Petrol Pinchers: Suzuki DR200 – First Look

Wake up the little Suzy.

Petrol Pinchers: Suzuki DR200 - First Look

There's no neighbor who won't like the Suzuki DR200. It's a classic trailbike, a playbike or dual-sport; what the non-rider always calls an enduro bike and says sure looks like fun. Light, simple but with electric start and all the street gear plus semi-knobby tires and plenty of suspension.

Brand-new, the Suzy was fine at 60 mph and as miles piled up, the speedo crept higher, but 65 seemed to me as fast as it should go. That's dodgy for the HOV lane (average speed about 80, cell phone glued to ear, Egg McMuffin in lap), and if you're not there, you're in the slow lane racing 18-wheelers downhill. Gives one pause.

Riding posture is fine, and while the saddle is hard, the relatively low cruising speed means windblast isn't a problem despite the straight-up seating position.There's been some cost consciousness, as in the choke is tucked away under the gas tank and behind the evap canister while most of the other bikes have a lever on the bars. The controls seemed a little notchy, too, rowing up and down through all those lights, and downshifts were tight when the drivetrain was hot. Both afflictions were getting better the more miles we put on.

The Suzuki will win acceptance, perhaps even respect, plus it's got the extra of offering some off-road use on trails and unpaved roads if not actual motocross.

This one could be bought by someone who really wanted a playbike and justified the buy as economical transportation, which at 68.4 mpg it truly is.

Update: American Suzuki has not changed the $3949 price of the DR200 since 2006.