Trail riding is one of the most fun and pure aspects of motorcycling. With increasing costs for road-legal based fun trail riding is one of the best ways to get your riding kicks for cheap. Today we’re looking at one of - in our opinion - the best starter trail bikes that can be had for very little money. Suzuki’s venerable DR200.
Suzuki’s DR200 ticks plenty of boxes for the beginner trail rider straight if out the box. With a low maintenance single cylinder engine, relatively light weight of 125kg dripping wet combined with proper dirt bike ergonomics and wheels offering plenty of tyre choices thanks to the 21 and 18-inch sizing the DR is a good platform to start on.
Power is plenty for the dirt, with 20hp at 8500rpm claimed by Suzuki, while that power is put to the ground via a 5-speed gearbox. It’s nothing fancy, but as a beginner machine it’s all you need and as we’ll cover later it is a durable combination. Suzuki also claims a fuel economy figure of just 2.22 litres per 100km from the carburetted single cylinder engine, which works out to over 500km of potential range from the 12.5-litre tank. That adds up to a whole weekend’s worth of riding at even some of our larger trail rides here in NZ.
Braking is one area that the little DR really fails to excite. With a 230mm disc up front and a drum brake out the back it is adequate - if anything - for the bikes size, but high performance the braking is not.
Why Choose DR?
So why do we think a DR200 is possibly the best beginner trail bike out there? That’s easy, because of the popularity of the DR on kiwi farms in DR200 Trojan form they are abundant in the second hand market and can be had for very little money.
We‘re talking sub-$1000 here if you’re lucky and no more than $2000 for a working example.
Sure, you could opt for a brand new machine (priced from $5500 for the DR) or a dedicated entry level trail bike like the Kawasaki KLX230 or Honda CRF250F, but second hand you can get a DR and hit the trail for well under $2,000 if you shop around. Simply find a cheap farm hack, pull off the farming equipment such as the Trojan’s rear rack and secondary side stand (yep, it’s got one on each side!), give it a service and some new tyres and away you go.
Ok, it might not be that simple in reality but as a bike to sink your teeth into the world of dirt we think it’s one of the best bets out there.
While “best, cheap bike” often ends in disaster, being a Suzuki we do t think that’s the case with the DR200.
DR200 parts are cheap through both Suzuki NZ and aftermarket retailers such as bits4bikes.co.nz and you can’t put a price on experience at the end of the day.
So if you’re looking to get started into the world of dirt riding, take a look at the Suzuki DR200. What it lacks in performance it makes up for in fun and affordable time on two wheels - and at the end of the day that is what really counts.
Suzuki DR200S Specs
Engine Type: 4-stroke, air-cooled, SOHC
Engine Displacement: 199cc
Bore x Stroke: 66mm x 58.2mm
Fuel System: Carburetor MIKUNI BST31SS, single
Starter System: Electric
Overall Length: 2155mm
Overall Width: 805mm
Overall Height: 1140mm
Ground Clearance: 255mm
Seat Height: 845mm
Curb Mass: 126kg
Suspension - Front: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension - Rear: Link type, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes - Front: Disc
Brakes - Rear: Drum
Tyre - Front: 70/100-21M/C 44P, tube type
Tyre - Rear: 100/90-18M/C 56P, tube type
Fuel Tank Capacity: 12.5 litres