With its keeper still out of the country, I nicked the brand new 2008 Suzuki DR-Z400sm's keys two nights ago. Since then we've done around 130 joyful kilometers on bumpy B-roads, long enough for me to wish I were keeping the K8 Suzuki DR-Z400sm, SuperMotard style motorcycle, all year round.
I spent 10 minutes lubing the chain and adjusting the controls, then softening the fork compression by three clicks to stop the front kicking off bumps so much. It's more stoppie-prone now, but my main concern is its stability over bumps. A bit more rear preload should help too, the sail-tail riding position always compresses the rear of bikes like this at speed.The sticky Dunlops its wearing are both an encouragement and a worry, they're already chewing up and showing wear after 500 running-in kilometers. Above all, it's only a baby. A 400cc single is cheap to run and makes a brilliant short-distance commuter. With about 40 horsepower and unmatched road handling, it is a perfect bike to drive in busy traffic. With the Suzuki DR-Z400sm we able to zip through traffic like the smaller Thai bikes, and still feeling you drive a real motorcycle. For crisp handling, it features a lightweight, compact design, complemented by advanced suspension front and rear, including an Suzuki RM250-derived inverted fork.
The engine is a lightweight 398cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, dry-sump engine produces strong, tractable low-rpm power. The compact 4-valve cylinder head with 36mm intake valves, 29mm exhaust valves, narrow 28º included valve angle and shim-under-bucket valve adjustment system. Suzuki uses a SCEM-plated cylinder which is lighter and more durable than an iron liner with excellent heat transfer properties.
Downside? The new K8 Suzuki DR-Z400sm will be staying at a beach town, the salty weather, will probably quickly gnawed the fasteners. Maybe, I can advice the owner in buying stainless steel fasteners.