The DR-Z400E first hit our shores in 1999. It was never designed to be a race bike, rather it was a bike that could be ridden all weekend in the dirt then hosed off and ridden to work.
The engine is grunty, with strong mid-range and a claimed 48hp top-end at 9000rpm. It is reliable and will last for years as long as it is serviced regularly. The carburettor has a throttle pump which is fed fuel from the fuel bowl. The throttle pump injects fuel straight into the engine on quick throttle openings. The engine is electric start only but a kickstart kit is available for nervous adventure riders who donâ€™t mind the extra weight.
The air filter is easily reached via Dzus fasteners in the left side panel, which doubles as the airbox cover. The filter can be removed without tools. The conventional fork is a little soft and most riders will benefit from heavier springs, but the monoshock tends to suit the majority of riders well, although it needs more rebound.
The only real issues I have seen on these bikes results from running them without oil. They tend to seize cams or twist the cam gears on the camshafts if they are starved of oil. I have also seen all the bolts in the one-way starter clutch sheer off and destroy the stator. As long as these bikes are used for what they were designed for they handle their job well. In case anybody is curious about motocrossing one or screaming flat out up and down the freeway, the DR-Zâ€™s job is trail riding or commuting to and from work. If you want something more serious look for an early RMX450.
Brakes: The DR-Z has hydraulic brakes, with a twin-piston floating caliper and single disc on the front and a single-piston floater and single disc on the rear.
Frame: The DR-Z runs a steel tube frame with a solid aluminium subframe and alloy swingarm.
Weight: The DR-Z feels light enough to ride but itâ€™s not until you need to pick it up that you realise it weighs 132kg dry.
Engine: The DR-Z400 engine is a 398cc DOHC, four-valve, liquid-cooled motor that pumps out 48hp at 9000rpm.
Suspension: The conventional fork tends to be a little on the soft side for most riders but the monoshock suits trail riding well.