took the Suzuki to the Nurburgring to enable me to get around the
inside of the Nordschleife track, a myriad labyrinth of twisty trails
leading to trackside viewpoints. We ended up arguing over who would
get to thrash it round the track next. The first thing you notice
as you swing a leg over this machine is just how far away the ground
suddenly is! Yup it’s a stepladder on wheels. With a seat
height of 37 inches getting on and off the thing is a bit of a problem
for the vertically challenged. At a strapping 5’7” myself
(although I’m tall for my height), I found the best method
was to pop it into first and climb on as you pull away. Cool when
you get it right and entertaining for the crowd when you don’t.
suspension travel (about a foot at both ends!) gave just enough
with my weight on it for me to get one tippy-toe down but the whole
thing is just so light anyway (119kg) that in practice, I could
happily live with it. Under way, the bike is as sure-footed and
nimble handling as you would expect from a race bred machine.
The response from the 400cc water-cooled four-stroke lump
is mildly disappointing at first. I was expecting to stomp away
from tickover as each power stroke thumped through the rear tyre.
Not so. This new breed of four stroke single delivers its’
torque higher up the scale - and there’s plenty of it. It
positively thrives on revs and there’s never a hint of harsh
vibration. Once you forget any preconceptions about four stroke
singles, you just wring every last one of those 7600 rpm to release
smooth predictable power. Give it some stick and 40 odd horsepower
catapults bike and rider forwards. The machine is so light you
really feel the engine and brakes are operating on you directly
and you can happily thrash it all day long. We know, because we
wasn’t long before the bike was prised from my possession,
coincidentally after everyone had scared themselves silly on the
GSX-R 1000 on a freshly damp track. Now this is a no-nonsense
motocrosser with lights, complete with trail style knobblies.
Who in their right mind would choose to take a dirt bike around
the Nurburgring when there’s a selection of Suzuki’s
finest race reps to choose from? The answer surprisingly is -
everyone who tried it!
The DR-Z is an absolute hoot around
the track. You get wasted on the straights but find yourself looking
right over the top of sportsbikes when you catch them under braking.
Catching sportsbikes under braking? Erm, hang on a minute, this
is a ‘crosser we’re talking about isn’t it? Incredible
but true. In fact you soon learn to just blast around bigger bikes
like some demented lunatic, hopelessly off-line and way too fast
before bouncing out of the corner like Wile-E-Coyote from an Acme
catapult. It corners like a diabolical cross between a pogo stick
and a jet-ski, Newton’s laws of physics no longer apply to
Like everybody else who tried it, I found myself
giggling hysterically, hurling it into bends with reckless abandon
before deliberately grabbing handfuls of throttle at ludicrous
angles of lean. It never occurs to you that you won’t make
it and anyway you could always jump the curbs… Those knobbly
tyres are remarkably well behaved and the suspension just soaks
up everything you throw at it. So much so that my single claim
to fame amongst these knee-down balls out racer chappies was that
I once managed to get the footrest down without actually dropping
it (and only twice when I actually did).
Now then: what’s this super-moto
thingy? Sounds like fun...