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MEMBERS REVIEW

RIDING

Tom Bithell

SUZUKI DRZ400

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-

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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

KAWASAKI ZX-14

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.

American Motorcyclist 07 2010 Preview Version  

The Journal of the AMA Preview Version

American Motorcyclist 07 2010 Preview Version  

The Journal of the AMA Preview Version