Comparison test of 400 enduro bikes: Honda XR 400 R, KTM LC4-E 400, Suzuki DR-Z 400 S


Comparison test of 400 enduro bikes: Honda XR 400 R, KTM LC4-E 400, Suzuki DR-Z 400 S

straight through

Loose over hill and dale? Honda XR 400 R, KTM LC4-E 400 and Suzuki DR-Z 400 S promise stress-free enduro hiking. MOTORRAD sent the middle graders on a tour of discovery through the Spanish hinterland.

Discover the possibilities. No, not chasing seconds on a sporty surface-to-air missile, but relaxed strolling on winding single trails ?? Spring air instead of a two-stroke muff. Word has long since got around that the path to an enjoyable enduro tour does not necessarily start with a steam hammer with 600 cm3. The 400s promise lighter with theirs
manageable power development and their low weight more fun off-road than the large-piston engine.
In the spirit of Suzuki’s popular DR 350 ?? she officially retired in 1997 ?? The test trio is the deliberately softer and, above all, everyday counterpart to the increasingly uncompromising competitive runners. But where are the limits of the softies? What do they put away in the area? And are they even suitable for touring? The three of them have to prove themselves in southern Spain: on stony ascents and descents, trial-like rock crossings, as well as on gravel paths and country roads.
With the DR-Z 400 S, Suzuki started last year to reanimate the somewhat orphaned soft enduro class. New, water-cooled engine, modern chassis layout, electric starter, smart detailed solutions ?? everything included, everything on. But the price of 12,390 marks for 400 cm3 and measured 37 hp don’t make the new one a bargain. Especially since the sheet metal tank, which is in danger of falling, and the only partially adjustable spring elements, doubts arise as to whether it is a genuine enduro.
The KTM LC4-E 400 is much more consistently prepared for robust use. For 12870 marks it offers a be-
lasted 39 HP engine, competitive-
Tried and tested spring elements and well thought-out equipment including kick and electric starters. But not only with the price, but also with the stately weight of 159 kilograms with a full tank, some dare
a look at the almost equally heavy and hardly more expensive 640 sister.
10,999 marks appear almost as a special offer for the 2000 version of the single-seat XR 400 R. With its air-cooled four-valve engine, minimal but practical trimmings ?? like the quick-release fasteners in the air-
filter cover or the solid oil cooler
under the lamp mask ?? in the age of filigree high-tech sports equipment with classic enduro qualities. Where there is nothing, no water cooler can break in the event of a slip, and the Kickstarter doesn’t care that there is no battery on board. The reward of modesty: 133 kilograms with a full tank.
To explore the terrain, step into the surprisingly comfortable Honda saddle. The grippy standard tires and the low weight make the XR a pioneer in the field. At first the dance on loose scree changes into
a dry stream bed with a
brisk slalom on grippy forest floor. The XR engine with its four radially arranged valves is a pleasant, if not overly potent partner here. Thanks to its agility, the measured 33 hp are easily enough to lift the front wheel over stone steps. Unfortunately, the connections in the first three gears do not fit perfectly, which is particularly annoying on steep driveways. Short term
this can be concealed with the delicately metered and pleasantly smooth-running clutch, but a shorter final gear ratio (smaller pinion) is advisable.
The handiness of the XR is impressive in narrow passages. She scurries effortlessly between the tree stumps and boulders? there comes joy. Unfortunately, the extremely handy steering geometry is not compatible with the fork that is too soft. Rebound and compression damping are adjustable, but the basic set-up was not tight enough. If the front wheel of the Honda, which is not particularly stable, only prances slightly on fast gravel roads, the XR can hit the handlebars wildly when braking as soon as the front dips when decelerating. A set of harder forks-
You can’t get around feathers. The
The shock absorber, on the other hand, mimes that
Gentleman: It’s neatly tuned, fully adjustable and offers to be through
sensitive response surprisingly high traction ?? well done.
The engine also has well-groomed manners. Regardless of whether the throttle is pulled fast in a sporty manner or only carefully pulled on tricky obstacles, you can always rely on the Single. When starting, a little practice is enough
light kick, both with a cold engine and after a small slip. The drinking habits do not quite fit the noble character. Off-road there is ebb after 114 kilometers in the 9.5-liter tank, on-road there are 164 kilometers.
On the gravel tour through Spain’s wilderness, the Suzuki mainly acquires its low-vibration and agile design
Motor sympathy. Subjectively, the water-cooled four-valve engine looks the most powerful, just somehow grown-up. The gearbox does not give in
In terms of switchability, there is still reason for criticism in terms of the gradation. However, the motor occasionally quits when it is briskly crossing rough waves or steps. Typical symptoms for a stressed constant pressure carburetor in which the slider lifted by the negative pressure sags due to the hard knocks in the terrain. As a kind of compensation, the DR brings the lowest consumption: In the field it is a tame 5.5 liters per 100 kilos-
meter, on asphalt 5.0 liters. The ten-liter tank is enough for 181 kilometers on gravel and 200 kilometers on the road.
Another strength of the DR-Z 400 S is its balance. It offers the most pleasant compromise between agile handling and the necessary directional stability. It’s a shame that the too soft spring strut, which can only be adjusted in preload and compression, causes unrest in the chassis even at a slightly forced speed. In two-person operation, the damper is completely overwhelmed. The nicely appealing fork, which is endowed with ample damping reserves, can take a lot more. Even ambitious drivers can make friends with it. An adjustable rebound damping instead of the
adjustable spring base
but more sensible, the pressure stage adjustment is standard.
Just as relaxed as the one at-
The KTM driver can do his colleagues
do not enjoy the difficult, but scenic sections of the route. In narrow passages he fights against the sluggish handling. In addition, there is the additional weight, the Austrian does not flit across the steps as nimily as her opponents. Thanks to its chassis designed for stable straight-line stability, the LC4 feels most comfortable in brisk to fast sections of the route ?? after all, the genes of the KTM rally cars slumber in it. With the directional stability of a rail bus, it slams through the gravelly stream bed. Here and there lurking stumbling blocks neither fork nor strut wrestle hectic reactions. Both can be set over an enormously wide range and provide even heavy sports riders with enough reserves without shaking flyweights out of the saddle at a slow pace.
Due to the lush flywheel, the LC4 engine pulls horse and rider through thick and thin with stoic calm.
Intoxicating spontaneity? Nothing, but the single cylinder chugs over all obstacles even at the lowest speeds without complaint. This quickly creates trust, especially among enduro beginners. Only the gearbox, which can still be shifted, is a bit annoying.
The Alpen-Single is also available for brisk pace on asphalt. A top speed of 154 km / h allows the KTM driver to quickly reconnect with the XR and DR-Z, which have taken a few meters away from him in tricky terrain. Only when pulling through in the last gear does the LC4, which has a long translation, weaken a bit. The KTM’s outstanding suitability for country roads also matches the comparatively noticeably stable front brake and the spacious and passenger-friendly space. When it comes to seating comfort, neither the Solo-XR nor the narrow-seated Suzuki can compete. People over 1.75 meters tall complain about the DR-Z’s leg angle being too narrow and the handlebars positioned too close to the body on longer journeys over land.
When the Stollen trio leaned against the finca in the evening, one thing was clear: The 400s are ?? in terms of displacement and performance? actually the happy medium. Because even after a long day off-road with them, there is still enough vigor to make plans for the next morning.

Technical data: Honda XR 400 R (VT)

Air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, a balance shaft, an overhead, chain-driven camshaft, four valves per cylinder, arranged radially, rocker arm and rocker arm, dry sump lubrication, Keihin slide carburetor, Ø 36 mm, contactless condenser ignition, no exhaust gas cleaning, kick starter. Bore x stroke 85 x 70 mm, displacement 397 cm3, rated output 25 kW (34 hp) at 7500 rpm, max. Torque not specified and compression damping, front disc brake, double-piston caliper, Ø 240 mm, rear disc brake, single-piston caliper, Ø 220 mm. Tires 3.00-21; 4.00-18 Chassis data Steering head angle 64.8 degrees, caster 94 mm, wheelbase 1430 mm, spring travel v / h 280/300 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 960 mm, weight fully fueled * 133 kg, payload * 88 kg, tank capacity / reserve 9, 5 / 2.5 liter. Guarantee none Color red Performance variant none Price including VAT and additional costs (model year 2000) 10,999 marks (model year 2001) 11,499 marks

Technical data: KTM LC4-E 400

Water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, a balance shaft, an overhead, chain-driven camshaft, four valves per cylinder, roller rocker arm, wet sump lubrication, Dellorto round slide carburetor, Ø 38 mm, contactless capacitor ignition, uncontrolled catalytic converter with secondary air system, electric and kick starter. Bore x stroke 89 x 64 mm Displacement 398 cm3 Nominal output 29 kW (39 PS) at 9000 rpm Max. Torque 35 Nm (3.6 kpm) at 7000 rpm power transmission Mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, O-ring chain. Chassis Single-loop frame made of tubular steel, split beams, screwed steel frame rear, upside-down fork, slide tube diameter 43 mm, adjustable train and compression damping, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum profiles, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, front disc brake, double-piston caliper, Ø 300 mm, rear disc brake, single-piston caliper, Ø 220 mm. Tires 90 / 90-21; 140 / 80-18 Chassis data Steering head angle 63 degrees, caster 124 mm, wheelbase 1510 mm, suspension travel f / h 270/300 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 960 mm, weight with full tank * 159 kg, payload * 191 kg, tank capacity / reserve 12 / 2.5 liters. One year warranty with unlimited mileage; Orange color; 25 kW (34 hp) performance variant; Price including VAT. 12480 Marks; Additional costs: 390 Marks

Technical data: SUZUKI DR-Z 400 S

Water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, one balance shaft, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves, bucket tappets, dry sump lubrication, Mikuni constant pressure carburetor, Ø 36 mm, contactless condenser ignition, secondary air system, electric starter. Bore x stroke 90 x 62.6 mm, displacement 398 cm3, nominal capacity 29 kW (40 PS) at 7600 rpm Max. Torque 39 Nm (4 kpm) at 6600 rpm power transmission Mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, O-ring chain. Chassis single-loop frame made of tubular steel, screwed rear frame made of aluminum tubes, telescopic fork, standpipe diameter 49 mm, adjustable spring base and compression damping, two-arm swing arm made of central aluminum spring profiles Lever system, adjustable spring base and compression damping, front disc brake, double-piston caliper, Ø 250 mm, rear disc brake, single-piston caliper, Ø 220 mm. Tires 80 / 100-21; 120 / 90-18 Chassis data Steering head angle 62.4 degrees, caster 109 mm, wheelbase 1475 mm, spring travel f / r 260/260 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 970 mm, weight with a full tank * 142 kg, payload * 193 kg, tank capacity 10 liters. Guarantee two years with unlimited mileageColors blue / white, yellowPerformance variant nonePrice incl. VAT 12170 Marks, additional costs 220 Marks

1st place: KTM LC4-E 400

The all-rounder: competition-proven, fully adjustable spring elements, comfortable space ?? even for two people ?? and high-quality, well-engineered equipment including a main stand and unregulated catalytic converter make the Austrian a perfect all-round package. Stollen marathonists will be delighted with the optionally available 18-liter tank, as well as with the wide range of accessories. The LC4-E 400 also likes to adapt to high-spirited enduro riders and rough terrain, although the engine with its lush flywheel is not exactly one of the explosive characters.

2nd place: Suzuki DR-Z 400 S

The petite: With a contemporary, slim look, powerful, sophisticated engine and a modern chassis layout, Suzuki is taking the soft enduro offensive with the DR-Z 400 S. But the ergonomics, which are unsuitable for longer tours, and the shock absorber that is too soft are appealing. Better fall prevention and a more attractive price could, however, give the balanced 400 series the breakthrough. Perhaps reaching into the neighboring DR-Z shelf would also help. After all, in addition to the plastic tank and better engine protection, the sports sister also has a high-quality strut ex works.

3rd place: Honda XR 400 R

The robust one: Beyond reason-oriented considerations, the hearty Honda the hearts of tunnel fans fly to. No wonder, as it has everything that off-road beginners and climbers need to romp over hill and dale. If it weren’t for the too soft fork and the nervous handling, the red one could be the safe tip for enduro purists. They won’t be deterred by the limited suitability for everyday use in the form of short maintenance intervals and the minimum equipment. The payload of just 88 kilograms ensures natural selection anyway.

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