Gary Jones Racing Suzuki DR-Z400S Custom Dirt Bike Test — Ultimate MotorCyc…

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Suzuki DR-Z Off-Road

Gary Jones Racing DR-Z400S | Custom Dirt Test

Just as the two Gallery in this issue revolutionized the motorcycle world over 30 ago, so too did the 1968 Yamaha 250 Enduro. The famous white-tanked was the first street-legal motorcycle was also a capable, lightweight, and powerful off-road machine. newly dubbed “dual motorcycle introduced untold of thousands to the sport of motorcycle and spawned an entirely new market

Two-strokes dominated the dual-purpose until the 1972 Honda challenged them, finally victorious when emissions virtually banished gas-and-oil from American streets at the of the ’70s. By then, specialization had dual-purpose motorcycles from machines to something of a cult They were neither nor fowl, as they performed adequately on street and dirt.

Their single cylinder were considered underpowered on the and yet their four-… cycles also viewed as too cumbersome for dirt excursions. Dual bikes were an inadvertent of encroaching specialization. (Click to enlarge)

In 1990, Suzuki to change that perception its introduction of the DR350S. Now called sport” bikes, the DR was lighter, suspended and delivered superior compared to its predecessors. Of course, the were offering competitive but their bikes were crude for street use.

Ten later, Suzuki again the dual sport paradigm the DR-Z400S, a liquid-cooled, DOHC that enjoyed generous commonality with its off-road the DR-Z400E.

Helmet: Simpson Eagle

Goggles: Scott IV

Jersey: AXO Team Issue

Gloves: AXO Padlock

Pants: AXO

Boots: AXO RC6 (Click image to

Photo rider: Jess

Photos by Don Williams

However, to the EPA and DOT obstacles, the DR-Z400S isn’t the motorcycle Suzuki surely it could be. Emissions standards jetting so lean that the bike unpredictably surges and at steady throttle on the street, or rough off-road terrain. the stock tires are not focused for performance.

Suzuki DR-Z Off-Road

We believe a dual bike must be a capable machine, while still its street cred whether a run to the local convenience store or the state. To that end, we had Jones Racing modify our for greatly enhanced dirt while keeping an eye on its pavement We did not want an unmanageable “racer lights” result.

To resolve the inconsistent power Jones (a three-time AMA 250cc champion) replaced the stock velocity carb with a Mikuni TM flat slide and, simultaneously, decongested the with a Yoshimura RS-3 steel system. To ensure we be welcome on our public lands, he a spark arrester and sound-reducing Once Jones properly the Mikuni, the motor ran flawlessly.

It not have the unconditional output of a engine; rather, it distributes in controllable measures. The result is a motor for trail riding, yet enough to hold its own on pavement.

To the ideal power, we replaced the stock tires with a intermediate terrain Scorpion MX rear tire and Scorpion Pro in the This outstanding set of racing holds the line in corners, reliably finding traction for the wheel. Pavement performance is adequate, though it should be that the rear tire is not (Click image to enlarge)

Weight is another enemy of the DR-Z400S, so we put the bike on a healthy Centralizing mass upgrades while reducing unsprung enhances suspension action. By Braking Wave rotors and a Renthal aluminum sprocket, we the latter.

The oversize front rotor also improves while three additional on the rear sprocket prepare the with off-road gearing, for tighter single-track trails.

To with centralizing mass, an IMS fuel tank saved two high on the chassis because of its fuel capacity; a nice benefit is that plastic is on the knees than steel. awkwardly placed weight was with Renthal aluminum (again, replacing steel), Rally Dual Sport (with integrated turn and Acerbis fold-down rearview This took nearly pounds off the critical steering resulting in a lighter feel at the Additionally, the mirrors and turn are no longer vulnerable to casual (Click image to enlarge)

Jones’ modifications have now set a truly capable dual bike, previously obscured by of bureaucracy. Our DR-Z can now traverse any terrain you would tackle a full-on off-road bike—it the double- black-diamond Snowy in California’s Los Padres National and that is a ride no sane would attempt without the kind of machine under

At the same time, we do not hesitate to the DR-Z on the 100 paved miles our Malibu offices directly to the and back. Suzuki may not market it as an bike,” but once the government-imposed are lifted, the DR-Z400S is quite the

Suzuki DR-Z Off-Road
Suzuki DR-Z Off-Road
Suzuki DR-Z Off-Road
Suzuki DR-Z Off-Road
Suzuki DR-Z Off-Road
Suzuki DR-Z Off-Road

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