The Do-It-All Off-Road Solution Tom Bithell: I own a 2007 DRZ400S. It is the perfect do-all dual-sport bike for the guy who can’t afford the spendy high-end models. It is reliable, low maintenance, can go 65 mph on the highway, and yet can take on some serious off-road terrain. There are plenty of customizations you can do depending on the type of dualsport riding you do. I ride 80 percent dirt roads traveling all over Idaho, so I put on DOT knobbies, a larger tank, and a rack and saddle bags. I love the DRZ! Jack Johnson: I have owned an ’05 DRZ400S for three years now, and I love it. I ride trails, two-track, dirt roads, around town, and I have put on a set of 17-inch Supermoto wheels and done a few track days with it. It’s a little Swiss Army bike. Tracy Payne: I have a 2000 DRZ400E that I bought in 2001. I have performed all the necessary changes to get a California street plate on it (not easy, but I did it!). I have every guard and reinforcement available, a Pro Circuit pipe, an IMS 3.2-gallon tank, Pro Taper handlebars, a Scott’s steering damper, an aftermarket gel seat, a Trail Tech speedo… Anyway, I love this bike. I have ridden this bike everywhere. I have participated in countless dual-sport events, including the Death Valley 350, the China Lake 250, Barstow to Laughlin—you name it, she’s done it! Thousands of hardcore trail, single-track, sand, forests, etc. My biggest complaint about the bike is that it is heavy. For a girl, this can be a problem when you drop it (and, whoo boy, I drop it often!). On an off-camber downhill, I have a really hard time picking it up by myself. Also, I have had over-
heating issues. I have replaced the entire waterpump a couple times because it starts to leak coolant. All in all, I love this bike. Thousands and thousands of miles, two top ends, countless smiles and laughs, many tears and my DRZ keeps on keepin’ on! Charles Williamson: I purchased a 2000 DRZ400E in June 2000. With fewer than 200 trail miles on the bike, I hauled
Power And Manners All In One Joe DeWitt: I have been commuting daily on a 2006 ZX-14 for 3-1/2 years and am having the time of my life! My only micro-complaint: It’s a little bit cramped on rides over 230 miles one-way, which occur about once or twice a month. I can’t recall more than one or two times when I wasn’t at least looking forward to my ride, if not ﬂat-out being excited to go to work or ride home. On a ZX-14, even the on-ramps are fun: 0 to 65 mph in 3.8
it to Ouray, Colo., to ride the mountain passes around that area. After logging 700-800 miles that week, I took it to Moab to ride the Shafer Trail, then merging into the White Rim trail and riding all 110 miles on a full tank of gas. Riding along with a friend, a former “A” enduro competitor, he commented that the DRZ400’s handling and power capabilities seemed to make me a better rider. Properly maintained and ridden within its designed parameters, the DRZ400E or DRZ400S is bulletproof. My positive comments are: • The large aftermarket support. • Knowledgeable owner/rider input on the Internet geared toward making a great bike even better. • Torque and horsepower are sufﬁcient for intended purposes. • Adjustable suspension fore/aft (DRZ400E). • Quick and easy air-ﬁlter access. My negative comments: • The seat, even the factory gel version, is uncomfortable after a 30-minute ride. It certainly is not a one-size-ﬁts-all perch. Why do consumers have to spend $4,000plus for a new motorcycle only to ﬁnd it necessary to buy a more comfortable replacement seat to enjoy riding? • Many dualsporters would have preferred for Suzuki to have found a way to trim about 25-30 pounds of weight. • Did I mention that it’s too heavy? nanoseconds! Then, extremely wellbehaved just cruising around. In talking with other motorcycle friends who are into performance cars, we all agree: Nothing touches the performanceto-cost ratio of a motorcycle! Dan Campbell: After making some ergonomic changes, my 2007 ZX-14 is the best bike I’ve ridden. I use it as my primary mode of transportation and still get a big smile on my face every time I ﬁre her up. The bike is great for commuting, hitting the twisties, or even long multi-day trips. After owning a few European bikes, the reliability and lower maintenance means a lot more time in the saddle. Right now, I don’t see anything on the market that would make me trade in my 14.
The Journal of the AMA Preview Version