaha XT660R, but what they gain on the road they lose off it. Find a Suzuki DR-Z400S for sale.

Insurance group: 9 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The stock clocks are pretty basic on the Suzuki DR-Z400S, but there’s a readable rev counter and speedo and a tool bag on the rear fender. There’s a whole cottage industry dedicated to tuning and tweaking the Suzuki DR-Z400S from race exhausts to big bore kits.

Owners' Reviews

18 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI DRZ400S (2001-2008) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.2 out of 5
Engine 4.3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.4 out of 5
Equipment 3.5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Acres of charisma!

08 September 2014 by jamesmusker

Ive had this bike for 2 1/2 years now and an excellent choice as a starter bike- it is so forgiving! You go into a corner too fast and on the wrong line for example, you can put the excellent brakes on and throw it over a bit and you can knock it... Read more down a gear instantly and it's corrected and it doesn't complain and you don't need to even grab the clutch! Very easy to ride - just don't open the throttle too violently because it can surge up the road- although it's not the sort of bike to loose traction easily and the delivery is predictable. Reliability has been an issue with the modified type of bike I bought second hand but that could be due to the Laser exhaust and dyno jet etc and long crack etc.... But overall it's a character filled bike with a huge heart! It should be rite of passage for all bikers? Having said that I struggled to get the bike to wheelie and am ready to try something more road orientated and better on the motorway- it does feel a bit unstable at high speed- and you end up forcing your weight into the bike to keep it stable. Incredibly it's actually better with a pillion at speed because of the additional weight. It can deal with this and it didn't feel underpowered which is testament to its torquey nature.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Brilliant

17 August 2011 by ashby001

amazing great for pulling around cars and can cruise quite well Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

good town bike

28 July 2011 by ratchetman

i have had my drz for 7 years its a 2002 model. when i bought it it had 2,000 miles on the clock.it has now done 10,000. for around town its exeptional the motor pulls well and is quick enough to get you ahead of the traffic the handling is very... Read more good but when cornering hard the front end tends to push out but is quite predictable 21 inch front wheel doesent help i have got bridgestone trail wing tyres which wear quickly and rubbish of road but good on road.high speed handling is nervous but ok when you get used to it the fuel consumption is about 60 mpg but if ridden carefully 75 mpg is possible reliability is good i have had to do the wheel bearings chain and sprockets and steering head bearings plus throttle and clutch cables but this was due to some plonker using a pressure washer to close to the seals. the reason i have given it 5 stars is the drz has character and a real fun bike to ride ive got a 1200 bandit but my drz is my bike of choise for every day use

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

SUPERB BIKE

14 November 2010 by BUSA666

CAN`T PRAISE IT ENOUGH Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great bike!

05 May 2010 by Conan46

The DRZ doesn’t do anything that will blow you away; it just doesn’t do anything badly. It’s not a hardcore off-roader and you wouldn’t say it belongs exclusively on the asphalt; it’s simply the ultimate compromise and is happy to do what you ask of... Read more it. On road the engine is in a low state of tune and pulls way beyond the 400cc would have you believe. It inspires confidence and demands that you ring the neck out of the throttle. Throwing it into corners, it has the feel of a heavy mountain-bike, you can really move about on the narrow but comfy seat and you won’t be daunted whilst riding it on its limits. You will always feel in control of the Suzuki which seems desperate to do what you ask of it within its limits. Around town is a joy, ultra agile and the high seat position gives a good all round view. National speed limits are another matter entirely, despite my 125kg weight, it’s still good for 85mph but you wouldn’t want to stay there for any length of time. A lot of joy can be gained from off-roading and the ride won’t break its stride for ruts and divots. Standing on the pegs is remarkably easy but those with larger feet may take some time to get used to it. I have size 12 feet and any contact with the side stand will kill the engine. It took a while to get my foot position right as to not foul the stand. The DRZ almost demands to be dropped, dusted off and ragged again. Running costs and general maintenance are insignificant and it’s hard to give a reason why someone during their bike career should not sample this addictive ride.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

good fun

06 April 2010 by jono916

ive been out on a 2009 drz400e and i tell you what other than the speed wobble, its such good fun, the knobbly tyres take some getting used but it just begs to be abused. Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great 2nd Bike

22 March 2010 by MrDarcyZX6R

Great fun bike to ride. Cheap to buy, cheap to run and insure, reliable and looks the part. The only downside is the lack of power and low top speed which will leave you feeling bored after a while. This is why i think it'd make an excellent 2nd... Read more bike for the winter/wet weather but not as a main bike.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

blue DRZ 400 s

14 December 2009 by Anonymous

why "S" - soooo misleading! The DRZ a street bike? a supermoto? It reaaly is not. It shoud be called the "X/C" (cross country). As an X/C it is brilliant: tarmac/off-road/tarmac/off-road is where this bike truely excelles. I do 90 miles plus a day... Read more easy, half of it greenlaning (and standing of course, the seat is so uncomfortable you ache to get in the pegs again. And you need to plan your petrol stops well when riding in the middle of nowhere! all in all: so much fun. light, powerful, responsive, great ("X/C") suspension. Just that way home on Aroads or M-ways is a real pain. Any speed over 62mph feels like the engine wants to explode (though it reaches 80mph and more - didn't dear to try); where is that sixt gear, the power would certainly be sufficiant.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
5 out of 5

DRZ 400SM K7

24 September 2008 by 701581419

Now on my second 400SM as someone else decided they would like my black 2007 model so took it from outside my front door, now have blue/white 2008 model & only difference is the brake fluid resevoir is slightly higher. Love the look of it & as my... Read more first roadbike although nothing to compare against it handles great (although fell off on grass the other day). Only niggles are that you can't fit an alarm/immobiliser & gets a little bit light on the front around top end speed. Also, seat is not the most comfortable on long journeys. Currently restricted to 33bhp so haven't bothered with any mods until that comes off next year. I would be interested to know what is available & worth fitting to improve performance as seen some stuff on the net but want to spend my money on the right gear. Also, the review states about a rev counter, is this something you can switch on because I don't have one! Good value though, ideal for new riders.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

DRZ 400 SM

18 July 2008 by steveburrows

Bought my Suzuki DRZ400S last month for £2100. It is a SK model, but had been fitted with Excel rims, Braking wavy discs, a Braking caliper,Renthal bars, Full Akrapovic titanium exhaust, bark busters, iridium mini indicators, Acerbis led rear light,... Read more and the number plate ends DRZ! Fantastic looking bike, i took the Akropovic off & sold on Ebay for £300, it was really loud, and the bike was running lean with it on. Put standard can on, & saw previous owner had drilled 4 large holes in airbox. Taped these up & it now runs fine (doesnt pull as strongly, but much quieter) Top speed about 95mph, does about 65-70 mpg. The brakes & handling are fantastic. I ride an R1 in the sunny weather, but if i'm going down country lanes i will take the DRZ. Power wise i was happy, until i rode a mates CCM R30 (a 650cc). This was a revalation, and now means the DRZ now needs to go, but it is a great bike anyway

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 18 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2001
Year discontinued 2008
Original price £4,199
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 9 of 17
Annual road tax £38
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 39 bhp
Max torque 29 ft-lb
Top speed 94 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 14.6 secs
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 100 miles
Specification
Engine size 398cc
Engine type 4v single, 5 gears
Frame type Steel perimeter
Fuel capacity 10 litres
Seat height 935mm
Bike weight 133kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Single 250mm disc
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 80/100 x 21
Rear tyre size 120/90 x 18

History & Versions

Model history

2000: Suzuki DR-Z400S introduced to replace the similarly styled air-cooled DR350.

Other versions

Suzuki DR-Z400SM: A supermoto version of the DR-Z400S with 17-inch rims and sticky tyres, bigger front disc and upside-down forks.

Photo Gallery

  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Top view
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Top view
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Side view
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Top view
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Engine
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Top view
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Riding
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle review - Riding