Not long ago, Suzuki inspired from the DR-Z400S to create their first dual sport model, a very punchy and versatile one called the DR-Z-400SM. The bike successfully addresses to youngsters in search of a light and easy to ride motorcycle that would stand both for a commuter and an adrenaline source depending on the rider’s demands.
The transformation that practically sends the same bike from the trails to the track is based on the adding of 17-inch supermoto wheels with grippy tires, performance front brake and RM250 suspensions: fully adjustable Showa 47mm inverted fork together with an aluminum-tapered swingarm and rear shock. Also, just for the retuned engine on the DR-Z400SM, Suzuki created a supermoto silencer while the new CDI mapping now works together with the taller gearing. The sportier look is enhanced by the more aggressive front fender.
Having undergone apparently minor, but crucially important operations, the Suzuki DR-Z400SM follows a short, but, until now, successful career as it is the only Japanese-made dual-sport model displacing 398cc. The engine’s liquid-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder, DOHC, four-valve configuration is perfectly suitable for the specific type of riding.
First introduced in 2005, the Yellow painted Suzuki DR-Z400SM was, as I just mentioned, derived from the “S” sibling so it featured the same engine, gearbox and frame, but introduced a whole new kind of excitement to the amateurs of street, track and soft off-road riding. The numbers behind it were 34.65 hp at 7,750rpm and 25.91 lb-ft at 6,000rpm so there was plenty to rely on in whatever riding situation.
In 2006, they added Black as a shiny new color available and white-colored turn signal lenses for improved appearance, but, apart from that, the SM was pretty much the same.
The 2007 model year would have not featured any color changes, not to mention mechanical ones as the bike was still relatively new on the scene. Yet, they added Renthal tapered aluminum handlebars in order to reduce the vibrations coming from that single-cylinder engine and added a more aggressive look to a fairly sporty model. Also, this is where the new front and rear axle sliders were added.
The last notable change came in 2008 from the design department. The new White color scheme replaced the now old Suzuki Yellow that was more of a motorcross bike characteristic.
Though a typical supermoto bike, the 2010 Suzuki DR-Z400SM brings its own special share of design features on the “highly competitive” market which, by the way, doesn’t manage to provide a decent opponent for it due to the cylinder capacity, but that’s a whole other story.
The bike’s off-road roots still count a lot as they prove SM’s muscle in no matter what environment you choose to ride it. The square headlight is in for road-legality, but together with the high-mounted fenders, mudguards, number and side plates are all testimony of this bike’s abilities to go off-road. The wide, spoked 17-inch wheels with grippy tires attribute street performance to it, but the balance tends to incline more on the off-road side at least in what concerns design.
2010 doesn’t bring new color schemes, just new decals to mark the pass. These are very discrete when covering the side plates of the Black SM and more lively in the case of the White coloring.
"The engine power isn’t massive, but it does sound the goods and is capable of quick bursts off the lights or tight turns as a hinted to above. It’s not ideal for freeway riding and the vibrations are quite high, but it’ll do the job if you really have to." – motoonline
"A single cylinder of 398cc is surprisingly capable, the DR-Z will quite easily keep up with traffic from the lights and when the throttle is squeezed a tad more it will accelerate with the best of them. The size of the engine provides a compact design, keeping the centre of gravity directly under the rider." – pressportal
"The DR-Z’s gearing is closely spaced and it doesn’t take long to work your way through the five different ratios. With a perfectly balanced clutch, the transmission flicks up and down without skipping a beat. The strip of material that masquerades as a seat is not what you’d call luxury, but it can‘t be too bad..." – thisisbristol
"The 20-mile trip through rush hour traffic to work is perfect supermoto territory and the DR-Z is a perfect bike for it. You don’t need to go over 50mph in London, and for short trips the hard seat is manageable." – visordown
"The bike feels light, sleek and narrow beneath you, accentuated by its ultra-nimble handling. The wide, MX-style handlebar provides good leverage and an excellent sense of control. Steering is nice and neutral, requiring little effort to initiate a turn, or to alter your mid-corner line. Stability is good, even at freeway speed where dual-purpose bikes often tend to wiggle and weave." – cycleworld
"So, it’s no racer. However, the DRZ is outstanding as an off-the-rack city blaster, commuter bike, or the ultimate choice for the bumper rack on your motorhome or SUV. Of course, Suzuki could have utilized the aluminum frame and 450cc engine from their outstanding RM-Z450 motocrosser." – motorcycle
With the 2010 Suzuki DR-Z400SM, the Japanese manufacturer shows that getting a head start for the production of a bike that pretty much everybody expects, but doesn’t find the right words to put it in, is an inspired choice which doesn’t need any new approaches for quite significant periods of time. The thing is to keep the price low and production going, exactly what they are doing now.
Engine and Transmission
- Engine: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC
- Bore Stroke: 90.0 mm (3.543 in) x 62.6 mm (2.465 in)
- Compression Ratio: 11.3 : 1
- Fuel System: MIKUNI BSR36, single
- Lubrication: Dry sump
- Ignition: Electronic ignition (CDI)
- Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh
- Final Drive: RK520KZO, 110 links
Chassis and Dimensions
- Suspension Front: Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
- Suspension Rear: Link type, coil spring, oil damped
- Brakes Front: Disc brake
- Brakes Rear: Disc brake
- Tires Front: 120/70R17M/C 58H, tube type
- Tires Rear: 140/70R17M/C 66H, tube type
- Overall Length: 2225 mm (87.6 in)
- Overall Width: 855 mm (33.7 in)
- Overall Height: 1200 mm (47.2 in)
- Seat Height: 890 mm (35.0 in)
- Ground Clearance: 260 mm (10.2 in)
- Wheelbase: 1460 mm (57.5 in)
- Curb Weight: 146 kg (321 lbs)
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 10.0 L (2.6/2.2 US/Imp gal) - Including Reserve (CA: 9.5 L (2.5/2.1 US/Imp gal) -Including Reserve)
Features & Benefits
- Suzuki’s Supermotard model based on DR-Z400S – combines Supermotard style and features in a narrow, lightweight street-legal package
- Lightweight 398cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, dry-sump engine produces strong, tractable low-rpm power
- Compact 4-valve cylinder head with 36mm intakes valves, 29mm exhaust valves, narrow 28 degree included valve angle and shim-under-bucket valve adjustment system
- SCEM-plated cylinder (nickel-silicon-phosphorous) is lighter and more durable than an iron liner with excellent heat transfer properties
- Forged aluminum piston is 10% lighter than a cast piston and receives additional oil-cooling to the piston crown through a crankcase oil jet
- Compact 5-speed transmission utilizes a cable-operated clutch with separate outer cover for simplified clutch maintenance
- Additional weight savings with magnesium valve cover, clutch cover, and magneto cover
- Smooth throttle response with a MikuniT BSR36 CV-type carburetor fed by a 6-liter airbox. The left side cover has quick-release fasteners for easy access to the air filter
- Electric start with lightweight starter motor and a compact 6.5 amp maintenance-free battery
- Automatic decompression system for quick/easy starts
- Thermostatically-controlled cooling fan mounted to the left radiator helps maintain consistent operating temperature in traffic
- Renthal tapered aluminum handlebar for reduced vibration and an aggressive look
- Compact digital instrument cluster with speedometer, odometer, twin-trip meters with addition/subtraction capability, clock, timer and stopwatch functions
- Long-travel, Showa-brand inverted front fork derived from RM250 – features adjustable compression/rebound damping and alumite coating on inner tube surfaces for smooth action
- A fully-adjustable rear shock absorber with high/low speed compression damping adjuster and aluminum swingarm for precise rear wheel control
- Strong braking performance supplied by a front disc brake with a large 300mm floating-type rotor and dual-piston caliper, plus 240mm rear disc brake with single-piston caliper
- Black-painted RK Excel 17” aluminum rims and radial tires: 120/70-R17 front, 140/70-R17 rear
- New front and rear axle sliders
- On-road legal lighting with bright 60/55 watt halogen headlight, compact tail/stoplight, lightweight, rubber-mounted turn signals and horn
- Narrow profile with smooth transitions between the tank, seat and bodywork
- Chrome-moly steel frame tuned for Supermoto style riding is torsionally strong with minimal weight. The backbone tube, front down tube, and steering head gussets from the dry-sump engine oil tank
- A bolt-on aluminum subframe helps reduce weight and simplify maintenance
- Chrome-moly steel footpegs, aluminum rims/hubs, plus engine guard and rear disc guard