The 2005 Suzuki DR-Z 400SM is the introductory model in the Japanese manufacturer's 400SM legacy, and it quickly took over the field as one of the best dual-purpose bikes available. With this bike, Suzuki's engineers built upon the company's popular DR-Z 400S, adding Supermotard styling and features to create a unique on/off-road solution for riders who are always looking for a little more.
The Suzuki DR-Z 400SM is powered by the same engine found in the 400S, a lightweight, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 398cc dry-sump engine that excels at producing strong low-rpm power. It also features the same compact four-cylinder head with 36mm intakes and 29mm exhaust valves, and a shim-under-bucket valve adjustment system. In fact, there are several features shared between the two models, including the automatic decompression system and digital CDI ignition, the Mikuni BSR36 CV-type carburetor with six-liter airbox, the compact and maintenance-free 6.5-amp battery, the five-speed transmission with cable-operated clutch, and more.
Also like the 400S, the 2005 Suzuki DR-Z 400SM is built upon a chrome-moly steel frame, with an aluminum cast bolt-on sub-frame. But, the largest difference between the two models can be found in the suspension system. The 400SM boasts a Showa suspension with an inverted front fork that's oil-damped and adjustable with rebound damping, and a link-type adjustable spring pre-load shock on the back.
The Suzuki DR-Z 400SM also features larger brakes, with front braking handled by a large 300mm floating-type rotor with dual-piston caliper, and rear braking handled by a 240mm disc and single-piston caliper. Also new on the DR-Z 400SM are its fat, super-grippy 17-inch radial tires that not only improve the bike's ride on and off the road, but also give the 400SM an incredibly rugged and aggressive look that's accentuated by the bike's black-painted rims.
The exterior of the bike is lean and narrow, with smooth transitions between the 2.6 gallon fuel tank and the seat, and from the seat to its bodywork. The bright 55/60 watt headlight and taillight allow for anytime riding, and its side mirrors are protected from the eventual stray tree branch, thanks to their flex-mounted arms.
The Suzuki DR-Z 400SM is a standout dual-purpose bike that puts a smile on the rider's face, regardless of whether they're driving the bike through heavy traffic to work, or carving their way through wooded trails. It's an affordable and easy-to-ride bike that excels at everything that's asked of it, making it an excellent choice for newcomers. Yet quite surprisingly, it's equally exhilarating for more experienced riders.