Round the world on a DR-z400

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by peteFoulkes, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. MP5

    MP5 Been here awhile

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    I'm in on this one. I think it's great you've chosen the mighty DRZ for your bikes. I have a long distance set up KLX 400 (440) and love it for the long trips. Light, flickable and proven. I have an 950 SE, but will NEVER get rid of my trusty 400 for all the things it offers. I'd add some rad guards to your list of things if you haven't yet, and even though you have the CRC plates, take a few minutes and shave down the right foot brake. On the inside of the pedal, sitting ever so close to the case, there is a sharp edge that can easily puncture your case if the bike falls on that side.

    I want to say conrats on your once on a life time trip, and I'll be keenly watching this thread along the way. Have fun!!
    #41
  2. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Plus one on the Rad Guards and Case guards. Before I had my CRC case covers I punched a hole in the soft Magnesium case on my DRZ400E, pictured below. I don't think the S model has Mag cases, probably Alu. Better for a travel bike.

    I sold my '01 DRZ400E in 2004, after 3 years of ownership. I don't believe the "E" model was ever sold in the UK, but not sure. Very different bike and way better off road than the S. But lack of strong sub frame, small headlight and low Alt. output make it not an ideal RTW travel bike.

    I also twisted a radiator on my bike ... so Rad guards a good idea. I fell going 20 MPH of soft dirt ... Rad did not leak but was twisted, plastic cracked. Myler's in Utah fixed it like new for $30. Rad guards could save the day. :clap

    [​IMG]
    #42
  3. peteFoulkes

    peteFoulkes Been here awhile

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    The white ones are faster? I'm gutted nobody told me this before now! :-)
    We already have the case guards fitted so fingers crossed we don't hit any further issues in that department.

    Next up is the details on the tank. If I understand correctly, riding on a stock DRz is said to get you no further than between 90 and 140 miles before hitting reserve. Without an after market oversized tank there is no way we would be able to cover the big distances we will need to in the remote regions such as Mongolia or Siberia. We had experience of having to carry additional fuel on the back of the bikes during a warm up trip in India last year and it wasn't something that we wanted to have to worry about on this trip.
    After hours of research we both concluded that the Safari 28 litre option was definitely the right choice to be making. Safari Tanks are primarily designed with racing in mind and now have a huge presence in the Dakar for privateer and factory teams but more and more people are using them for trips such as ours. In addition to that, they look pretty awesome.

    Being an Australian company, we tracked down the UK distributor Core Racing to ask for some advice. Little did we know when we first made contact with Alec from the Core Racing team that he would have such a huge involvement in this trip. Alec's exposure to endurance racing and motocross was quickly evident when we started to expose his ever increasing list of hints, tips and must-do's. The sheer amount of decisions to be made when planning a trip of this nature can be daunting at times but having knowledgeable contacts such as Alec who are so willing to help relieves the pressure in a big way.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Designed for the DRZ, the sleek design has already caught the attention of a number of people when we have parked the bikes up on the streets of Southampton. It wasn't until we fitted these tanks that the bikes really started to look and feel like the overland adventure machines we wanted them to.
    In addition to the peace of mind the additional fuel brings when in remote regions, adding the extra weight to the front of the DRz seems to have improved the bikes high speed stability. Other than skimming a little off the top of the rad guards, fitting the tanks with both a Yoshi pipe and Unabiker radiator guards did not cause any additional issues.

    We're slowly getting there...

    [​IMG]
    #43
  4. peteFoulkes

    peteFoulkes Been here awhile

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    :-)
    #44
  5. Rocket_Rookie

    Rocket_Rookie Learning the ropes!

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    Bike looks neat with that tank on...

    28 litre tank is quite large, I am sure you guys will be just fine.

    May I ask what is your height and weight? And do your feet touch the ground flat on both sides?

    I sat on a DRZ once. I am quite a tall guy and compared to my XR I didn't quite like the lower riding position of the Suzuki...
    Just my opinion, nothing against the bike.
    #45
  6. LadyCruiser

    LadyCruiser Everything Starts With a Dream

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    Good luck!! :clap
    #46
  7. UK Jimbo

    UK Jimbo Been here awhile

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    Listened to the radio interview via the blog. Nice work getting the coverage.

    Hope the last minute planning is going well and good luck for the trip. I'll be following it...

    James
    #47
  8. peteFoulkes

    peteFoulkes Been here awhile

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    We've hit a slight issue which is likely to cost us a few days on the departure date. We managed to get hold of some kick start kicks from Suzuki but whilst fitting managed to screw up the clutch basket. In hindsight it was a school boy error but we attempted to use the lugs on the basket to keep the it positioned whilst we tightened the main clutch bolt.

    .... inevitably, one of them snapped. We're sourcing a new basket as I type and will hopefully only cost us a couple of days at max but it doesn't seem to be a part too well stocked here in the UK.

    [​IMG]

    I'm gutted!!
    #48
  9. peteFoulkes

    peteFoulkes Been here awhile

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    :-) Thanks for following.
    #49
  10. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Bad luck, but doesn't look fatal. Other than breaking the basket, how did the install of the kick start mechanism go? Anyone in the UK who knows how to do this install properly? Hope so!

    In very early days of the DRZ400 here in the US, Suzuki offered the kick start option for the "E" model version for just $200 (this included Labor!)to anyone who bought a new bike. I never did it, as reports on battery life and starting reliability were very good. My bike never failed to start once in 3 years of ownership, all on original battery. But for your trip, I can understand doing this. Hope it wasn't to expensive.

    In 2000, the US initially got 2 DRZ400 models. The "K" (kick start only, off road) and the "E" model (electric start only, off road). But within a year (by 2001 or '02 I believe) the DRZ400S was brought in. That is the model you guys have.

    It is a substantially different machine to the "E" or "K" models. Different head, cams, carb, timing, different sub frame and more. I believe the Stator and electrics are also substantially changed from the E and K models.

    But the changes to the "S" model bodes well for a RTW travel bike, IMO. A "real" charging system and stronger rear sub frame can only be a good thing on an Adventure bike.

    Good luck with the Kicker install ... I hope you never need it! :freaky
    #50
  11. peteFoulkes

    peteFoulkes Been here awhile

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    Hi Grifter
    Other than the silly error we made, the install is relatively straight forward. There is a superb step by step guide here: http://mr-cob.smugmug.com/gallery/136763

    It includes crucial info not contained in the instructions supplied with the kit so be sure to check it out if you ever install one. We didn't know if the kick start is necessary or not but we started considering being stuck in the middle of a marsh or bog in Siberia for example trying to bump the bike. Not a nice thought.
    The successful installation of the kick start on the second bike fired the bike up on the second kick. It works like a dream and is remarkably easy to turn over.
    I must add... the kit is not light. Heavier than I expected but for the peace of mind it brings, I'm happy we went ahead with them. We've managed to source a new clutch basket so with any luck it's only stalled the departure a couple of days.
    #51
  12. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Sounds good! Best of luck on your soon to be launch! :freaky

    If your DRZ's are like my DR650, then the bike will bump start and run even with a dead battery. (be good to know this one way or the other) But I get your point, bumping starting in soft dirt or sand is a PITA. Also, can't recall on DRZ, but the DR650 headlight does NOT cut out when ignition switch is pushed like on some bikes. I know in UK many bikes have headlight ON/OFF switch. I would get in the habit of always shutting off headlight before cranking. Over long run will help battery life. I put a switch on my bike for just this reason.

    Cheers!
    #52
  13. The Breeze

    The Breeze Been here awhile

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    +1 on installing a headlight ON/OFF switch. Not only a good thing when starting the bike.....but good when you're running electric vests, grips, gps, etc. Can't speak to the charging system on the DRZ, but on my DR650, there is not a lot of excess charging capacity. I suspect the DRZ is the same. So, if you're in a situation when it's cold, and you're running all the electrics....simply shut-off the headlight, and you won't run your battery dry. Obviously, you're much less visible to oncoming traffic....but being chilled to the bone is dangerous too!!

    Really looking forward to your trip report, and best wishes on your journey :clap:clap:clap
    #53
  14. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    To bad your not in the USA, as clutch baskets are a dime a dozen used on ebay. I've had difficulty using the kick starter when cold, but wanted it anyway as an emergency back up. Head light cutoff is easy and a worthy mod in conserving power. I would be leary of using too much electric gadgets on the DRZ, it's only 200 watts at best. If your running extra electrics you really need a way to monitor the voltage. Here's a handy little idiot light.

    Here's an all things DRZ for a long list of mods.


    This maybe too late for you, but watch the DRZ counter shaft for leaks. It is well documented on Thumper Talk, do a search, if it starts leaking it could be a warning that the tranny is going bad. I heartily recommend taking a counter shaft seal, spacer and O-ring, it's a 30 mm socket to remove the CS nut. PLus you better have a steel rear sprocket and not alloy.
    #54
  15. TallRob

    TallRob Long timer

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    Yeah that dash is scary.............About the cancer death rates being lower? Well, it aint about life style. Its all about lower reporting rates and lower life expectancy. Many cancers appear later in life. People in those countries dont usually see 70 to 90 yrs old which is when most of the reported cancers occur.
    #55
  16. kkodet

    kkodet Been here awhile

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    Very cool!

    That seat is near identical to mine. I also ride a DRZ400s and I have five discs missing in my lower back. With the stock seat I was in excruciating pain after 50-75 miles.

    I snagged a used Russel Day Long seat on ebay with the same wing design. I have regularly done 300-400 miles in a day with no issue now. I feel that general seat design is a MUST for DRZs.

    I will continue to follow your progress!
    #56
  17. Pete-NZ

    Pete-NZ Been here awhile

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    Thought I was the only clown that done that...:eek1
    RM125Z in my case...
    #57
  18. vintagecycle

    vintagecycle Adventurer

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    THIS IS HAPPENING! Good luck guys! :clap
    #58
  19. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

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    Nice choice of bikes, you're definitely prepared to take the roads - no, tracks less travelled.

    I'm in for sure, have a good start to your trip of a lifetime!
    #59
  20. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    all balls update- 10,000 miles rear wheel bearing on the caliper side shows wear and is a little gritty, seal is shot. BTW- best to use steel sleeved axle spacers. The AL ones don't last long.
    #60