2010 Suzuki DR200SE Long Term Review

Review Last Updated: May 13, 2024
Vehicle Type: Dual Sport
Evaluation Period: 13 years, 8793 km

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large fuel tank (13 L) and low fuel consumption resulting in a long riding range, relatively light weight, simple to maintain, reliable, easy to ride, low seat height for shorter riders, simplicity, low first gear, can handle fairly rough trails at a moderate pace, smooth throttle transitions


The top speed is only about 115 km/hr, basic suspension, low power, cramped for larger riders


The DR200SE is a small, simple, easy to ride dual sport motorcycle. It's fairly light weight and has a low seat height and electric start. It's a good choice for a newer or smaller rider. You can ride it on the highway, but I would avoid the higher-speed ones as the motor does not make a lot of power, and subsequently, the top speed is only about 115 km/hr. The DR200 is more at home in town, on the backroads, dirt roads and trails. The bike is capable on rough trails; you just have to ride at a more moderate pace than you might on a dirt bike or more off-road focused dual sport. The bike has a very low first gear which is good for crawling over the rough stuff.

The suspension is basic, but it is adequate for both on-road and less aggressive trail use. When stopped, and you compress the suspension by rocking the bike, it feels soft. When riding the bike on rocky trails with the tires fully aired-up to the recommended pressures (22 psi front, 25 rear), the suspension feels harsh. I've never bottomed the suspension, but I don't ride the bike fast through big dips or ditches, and I don't do jumps on it either. For reference, I weigh about 68 kg (150 lbs) without riding gear.

The DR200 has a single front disk brake and a rear drum brake. I've found the brakes to be perfectly adequate on pavement and on dirt.

The bike has a CV carburetor; we've ridden the bike over an elevation range of about 500 m to 1800 m, and the fueling has been fine. A lot of people complain about carburetors, but we have no complaints with the one in this bike. It works fine. I've never had to service it. Transitioning on and off the gas is smooth unlike some bikes that have fuel injection (for example, the CRF300L). A carburetor is simple. There is no fuel pump or high pressure fuel lines. If your bike has a carburetor, don't let the bike sit for an extended period of time (more than 2 weeks, less if it's hot out) without draining the gas out of the carburetor first or the fuel passages and jets may become clogged. Fuel injectors can also become clogged and fuel pumps can fail. As a note, the fuel pump in our Mazda failed, and I had to service the fuel pump in my V-Strom 650 (I know someone who had to replace the fuel pump twice in his V-Strom 650). I also know of fuel pump failures in early WR250Rs and a (new at the time) KTM 1090.

The stock tires are ok for the likely intended purposes of this bike. Of the tougher trails that I've ridden this bike on, the stock tires were the limiting factor: the stock tires offer limited traction in the slippery stuff - mud and loose surfaces on hills. We replaced the stock tires in 2021 due to age more than anything (they were probably only half-worn at 6900 km). The bike has been seeing more dirt/trail use since 2020, so we chose more dirt capable tires as replacements: Pirelli MT21 80/90-21 and 110/80-18. These tires are 1 cm wider than the stock tires and are rated as 90% dirt / 10% street. I had Pirelli MT21s on my DR350S years ago, and I was happy with them. On the DR200, the MT21s greatly improve the traction in the dirt, loose rocks and especially in the mud. There is a small price to pay, though, as they do not feel as good on the pavement, but that was expected. They'll likely wear faster too. If you're going to be doing a lot of trail riding, I recommend these tires; they greatly improve the experience, and they're safer in slippery off-road conditions. If you're going to be riding mostly pavement and gravel roads, then a 50-50 tire (like a Shinko 244) may be a better choice.

One thing I would like to point out about the DR200 is the large fuel capacity - 13 litres. That combined with a low fuel consumption (average 38 km/l, but we've gotten as much as 40 km/l), gives this bike a pretty good fuel range, probably way better than any other new small dual sport with a stock fuel tank. A Yamaha TW200 has only a 7-litre fuel tank. A Kawasaki KLX230 has a fuel capacity of 7.6 l.

The DR200SE was updated a few years back with more modern styling and improved ergonomics. I believe that the chassis and motor were essentially unchanged. The bike was discontinued in Canada after 2020, but there's always the used market.

Maintenance, issues

Service Data

This is a low maintenance motorcycle, and maintenance is relatively simple although access to the foam air filter is a bit of a pain (you have to remove the side covers and seat, and the air box opening is small). The valve clearances were in-spec at the break-in service, but I did have to adjust the intake valve clearance at around 5000 km (it was a bit loose), but the exhaust was still in-spec. The valves have screw type adjusters. The original battery lasted for 5 years (removed from bike while in storage and charged monthly). The same model of battery used in another bike lasted 8 years under similar conditions. As mentioned previously, I replaced the original tires with Pirelli MT21s. The only other maintenance performed on this bike has just been the usual items applicable to most other motorcycles: check bolts, wheels, spokes, tires and brakes, replace brake fluid, oil and filter changes, air filter maintenance and replacement, chain maintenance, winterizing, etc.

The bike has been reliable. I did have to resolder an electrical connection in the tail light fairly early on. Also, previously the fuel petcock, while in the on position, had been slowly leaking gas to the carb (not externally) while the bike had been sitting (not running). The petcock is vacuum operated. There are three positions on it: on, reserve and prime; there is no off position. Normally gas should only flow to the carb when the engine is running or while the petcock is in the prime position. I imagine that either an O-ring or diaphragm in the petcock has deteriorated and needs replacing. Suzuki doesn't offer a repair kit or individual replacement parts except for the entire petcock assembly (expensive). There is an after-market repair kit available as well as after-market petcocks, but maybe all it needs is an O-ring that I can buy from an auto supply store. I checked for fuel in the carb over the past two winters, and it appeared that the petcock had stopped leaking even though I haven't gotten around to fixing it.

A new issue came up last season (2023). The feel at the gear shift lever has changed. The bike changes gears just fine, but the gear-shifting mechanism (the internal linkage) is not as smooth as before: it feels like metal is rubbing on metal when moving the lever (up-shifting is worse). I'm pretty sure that the transmission itself is fine. I suspect that the gear shift pawls have worn and need replacing. There were black flakes in the oil when I changed it, and I'm guessing that came from a coating on the pawls. The cost of replacement pawls are about $6 each (there are two of them). I'll need a few other parts too (not expensive). I'll have to remove the right engine cover and clutch to get at the gear changing mechanism to verify that's the problem. I plan to address the issue this spring (2024). I'll give an update and provide photos afterwards.

Accessories added

The bike is still completely stock except for the addition of a Ricochet aluminum skid plate, the tires (Pirelli MT21 80/90-21 and 110/80-18) and the front turn signals. We replaced the front turn signals (broke one) with a pair of BikeMaster ones (#263125) which are supposed to be direct replacements for the turn signals on the DR650SE.

The OEM DR650SE turn signals have a shorter rubber stalk than the DR200SE ones, otherwise they look pretty much the same. The mounting "bolt" on the BikeMaster signals is about 1 cm longer than the OEM ones and makes contact with the instrument cluster and probably the rear fender (if mounting on the rear) on the DR200SE. I had to carefully cut off some of the "bolt" with a Dremel-like tool to make them fit. The BikeMaster turn signals are not made as well as the OEM signals, but they are a lot cheaper ($31 CAD vs $139 front and $110 rear, each). The lens on one of the new turn signals didn't fit properly (I tried to fix it, but I was only able to improve it some), so I used silicone sealant to seal it on two sides (it's not noticeable). On that same turn signal, the alignment collar was completely inset into the stalk of the turn signal. On the other turn signal, the collar was oriented such that the signal was pointing about 45 degrees downwards from horizontal if inserted into the mounting bracket; looking at a parts fiche for the DR650SE, it looks like the cut-out on the mounting bracket is also angled from horizontal, so I guess I should have confirmed that prior to ordering the BikeMaster signals, but then again, I wasn't able to find any OEM-like replacement turn signals available for the DR200SE. The packaging of the BikeMaster signals states Suzuki Front/Rear. The BikeMaster turn signals use the same type of connector as the Suzuki ones. Another thing to note on the BikeMaster turn signals is that the wire is about a metre long, whereas the OEM one is about 32 cm long.

Comparing the DR200SE to other bikes

Bikes in this class include the Yamaha XT250 and TW200, Kawasaki KLX230, KLX230 S and Super Sherpa (discontinued), Honda CRF230L (discontinued) and CRF250L (discontinued, quite a bit heavier, higher seat). I suppose you could also include the Kawasaki KLX250S (discontinued), KLX300 and the Honda CRF300L, but these are higher spec., are a bit heavier, have greater performance and cost more. In 2023 the US got the CRF300LS which has a lower seat than the CRF300L. The CRF300LS isn't available in Canada. There's also the Honda XR150L, introduced in Canada and the US in 2023.

The 2010 DR200SE has a 199cc, air-cooled engine with a 5-speed transmission and electric start. It has a seat height of 810 mm (31.9 in), 260 mm (10.2 in) of ground clearance, a dry mass of 113 kg (249 lbs) and a curb mass of 126 kg (278 lb). The suspension travel is 205 mm (8.1 in.), front and rear. The bike has a CV carburetor which deals with elevation and temperature changes reasonably well, and transitioning on and off the gas is smooth which is not the case with a lot of fuel-injected motorcycles. As mentioned previously, the DR200SE has a 13 l fuel tank giving it an exceptional range. Instruments include an analog/mechanical speedometer, trip meter, and a few indicator lights. The 2020 model has a seat height of 845 mm (33.3 in) . The MSRP in Canada for the 2020 model was $5099 + fees + taxes.

The 2024 Yamaha XT250 has a 249cc air-cooled engine with fuel injection, electric start and a 5-speed transmission. It has front and rear disc brakes, a curb mass of 132 kg (291 lbs) with a 9.6 l fuel tank (8.2 l in other references), an 830 mm (32.7 in) seat height and 285 mm (11.2 in) of ground clearance. It has non-adjustable suspension except for rear preload (threaded collar with lock ring). The front wheel travel is 225 mm (8.9 in.) and the rear wheel travel is 180 mm (7.1 in.). It also has a clock, low fuel light and a fuel reserve trip meter.

One unique thing about the XT250 is the front fender: it's a two-piece design with the rear section hugging the front tire, which could be a problem if riding in mud (may pack up) or if mounting a higher profile tire. Some owners have removed or raised the rear section of the front fender for these reasons. If you simply remove the rear section of the front fender, more debris will hit the engine. Other people have replaced the entire front fender with another one, but modifications to the new fender may be required for clearance. The warranty period in Canada is one year. MSRP is $6199 CAD for the 2024 (the same as the 2023 which increased $500 over the 2022 model) + fees + taxes.

The 2024 Yamaha TW200 has a 196cc air-cooled and carbureted engine with electric start and a 5-speed transmission. It has a front disc brake and rear drum brake, a curb mass of 126 kg (278 lbs) with a 7.0 l fuel tank, a 790 mm (31.1 in) seat height and 265 mm (10.4 in) of ground clearance. It has non-adjustable suspension. The front wheel travel is 160 mm (6.3 in.) and the rear wheel travel is 150 mm (5.9 in.). The big differentiating feature of the TW200 is that it has really fat tires: 130/80-18 front and 180/80-14 rear. The warranty period in Canada is one year. MSRP is $5799 CAD for the 2024 (the same as the 2023 which was up $300 over the 2022 model) + fees + taxes.

The 2023 Kawasaki KLX230 has a 233cc air-cooled engine with fuel injection, electric start and a 6-speed transmission. It has front and rear disc brakes with, or without ABS, a curb mass of 132/133 kg (291/293 lbs) with a 7.5 l fuel tank, an 885 mm (34.8 in) seat height and 265 mm (10.4 in) of ground clearance. It has non-adjustable suspension except for rear preload. It also has a clock and fuel gauge. It has a variable idle speed system, and the reports that I have read about it are generally negative, but there is an after-market fix for it (may invalidate your warranty, though). For 2023 the KLX230 and KLX230 S got a new LED headlight, headlight cowling and front fender. The only colour available in Canada is green. The warranty period in Canada is one year.

The KLX230 S is the same as the KLX230 except it has shorter travel suspension giving it a lower seat (830 mm / 32.7 in) and only 210 mm (8.3 in) of ground clearance, and is available with or without ABS. The DR200SE has more ground clearance, more suspension travel, a lower seat height, less weight and has a much greater fuel capacity. MSRP is $5749 CAD (Non-ABS) + fees + taxes for both the KLX230 and the KLX230 S. Switchable ABS is available for $150 more.

For 2024 the KLX230 and KLX230 S receive a major update: new styling and ergonomics, standard switchable ABS, suspension changes, slightly increased fuel capacity (+ 0.1 l), an even longer exhaust header, smartphone connectivity, new seats, lower weight, and a slightly longer wheelbase. The bikes are available in either green or gray. For the 2024 KLX230, front suspension travel is 240 mm (9.4 in), rear travel is 250 mm (9.8 in), ground clearance is (10.4 in), seat height is slightly lower at 880mm (34.6 in), and curb mass is 132 kg (291 lb). For the 2024 KLX230 S, front suspension travel increases to 200 mm (7.9 in), rear travel increases to 223 mm (8.8 in), ground clearance increases to 240 mm (9.4 in), seat height is only slightly higher at 845 mm (33.3 in), and curb mass is also 132 kg (291 lb). The MSRP in Canada for both bikes is $6199 + fees + taxes.

The DR200SE is down on power compared to the XT250 and KLX230, both of which have more engine displacement. Suspension travel compares favorably with all of these bikes except the KLX230 and the 2024 KLX230 S. Ground clearance isn't quite a good as the XT250 and KLX230. The DR200SE is as light as, or lighter, than all of these bikes (XT250, TW200, KLX230, KLX230 S); the seat height is as low, or lower, than these bikes too. The DR200SE also has a much greater fuel capacity than any of them, and if you factor the weight of that additional fuel capacity, the DR200SE is the lightest of the five.

Last Words

The DR200SE is a good, reliable, inexpensive, small, simple dual sport bike best suited for smaller or newer riders, but experienced riders can still have fun riding it as I can personally attest to. It's a little low on power, but it gets the job done and can go a great distance on a single tank of fuel. It can even handle fairly rough trails if ridden at an easier pace. Not the best choice for highway riding due to its lower power. This is my wife's bike, and when I asked her if she would like something new to ride, she said that she was content with her DR200 (and her CBR250RA).

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Service Data
Sources: Suzuki DR200SE Service Manual, 10th Ed., Sept 2008 and addendum for 2010 DR200SE from Suzuki Canada
2010 Suzuki DR200SE Service Data (pdf)
2010 Suzuki DR200SE Air Filter Service

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