Motarding at Mt Nebo
[09 Dec 10] Been taking advantage of the strong Aussie Dollar. Have bought a pretty gold anodised 44T Talon Radialite rear sprocket from the UK for $46 (for the motard rims), a set of motard axle sliders for $36 from the UK, and some gold reflective custom Suzuki DRZ rim stickers for $12 from the US!

rim stickers

rim stickers

Axle Sliders

[13 Oct 10] Finally got some mostly dry roads to try out the motard. The fun twisty roads were still oozing water from all the joints and were wet in the particularly shady areas. Some of the water crossing were also still partly under.

But despite the still crappy conditions the motard was fun! It obviously weighs heaps less than my usual commuter (my 650 Vstrom) and was fun to throw about in the twistier sections of road. It's definitely more nervous than the Vstrom and was a bit all over the place on the rougher surfaces. That's the Vstrom's strong point, really stable no matter what the road surface and it changes line mid corner without complaint.

The motard is very anti-social. It wants to wheelstand off from every set of traffic lights, and basically anytime you give it a squirt in 2nd gear. I noticed the front wheel letting out a little chirp as it comes down. I then watched the speedo (driven off the front wheel) and the motard front wheel definitely doesn't keep spinning as long as the dirt front wheel does. Probably something to do with the brand new tight front wheel bearings and seals that I just put in there.

The front brake feels suprisingly strong despite the stock size disc. The smaller diameter road front wheel means the brake is actually more sensitive than with the larger diameter dirt front wheel. I guess I will have to wait until I hit a good long downhill section like Mt Glorious to see how quickly it starts to get too hot and fade.

[10 Oct 2010] daytime pics, pity it keeps raining!

[09 Oct 2010] -
My wheels arrived via pack and send yesterday. When I had a look this morning I noticed the wheel spacer sticking through the packaging, and the big zip tie that was put through the axle hole to stop the spacers falling out were broken. Clearly pack and send put these on their side and let them slide about.

Once unpackaged I noticed the front wheel bearings felt pretty bad. So I pulled them apart and found the space it was resting on pressed on the bearing seal/cage and crushed the speedo side bearing

The back felt a bit weird too, so I decided to just replace all of the bearings to be safe.

The front runs a big 6005 on one side and a small 6904 on the speedo side

The back runs 6005's, two on the chain side and one on the brake side

The 5 bearings and 3 seals cost $77 at the local bearing shop.

I also ordered a motard fender from ebay. I thought it was an acerbis one, but it's a copy of an acerbis one. Unfortunately the black is a different black to the rest of the bike so it looks a little funny. New and stock fenders below

So I put it all together and took it for a spin. Unfortunately it's p*ssing down rain :( It seemed to go alright. The front fender isn't so good in the wet, a water spray comes over the front of it constantly. Need to wait for the dry to give it a good test

[06 Oct 2010] -
Ok, so I got the SM chain slider today. It's almost a bolt on, it just needs a bit of grinding to make it clear the swingarm weld as per the DRZ400E chain slider. Once clearanced I also siliconed the slider onto the swingarm just to make sure it contacts well underneath and doesn't rattle about at all. It comes quite close to the knobby tyres, it might even need to be clearanced when running a big tyre with the axle all the way forward in the adjuster (this is on adjustment 2 of ~7).

[05 Oct 2010] -
It is about to become a motard. I came across a set of Motard wheels for a DRZ400E for an excellent price. They were $500 plus $108 shipping (Melb to Bris) 2nd hand. They are Morad rims, Talon hubs and come with brakes / sprocket /tyres. Hopefully they will arrive before the weekend.

Clearly the chain rubbed on those wheels, but the owner said he fixed the problem by installing a DRZ400SM chain slider (which has the big side wings). So I have ordered the following for my motard conversion; My next problem is figuring out what to do about gearing / sprockets. I want to do as little as possible to change from dirt to motard, as I will mainly use the bike as a dirt bike. I ride my Vstrom to work everyday. The stock size front disk makes the front easy. On the back I reckon I can only run a 43/44 rear sprocket and still have enough chain adjustment to use the 47 on the dirt rims. I'm trying to decide if I go to a 15 on the front (currently 14) and just put up with the slightly higher dirt gearing (I could always put the 14 back on if I wanted to do serious / slow dirt work).

[11 Sep 2010] - New tail fitted up. You can see I reused the stock rear reflector. In Australia you need a vertical rear reflector, number plate light, stop / tail light, and indicators. Indicator lenses must be at least 180mm apart and the tail must extend down to a point 45 degrees above the rear axle. I hung the stock rear reflector under my Acerbis CE tail. 


Wiring the LED indicators wasn't very straight forward. There are heaps of DRZ400S/SM/American E wiring diagrams on the internet, but they are all different from the Aussie model. For some reason on the Australian model Suzuki decided it would be a good idea to connect the left turn signal "+"ve wire and right turn signal "+"ve wire to each side of the pilot light on the instrument cluster. So basically when the right indicators are on then the pilot light earths itself through the left indicators and vice versa. This works for the normal incandesant indicators, but not the LED indicators. When you fit LED's (without load resistors) the feed back through the pilot light is enough to light both sides of the indicator circuit. See my mark-up of the wiring diagram below.

DRZ400E indicator wiring diagram

The easy solution is to just remove the pilot light from the instrument cluster to break the circuit. The better solution is to modify the wiring to make it more like the S model diagram. I cut the pilot light bulb out of the harness, then put two LED's on. One powered by the greeny coloured right indicator "+"ve wire, the other powered by the black coloured left indicator "+"ve wire, and then both earthed to the nearest earth wire that I could find on the bike. I then glued the LED's together with an expoxy glue and put them into the instrument cluster with a little silicone to seal it and hold them in place. So now my instrument cluster warning light lights up a little more on the right or left side depending on which indicator I have on.

Indicator pilot LEDS

The flasher unit problem is well documented on the net. Basically you need a flasher unit that is not load sensitive, generally called an LED flasher unit. The problem is Suzuki have a weird 7-pin flasher unit which is linked with the side-stand / clutch cut-out relay. Fixing the problem is easy. Find the original 7 pin relay behind the headlight, and disconnect the blue and orange wires.  Then run the orange wire to the "+"ve of the LED flasher, the blue to the output of the flasher and if you get a 3 pin flasher then run the ground pin to a ground wire. I wanted to get a Narva flasher, but Repco didn't have any. So I got the Supercheap Auto version instead, which looks remarkably similar. Actually I bought a Chinese ebay LED flasher first (for $3.89), but it didn't work :(

Narva 3pin LED flasher

supercheap flasher

Whenever working on wiring looks I spray all connections with lanolin oil spray. This puts a corrosion resistant layer of lanolin oil on everything, seems to work for the terminals and connections on my car which sees beach work. I also sprayed the tail light and led indicator circuit boards with a circuit board lacquer, I bought this stuff from Jaycar. Then I siliconed the lenses on to waterproof all the LED lights. I made sure I bought a waterproof silicon which said "non corrosive".


Circuit board lacquer

[09 Sep 10] -
I thought I'd update an old thread. DRZ has been going great, having lots of fun. I have some force radiator guards now, but still haven't sorted a bash plate.

I've just got some XR mirrors for it which I plan on mounting off the bark busters, will see how that works out.

Keen on sticking with the stock headlight as it works so well. The stock steel brackets for the headlight weigh 458g which is pretty heavy for a couple of simple brackets. Might replace them with aluminium or something.

I bought some indicators and an Acerbis CE tail-light. The tail assembly looks cool, but gets covered by our huge license plates. Just gotta wire everything to the bike and make mounting brackets etc. Had a trial fit tonight (as parts just arrived in the post today).


[07 Apr 10] - Got force radiator guards and pro taper handle bars for my birthday.  

[02 Jan 10] - 
Up to 500km now, changed the oil and filter last week. I'm very happy with the bike, goes very well indeed. Found the rev limiter a couple of times, when I was riding in the rain on the road and found out it still gets wheelspin at 90kph.

Suspension works very well, it hasn't shown any signs of bottoming out or anything with my 60kg of body weight.

I seem to have worn my boots in now, tried the "wetting them first then riding all day" trick. When I first tried to ride with them I couldn't change gear and actually got the boot stuck between the lever and the footpeg. Fixed that by raised the lever 1 spline and replacing the huge 22mm OD rubber end on the stock shifter with a bit of 8mm fuel hose (about 14mm OD).


[19 Dec 09] -
So I put my AU$42 case savers on today. They came in a brushed finish, so I thought I might as well hit them with the polishing wheel.

while I was at it I ground this sharp edge off the inside edge of the gear lever to stop it going through the case

so now it looks like this (the relocated indicators blend in well)

[14 Dec 09] -
I messed about this morning trying to work out how to relocate the blinker and not have it look like total crap. I ended up making some little plates out of aluminium that cover the stock hole and act as a bracket to move the indicator back and up. It looks relatively neat and has solved the melting blinker problem.

I went for a spin with my mate this afternoon and I reckon it goes better now with the new muzzy and air box mod. I still wasn't screaming it but she grunts along very well on our local patch of bush. Even found some hills with 4th gear water-bar jumps to play on

Am running the screen and quiet insert on the Muzzy. Tried it without first and it was fricken loud! With the quiet bits in it's probably similar to stock on part throttle cruise but have more of a bark when you get into it or blip the throttle

[12 Dec 09] -
I got the mid pipe on today. It tilted the muffler up towards the indicator a bit more. I thought "hmmm, that's a bit tight, hope it doesn't melt the indicator".

So I went for a spin with my mate following me. We got a couple of kays up the road and as I came to a stop for the T-intersection I heard my mates horn and then saw the cloud of smoke go past me. Turns out when I slowed down it decided it would be a good time to almost catch fire

So if anyone puts a muzzy on with stock indicators, look out!

Now the obvious solution would be to put a smaller aftermarket tail and indicators on there, and well ultimately that will happen. For now I am just messing around with moving the stock indicators up and forward on the existing tail.

And if people wonder what the air box 3x3 mod on a DRZ looks like, it's this. Pulling out the snorkel from the top of the air box. Restrictive looking little sucker!

[11 Dec 09] - I went out this morning in the daylight and had another look at the overpipe looking thing stopping the mid pipe going on. At night it looked like it was a thin metal gasket overtop of a metal overpipe. But in the daylight it looked like a thick metal gasket butted up against a short overpipe. So another more vigorous attack with the pipe grips and I managed to get it off. It was just a gasket afterall. So I will be able to finish putting the exhaust together with no problems after all
[10 Dec 09] - The Muzzy arrived today. 7 days delivery from the US is pretty good.

Stock DR ready for some tweaking;

new Muzzy with quiet insert and spark arrestor. This goes in the end cap, 3 allen head bolts to remove.

Stock exhaust weighs 3.4kg, Muzzy weighs 2.4kg.

I tried to put it on but the mid pipe wouldn't slide on far enough

There is some weird overpipe welded to the stock header that won't let the mid pipe slide on properly. I guess I will have to pull the header off and grind this overpipe off (Saturday perhaps). I did ask if it would fit an Aussie 09 E and they said they had no idea

So I whacked just the muffler on to see how it looks.

[03 Dec 09]
- One thing I don't like on the stock bike is the exhaust. It sounds pretty crap and when I pulled it apart I can see why, it's a big hollow pipe with very little muffler packing. I was going to make a proper core for it and use lots of muffler packing (someone on the net had already done something similar), but then I saw this;
* Muzzy slip-on for a bit less than AU$200 delivered on ebay from TeamMuzzy

Also just ordered some CFC case savers off ebay. AU$42.73 delivered from the manufacturer.

[26 Nov 09] - This page will eventually contain details of my 2009 DR-Z400E. So far I only have Ego Barkbusters on an otherwise standard black bike.

I've clocked up 115km and the bike feels great compared to my history of crap dirt bikes :). On the road it feels pretty aweful compared to my Vstrom, but that's to be expected. Offroad it makes the Vstrom feel like a Harley - I guess 70kg less weight and knobby tyres will do that. The stock DRZ bars are pretty crap. I'll get something a bit higher with a nicer shape later on, possibly once I bend the stock ones.


Australian - Most info is E model based as you'd be silly to buy the S over here.

Other Countries
- A lot of the US info is based on the crap S version, the E isn't road legal in many states.
Weight of DRZ bits and pieces

This is a table of the weights of different parts that I have removed from or added to my DRZ

Part weight (g) # of Total (g)
Stock Parts      
stock drz headlight with alignment bracket 657 1 657
plastic headlight surround 363 1 363
headlight fork mounting brackets 229 2 458
headlight assembly 1478    
stock mirrors 465 2 930
stock steel handlebars 796 1 796
stock muffler 3400 1 3400
stock front indicator 131 2 262
front indicator bracket 53 2 106
front side reflectors 174 1 174
stock radiator air vanes 93 2 186
chain noise abatement panel 95 1 95
helmet lock 174 1 174
horn bracket 53 1 53
number plate to tail steel bracket 98 1 98
numberplate tail piece with indicators 1024 1 1024
Speedo 364 1 364
speedo bracket 78 1 78
    subtotal 7740
Aftermarket bits      
peppershield - headlight protector 50 1 50
bark buster 415 2 830
Pro taper 7/8" KX Hi  958 1 958
Mountain Bike Mirror 50 2 100
Muzzy exhaust 2400 1 2400
led indicator 32 4 128
acerbis tail with license plate and reflector 345 1 345
    subtotal 4811
spare tube, tyre levers, pump in fender bag 1330 1 1330
XR mirror 235 2 470

Specifications of the aussie 2009 model as per the Suzuki Australia Website



Black 2009 DR-Z400e

One out of the Box

This is the bike that, unlike any other, fits the description of a dirt-churning weapon. The bike that year after year rocks its rivals, this year comes loaded with high-tech ammunition.The DR-Z's motivation comes from 398cc of displacement, DOHC with four huge valves and liquid cooling. The forged piston is 10% lighter than one conventionally cast, an L-shaped top piston ring reduces blow-by, while copious use of aluminium and magnesium lowers weight and improves heat transfer.

Putting this power into practice you get a thumper producing great wads of power right off the bottom, a strong delivery that builds right through the mid range and enough torque to grunt you up anything. No wider than many 250's, yet just as agile, the seat is comfortably rounded, the steering poised and precise.The frame is thin-wall, chrome-moly steel tubing in a combination of round and rectangular cross-section, delivering superb rigidity with minimum weight.

Toss it around, hammer it through hoops, the compliant, long travel front forks feature large, 49mm stanchion tubes. Rear suspension features a Showa rear shock with both high and low speed compression adjustment. Everything you want, including wide RM- style footpegs and a lightweight headlight unit. The 100% street legal DR-Z400E. Electrifying your adrenaline like no 400 has ever done before.


Aussie DR-Z400E (and S) Specifications

Model DR-Z400EK9 DR-Z400EK7 DR-Z400SLO and DR-Z400SK9
Year 2009 2007 (or 2008?) 2010 and 2009
398cc, single cylinder, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC 398cc, single cylinder, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC
Electric (optional kick starter) Electric
5-speed constant mesh 5-speed
Front Suspension
Telescopic,18-step rebound 14-step compression damping

Telescopic, oil-damped, adjustable compression and rebound damping

Rear Suspension
Swingarm, progressive linkage, 21-step rebound, 3.5 turn high / 20-step low speed compression damping, adjustable spring preload

Link-type, fully-adjustable spring preload, adjustable compression and rebound damping

Front Brakes
Disc Disc
Rear Brakes
Disc Disc
1,475mm 1,485mm
2,310mm 2,235mm 2,310mm
825mm 875mm
1,235mm 1230mm
Seat Height 935mm 945mm 935mm
Curb (wet) Mass
138kg 145kg
Dry Mass 119kg 132kg?
Fuel Capacity
10 litres including reserve 10 litres
Champion Yellow or Black Champion Yellow No.2  LO - Black, K9 - White
12 months unlimited kilometres 12 months unlimited kilometres