SUZUKI DRZ400S (2001 - 2008) Review
- Extremely durable dual-purpose bike
- Approachable handling with off road ability
- Under-stressed engine is a reliable old thing
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Suzuki DRZ 400 S is tough, durable, simple to service and spares are cheap and plentiful. It's a bit heavy for true off-roading but greenlaners love it for its indefatigable charm.
We think it's a brilliantly competent dual-purpose motorcycle that’s as happy pottering through the gridlock as it is bouncing over a paddock.
The DRZ 400 replaced the DR350 in 2001.
After you've read this review and our owners' reviews, you may want to join the Suzuki Owners' Club to find out more and talk to current owners.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
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-Z400 S 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-Z400 S.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Suzuki DR-Z400 S's 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. This bike doesn’t do motorway speeds with enthusiasm, though.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Build quality is fair, but the frame paint is easily rubbed off and the cases look tatty quickly on the Suzuki DR-Z400 S. The plastics are rugged and cheap to replace. Reliability on the whole is excellent and the DR-Z400 S makes a pretty fair case for itself as an unburstable, unbreakable tool. Just remember to chain it up properly as the thieves love them.
We've currently got 19 Suzuki DRZ 400 owners' reviews on the site, with an overall score of 4.4 stars out of 5. The main comments are the thin, hard seat and the inability to reach 70mph on the motorway, but most users love their bikes.
A reader reports:
"In 2006 I bought myself an off road Susuki DR-Z400. Living here in Scotland this bike was the best all rounder I ever owned and I used it all year round - sun or snow.
"Unfortunately it was stolen in December, 2008 and I decided to buy the newer DR-Z400SM.
"The SM is just as solid as the off road version, but in snow with road going tyres it was hell. Recently I fitted it with Avon Distanzia trail tyres and it has much improved the handling on the icy roads of Scotland.
"On the road they seem to grip just as well as any road going tyre also. However they are rather expensive, but well worth it for your own safety.
"One problem we seem to have with these bikes in the very cold conditions is carb-freeze. The SM did suffer from this problem in the beginning but now it seems to have cured itself and has done 7000 miles in 12months. In all weathers without a single problem.
"It is a great bike for touring Scotland during the winter months and a great traffic-buster around town.
"They are really solid built bikes and well worth their weight in gold."
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
It's not a bike for open roads, but works well as an urban commuter (particularly with supermoto wheels and tyres) and brilliantly as an off-road bike.
Just watch for paint getting rubbed away frustratingly quickly and budget for security as it can be a favourite for bike thieves.
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.
|Engine type||4v single, 5 gears|
|Frame type||Steel perimeter|
|Fuel capacity||10 litres|
|Front brake||Single 250mm disc|
|Rear brake||220mm disc|
|Front tyre size||80/100 x 21|
|Rear tyre size||120/90 x 18|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||45 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£44|
|Annual service cost||-|
9 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||39 bhp|
|Max torque||29 ft-lb|
|Top speed||94 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||14.6 secs|
|Tank range||100 miles|
Model history & versions
2000: Suzuki DR-Z400S introduced to replace the similarly styled air-cooled DR350.
Suzuki DR-Z400SM: A supermoto version of the DR-Z400S with 17-inch rims and sticky tyres, bigger front disc and upside-down forks.
Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI DRZ400S (2001 - 2008)
19 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
Great fun when compared to other 400cc+ supermotos and crossers. The DRZ-400S is the all-rounder. It doesn't do track the best (21in front wheel just doesn't lend itself to this), and it doesn't do off-road the best. It is however the machine to choose if you want to do some fun road riding, and some fun green-laning on other occasions. As with all bikes, the 39bhp stated power is optimistic, and likely taken from the crank. I had my DRZ dyno'd at 33bhp yesterday. (Mods include a Scorpion end can, which on the dizzy, means that the only stock part of the pipe left is the header, as the stock muffler joins quite far down, by the cylinder.) Other than this, and against what most people would recommend, it hasn't been re-jetted or 3x3'd, (the airbox mod with a hole cut to increase air flow). The AFR chart suggests it needs a rejet, which I suspected of course. As a result, at 140kg's, the dizzy is neither the most powerful nor the lightest of crossers. My mate's KTM 690's and 525EXC leave it behind of course. But not too much. The DRZ-400S is still fast, managing between 5-6 seconds 0-60 or so from stock, varying due to the rider's skill. This bike can be shifted through the gears exceptionally quick due to lots of torque low down, though to get the peak torque in each gear, you'll need between 7 & 9000rpms of the DRZ's 10,000, developing the 25-27lb-ft of torque the bike will give. Mine is 12 years old. I don't know how, after this long, it is still developing 33bhp and 25lb-ft of torque, even taking into account the drop from manufacturer's stated at crank. This might be due to the DRZ being seriously reliable. I've never had any serious, mysterious issues. One leaky seal, sure, but 12 year old rubber is expected to fail. Make sure you always keep your engine oil topped up and do your proper oil changes, in summer mine likes to burn around 100-200ml of oil in a week's hard riding. One big mistake would be to get one of these and not fit a straight through pipe, as it sounds absolutely delicious, and everyone tells me this. The SM version with 17'' wheels front and rear is a better choice for those who only ever want to ride on road, and also take in on track too, but I only ride road and have never had 'problems' with the large 21'' front, and 18'' back wheels, but I'm sure I'm sacrificing some handling without a doubt. The dizzy is that reliable, happy, energetic and loyal labrador amongst the fast, high maintenance, machine-like greyhounds at the racetrack. This said, when I get a more powerful, faster and more high maintenance machine, I will definitely miss the DRZ, and will probably end up buying one again, just for the character of it.
Brakes are quite soft, but result in an easy ride. The seat however, is unbearable, but depends on how bony or soft your backside is. I can't tolerate more than 1.5 hours without needing to step off. Best point is it runs very smoothly, with vibration coming in around 65mph.
Seems like a lot more than 33bhp, torque is fantastic. Acceleration is brilliant. Doesn't like to cruise much above 60mph on stock gearing.
Keep your oil checked and coolant system full and flushed clean regularly, especially in summer, and she'll be fine.
Do the jobs yourself and it'll be cheap as chips. Oil change : £30
Basic equipment, but has steering lock, good digital clock, but would be nice to have a rev-counter and fuel indicator.
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 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.
amazing great for pulling around cars and can cruise quite well
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 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
CAN`T PRAISE IT ENOUGH
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 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.
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.
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 bike for the winter/wet weather but not as a main bike.
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 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.
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 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.
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, 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
Bought this bike for greenlaning, accident at work knackered my back so no more off road. Converted back for road use and I love it! Punchy engine and high position great for country riding down smaller lanes where I wouldn't take a sports bike, Metzeller enduro3 sahara tyres are grippy but still wearing in at the moment, stable after knobblies. FMF Ti full exhaust and iridium plug have freed up breathing and pickup, top fun but exhaust a bit noisy, so made baffle as I am a bit more responsible now (42)Finish easily marked but not treated with kid gloves. Have Bandit 1200 and Yam dt, but this is the bike I use for messing about on, quicker than you think, and safer not to annoy the plod more than you have to,. Buy another? In a heartbeat
I ride a Blackbird and wanted something completely different - this is it! Positives: Light, manouverable, upright, loads of "guts", fun to ride and chuck around, incredible value for money Negatives: A little heavy to lift back up when green laneing if you accidentally put it down!, Saddle not brilliantly comfortable for long periods of road riding.
Strengths: gem of an engine with bags of character. Looks brilliant (especially in rare black/silver). Light, manoeuvrable, and loads on fun on short journeys -makes a BMW 1200 GS feel like a massive unwieldy wildebeest. Weaknesses: horrible hard narrow saddle (aftermarket saddles now at last available tho I haven't tried one). Windblast (Cee Baileys now make a screen, I haven't tried it).
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I've been riding sportbikes for 6 years, mainly gsx-r's, which were all mighty great bikes but not in the environment I was spending most of my time. In town the gixer was cumbersome and intimidating and there are no nice twisty roads in the area where i live. The only real point to own a gixer was trackdays which happens like 2 or 3 times a year. So it was time for some drastic decisions. The reason why I ride is to have fun every minute I'm on the bike and not 2 or 3 times a year. And the SM fulfils the task admirably. It has such a playful personality it hurts. And its sooo easy to manage! Around town it will blow a sportsbike to weeds no questions asked. The ergos are perfect for city commuting and the bike feels almost weightless. Its a trafic jam ultimate weapon. And if you had enough on the street just jump off the tarmac and make your way through that lawn or park. Oh, and i was 3s faster compared to gixer around the local go-kart track first day I took it there. Strengths: <br>Looks funky, completely reliable, handles beautifuly, seriously cheap to run, excellent build quality (I mean it), good adjustable suspenion, breaks have good power and feel, unintimidating to ride but tons and tons of fun. If you never managed a rolling stoppie in your life you will on this puppy, trust me on that one. And it crashes well too - I looped it in 5th doing 80mph and all the damage went to the rear lights, sidestand and handlebar cover. Gixer wouldnt be even rideable after this one. Weaknesses: Seat is hard and pain in the ass after an hour of riding. Avoid highways - you will bore yourself to death. Could use another 50cc of motor. Its not a beast like other SM's from husky or berg but I prefer Suzukis reliability instead. Standard Dunlops are ok, but not great - I wouldnt buy them again. Pilot Powers seem to be the choice for ultimate performance on tarmac and Avon Distanzias - the ones to go if you like to jump off the road ocasionally and still have excellent grip on the road.
What can you say about this bike that the sales figures don't already tell you? Currently the best dual purpose bike you can buy, and Suzuki can shift every one that they make for good reason-its a great bike Engine has enough power for gentle off-roading although it aint no 'crosser in terms of power (or weight for that matter). Can easily be pepped up with the 3x3 mod. This will add 2-3bhp all the way through the rev range, with much improved throttle response. Suspension is excellent esp on post 02 models as it is the same as that on the E model, Pre 02 models should be avoided due to soft soggy suspension. I bought mine after owning a modded KMX 200, and it is without doubt light years ahead in terms of engine and suspension. Doesn't rev like a 2 stroke though-despite what some people say Has a few design/reliabilty issues which need curing first but then its bullet proof Much better bike than my old KMX200 visit www.thumpertalk.com/forum for tips from other owners. Strengths: Engine, suspension. Weaknesses: A couple of design/reliability issues which need sorting ie Camchain tensioner, front sprocket loosening off, primary drive nut coming loose, thin engine cases.