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Suzuki DR-Z250 trail test | Bike Reviews

We pitch Suzuki’s DR-Z250 against the latest, greatest two and four-stroke weapons to see how it measures up at the Myrtleford Alpine Rally


Suzuki’s DR-Z250 might seem dated, soft, even unfashionable, but it offers endless kilometres of fun – on the street and in the bush. Its low-fuss nature suits those who ride for pure pleasure rather than to push the limits of speed and difficulty.

The best thing about the DR-Z250 is its simplicity. It’s easy to ride. The low seat – just 890mm – is wide and soft. You can ride all day long and never suffer a numb bum. The seats on the KTM 250EXC-F and Yamaha WR250F are 970mm and 990mm respectively, and they’re hard and sleek to provide unrestricted manoeuvrability in racing conditions. Comfort isn’t a priority.

Suzuki DR-Z250 trail test

The air-cooled engine is low fuss despite the fancy four-valve Twin-Swirl Combustion Chamber cylinder head. Its 249cc donk is a gem, tough as nails. This is not a race bike, nor does it pretend to be.

A sizeable oil cooler keeps the engine happy, so it ticks away without demand. The 10.5-litre fuel tank is great – I didn’t empty it, despite wedging the throttle wide open for 130km of trail.

Suzuki DR-Z250 trail test

We ditched the mirrors and rear indicators to save smashing them off in the bush and went to 13/47 gearing that proved good for single trail or open-road cruising. Other changes included Pirelli Scorpion mid-soft tyres, heavy-duty tubes and rim-locks to deal with serious off-road riding.

The hand guards look big but offer good protection, though the handlebars are steel and wouldn’t last long in a fall. Anyone above a novice will find the suspension’s limitations, but it is a smooth ride. There are rebound and compression adjusters front and rear and while I didn’t touch them, it’s nice to know they’re there.

Suzuki DR-Z250 trail test

The electric and kick-start combination is good; tool-less air filter access is another positive. Ground clearance, however, is limiting when it comes to clearing logs and rocks. The outright horsepower of a modern high-revving four-stroke isn’t there but even uphill we passed riders who had lost traction and control.

To complete my time with the bike, I clocked up some road kays. It’s a smooth, efficient ride – the bike swaps from weekend warrior to city commuter with zero changes.

The dated looks might put a few riders off it but a sleeker front guard, lighter headlight assembly, more compact speedo and shorter rear guard extender/plate holder would make this bike much slicker.

Suzuki DR-Z250 trail test

The DR-Z250 is simple and mild-mannered. It’ll go anywhere and keep on going long after more complex bikes are in need of a heart transplant.

Is the little Suzi better suited to urban commuting and rounding up sheep, or is it simply overlooked in favour of more trendy options? Does the DR-Z250 have any right to be out there on the same trails as the latest and greatest? The answers in issue #424 of ADB!


This rally is a non-competitive trail ride just 15km from Myrtleford, in the Merriang Plantation and through the Buffalo River region of Victoria, approximately two hours from Melbourne. The course is marked, with a 60km loop on forest roads and trails before lunch and 70km on forest roads, single-track, big hills and twisting trails after. Entry is $140 and includes lunch, dinner, a T-shirt and entry to a raffle to win a Honda CRF50. The day suits intermediate riders; there are a few challenging hills and easier routes around some of the more difficult sections. You need to be licenced and riding a registered bike – recreational registration is acceptable. It’s a well-organised day run by a great bunch of people attracting entrants from as far as Byron Bay, NSW. Find out more at




Type: DOHC four-stroke
Displacement: 249cc
Bore x Stroke: 73mm X 59.6mm
Cooling: Air/oil-cooled
Compression ratio: 10.4:1
Fuel metering: Mikuni carburettor
Fuel capacity: 10.5L
Transmission: 6-speed
Clutch: wet multi-disc


Wheelbase: 1450mm
Seat height: 890mm
Ground clearance: 300mm
Weight: 131kg


Front: Conventional fork
Rear: Linkage


Front: Hydraulic disc
Rear: Hydraulic disc


Handlebars: Steel
Front: 80/100-21
Rear: 110/100-18


RRP: $6990
Warranty: 12 month/unlimited km