DRZ 400 as an Adventure Tourer

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by rpilottx, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. rpilottx

    rpilottx Long timer

    Feb 16, 2004
    El Paso
    OK, I own a KTM950S and a 98 KLR650 which I have outfitted for South America (cheap if I crash). And I have the urge for another thumper (or not since the KLR is amazingly good much to my surprise).

    Anyway, I have been thinking about a Husky 610 but the dealer network is even worse then KTM 950/990 dealerships. And it is probably very similiar to a 640Adv so I have been thinking lighter. Now on the Multisurface Motorcycling site, they don't have a very good opinion of the DRZ due to its lack of subframe/cargo carrying ability. Now I know it is not a Goldwing and that it is a pretty good dirt bike which usually means not so good on the pavement.

    So for those of you who own a DRZ, do you or would you use it as an adventure tourer for something like the Continential Divide trail or perhaps even riding it south in Central America realizing that long days are not the object. Thanks for your knowledge and opinions. Rich
  2. tcourdin

    tcourdin Resident Spooner

    Apr 3, 2008
    I think the DRZ400S is a great streetbike. It will run along at 65mph perfectly, and it even corners great on the pavement.

    Stock they are a bit underpowered, exhaust and a jet kit does wonders. I had a Clarke oversize tank and could cover a few hundred miles between stops.

    I just sold my 04 DRZ due to lack of time to ride, but it was by far one of my all time favorite bikes.
  3. adaycj

    adaycj Been here awhile

    Aug 25, 2003
    IMHO that is the perfect thing for a DRZ. Also DRZ's can hold a lot of stuff. Look at the DRZ thread for one, but you can haul your stuff. The s model has a sub frame and can take some load.

    Some cons of the DRZ:
    Heavier than a dirt only machine, and may hold its weight up higher.
    No 6 speeds and the gear spread isn't the best. Gearing for very slow technical work and fast freeway work is a challenge.
    Some think the seat is a board, but I have no complaints.

    Some Pros:
    It can do freeway, just ignore the naysayers. It is no Goldwing, and it is not even a KLR, but it can hold legal speeds in every state. It is a poor but usable choice for super-slab.
    For about $100 the engine can be made to be very reliable.
    They can be quite fun off road.
    The engine isn't the latest in high tech, high HP. Its not old school air cooled simplicity either. It is in the middle.

    Without making a huge post, I would use mine for the things you described. I feel this is even more true based on the two other machines you mention. The DRZ fits in the plan nicely.
  4. ThumperDRZ

    ThumperDRZ Bouncing off Rocks!

    Sep 1, 2005
    Stinkin' County, MO
    Here's mine loaded up.....I don't get the part about it not being too good on the street......The DRZ S does have a subframe and there are many ways to haul luggage......Dirt Bagz, Top cases, Ortleib's......I rigged some used Honda Saddlebags I bought here for $60.....plus some Wolfman products....stock gearing will let you cruise comfortably at 65 to 70.....


    Here's a thread to a link from terryth who rode his DRZ loaded up on a Divide ride....

  5. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

    Mar 22, 2002
    Yeah, they can't carry anything:huh :lol3
    (terryth on the Divide ride with me, 5300 miles in 16 days)
    (edit: damn, should have read ThumperDRZ's post more carefully, I'm 205)
  6. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

    Nov 9, 2003
    Bellingham, WA
    With DirtBagz, rear Suzuki rack, Wolfman tank bag, Clarke tank, and the usual bash plates and guards, I use my DRZ-S as a light adventure and camping rig. The S model has a rear subframe. But I do think that you can overburden it and detract from the strength of the machine. If was going to really load up a bike with hard bags and the like, I'd move up to a DR650, KLR, or (if it makes it to the states) the Tenere. Of, if you've got the coin and can handle the weight, the F800GS.

    - Mark
  7. Taquito

    Taquito Adventurer

    Sep 7, 2007
    City of Lost Angels, California
    I've rode a Honda 250 around in Costa Rica (near the Volcano Arenal and the border with Nicaragua).

    95% of the bikes I saw were DR350s and XT225s. The DRZ400 will make it just fine, but in my experience the seat will numb your butt to death long before you make it to the next border checkpoint.

    DRZ400s has a subframe, the DRZ400E does not. The differences are mostly summarized here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=51185
    With the right rack & bags you can pile more luggage on the S than it is safe to carry.

    I think if you rode anything larger than 650cc, you'd stick out in a bad way. Keep to the Pan-American highway if your objective is to cover a lot of miles... I actually did see one Husqvarna dealer in C.R. (maybe it was chainsaws and not motos!), but never a speck of Orange. So for spares and parts, I suggest try being more like the locals.

    Attached Files:

  8. judas

    judas ubern00ber

    Apr 2, 2008
    saint augustine, fl
    after a couple grand its a great ADV bike, but certainly needs at least a gear change since it gets a little buzzy above 65. clarke or ims are also must haves as 2.6 gal doesn't cut it. here it is almost ready to go.
  9. Zapp22

    Zapp22 ZAPP - Tejas

    Oct 20, 2004
    Tejas Hill Country
    I had the E model modified and legalized etc and tried, tried, tried to like it as a dualsporter. it just didn't do the job for me personally. I never liked the way it felt on slab. I bought my first DR and comparing the two, I could not find anything the DRZ did that recommended it over the DR, except for one thing: on uncharted territory with unknown surfaces and challenges, it was just a hoot. Even more tractable than the XR650R I had. But that's it.... playing in the wilderness was its strong suit. It felt smallish also, to me, but I'm tallish.
    I sold it. don't really miss it.

    I know where you're headed, but I'm not sure that kind of bike is out there, absent a lot of compromises. maybe a thought is just to go all the way to true 'minimalist' bike with a 6 speed tranny. lots of posts here on that topic
  10. murgatroid42

    murgatroid42 Great Adventurer

    Aug 7, 2003
    Ft. Collins, CO
    The DRZ-S has a subframe that can be overloaded. Here's my green Adventure Tourer with way too much stuff on it.

    I did half of the Continental Divide Route (Colorado to Canada and back) last summer on my KLX400SR (green DRZ-S). Shameless plug for my ride report here. In Montana, we met another group of riders who came from the east coast and were riding the whole Divide Route. One of the riders had a DRZ-S.
  11. Rogue_Ryder


    Dec 8, 2005
    Pinewood Springs, Colorado
    don't compare the KTM 640 with the Husky TE610!

    I have a KTM 640LC4E (had a DRZS) and my Dad has a KTM Duke and the TE 610. I though the 610 was gonna be a big pig like the KTM. The damn 610 is sooo much lighter than the KTM. When the 2 bikes are sitting side by side it's a real eye opener.

    The Husky is much closer to the DRZ than it is the LC4 except when it comes to power. The Husky will smoke the DRZS. I haven't off-roaded a TE-610 (my old man's is an SM) but just by the feel of the bike I can tell you it'll be much better than the LC4.

    So far my DRZ has been my favorite Dual-Sport to date. If it had just a little bit more motor I don't think I ever would have got rid of it. Maybe a TE-610 will be in my future but not for at least another year or 2.

    If you really want a LIGHT off-road Dual-Sport I'd look at one of the 250cc bikes or even plating a true enduro (KLX300, KDX, KTM 300 etc). With the DRZ it always left me wanting more motor,weight etc ON-Road and off-road I was always wishing for lighter weight (Plenty of motor off-road for me).
  12. Juntura

    Juntura Obsessive Lurker

    May 26, 2008
    In the land of diapers and potatoes
    Yesterday I did a 120+ mile loop in the mountains, my DRZ-e did great on the trails and dirt roads. I had to run 10+ miles on a state highway- pain in my ass. I do not like how the bike handles the pavement. It will do it, but that is the compromise for this bike in my mind. My bike is the offroad model with a big bore kit so power is not the issue- the close ratio transmission is.

    Off to do another ride- the bike is FUN on the mountain roads and trails.
  13. Streeter

    Streeter Has Coping Skills

    Mar 11, 2003
    Shoreview, Minnesota
    I have both a KLR 650 and a plated DRZ 400E. I have ridden the KLR in the Copper Canyon 4 times. Last spring I took the DRZ to Mexico instead. The DRZ was better on the dirt roads, the KLR is better on the pavement. The DRZ will do the pavement, but not as comfortably. Both bikes have Corbin seats and Dirt Bagz. The DRZ has an oversize gas tank and rear rack.
  14. R'oli

    R'oli Been here awhile

    Dec 13, 2006
    Durham Region, Ontario, Canada
    What the reliability issue that $100 can cure?

  15. oktulsa17

    oktulsa17 Been here awhile

    Sep 6, 2007
    God's country and he can have it.
    I had a DRZ400 until 2 years ago when it was stolen(thanks f-tard). I really enjoyed it and took so longer trips on it including a week long El Paso to Copper Canyon in Mexico and back which had some 150-300 mile days. Do the jet kit upgrade and it really makes a big difference. It really increased the top speed and it didn't have to pull so hard at cruising speed. And maybe get a new seat and fuel tank for increased range.
  16. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

    Jun 14, 2008
    I rode the whole TAT on my DRZ400 and do yearly 1000+ mile adventure/mixed surface rides with it. It is great on secondary roads and amazing on poorly maintained dirt roads/ATV trails. Ive had it loaded with camping gear too. I am working on getting a bit more power out of it as it will be seeing more street use and less off road since I got a plated 250cc 2T. I've put 14000 miles om my DRZ in the last three years and I still love it.
  17. MissionBackRoads

    MissionBackRoads Adventurer

    Dec 7, 2013
    Western Montana
    For an able mid weight rider the drz is a capable do it all machine. As a commuter or for mixed day rides is its intended design but with skill and patience you could take one down to Argentina taking routes that would make bigger engines nervous. If your old and retired this probably isn't the bike for you, but for young poor hooligans who can handle highway rattle this is a great bike. The day Suzuki makes it fuel injected 6speed with an uncorked 500cc engine, it will rule the world
    sleepyhead65 likes this.
  18. mobile

    mobile Adventurer Supporter

    May 2, 2009