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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey SMJ,

I'm starting this thread to document my DRZ build. This spring, I picked up my first SM bike ever. I couldn't be more excited. I come from the sportbike world, and I can't even begin to explain how much happier I am on a SM... but I'm probably preaching to the choir here.

When looking at bikes, I was tossed up between a CRF450X and the DRZ400SM. I decided to go with the DRZ for a couple of reasons (cost, oil capacity, didn't have to mess around getting it titled). However, in the end, my decision was pretty much made for me when I found this bike, completely stock with less than 2k miles, that was being sold for a very fair price. The decision was made, and here we are.

I knew a few things about the DRZ's reputation going in... so I immediately ordered the MRD/SSW pipe from Dave over at and a 39mm FCR from Eddie at I've been sitting on the pipe for a few days now, waiting for the carb to arrive. I can honestly say that Dave's work on this pipe is amazing. It's a TIG welded piece of art. So, so worth the money. I cannot wait to get it bolted on to my SuMo.

To date, I've really only done a few light modifications:

  • New tires
    Pilot Power 120/70R-17 (front)
    Pilot Power 150/60R-17 (rear)
    (150 fits perfectly in the rear with no modifications at all)

  • Removed the chain guard and hack saw'd off the tabs that were holding it on to the swing arm.
    I plan on hitting the swing arm with a grinding wheel to clean the hack job up a bit.

  • Removed the front indicators (who needs indicators, anyways).
    Frankly, I tipped it over on wet grass and broke one of them so I decided to take them off.

  • Removed the foot pegs and passenger strap. If you want a ride, go buy your own.
    Yes, even if you're hot.
    However, if you're super hot, I might have a suggestion for something else you should try for a ride.
    Also, I hacked off the exhaust mount/frame mounting holes so I could keep the frame mount point.
    I love my hack saw.

  • Replaced the stock front fender with the Acerbis Universal Supermoto Front Fender.
    This was a super cheap/easy mod that really makes the bike look at lot better than stock.

  • Replaced the stock rear fender with the Acerbis Replacement Rear Fender.
    This plastic is really for the DRZ400E, but it will fit S and SM with a little modification.
    I gotta be honest... I wanted to get rid of the tool pouch holes... but the lines are exactly the same, otherwise.

  • I removed almost all the stock graphics. Just can't do the barbed wire...
    As you might find out, though, the graphics on the tank have been clear coated over thus making removal way more difficult.
    There are a few videos online on how to remove theses graphics. However, it didn't seem worth the effort to me.
    If I had a bunch of money I didn't know what to do with, I was going to order a black plastic tank from Clarke. Might still in the future... but for the time being I took an even cheaper route: I wrapped my tank in matte black vinyl. I used regular sign vinyl instead of the nice 3M vehicle wrap which is designed to go around complex curves better. In the end, my job was done in a few pieces and looks kinda crappy (wrinkles). In the coming weeks, I plan on ordering some of the more appropriate vehicle wrap material and trying again. I will definitely post a detailed write up on what wrap pattern(s) I used to get the job done right... as I'm guessing I'm not the only one eager to cover up the bad ass barbed wire on the tank.
Some of my thoughts going forward:

  • Keeping things with stock displacement. No bore/stroke. If I get that itchy for more power, I'll just go grab a CRF450X.

  • Next summer will be high compression piston and cam, as well as suspension tune/lower and maybe front brakes.

  • Clean up the rear end lighting situation.
    Maybe a custom job? Maybe the Edge2 kit?

  • New headlight.
    Maybe HID?

  • Any other suggestions?
Looking forward to this. Stick around. Should be doing exhaust/carb/3x3 this weekend!

794 Posts
I haven't had indicators on any of my bikes since 1984. Just use hand signals. And do what you have to do to make sure they see you, which is doable.

6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Unforeseen mods...

I learned a new trick this weekend; the 35mph (nearly) peg'd out lowside.
It's more of a subtle trick... only really to be appreciated by true connoisseurs of the motorsports world.
Thankfully I was wearing a full Spidi GP suit, boots and my Icon Variant helmet. Every piece of protective clothing I was wearing did it's job perfectly. Bike slid off the road with no notable damage, and I popped back up immediately with only a mild headache and a very little bit of rash on my un-gloved hands. I know. You don't have to tell me how dumb it was to ride without all the gear. All I have to say is that I'm happy to have had on everything I did... and I will be rounding out my compliment of protective equipment this week.

The up side is that I get to buy more Tard gear. Does anyone have any suggestions on:

  • Gloves
    (Thinking full gauntlet with carbon sliders)
  • Knee sliders
  • Handle bars
    (Need to remove and check if mine are bent, but if they are, I will be replacing)
  • Clutch levers
    (Especially opinions on shorty levers and/or micro adjustments levers)
I'm also considering an STX Leatt brace (the model that fits with a speed hump). Anyone use one?

Thanks for any useful info you can provide!
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