Comparison review TW vs DRz400SM
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Thread: Comparison review TW vs DRz400SM

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tinybear's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    SW Ontario

    Comparison review TW vs DRz400SM

    Well I have owned my TW now for 3 years and 4000kms of commuting and trail riding bliss. But lately I had been itching for a bit more ommphh to get me to the trails and back and to be safer on the highway for commuting.

    So i picked up a third bike to join the TW trail toy and the Vstrom touring machine. I picked up a used good condition DRz400SM, threw on some Shinko 244 knobbies on the 17Ē wheels, and added a bit of protection to the engine cases and rads. I have since logged about 1600kms (200Kms of mostly easy trail) on the clock attempting to see which bike I will be keeping as my trail toy,

    First up the TW. This bike is still the most fun I have had on two wheels in the 18 years and 11 motorcycles I have been riding/owning. It just makes every obstical I encounter on the trails seem easy. The bike inspires so much confidence and seems to just track straight no matter what your riding over (except sand of course that shits always giving me a hard time lol). It also has a phenominal turning radius allowing trail turn arounds to be a sinch. Itís also a easy bike to wrench on when needed. The only complaints I have ever had that I have not been able to tailor to me is the lack of a bit more top end power to make commuting on the machine or riding to and from the trails a bit more enjoyable as with being my size the poor bike struggles to hold 80km/hr (55mph) up anything resembling a hill. I also find the brakes to be a bit on the weak side of things requiring a bit more effort than I would like. And lastly and most obviously the bikes physical size is a bit smaller than Iíd like being 5í11 and 270lbs.

    On to the DRz. This bike is absolutely the opposite of the TW in most ways. The bike is comfy to cruise on up to about 115km/hr (71mph) and tops out at ruffly 140km/hr (87mph) with me aboard It has pretty damn strong power allowing power wheelies in first and second or epic power slides In the dirt. The bikes suspension is leaps and bounds better than the TW allowing a quicker cushier ride over the whoops thanks to the almost double the suspension travel and better valveing. The bike does weight 30lbs more than the TW but seems to hide it pretty well. Mine is Lowered so the hieght is only about a inch or so up from my TW (which sits about half inch taller than a stock TW). Cornering the DRZ was a BEAST in the turns on the street rubber but once switching to the knobbies now feels a bit more nervous was the knobs squirm and thereís not as much curved profile to the tires now, where as the TW handles the turns regardless like a champ. The brakes on the DRZ are phenominal hailing the bike down in a hurry when needed and allowing fun to be had with the rear wheel. Dirt roads or trails at high speed I would even say the DRZ is more stable than the TW less twitching and just blasts along. BUT when the trail gets narrow and ruff with big obsticals is where the TW truly pulls ahead as this just becomes hard work with the DRZ. At slow speeds the DRZ is pushed around on the trail by bigger rocks and requires more attention. Steep declines make those powerful brakes far less desirable as again itís all tk easy to lock up. Thereís also far less rear end traction due to both the narrower tire and being a larger bike less weight on that rear tire unless I shift my weight WAY back. Add in the extra weight and tall gearing and you get a scary ride on steep sandy decents (only place I have dumped it this far). That being said having the extra power and plusher suspension makes it a boat load of fun on the easier sections of trail. Being able to unload the front suspension over obsticals is also a huge help and the longer wheel base makes some things a bit easier (crossing rail road tracks for instance). One BIG area I find is the seat on the DRZ is tiny and makes long trails rides on the machine exhausting. And lastly as mentioned above this bikes turning circle SUCKS the lock to lock angles mean tail turn arounds are like a 5point turn were the TW did it in 3.

    Over all as many here suggested when I was considering the DRz400. The bike is NO replacement for the TW200. Itís a nice addition to have and is a lot of fun even more so than the TW on the right trail BUT where the TW truly shines to me is itís fun no matter what the trails like. And for that reason I donít think my TW is going anywhere. I just may have to keep three bikes now because I love this little TW and also the DRz400SM. So the result of this experiment means MY WIFES GOING TO KILL ME lol.

    TW200 and the wifeís Sportsman ATV

    DRz400SM along side my brother and his girlfriends TW200s

    2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT

    2010 Yamaha TW200

    2016 Polaris Sportsman 450 HO

    2005 Yamaha Bruin 350 4x4

  2. #2
    Senior Member joeband's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    norcal nutjob
    nice write up, thanks.

    tw-brian has/had a suzuki, i'd bet his thoughts are similar to yours.
    1994 TW226- 6spd. 10w-40 synthetic, XTHidden Content , XT225 stainless header, +2" Joemama swingarm, lizrd cooler, +20% fork springs, +25% rear spring, 2001 speedo w/ trip odo, pro taper atv bars, bark busters, shinko 241 front tire, front fender w/ mr bracket bracket, Hidden Content , o-ring chain, ricochet skid plate, Hidden Content , XT225 rear brake cam lever, folding-tip shifter, cycle rack, kolpin 1.5 aux tank & 1450 pelican case. Hidden Content or Hidden Content

    Hidden Content

  3. #3
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    May 2017
    Thanks for the info. Have one of those DRZ's on my radar. Like to sent it up like yours and give it a try.

    Just got another XR650L thumper. Have owned several over the years. Boy I sure love the handling, power and torque of that 650. Plus the great suspension sure is a joy on the rough stuff. Problem is I have to go trim my wooded trails a little lower. The XR is so tall I'm eating all the low hanging brush. Wonder how that 650 engine would be in a TW frame??
    Miaugi, Dryden-Tdub and Fred like this.
    2017 XR650l
    2014 NC700X
    2005 ST-1300
    Wanted TW450

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Badgerflorida's Avatar
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    Jun 2017
    Milwaukee, WI
    Sand sure is a bugger on any bike. All of us pining for more top end power out of our TWs need to read your write up.

    Now the big question - if you could only choose one?

    Don’t let your bikes hear your answer. Cheers
    Dryden-Tdub likes this.
    01 SOLD
    96 SOLD
    89 restored SOLD
    89 (restoration in process)
    05 (restoration in process)
    03 10K miles, decent condition
    04 in great condition

  6. #5
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    Frosty Hollow
    Nice evaluation. Just curious, was there no DRZ400E Dual-Sport versions of the DRZ to be found. I would think this would be a bit better on the trail since it's suppose to be more trail oriented thand the SM model.

    Although the E is a bit taller than the SM, it's also lighter. Add different rim sizes, I'm wondering if it would be more trail friendly over the SM.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts from riding both of these.

    P.S. I'm glad I live to far to ride my TW to work. It keeps me from freezing on the morning commutes. I don't think I've ridden my TW the 40-50 miles to work for a couple years now and then it was only 2-5 times a year.
    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

  7. #6
    S52 is offline
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    Jul 2018
    Nice evaluation and review! When I told my buddy last week I was interested in a TW he quickly suggested I should look into a DRZ. Went to the dealership and had a look at both of them side by side. For me, the TW won out, as I prefer the smaller stature. But the DRZ looked very impressive too.
    Peterb likes this.
    1999 Yamaha TW-200
    1975 Honda Trail 90

  8. #7
    Senior Member Peterb's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    North Bay, Ontario, Canada
    TW forever! ...unless of course they have a 2/3s off sale on the KTM690...Mike (tinybear) I really think you should buy a KTM690 enduro.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Tinybear's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    SW Ontario
    Badger- If I could only have one. It likely be none of the bikes I presently own. I would likely opt for a DR650 like I had prior to the TW. It’s a bike that’s comfy on the street and can manage easier trails.

    Admiral- street legal E models are not too common here and it’s not legal any more to license them. Also the SM is better suspended for a big guy like my self. And lastly it was too good a deal to pass up and looked cool lol.

    Peter B- KTM too $$$$ for my blood. I’d be afraid to ride a $14000 motorcycle the way I do my TW and DRZ. Now if the KTM could be had for like $3000 I’d be all over that lol.
    Peterb likes this.
    2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT

    2010 Yamaha TW200

    2016 Polaris Sportsman 450 HO

    2005 Yamaha Bruin 350 4x4

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