DR650 vs. DRZ400S

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by GregX999, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. GaThumper

    GaThumper Road Less Traveled

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    514
    Location:
    Thumpin' in North GA - headin' for the Smokys
    There will always be some who prefer the DRZ and some who prefer DR. I definitely don't have anything bad to say about the DRZ. It's a personal preference and for me, it's the DR650 for a 50/50 dual sport. But the 50% of my dirt preference is more 2nd and 3rd gear forest service and four wheeler trails and less 1st gear single track and rock gardens. If you want more hard core off road, then I'll give the DRZ the edge.

    To me, the DRZ (and the DR350) were not great on pavement above 65. It's pretty common to hear that the DRZ is buzzy at highway speeds. I just don't care for lot's of pavement on the DRZ or DR350, but the DR650 does great on the slab.

    To clarify, for me, light enough to toss around off road is around 250 pounds, not 300+. My KTM450 was near perfect off road to me, but I wouldn't want to ride it far on pavement. Rider weight may have a lot to do with the preference, too. A lighter rider may be fine on the DRZ or KTM on the road. But for me, after riding quite a few different bikes I find the sub 300 pound bikes lacking on the street and the 300+ bikes lacking in the woods. This is just my opinion, I know people who take a 400+ pound KLR650 through stuff I don't want to try on my 300 pound 350 and I know some who have taken XT225, Sherpa 250, DR350 etc. across the country.

    I think of the DRZ and the DR350 as 60/40 or more for dirt and the DR650 as a 50/50 bike for me.

    As far as the DRZ versus the DRZ, I prefer the simpler, older design (of course I'm simpler and older too!) with no radiator to be worried about, and simple screw adjust valves. The six speed transmission is a bonus and the lower seat height (for me, 5'9" with 30" inseam) and less weight/lower center of gravity made the DR350 a better fit for me. The suspension can be fixed (I wouldn't be doing triples on the DR350 or the DRZ) and power can be adjusted with higher compression and valve work or more displacement. I haven't upgraded mine yet, but I believe the 441cc kit on the DR350 combined with properly set up suspencion would hang close enough to a DRZ for me.

    To summarize , again IMO, there is no one dual sport than can excell in an enduro on Saturday and carve up the twistys on Sunday and I'm convinced it can't be done. Every dual sport, to me, is a set of compromises that each rider must choose between. Power, weight, and suspension, choose what's important to you and your best 50/50 dual sport could be a 250, 350, 450, 650, or even a liter or more and weight from 250 to 500 pounds.

    Ain't it great we have choices! :clap

    Definitely IMHO and just my .02
    #61
  2. GaThumper

    GaThumper Road Less Traveled

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    514
    Location:
    Thumpin' in North GA - headin' for the Smokys
    I admit to lusting after the KTM 690, but it's more moola than I want to put in the game. Simple, inexpensive, reliable, easy to maintain, that's what I was after. To the guys with the orange kool aid in their hydration packs, I salute you! When I had the KTM450exc I was impressed every time I rode it, made me feel like a better rider and made everything easier than it was on my DRZ. I had the KTM right after the DRZ and it was night and day better off road than the DRZ. I'm sure the Husaberg and Husqvarna are great choices as well.
    #62
  3. tdrrally

    tdrrally Long timer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,507
    Location:
    doing hard time in charleston,wv
    this an age old question

    that has nothing to do with the orange cool aid or husa bluaid good brands both

    its about dr650s and drz400s

    i'm looking at a drz400 or a dr650 too:1drink
    #63
  4. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,457
    Location:
    Bowling Green, Ky
    a note on the Corbin on a DRZ-

    Negatives- expensive, damned heavy seat (more weight up top), firm and not comfortable for a tall rider. I have a 34" inseam and find the low seat move the pressure points to my butt bones and this is very uncomfortable. My butt was looking like an orangutang in heat after a few days on the TAT.

    Positives- If purchased use you can resell it for what you bought it for.

    Seat Concepts- Positives- light weight, tall and low cut, gripy seat cover.
    #64
  5. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    977
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    In the evolution of things, this thread to me has become more of a WR250R vs DR650 thread. I think gearboxes are not to be underestimated, and both have great gearboxes for the motor they run. Ive been kicking myself for not finding the WR250R before the DR650 (as I bought the latter), but as another member said, I might be overthinking things. I need something that will go anywhere (even nasty rocky crap) but not necessarily quickly.

    Another thing to consider on this subject (and ESPECIALLY were one to be considering the WR250R) is what type of power do you like or need? Some guys like revving and others like torquing- I happen to be a torque motor type, and so maybe all my concerns about not having a WR250R are baseless since I may have ended up hating the engine.

    I was in the DRZ vs DR camp before, and the gearbox is what pushed me to the DR's side.
    **EDIT** If you are completely rich, you could spend the 3k and get a new set of gears from nova racing- that would make the DRZ prolly the best dual sport bike ever made, but it would end up costing as much as a KTM. That said, performance vs. reliability.
    #65
  6. OKlr

    OKlr 25mph gate inpector

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    852
    Location:
    Ponca City Oklahoma
    I had a converted e model, and i liked it. Everything except the seat. I had one seat trimmed, it sucked. Then got a gel seat, it was ok. I now have a klr, but i did like my drz. here is some eye candy:

    [​IMG]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgmRg12ZU-I
    #66
  7. OKlr

    OKlr 25mph gate inpector

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    852
    Location:
    Ponca City Oklahoma
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/TgmRg12ZU-I" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #67
  8. ericos

    ericos Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Oddometer:
    48
    What a massively old thread. Just want to add that I'm loving my 2012 DR650. The reason I chose the DR over the DRZ is mainly because it is the simpler and more bullet proof of the two bikes. My DR will take me anywhere one could go on a DRZ . It just won't do everything as quick. Then again there are things the DR can do that a DRZ won't do. It can carry a heavier load for adventure trips due to an extremely strong frame and of course the engine characteristics and extra weight make for a better highway machine. Also, Chuck Norris rides a DR650
    #68
  9. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,318
    Location:
    Michissippi & Nuevo Mexico
    And of course everyone missed the obvious answer..... This guy had a BMW so he has $$$$. He should have just bought a used one of EACH of these bikes to suit his ride:D. Probably wore them both out by now.
    #69
  10. cliffmidnite

    cliffmidnite n00b

    Joined:
    May 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    3
    I am glad this thread has been alive for so many years. I sat on 2012 Dr650 and dr-z400s today at the dealer. I am 5'8" with 30" inseam as many here it seems. I used to have an '03 z400E that I rode the trails with for 4-5 years before selling in '08. I had purchased the lowered gel seat, and it helped although getting off centered in the nasties could still tip me over now and then do to height. I'm now going to ride mostly on road these days. When I'm off-road it probably will not be nearly as crazy of stuff anymore, at least not as often. Reading his thread and my past of having a 400 and knowing its height and seat/butt uncomfort had me set toward getting the dr650. The gel seat always just murdered my ass. it was brutal, although I think I toughened up over time to it being less uncomfortable. I'm not sure if the stock seat was ever much better. I really liked the feel today of the dr height at the dealer when I sat on it for a while. The seat is definitely wider and my footing was a lot better. They were asking 6k out the door and I almost pulled trigger on 650. I had also found a z400s on craigslist '07 2900 miles for 3k. I went and checked that out and ended up buying the dr-z400s to save the benjamins. I am definitely thinking the dr650 would have made a better commuter for me, but I will see how this 400 works out on the road. I have done incredible things off road with my old one on some of the biggest stair steps in Chadwick, MO. Hopefully I can make this my roadie now. There weren't any used dr650 on craigslist or I may have gone that route. If I get the chance though, I will definitely try and ride one to see the difference. I might try some of the lowering options though and see what that does for me although I would never go for that gel seat again.
    #70
  11. Tech23

    Tech23 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    477
    Location:
    Arizona Desert
    Based on the information you posted it appears the new bike will see more street use than trail use. I'm pretty sure you and I both know the 650's larger engine would be more comfortable in that capacity. I can understand the money aspect too. There are plenty of used DR 650's out there in the same price range though. The 650 is a low stressed engine and has the outstanding Suzuki advanced cooling system. My DR with 16/43 gearing will run 75-85 MPH all day, at 75 it's barely even breathing hard. You can always gear the 400 up for the street but low end will suffer making for more clutch work to get under way... again another area that has less negative effect on the 650.

    Tech23
    #71
  12. Murphy Slaw

    Murphy Slaw Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,879
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    I didn't know this.

    Ya learn something every day....
    #72
  13. Tech23

    Tech23 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    477
    Location:
    Arizona Desert
    Actually Chuck Norris rides two DR 650's....at the same time.

    Tech23
    #73
  14. cliffmidnite

    cliffmidnite n00b

    Joined:
    May 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    3
    You are probably right about the DR I am also eing a better fit, I'm already noticing my drzs lacking at highway speeds. I wish I could find one around to test ride. The wife wants a cruiser so maybe this is the good fit, my drz is definitely light and nimble. Maybe I can just have both since as everyone says, there is no true perfect 50/50 dual sport. I did just get my JD jet kit in mail and going to do that, air box mod, and pipe coming on Friday. Also got a seatconcepts to ease the long ride. As it stands, I mostly enjoy going atleast 45+mph, but over 65 is where it gets incredible windy. I did 10-15 minutes on freeway at 72mph and was not the most pleasant stability wise. I would think you would be blowing all over the place on the Dr as well over 70? i am on stock sprockets, 15/44 and rarely need freeway around here. I don't feel like the bike is working too hard, its probably because of how light and high up I am that makes it seem as such. I guess time will tell. I have already saved $70 this past week in gas. My Dodge only gets 10mpg so my wallets loving it either way.
    #74
  15. rashad

    rashad Anonymous

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    20
    Location:
    Williamsport, PA
    Chuck Norris doesnt ride DR's... DR's ride Chuck Norr- wait...what?

    Sorry for re-re-reresurrecting this thread but I just read the whole thing and it makes me giddy thinking about getting a DR650. I just sold my 02' Hayabusa yesterday to pay some bills and I will have some cash left over.... I had been debating this whole debacle until this thread so thank you so much ADV!:clap
    #75
  16. Gasolinejunkie

    Gasolinejunkie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Melboure, Australia
    Sorry to dig up a decade old thread but this debate is as current as the day it started. I read through all the pages and came out a lot more informed but not more decisive.

    I ride a ZX14r and I'm looking for a second bike to play in the dirt, commute and do a bit of Adventure touring.

    I'm torn between the DR650 and the DRZ.
    I'm looking for fuel economy, cheap maintenance (both the bikes are equally good but the DRZ is $200/year cheaper to register in Australia).

    I like the robust build quality of both the bikes, I'd like the touring capability of the DR because Australia is massive and riding 1200km in a day isn't unusual (but again I have my 14r to do that).
    On the other hand I would absolutely love to put a set of dual tyres on the DRZ and power wheelie everywhere.

    I told myself the decision will come down to practicality and fuel economy, and again both of them are so close. I'll shop around and probably go with the best bike I find.
    #76
  17. kingrj

    kingrj Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    557
    Location:
    Hattiesburg, Mississippi
    Sorry but I have to chime in here..

    Several years ago I bought a used DRZ 400 S with 675 miles on the clock..that is right..675! I paid, I think, $3200 for it. It has been the most fun motorcycle I have ever owned for the money..ever! I have owned over 22 motorcycles in the last 15 years. It does not seem happy at over 70 mph on the highway but will do it day in and day out..I have ridden mine on twisty tarmac and enjoyed it as much as when I ride my Ducati on the same roads..It gets 70 miles per gallon when plonking about at 40-45 on gravel roads (stock jetting and bone stock exhaust and airbox)..I have taken it up over 12,000 feet with no jetting issues in Colorado and it has carried me around Moab. It is not a great dirt bike nor is it a great touring bike but it seems to do both pretty well. I fully understand the highway limitations of the bike and the benefits of the DR 650 in that regard..so I bought a new KTM 690 Enduro R...but is it worth over three times what I paid for my DRZ? Ahhhh....No!:lol3
    #77
  18. tjzondrz

    tjzondrz Non-Nefarious

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,764
    Location:
    Macungie,PA.
    I bought a DRZ in 2012.I now have 7500 miles on the bike.No problems at all up to this point.I put a 4.4 gallon clark tank on.At an average of 68 miles per gallon,it travels pretty far over a stock tank.My riding is about 70/30 on road versis off road.The bike is very buzzy at highway speeds.I never had an opportunity to compare other bikes when I bought mine as there were not many of any dual sport bikes around when I was ready to purchase one.
    Soo,that being said I like the DRZ.I use it as my commuter and go on some small adventures when the time allows me to.(Wolfman bags)
    Thats just my 2 cents.
    Stay safe out there my friend.
    I would love to ride down there sometime.
    #78
  19. Gasolinejunkie

    Gasolinejunkie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Melboure, Australia
    Ummm. Now I'm confused. 5 minutes ago I decided to buy the DR haha!!

    Eventually it'll come down to what bike I find. I'm not fussed getting the DRZ because I have the Zx14r to do highway speeds.

    So, to put things into perspective. Will the DR650 sit exactly in between the DRZ and the V-strom? Also, what's the life expectancy of the engine? I know the DR can do 60,000+ miles.
    And, do you know what the difference is between the DRZ s & DRZ e?
    #79
  20. tjzondrz

    tjzondrz Non-Nefarious

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,764
    Location:
    Macungie,PA.
    Hmm,lets see here.
    S model has a rear sub frame.
    S model is street legal.

    E model has different carb,higher compression,larger pipe.
    E model obviously slightly more HP.
    E model slightly lighter.
    E model not intended for street use from the factory.

    Your results may vary depending on your area.:deal
    #80