• 2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos

Fuel-injection haters rejoice! Suzuki still has carbureted dual sports

LISTEN 12:14

Pitting the fuel-injection fans against the carburetor fans, we score a point for the latter with the DR-Z400S and DR-Z400SM from Suzuki. Fuel injection hasn’t yet made an appearance in Suzuki’s dual-sport lineup, which was a good thing or a bad thing, depending on which side of the fence you’re on. For 2022, the DR-Z siblings haven’t yet been touched by the FI update. Sharing the same engine as the 500EXC from KTM, the DR-Zs come on a different chassis with progressive-link rear suspension. The “SM” — the SuperMoto of the family — and the “S” feature a six-liter air box with quick-release fasteners trouble-free access to the air filter and special low profile mirrors that rotate hoping to avoid damage, both are pluses when you’re playing in the dirt.

  • 2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
  • Year:
    2016- 2022
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    398 cc
  • Price:
    6999
  • Price:

Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM Design

  • Digital display
  • Halogen lighting
  • Rotating mirror design
  • Accessory gel seat
2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
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2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
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2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
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Knowing what you want to do with the bike makes the decision for you on which model to get without having to blow the budget in the accessories catalog.

Honestly, most dual-sport bikes lean one way or the other and the manufacturer will offer a street-oriented version and a dirt-oriented version of the same bike, maybe a difference in riding modes, with and without skid plates, with and without hand guards, et al. Both are capable on and off-road, but setups and components kinda orient it one way or the other. Suzuki is no different here and knowing what you want to do with the bike makes the decision for you on which model to get without having to blow the budget in the accessories catalog.

The DR-Z400S is the more off-road oriented and under the heading of “we’ll sell you more stuff,” (aka the accessories catalog), Suzuki offers you hand guards, a cargo rack, toolbox, and a low gel seat if the 35- or 36-inch seat height is too tall or too hard for your Goldilocks backside. The SM doesn’t get hand guards, but really, do you need them? I’m not being flip; I’m serious. Do you need them?

Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM Chassis

  • Long-travel suspension
  • Lightweight frame
  • Adjustable front forks
  • Laced wheels
2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
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2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
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2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
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You can limp home on a cracked frame, been there-done that, but not if it vents your engine's lifeblood onto the ground in the process.

Suzuki starts off with thin-walled tubing made from a chromium-molybdenum alloy meant to keep things strong enough to handle the stresses placed on them by vigorous dual-sport activities while keeping things light enough for you to handle. The engineers cleverly used the backbone and single downtube as the engine oil bag to further reduce weight and eliminate a typically large, “hang-on” component.

While this is cute and all, I question the wisdom. You can limp home on a cracked frame, been there-done that, but not if it vents your engine’s lifeblood onto the ground in the process. This may not matter much on the streets, but it could be a serious problem if it happens when traipsing hither and yon across hill and dale.

The single downtube turns into a double cradle with a small skidplate to protect the engine cases from terrain strikes and brush, and a bolt-up, aluminum subframe to keep the tail section light as well. Both the S and SM models are dual-sports, but rather than compromise and target the middle of the spectrum, Suzuki aimed for just left and right of center as it were. The S model serves as the more dirt-tastic of the two, with the SM as its street-wise sibling, an assertion easily backed up by the pertinent metrics.

The DR-Z400S suspension pushes into true dirt bike territory on 49 mm forks with 11.3 inches of travel, adjustable spring preload and adjustable damping for both the compression and rebound stroke. An aluminum swingarm with a progressive-link monoshock takes care of the back, and while the rear comes with even more travel at 11.6 inches, it only allows for adjustments to the preload and compression damping.

Brakeage on the S model likewise reflects an off-road bent with a 250 mm front disc and 220 mm rear, ’cause let’s face it, you only have so much traction available on the brown, and it can be undesirable to lock up too easily to say the least. A twin-pot caliper binds the front disc, and a single-pot handles the rear. The hoops come with a street-knobby tread on an 80/100-21 up front and a 120/90-18 in back wrapped around laced rims.

And then there’s the DR-Z400SM. Set up to minimize unsprung weight and maximize torsional resistance, the usd Showa front forks feature adjustable compression and rebound damping, and a low-friction alumite coating on the tubes. The tapered aluminum swingarm brings more weight savings to the table, and it rides on a monoshock with high- and low-speed compression damper adjustment.

While it gets the laced-wheel treatment as well, the SM rolls on gold-anodized, 17-inch rims front and rear. Suzuki can say what it wants about the SM being as capable on the brown as it is on the black, but it doesn’t seem like it out of the box with the stock tires. The 120/70 and 140/70 hoops run a street-bike profile for SuperMoto-style riding, not dirt bike shenanigans. Brake disc diameter likewise comes set up to take advantage of the greater traction on the blacktop with a 300 mm and 240 mm disc, front and rear, respectively.

Model: DR-Z400S DR-Z400SM
Suspension Front/Travel: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped/11.3 in (288 mm) Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped/10.2 in (260 mm)
Suspension Rear/Travel: Link type, coil spring, oil damped11.6 in (295 mm) Link type, coil spring, oil damped/ 10.9 (276 mm)
Caster: 27° 10’ 26° 15’
Trail: 4.21 in (107 mm) 3.7 in (94 mm)
Brakes Front: Disc brake, single floating rotor Disc brake, single floating rotor
Brakes Rear: Disc brake, single rotor Disc brake, single rotor
Tires Front: 80/100-21 M/C 51P, tube type 120/70R17M/C 58H, tube type
Tires Rear: 120/90-18 M/C 65P, tube type 140/70R17M/C 66H, tube type

Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM Drivetrain

  • Compact 398cc, liquid-cooled engine
  • Broad, tractable power
  • Strong low-down torque
  • Mikuni™ 36 mm carburetor
2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
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2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
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2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
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Suzuki powers the pair with a liquid-cooled, 398 cc thumper that still comes carbureted, much to the delight of the fuel-injection haters among us.

Suzuki powers the pair with a liquid-cooled, 398 cc thumper, and uses a shim-under-bucket, DOHC system to actuate the four valve heads. The 38 mm intake and 29 mm exhaust valves are large enough to really open up the combustion chamber and let the little engine breathe, and an automatic, mechanical decompression feature bleeds off some pressure to give the electric starter a break.

Forged pistons ride on Suzuki’s nickel-silicon-phosphorous SCEM bore treatment, and a pressurized oil jet sprays engine oil onto the bottom of the piston crown to carry away heat from that hottest of spots. A simple-but-effective, 36 mm Mikuni carb manages the induction, something that can certainly be worked on by even a modestly-tooled, bike-owner Joe. In the end, a five-speed, constant-mesh gearbox and tough, O-ring chain drive sends the power to the rear wheel.

Engine: 398 cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, single cylinder, DOHC
Bore x Stroke: 90.0 mm x 62.6 mm (3.54 in x 2.44 in)
Compression Ratio: 11.3 : 1
Fuel System: MIKUNI BSR36, single carburetor
Starter: Electric
Ignition: Electronic ignition (CDI)
Lubrication: Semi-dry sump
Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh
Final Drive: Chain, RK520KZ0, 112 links

Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM Pricing

2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
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2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
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2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
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MSRP is up a skosh to about $7k and $7.6k for 2022.

MSRP on the 2022 DR-Z400S is $6,999 and the DR-Z400SM ran about $600 more at $7,599. Available in white and/or black colorways that carried over from 2021, Suzuki covers your DR with a 12-month, unlimited mileage, limited warranty with the option to extend that through Suzuki Extended Protection.

Model: DR-Z400S DR-Z400SM
Warranty: 12-month, unlimited mileage, limited warranty 12-month, unlimited mileage, limited warranty
Color:
└ 2016: Solid Black / Solid Iron Gray Solid Special White and Solid Black
└ 2017: Solid Special White No.2 and Solid Iron Gray Solid Special White and Solid Black
└ 2018: Solid Special White No.2 Solid Black
└ 2019: Solid Special White No.2 Solid Special White No.2 with Red, Solid Special White No.2 with Blue
└ 2020: Solid Black Solid Iron Gray, Solid Special White No. 2
└ 2021, 2022: Solid Iron Gray / Solid Black Solid Special White No. 2 , Solid Black
Price:
└ 2016, 2017: $6,599 $7,199
└ 2018: $6,699 $7,299
└ 2019: $6,749 $7,349
└ 2020: $6,799 $7,399
└ 2021: $6,899 $7,499
└ 2022: $6,999 $7,599

Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM Competitors

2016 Husqvarna FE 450 / FE 501 / FE 501 S
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2016 - 2022 2016 - 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM - Performance, Price, and Photos
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The DR-Z400S is a capable off-road machine that doesn't compromise its road worthiness as much as some of the others.

Finding a competitor for dual-sport bike isn’t a problem as there are plenty of them out there, but finding one around 400 cc is more of a challenge. In the 650 cc family, I have quite a few to choose from, but when you get down to the 400 cc market, you’re getting into more specialized stuff. It’s an enduro bike or a supermoto bike or some other dirt-specific bike in this engine-size arena. What is a dual sport if it isn’t a street-legal trail bike, yeah? So let’s look at street legal bikes in the 350-to-500 cc range that aren’t afraid to go off-road.

KTM 500EXC-F

2015 KTM 500 EXC
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Source:KTM, Photographer:Mitterbauer H.
Source: Source:KTM, Photographer:Mitterbauer H.

The DR-Z400S is a capable off-road machine that doesn’t compromise its road worthiness as much as some of the others, so let’s look at the “S” against something like the 500EXC-F from KTM, the 430RS from Beta or how about a couple of dual-sport bikes from a long-running, tried-and-true name in dirt sports, Husqvarna.

Husqvarna FE 501S

2016 Husqvarna FE 450 / FE 501 / FE 501 S Wallpaper quality
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Husky offers two dial sport bikes that fit my criteria of what I consider a 350-to-500 cc dual sport: the FE 350S and the FE 501S, dual-sport versions of their popular four-stroke enduro bikes, the FE 350 and FE 501. These dualies from Husky are probably the most capable dual sport bikes right out of the box, so even though the 430RS is closer in engine size, I’m going to go high/low with the Huskys.

Visually, the DR-Z400S carries a more dual-sportish look and stance than the FEs, which have a typical enduro look — just a dirt bike with mirrors and lights. The Suzuki carries a gentle swale in the top lines, and I suppose the Huskies do too, difference being the rise on the fuel tank gives the DR-Z400 its shape, while the seat alone seems to do it for Husky. Beyond that, meh, what can you say? These rides weren’t built to look good on the curb, yeah?

Now for the lumps. The FE 501 S comes out a skosh bigger at 510.4 cc, and with bigger exhaust valves at 33 mm over the 29 mm valves in the 398 cc DR-Z400 mill, which are really closer to the 349.7 cc engine in the FE 350 S. Husky also takes the high road with an electronic Keihin engine management system instead of a carburetor. Both run chain drives, but again Husky goes for broke with a six-speed gearbox and damped-diaphragm clutch versus the five speed Suzuki transmixxer.

Husky definitely has the upper hand with more techno alphabet soup, which is reflected in the price. Priced over $10k for the FE 501 S, the Husky is a half again more than the DR-Z400S at $6,999. Even looking at the FE 350 S, the price is still a wide gap. The 350 will set you back just a little less than the FE 501 S. If you don’t have sights on some competition riding, can you justify that price difference? If your goal is some casual fun in the dirt and you like to tinker with your stuff without needing expensive diagnostic equipment, the DR-Z400S might be your Huckleberry.

Read our full review of the KTM 500EXC-F.
Read our full review of the Husqvarna FE 501S.

He Said

My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, “Wow, another light dual-sport with a smallish engine and minimal appointments, and a SuperMoto built with same. I like the big adventure bikes, truly I do, but these kind of bikes do little for me. Not capable enough for a manly-man trip across the desert or mountains, and not really different enough from the available enduros and dirt bikes to really blip my radar. Just not my cup o’ tea.”

She Said

“I think I tend to like these dual sport bikes, big and small, more than my husband does. Maybe that’s because I have some dirt-bike-riding experience in my younger days whereas he has always been strictly a pavement guy. If you need to scoot up the road a short way to get to your favorite trails, the DR-Z400S is a good choice. It isn’t comfortable as a street bike, but it is road worthy enough to take you 50 miles or so. I mean, it is road worthy enough, but not comfort-wise. I’m not sure your butt will last longer than that without the gel seat.”

Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM Specifications

Model: DR-Z400S DR-Z400SM
Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 398 cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, single cylinder, DOHC 398 cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, single cylinder, DOHC
Bore x Stroke: 90.0 mm x 62.6 mm (3.54 in x 2.44 in) 90.0 mm x 62.6 mm (3.54 in x 2.46 in)
Compression Ratio: 11.3 : 1 11.3 : 1
Fuel System: MIKUNI BSR36, single carburetor MIKUNI BSR36, single carburetor
Starter: Electric Electric
Ignition: Electronic ignition (CDI) Electronic ignition (CDI)
Lubrication: Semi-dry sump Semi-dry sump
Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh 5-speed constant mesh
Final Drive: Chain, RK520KZ0, 112 links RK520KZO, 110 links
Chassis:
Suspension Front/Travel: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped/11.3 in (288 mm) Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped/10.2 in (260 mm)
Suspension Rear/Travel: Link type, coil spring, oil damped11.6 in (295 mm) Link type, coil spring, oil damped/ 10.9 (276 mm)
Caster: 27° 10’ 26° 15’
Trail: 4.21 in (107 mm) 3.7 in (94 mm)
Brakes Front: Disc brake, single floating rotor Disc brake, single floating rotor
Brakes Rear: Disc brake, single rotor Disc brake, single rotor
Tires Front: 80/100-21 M/C 51P, tube type 120/70R17M/C 58H, tube type
Tires Rear: 120/90-18 M/C 65P, tube type 140/70R17M/C 66H, tube type
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 2,310 mm (90.9 in) 2,225 mm (87.6 in)
Overall Width: 875 mm (34.4 in) 855 mm (33.7 in)
Overall Height 1,230 mm (48.4 in) 1,200 mm (47.2 in)
Wheelbase: 1,485 mm (58.5 in) 1,460 mm (57.5 in)
Steering Angle (right & left): 38° 38°
Turning radius: 7.2 ft (2.2 m) 8.5 ft (2.6 m)
Ground Clearance: 300 mm (11.8 in) 260 mm (10.2 in)
Seat Height: 935 mm (36.8 in) 890 mm (35.0 in)
Curb Weight: 144 kg (317 lbs) 146 kg (322 lbs)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 10.0 L (2.6 US gal) / 9.5 L (2.5 US Gal) California model 10.0 L (2.6 US gal) / 9.5 L (2.5 US Gal) California model
Electrical:
Headlight: 12V 60/55W (H4) 12V 60/55W (H4)
Tail light: 12V 21/5W 12V 21/5W
Details:
Warranty: 12-month, unlimited mileage, limited warranty* 12-month, unlimited mileage, limited warranty
Extensions: Extensions available through Suzuki Extended Protection (SEP) * Extensions available through Suzuki Extended Protection (SEP)
Color:
└ 2016: Solid Black / Solid Iron Gray Solid Special White and Solid Black
└ 2017: Solid Special White No.2 and Solid Iron Gray Solid Special White and Solid Black
└ 2018: Solid Special White No.2 Solid Black
└ 2019: Solid Special White No.2 Solid Special White No.2 with Red, Solid Special White No.2 with Blue
└ 2020: Solid Black Solid Iron Gray, Solid Special White No. 2
└ 2021, 2022: Solid Iron Gray / Solid Black Solid Special White No. 2 , Solid Black
Price:
└ 2016, 2017: $6,599 $7,199
└ 2018: $6,699 $7,299
└ 2019: $6,749 $7,349
└ 2020: $6,799 $7,399
└ 2021: $6,899 $7,499
└ 2022: $6,999 $7,599

Further Reading

Suzuki

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Read more Suzuki news.

Allyn Hinton
Allyn Hinton
Writer and Associate Motorcycle Editor - allyn@topspeed.com
If it had moving parts, it had Allyn's interest from a very early age. At age 11 when bicycles were too simple to hold her interest any longer, her father found her taking apart the lawn mower. When he asked why she was doing it, she replied, “I need to see how it works.” That curiosity and mechanical drive served her well over the next 40 years as she pursued careers in both the automotive and motorcycle industries. Having shared her love of motorcycles with her now husband, biker TJ Hinton, Allyn brings that love and knowledge to TopSpeed as writer and associate motorcycle editor.  Read full bio
About the author

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