Saturday, March 14, 2015

Why a DRZ makes the best commuter in the world

Sometimes when I feel shit, like every day when I wake up in pain, I like to consider all the excellent things I have worked for in my life and it lifts me; it gives me the chutzpah I need to block it out, to get up and ‘just keep swimming’.

Today it's all about the best little commuter motorbike in the world: The Suzuki DRZ 400. Who knew that soooo much joy could come out of $4,500?
A few reasons really. Let's dive into it.


There is nothing complicated about it. Take a look at this anatomy of a motorcycle.

Simple right? I think it clearly labels just everything you need to know about a DRZ to whet your appetite for more. For me, a mechanical luddite, it is exactly all I needed to know to do my own bits and pieces to it.


I don’t know what part of the world you are reading this in, but in my part of the world, Australia, getting a bike sub $5k is a pretty cheap deal. Most people can work their way into affording a sub $5k bike. In my humble opinion that should be a DRZ 400. Get the E (enduro) version because the sprockets are geared perfectly for dirt blasting, supermoto sliding, and every day torque filled commuting. There is nothing up top but it doesn’t matter cause you are hardly going to want to ride it hundreds of kays on freeways everyday. It’s a cheap bike, and because of that, there are stacks of them and plenty of parts too.

Mods & Parts

Speaking to that last point, omg there are parts for DRZs EVERYWHERE. Original parts aren’t even that expensive, although watch out for those air box twisty clamp on thingamies, if you lose one, you need to buy a whole new airbox cover (with three clamps). But even that is only $120 brand new direct from Suzuki.

You are going to want to change stuff on your Dizzy, I added twin Yoshi pipes, a halogen headlight, new plastics (which I later stickerbombed like a demented 16-year-old) and fitted hoops that stuck. Options are endless, no two DRZs look the same. And it doesn’t cost a fortune. The most expensive parts I bought were $750 for a simply awesome Yoshimura zorst with twin pipes underslung and sticking up at the back. Worth every cent.


Once you’re out on the road and start playing leap-frog with a few curbs (it will happen) you will soon get the itch to track your bike. The DRZ is the perfect choice! Cheap (have I said this enough?) to get up and running with, easy to remove your road going gear and hit the local supermoto track in your area for a blast you will never soon forget. Which brings us to...


If you have never ridden Supermoto style before, get yourself a cheap beater DRZ and give it a crack. Seriously you will wonder what took you so long. And who cares if you lay it down? It’s a cheap beater, it can take it. I’ve binned mine a few times can you can hardly tell, just a scratch or scrape here and there, yet every time I just pick it up and go on about my merry way.


Dirt bikes drop better. No fairings (much) to scrape, usually equipped with bark busters which protect your levers and grips and stuff, and basically, they just tip over no matter how you drop em, slide for a bit and then stop.
Pick it back up and (fingers crossed) you’re good to keep going.


Different from Dropability, which infers you might just tip it over on the stand or suffer a slow speed front wheel wash out in the dirt, Crashability is about actually hitting something, or worse, something hitting you. Again though, the DRZ has proven tried and true over the years to just crash better. Even if it is a bad crash, damage is usually pretty easily repaired.


Never ridden dirt? Try it. On a DRZ 400. Don’t worry about your tyres to much unless you are doing some real fire trails riding or something a bit more technical in which case you will want knobbies, but with a DRZ setup for Motarding and Road Riding, you can equip your bike with an 80/20 tyre (80% road and 20% dirt) and have a shit tonne of fun on most dirt roads. It opens up your horizons to ride more. No track, park, unsealed road or whatever will ever stop you again! Dirt? Hit it!


Fly, be free. The DRZ will take a good jump in its stride. I’m not talking extreme motocross 20 foot verts or anything but you don’t need to slow down for speed humps ever again. Stand up on the pegs, hit that sucker, pull the front bars up and while standing launch off just about anything you can find. They jump good. It’s good fun. NB: Don’t do it in front of the Po Po.


More no Po Po advice here, don’t lose your new toy by popping wheelies in front of them but….
Wow, ever wished you could wheelie? Get a DRZ and learn. Take yourself out to a carpark and practise. It’s piss easy, just drop the clutch and twist the throttle in first gear while covering your back break with your right foot. If you feel like you are looping it, just tap the rear brake to bring you back down. No sense crashing your brains out on a $10-15k sportsbike while you learn but no fear dropping a DRZ a few hundred times while you perfect it. Never more Fun was had. Which brings me to...


Oh wow, so much fun. Just think about incorporating a little bit of everything I just spoke about above into your everyday existence. It is so worth it. Every single time I ride my DRZ I am reminded of this, and as I get better and learn more I’m incorporating lots of little tricks into an everyday commute that just makes my life that bit more exciting.

Badass looks

Don a dual sport helmet on a streeted-out DRZ and you already look like a hooligan possessed of ill intent. I’m not gonna crap on about looks too much cause they are so subjective. You either do or don't like the look of a bike, but once you start tweaking your DRZ to suit your own style you’ll find yourself turning around to inspect it every time you step off. The DRZ should be a compulsory learner bike in my view. Everyone should have one. The world would be more fun that way. Until next time bike fiends, stay upright.

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