The Suzuki DR200SE emerges as a dual-sport motorcycle of smaller capacity, perfectly suited for those just starting their biking journey. Whether navigating city streets or tackling rugged terrains, its powerful engine ensures a smooth ride, offering enough torque to conquer challenging terrains or swiftly maneuver through bustling traffic.
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Suzuki DR200SE Specifications
|Engine Type||4-stroke, SOHC, single-cylinder, Twin Dome Combustion Chamber|
|Fuel System||Mikuni BST31|
|Ignition||Digital / CDI|
|Dimensions (LxW)||84.6 in. (2,150 mm) x 31.7 in. (805 mm)|
|Seat Height||31.9 in. (810 mm)|
|Ground Clearance||10.2 in. (260 mm)|
|Fuel Capacity||3.4 gal. (13 l) CA model: 3.3 gal. (12.5 l)|
|Front Suspension||Telescopic, oil damped|
|Rear Suspension||Oil-damped, adjustable preload|
|Brakes (Front/Rear)||Single hydraulic disc / Mechanical drum|
|Tires (Front/Rear)||70/100-21 44P / 100/90-18 56P|
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Suzuki DR200SE Review: A Dual-Sport Delight
Engine and Transmission: A Perfect Blend
Equipped with a 200cc, single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine, the DR200SE is adept at cruising both urban streets and forested pathways. Its transmission, designed with lower gearing, is particularly beneficial for novices. Unlike certain sport bikes that reach 20-30mph in the initial gear, this motorcycle allows ample time for mastering the art of shifting. However, riders should rely on the engine’s sound for moving cues, given the absence of a tachometer in its instrument cluster.
Yet, it’s essential to note that this motorcycle isn’t tailored for long freeway journeys. While it can sustain speeds between 55-65 mph, pushing beyond might compromise comfort. Achieving its top speed of approximately 90mph requires a daring spirit!
On dirt tracks, fire roads, or camping trails, the DR200SE truly shines. Its design accommodates some gear, making it an excellent companion for motorcycle camping adventures.
Stock tires on the DR200SE are reasonably good. However, these tires might offer a different traction for those venturing frequently into muddy or sandy terrains. On dirt trails, though, the bike showcases impressive grip, promising exhilarating rides. For novices aiming to hone their skills on city streets, this motorcycle won’t disappoint. Some enthusiasts have even transformed it into a supermoto, tweaking the suspension and opting for street tires. This modification might compromise its off-road prowess but enhances the thrill on winding roads.
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Street-Ready and Resilient
The DR200SE boasts complete street legality with a license plate holder, turn signals, and mirrors. Renowned for their durability, dual-sport motorcycles are resilient; this model is no exception. Minor mishaps, like low-speed drops common among beginners, won’t inflict significant damage. Weighing a mere 249 pounds when dry, it offers effortless low-speed handling, starkly contrasting to its bulkier counterparts. However, its lightweight nature might pose challenges at higher speeds, making it susceptible to wind gusts.
Comfortably cruising between 30-50mph speeds, it’s ideal for quick errands or campsite explorations. A bonus? It has impressive fuel efficiency, with many reporting an average of 70-80mpg. Priced at $3,949.00 MRSP, it is a commendable choice for urban and off-road adventures.
Suzuki DR200SE Key Takeaways
- Feather-light at 249lbs
- Low gearing, ideal for hill ascents and slow turns
- Remarkable fuel efficiency
- Convenient electric start
- Limited top speed due to low gearing
- Tires might falter in muddy or sandy terrains
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Review after 12 years of use:
In recent years, the world of dual sport motorcycles has seen a variety of entrants, each claiming their unique stance in the market. The Suzuki DR200SE model has left a distinct mark due to its simplicity and fuel efficiency. Ideal for both beginners and experienced riders who appreciate a minimalist approach to biking, the DR200 provides a blend of street and off-road capabilities.
However, no machine lacks its quirks and features, both commendable and needing refinement. In this “Suzuki DR200 Review“, we dive deep into what makes this dual-sport motorcycle a preferred choice for many while also highlighting areas that could be further improved for an enhanced riding experience. Join us as we embark on a comprehensive journey through the lens of a DR200 enthusiast.
A Choice for Fuel Efficiency and Simplicity
When one considers the positive attributes of the Suzuki DR200, the most remarkable is its impressively large fuel tank, boasting a capacity of 13 L. Complementing this, its fuel efficiency, which can achieve up to 38 km per liter, results in an extensive riding range. This bike’s lightweight nature, coming in at 277 lbs when its gas tank is full, coupled with its uncomplicated maintenance and reliability, sets it apart.
For those who may be vertically challenged, the low seat height of 31.9 inches is a notable benefit. The Suzuki DR200 embodies simplicity in its design, offering a beginner-friendly experience and a low first gear that’s particularly advantageous for navigating rough terrains at a steady pace.
Some Areas for Improvement
However, like any machine, it has its challenges. With a top speed capping at about 115 km/hr, this isn’t your speedster. The bike’s basic suspension and modest power output may only be suited for some, especially larger riders who might find the setup somewhat cramped.
Where It Shines and Where It Doesn’t
Diving deeper into its performance, the Suzuki DR200SE is an ideal dual-sport motorcycle for those seeking an easy ride. While it can handle highway stretches, it’s advisable to steer clear of freeways due to its limited power and consequent top speed. The bike finds its comfort zone within city confines, meandering backroads, and uncomplicated trails. Though it’s competent on more challenging paths, maintaining a controlled speed is key.
The suspension, although basic, caters well to both asphalt and softer trails. The break gives a weak response at rest, but it feels rigid on rocky paths with the tires inflated to recommended levels (22 psi front, 25 rear). The suspension’s performance is satisfactory for a rider weighing roughly 68 kg (150 lbs) and not pushing the bike to its limits.
Braking, Fueling, and Tire Considerations
Equipped with a single front disk brake and a rear drum brake, the DR200’s braking system is commendable on both tarmac and dirt terrains. Its fueling system performs reliably across elevation changes, ranging from 500 m to 1800 m.
While the stock tires serve their purpose for general use, they can be a limitation on treacherous terrains. Though the original tires provided limited grip on slippery terrains, they were replaced in 2021 due to age rather than wear. Opting for more trail-oriented replacements like the Pirelli MT21 80/90-21 and 110/80-18, which are 1 cm wider, transforms the riding experience, enhancing grip on loose and muddy surfaces. However, a trade-off is their decreased performance on paved roads and potentially faster wear.
For those prioritizing trail rides, these tire replacements are highly recommended. But if the journey leans more towards pavements and gravel, a balanced tire, such as the Shinko 244, might be the better choice.
A Nod to Its Fuel Capacity
Its fuel capacity is a standout feature deserving emphasis in this Suzuki DR200 review. Holding up to 13 liters, the DR200 has an edge in fuel range compared to other dual sports with stock tanks. In perspective, Yamaha’s TW200 offers only a 7-litre tank, while Kawasaki’s KLX230 has a 7.5 l capacity.
Upkeep Simplicity and Concerns
The motorcycle is renowned for its minimal maintenance demands. Still, while the upkeep processes are straightforward, reaching the foam air filter can be slightly troublesome. One must remove the seat and side covers and then deal with the tiny air box opening. He discovered that the valve clearances were on target during the initial service phase. However, after about 5,000 km, he noted that the intake valve clearance required some adjustments because it was a tad slack. On the brighter side, the exhaust remained within acceptable specifications. It’s noteworthy that these valves come with screw-type adjusters.
Interestingly, the initial battery proved quite durable, functioning efficiently for five years when taken out during storage and recharged every month. In a comparable context, he observed the same battery model in a different motorcycle lasted up to eight years. Apart from this, he only had to address routine maintenance tasks akin to what’s expected for most bikes, like inspecting and changing various parts, including the brakes, oil, and filters.
Reliability and Minor Glitches
The motorcycle’s performance has generally been commendable. However, he faced a minor hiccup when addressing an electrical connection within the tail light. Moreover, there was a period where the fuel petcock, when set to the ‘on’ mode, trickled gas into the carburetor while the bike was idle, although this wasn’t an external leak.
A vacuum mechanism dictates the functionality of the petcock. It offers three settings – on, reserve, and prime- without an ‘off’ mode. He speculates that a certain component within the petcock, likely an O-ring or diaphragm, might be wearing out and thus demand replacement.
Unfortunately, Suzuki doesn’t offer a specialized repair kit. The only solution they present is replacing the entire Petcock assembly, which can be quite pricey. However, he found solace in the existence of third-party repair kits. Interestingly, as of last winter (2022-2023), he observed that the petcock hasn’t been leaking, even though he hasn’t addressed the suspected issue.
Add-Ons and Enhancements
Except for a few additions, the bike remains largely in its original form. He incorporated a Ricochet aluminum skid plate and opted for Pirelli MT21 tires. Furthermore, he replaced the front turn signals (after damaging one of them) with a pair from BikeMaster, which are believed to be direct substitutes for those on the DR650SE.
One noticeable difference between the original and the BikeMaster turn signals is the length of the rubber stalk, with the latter being a bit longer. He had to adjust to ensure the new signals fit properly, using a Dremel-like instrument. He also pointed out some quality concerns about the BikeMaster signals, especially compared to the original ones. For instance, one of the lenses on the new signals wasn’t a perfect fit, requiring him to apply silicone sealant. However, these minor setbacks are counterbalanced by the fact that the BikeMaster signals are much more affordable than the originals.
A Glance at the DR200SE and Its Counterparts
2020 saw the last DR200SE in the Canadian market with a selling point of $5099 + additional charges. With an initial seat height of 810 mm (31.8 in), it boasted 260 mm (10.2 in) of ground clearance, all the while weighing 113 kg (249 lbs) when dry. However, by 2020, adjustments led to a seat height of 845 mm (33.3 in) and a curb weight of 126 kg (278 lbs).
Competing against this gem are the likes of Yamaha’s XT250 and TW200, Kawasaki’s KLX230/KLX230 S, and the now-discontinued Super Sherpa. From Honda’s stable, the now-retired CRF230L and the heavier CRF250L rivaled it. However, if one looks at higher specifications and costlier models, the discontinued Kawasaki KLX250S, KLX300, and Honda CRF300L come to mind. As of 2023, the US introduced the CRF300LS, marked distinctively by its lower seat than the CRF300L. However, this model must still be added to the Honda Canada website.
Yamaha’s 2023 Offerings
The 2023 Yamaha XT250, a 249 cc model, is air-cooled and features fuel injection and electric start. It offers front and rear disc brakes and a 5-speed transmission. Weighing in at 132 kg (291 lbs), it has a fuel capacity of 9.6 l. Seat and ground clearances are pegged at 830 mm (32.7 in) and 285 mm (11.2 in), respectively. Special mention for its non-adjustable suspension, barring rear preload, and additional utilities like a clock and a low fuel indicator. The Canadian warranty stands at one year, with the model priced at $6199 for 2023 – an increase of $500 from the previous year.
The 2023 Yamaha TW200, however, is a 196 cc model that’s air-cooled and relies on carburetion. With an electric start, it has a front disc brake, rear drum brake, and a 5-speed transmission. With a weight similar to the DR200SE at 126 kg (278 lbs), it can hold 7.0 l of fuel. Distinct features include a seat height of 790 mm (31.1 in) and 265 mm (10.4 in) ground clearance. What truly sets the TW200 apart are its exceptionally broad tires, with the front being 130/80-18 and the rear 180/80-14. Canadian warranty remains the same for one year, and the model’s price for 2023 is set at CAD 5799, marking a $300 increase from 2022.
Kawasaki’s 2022 and 2023 Entries
Kawasaki’s 2022 KLX230 (233 cc) is an air-cooled model equipped with fuel injection, electric start, and front and rear disc brakes. Enhanced with ABS, it uses a 6-speed transmission. This bike weighs 133 kg (293 lbs) and can accommodate 7.5 l of fuel. It has a seat height of 885 mm (34.8 in) and a ground clearance of 265 mm (10.4 in). Additional features include a non-adjustable suspension (save for rear preload), a clock, and a fuel gauge. However, it has been noticed that the variable idle speed system garners some negative feedback, but solutions exist in the aftermarket space. The Canadian warranty period remains unchanged, and the model sells at $5599.
The KLX230 S mirrors its sibling, the KLX230, except for its shorter travel suspension. This results in a seat height of 830 mm (32.7 in) and ground clearance of 210 mm (8.3 in). Notably, 2023 graced KLX230 and KLX230 S with a new LED headlight, headlight cowling, and front fender. Pricing for both versions stands at $5749 (Non-ABS), with the option of switchable ABS for an extra $150.
Final Take on the Suzuki DR200
As the Suzuki DR200 review suggests, the DR200SE is a robust, economical, and straightforward dual-sport bike catering to novice and smaller riders. Its slightly lower power doesn’t deter enthusiasts, as it still offers a thrilling experience, especially on extended rides with just one fuel tank. It’s well-equipped to tackle slightly rugged terrains, provided it’s ridden moderately. However, one might need to look elsewhere for highway cruising due to its modest power.