1. ODSC rides are planned with specific Covid-19 restrictions
  1. The Student Guy

    The Student Guy Limited User

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    Hello everyone!

    I recently moved to Toronto and I plan to buy an off-road bike. Just to mention, I have a decent experience in enduro and I participated in many amateur competitions back home with good results on my Honda XR250, so I am not a newbie. But still, I would like to have some opinions from experienced riders in Ontario :)
    I want to buy a bike that will be street legal, so I will be able to get to some places on my own (or maybe occasionally commute to school), but the main purpose of this bike will be trail riding, off-road tourism, and participation in off-road competitions.
    I plan to buy Suzuki DR-Z 400 as this bike should suit my needs. I was looking for S version, but after some research, I found that many ppl prefer SM version due to its better suspension. Even though it has a bit shorter travel, it is stiffer and offers better handling. As I want to use this bike in kinda "hard enduro" manner (as far as DR-Z capable to do so) and I definitely want to try some MX jumps (on many videos SM version handles some big airs pretty well), I would like to know if a soft suspension of S version would handle my needs?
    Should I buy SM version and modify it for off-road? Or S version is also capable to handle good jumps and provide good control on stiffer suspension settings?

    I do understand that some KTM's or new Honda CRF 450L would suit my needs much better, but here I have another issue: price and maintenance. I don't want to spend much time and money fixing my bike, and I do know that DR-Z is one of the most reliable bikes on the market (if not the most reliable). Especially taking into account that I might use it for commuting occasionally.

    What do you guys think?
    Thx for your replies in advance!:)

    PS Should I get new or used one here are usually in a good shape? As a price for used is twice lower, is it worth to buy a new one?
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  2. TonyD

    TonyD Limited User

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    I bought a used SM some time ago and put dirt tires on it. My buddy rode a DR-Z 400S. I think the rake on his bike and suspension just worked better and I would just go with the S models if >50% of your time is going to be in dirt.
  3. ScottyR

    ScottyR Limited User

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    Buy the S and try to find another set of wheels.

    The SM has a HUGE radial mount front rotor that bends easily and is way overkill for the woods.

    SMs are valved super stiff and will be crappy in the woods.
  4. Visser

    Visser Limited User

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    Or another alternative... DRZs are good, I have one, but also consider a WR250 or a KLX250. I hear they have better suspension.

    If I were to buy again, I'd likely go for the WR even though I love the torque the DRZ puts out. I've never ridden one though, so I could be mistaken. Maybe next bike.

    That, or buy a DRZ-S and bring it to Lang's and have them tune the suspension for you and drop in some springs in the front.
    ThatGuyDuncan likes this.
  5. Craig

    Craig ODSC-OFTR Member

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    Hopefully John Wyman will chime in here as he rides a DRZ400 very well in the woods.
    I have a big bore KLX250S and it could be a consideration as well as it is smaller and lighter than the 400 and equally cheap to own and decent suspension. Not so great on the highway though.
    OrangeKoolaid likes this.
  6. John Wyman

    John Wyman ODSC-OFTR Member

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    @Craig Thanks for the compliment. Hey all, very happy with the DRZ S but cannot compare to the SM based on any personal experience - never ridden one. At times I wish I had something a bit smaller but usually that's just cause I fight the bike too much and tire out. Or high side fall over. Stand and peg weight and use your clutch and it'll go just about anywhere. I don't get much air so have i had no issues with suspension and it's easily tuned. Definitely a dependable, cheap and easy to maintain bike with lots of aftermarket parts. If you plan to ride any distance i.e. more than an hour and you'll want a better seat. And maybe larger tank but that adds weight. I live in TO and happy to connect and you can check the bike out. @Craig can you recall if any DRZs did the gold course. I think it might be a bit big for that ?

    On other business anyone out for a ride this weekend?
  7. Craig

    Craig ODSC-OFTR Member

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    Rock Hound Gold level was a sea of orange (with a little red), mostly 2T.
    Would like to, but can't this weekend.
  8. The Student Guy

    The Student Guy Limited User

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    Thank you everyone for your answers! :)

    That what I was thinking... Good, right now I know that S version would suit my needs better! :)

    WR250 or KLX250 are definitely not what I am looking for. I know some KLX250 riders and it feels like this bike would be a great choice for newbies, but it has a huge lack of power and questionable reliability. WR250 is the best choice for a long multi-day journey across the woods, but, again, power is the issue. I am looking for something powerful to bring my skills to the next level, I am a bit bored of 250 dualsports as I had my XR250 for 3 years and on my last year I was riding on the edge of its capabilities and that was tough for both me and my bike. I'm looking for power right now. But thank you for the advice!:)

    Thank you for your answer! Yeah, I know, DR-Z is a bit heavy and this is also kinda a concern to me as I am pretty "light" guy (about 140 lbs), but there are not many options available in this class of bikes. I tried to ride some DR-Z's back home, but if you have some free time I would love to meet and chat about DR-Z and off-road life in Ontario!:)
  9. TonyD

    TonyD Limited User

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    2012-2016 350 KTM EXC (or equivalent)

    Not too expensive ($4500-$6000) and light years ahead of the DRZ in every aspect.

    Some guys put on 500 hours without opening them up.
  10. The Student Guy

    The Student Guy Limited User

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    I was actually thinking about this option pretty seriously as well...
    But aren't parts are expensive? And what is a price of regular maintenance? And wouldn't I have too much hassle with it if I definitely plan to have 2 sets of wheels and use the bike for occasional commuting to school/downtown? (I understand that I will have a lack of comfort on off-road setup, but this is not a problem for me)
  11. Craig

    Craig ODSC-OFTR Member

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    OK, Tiger. There is no free lunch. The KTM is the bike that you describe, and yes it's more expensive to buy and to own - that's the trade-off for the performance. Good chance too, that if you ride it to school, it will be stolen.
  12. TonyD

    TonyD Limited User

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    Lots of support for this generation of bike and lots of spare parts floating around. Parts from KTM are readily available and ok pricing wise.
    Occasional commuting is fine, you'll just wear out tires like any other bike (no different).
    Maintenance is the same as any bike really.
  13. The Student Guy

    The Student Guy Limited User

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    Hmm... Thank you for your advice, guys, I'll consider this option more seriously!:)
  14. GQelements

    GQelements ODSC-OFTR Member

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    ..if you are looking at the KTMs at all, consider a BETA. You will save $1K a KTM or a Husky. Because they are not properly set up with some insurers, your annual insurance is going to be under $150 - savings to cover a higher maintenance budget vs your ancient carbureted, overweight first contender.

    ....do consider how you will get TO the trails though as if you plan to ride there, any proper dirt bike is somewhat out of question or at best, impractical...
  15. suprf1y

    suprf1y Limited User

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    Not sure where you're getting that information from but there's no question of reliability with a KLX250. The 06/07's are essentially a small bore street legal KLX300. They handle exceptionally well and big bore 340 and 350's do come up for sale pretty regularly and are also very reliable.

    When I was bike shopping 10 years ago I was looking at either a KLX250 or Husky TE250. The Husky dealer told me, if you're going to do any street riding, get the KLX and I did. A DRZ would have been an option too but my legs are too short and the KLX power with a few mods was plenty.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
    ScottyR likes this.