Little over two weeks ago we wrote a review about the Suzuki DR-Z400S motorcycle, from the showroom we already upgraded the 9.9 liter fuel tank to a much larger 15 liter fuel tank. But what can we more modify to make our bike look and performance better, not that the bikes performance is a issue.
There are enough bolt-ons available for the Suzuki DR-Z400S, but are they any good? We first went for the recommended Dynojet kit. The hot setup is to cut a 76.2 by 76.2mm hole in the top of the airbox; these simple mods, plus a Leo Vince X3 aluminum silencer/spark arrester, delivered near-stock silence and a huge power improvement.
And when you're starting with about 37 horsepower, you need all the help you can get. We mounted a smaller Renthal aluminum handlebar, in the stock RM/DR-Z bend.
Baja 1000 legend Chris Haines swears by Spider grips to keep blisters at bay, now we do too. Acerbis Rally Dual Sport Handguards keep my knuckles kissing fresh, in down-town Bangkok traffic I had a bad experience of somebody opening his car door breaking my little finger and bruising the rest.
For real dirt riding, I went for Dunlop's excellent D606 DOT knobbies, which keep the bike street-legal, but provide near-motocross grip in the silt, sand, rocks and mud of the rural Thai roads. Even with tall street gearing the Suzuki DR-Z400S is surprisingly capable as a dual-sport machine. It's far heavier than the KTM EXC 450's and Honda CRF450's which I seen others ride, but then again, so am I.
On lumpy un-harded roads and rolling single-track the limiting factor is my well-rusted dirt-riding skill. The stock Showa suspension is adjustable, plush and forgiving. For all-out street riding and touring, the plan is to bolt up a separate set of 17-inch supermoto wires wheels, along with a big 320mm front disc and sticky pads from EBC brakes; the Suzuki DR-Z400SM uses an RM inverted fork and swingarm, so its wheels don bolt on. If all goes well, I'll be able to turn the eager Suzuki DR-Z400S from a knobby-tired dirt dog to a supermoto-style rural country carver in half an hour, and spend the rest of the time laughing my butts off...