After the launch of the all-new Suzuki DR-Z70 back in 2008, the Japanese manufacturer carries on producing this model with little changes, something that makes us suspect that youngsters won’t be seeing this exercise applied on Suzuki’s small off-road model pretty soon. Not only the bike is a favorite in its category and there’s no reason to change something that isn’t wrong, but we also have the example of the bike’s bigger siblings, the DR-Z125/L.
For 2010, the DR-Z70 plays the very same important role in teaching tomorrow’s grownup riders how to set the first row of bricks at the massive wall of riding knowledge that will mark their individual riding styles and even careers if they are so hooked up that they feel like taking it to the track an see what more from there.
What’s best about this off-road Suzuki motorcycle is that the decently powerful and very reliable air-cooled, 67cc four-stroke engine gets both electric and kick starting. This way, young riders won’t be needed to go through the kick starting process every time they kill the engine (although hard considering the three-speed constant mesh transmission), but still have the possibility to learn how to do that in the eventuality in which they’ll be heading to motocross. Good thinking Suzuki!
Also, a great balance is being established between the low 22-inch seat height and the permissive 5.3-inch ground clearance. All that the DR-Z70 needed was a pair of 10-inch wheels and it was good to go.
Testimony of the fact that Suzuki won’t be changing the DR-Z70 any time soon is the JR50 model. This was a two-stroke motorcycle first built in 1978 and from which the new model was derived three decades later. Like the modern Suzuki, the JR50 featured spoked wheels, high-mounted fairing and it was a replica of racing bikes of that time. As you can suppose, the color was Yellow.
Suzuki was keen on continuing to produce the two-stroke model as they knew how important it is to attract customers from a very young age as these usually remained faithful to the first manufacturer they’ve opted for. And Suzuki allowed no room for second thoughts as the JR50 was bulletproof built and great fun on the trails. Production continued all through the 1980s and 1990s, period in which Suzuki seriously worked on its reputation.
2008 was to be the first production year for the new Suzuki DR-Z70 and although the bike looks pretty much the same as the JR, it is built around a four-stroke engine making all the difference.
Honda has two models suitable for the comparison with the Suzuki DR-Z70 and they are both 2009 model years: the CRF50F and CRF70F. This last features a close in displacement four-stroke engine, but also14-inch front respectively 12-inch rear wheels, something that doesn’t let the bike address to kids younger than 12 years old. On the other side, the Honda CRF50F has the 10-inch wheels and the air-cooled, 49cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine fed through a 13mm piston-valve carburetor and, of course, mated to a three-speed transmission with automatic clutch. Now, the reason why we mentioned the CRF70F is the $1,899 MSRP, which makes it a better bang for the buck if you are tall enough to start riding directly on it. Still, the 2009 Honda CRF50F comes with a base MSRP of $1,449. I believe we’ll stick to that.
Yamaha’s 2009 TT-R50E is an even cheaper starters bike (MSRP: $1,299) and, like the DR-Z70, offers push button electric starter for its air-cooled, 49cc SOHC, four-stroke, two valves engine. Clutch and tranny are the same as on the Suzuki and Honda, but the Yamaha offers inverted telescopic forks with 3.8-inches of travel and monocross rear suspension. The ground clearance is exactly as on the Suzuki (5.3-inches) and the seat height is slightly smaller (21.8-inches). There isn’t pretty much anything more to ask from it, isn’t it?
2010 Suzuki DR-Z70
Although specially created for kids and is a budget bike, the Suzuki DR-Z70 makes no concessions in what concerns appearance, so it inspires on the RM models in order to obtain that distinctive Suzuki look and get noticed at a first glance. As a result, it is packed with one-off features such as number plates, mudguards, aggressive front fender and motocross-style seat. The wheels are spoked in order for the bike to soak up bumps more effectively and also contribute to that motocross look.
A nice engineering tweak seen on the bikes in DR-Z’s category is the almost longitudinally positioned engine. That has the clear purpose of allowing for a more than sufficient ground clearance, but also looks nice with that machine gun-like exhaust.
On the Yellow colored 2010 Suzuki DR-Z70 you get a black seat, white number plates and red graphics.
"Pickup off the bottom is strong, but never violent with the short-stroke motor smoothing out the power pulses. It’s pretty healthy in the middle of the power curve and then tapers off as the revs build. It can easily be short-shifted and seems to prefer this as opposed to screaming the engine." – dirtrider
"Suspension is minimal, as you’d expect, though the Z70 has a single rear shock, compared to the dual shocks on the JR50. It does its job, and few new riders will think to complain. Small jumps are not out of the question, and the type of minor bumps a bike like this is likely to face are absorbed capably." – ultimatemotorcycling
Because the Suzuki model reviewed today is superior to the bikes it competes with due to engine displacement, this won’t be quite the cheapest bike in its category, so expect the just under $2K price tag to make it competitive. As long as it justifies the extra cylinder capacity, it is fine with me.
Overall, a superior bike and, most importantly, one that doesn’t require a backload of cash in order to be purchased, the 2010 Suzuki DR-Z70 continues the long career started in the 1970s under a different name and keeps providing that unbeatable combination of user-friendliness and motocross style. No wonder kids look like glued to these things.