Why I bought a DRZ400:
It’s reliable, light weight, and low maintenance…it’s the perfect girlfriend! This is the kick start only model. I’ve taken some flak over the years for not having a button, but starters and batteries add considerable weight. Plus this is significantly more off-road ready than an ‘S’ model. Since I prefer the dirt it was easier to convert this to the street than to take the street version and do all the necessary upgrades to make it perform better off-road. Did I mention its reliable…? Years of abuse, countless miles, and still game for more.
What I don’t like about it:
At highway speeds the light weight comes back to haunt me. I’ve had it up to 80 mph but it felt like the engine was really straining and cross winds tend to push it around. A bigger bike would definitely feel more stable. Off-road the suspension doesn’t like hitting the nasty stuff at speed, after some rides I swear I’m an inch shorter.
.What kind of upgrades I’ve done:
Boysen Quickshot on the FCR carb, full aftermarket exhaust, aluminum skid plate and guards on just about everything, Acerbis hand guards and extensions, KTM fork guards, and a lot of little add-ons from Wheeling Cycle Supply.
The exhaust. Adding it, cutting a large hole in the top of the air box, and rejetting really woke the engine up. Although I will admit that the White Brothers R4 I run is a bit obnoxious. Eventually I’ll move to a quieter exhaust, most likely an FMF.
Best ride I’ve ever been on:
There used to be an organized ride every Fall in the Central Oregon Cascades called the Frostbite Ride. One year (2004?) there was a large turn out and we battled mud and snow. At one point it looked like a war zone, with bikes and bodies down everywhere. I remember sitting in the snow, out of breath, physically spent, and not wanting to pick my bike up again. Along came this older guy on a Steve McQueen era Husqvarna, gingerly riding his bike through the carnage, never so much as even dabbing a foot. I went home cold and exhausted but all these years later I’m still smiling about it.
UPDATE: CHECK OUT MY NEW UPGRADES HERE!