If the DR-Z400SM looks like Suzuki’s DR-Z400S dual-sport bike, that’s entirely expected because the two models are closely related. Launching way back in 2005, the SM pinned streetbike running gear onto the dirt-bred S model to create Suzuki’s first (and still only) supermoto, a particularly lithe and playful road machine. Primary features supporting this transformation are a 17-inch wheelset with wider rims and sportbike tires, an inverted fork, enlarged 300mm front brake rotor, and revised final-drive gearing.
There are pros and cons to such a dirt bike-turned-streetbike formula. On the positive side, the 398cc DR-Z400S weighs a claimed 322 pounds wet, more than 150 less than the company’s middleweight Burgman 400 ABS scooter, which displaces an almost identical 399cc. As well, the SM has way more wheel travel than a typical streetbike. The penalty for this supple suspension, however, is that the DR-Z400SM has a 35-inch seat height, which is imposingly tall for smaller riders.
Likes: All the playfulness of a dirt bike, factory modified for the street.
Dislikes: The carbureted engine is relatively low tech today, and the tall seat can be challenging for smaller riders.
Verdict: A carbureted throwback in an EFI world, the DR-Z400SM is still a good value and plenty likable.