Virtually unchanged in its 15 years in existence, and based on the DR-Z400S that debuted in 2000, the 2020 Suzuki DR-Z400SM continues to be a relevant motorcycle. Helping the DR-Z400SM along is the lack of supermoto motorcycles, its reputation for reliability, and a price tag of $7399.The 2020 Suzuki DR-Z400SM’s DOHC motor is fed by a 36mm Mikuni carburetor, and there are no power modes or ABS. You do get liquid cooling and electric start, fortunately, though the styling is definitely dated. The motor has a good reputation and responds well to reasonable performance upgrades without becoming unreliable.
The DR-Z400SM’s suspension is fully adjustable, with a beefy Showa inverted fork and linkage assisted shock. The wire-spoke 17-inch wheels are shod with Dunlop Sportmax D208 tires on Excel rims, so you can initiate slides at will.This is a motorcycle that slips in an empty slot in the world of motorcycles and is a great learning tool for the budding supermoto racer. It just so happens that it is also incredibly fun as a commuter motorcycle, even with freeways in the mix. Urban riders will love its agility and 321-pound curb weight, though the 35-inch seat height will concern shorter and less-experienced riders.
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!