Suzuki DR-Z400E and DR-Z400SM

Suzuki DR-Z400E

The Suzuki DR-Z400E is a trail bike worth a look regardless if you are a learner or fully licensed motorcycle rider.  The DR-Z400 has been around for years and hence proven mechanically reliable and with plenty of help on the internet is something goes wrong or if you’re into modding. Interestingly there was the virtually identical Kawasaki KLX400 but it is not unusual for the two manufacturers to share models.

In terms of design the DR-Z400’s trail bike look is completely standard except for the additional enduro style radiator protectors and it does look a little old. The stereotypical design means it will get confused to other brands and larger bikes except for KTM of course but it doesn’t really matter as despite age it still looks good. There is also the Super Motard version of the same bike called the DR-Z400SM, so it has road tyres rather than dual purpose ones.

In terms of the mechanicals there is certainly nothing new at the time of this post in 2017, so a large capacity single cylinder ‘thumper’ engine. The only throwback is the lack of EFI relying on CDI carbs which is annoying but at least the LAMS restrictions can be removed at a later date. The fuel tank is only 10 litres which is also a flaw but in all honestly after riding it for 100kms you’ll probably want to have a break from all the fun you’ll probably be having.

There is nothing further I can add to the review of the Suzuki DR-Z400E. It is another great choice for anyone contemplating a dual purpose motorcycle that’s under the $10,000 AUD price that’s less common on the road than the ubiquitous Kawasaki Ninja’s for LAMS and certainly different type of motorcycle for those wanting it for a commuter. Mind you you need to have long legs…

Suzuki DR-Z400E Key Specifications (2017)
Engine: 1 cylinder 4 valve DOHC (Carbs)
Capacity: 398cc
Power/Torque: 35.8Kw @ 9000RPM 40Nm @ 4500RPM
Gearbox: 5 speed
Kerb Weight: 138Kg Approx
Performance: 0-100kph NA seconds Approx
Max Speed NA Kph Approx
Fuel Economy: 10 litre fuel tank
Approx 4 litres per 100km
Seat height: 935mm
Dimensions: L2310 x W825 x H1235
Recommended Retail Price: $8,740 (2017) for the DR-Z400E
$9,990 (2017) for the DR-Z400SM

Harley Davidson Street 500 (XG500)

Harley Davidson Street 500

The Harley Davidson Street 500 (XG500) is a cruiser style motorcycle built for those on a budget. Incidentally the Street 500’s engine falls under the LAMS formula so it also becomes a learner cruiser motorcycle. There aren’t many cruiser motorcycles in the entry level class and this is a first Harley Davidson so worth a look if you this style or motorcycle and a learner. The Street 500 is built in India hence the lower price tag but to me it’s not a real Harley Davidson as they need to be made in the US purely due to their marketing and branding.

Technically the Street 500 uses a new engine design called the Revolution X for HD that is focused on low revs and power but high torque. In fact the only performance figure they boast is the 40Nm of torque at a low 3750 RPM and that would be impressive in 1997 not 2017. Apart from the new engine everything as is pretty much extremely normal and a little cheap, witness the solo speedo and switches. The most disappointing and unfortunate omission is the trademarked Harley Davidson sound is missing sounding noticeably Japanese.

In terms of design the Street 500 has blacked out engine and ancillary parts to look completely modern, no retro design touches, it is best described as a step backwards  of the now production axed HD V-Rod. I think it will appeal to the younger riders although the same riders will be buying the badge as it doesn’t look like or sound like any Harley Davidson model. Maybe they are hoping to sell the growing range of custom and performance parts? The marketing of the Street 500 claims it is a cafe racer but that is a stretch. In the end though the Street 500 looks incomplete and a little awkward and definitely looks like a learner motorcycle.

The Harley Davidson Street 500 has an inroad price of just under $10000 so if you need a Harley Davidson then this the cheapest model to buy. However before you buy you must know that it is slow, rather basic and not particularly Harley Davison.

Harry Davidson Street 500 Key Specifications (2018)
Engine: V-Twin cylinder 4 valve SOHC (EFI)
Capacity: 494cc
Power/Torque: xxKw @ xxxxRPM 40Nm @ 3750RPM
Gearbox: 6 speed
Kerb Weight: 233Kg Approx
Performance: 0-100kph NA seconds Approx
Max Speed NA Kph Approx
Fuel Economy: 13 litre fuel tank
Approx 4 litres per 100km
Seat height: 720mm
Dimensions: L2215 x W840 x H1105
Recommended Retail Price: $9,990 (2018)