8. 2000-2016 Suzuki DR-Z400
We still remember the confusion created when Suzuki introduced its electric-start DR-Z400 line of off-road and dual sport motorcycles. Some publications wanted to pit it heads up against the emerging crop of motocross and off-road thumpers produced by its Japanese rivals, and the DR-Z suffered by the comparison. Fortunately, when taken for what it is, a fun, free-winding recreational machine with a linear powerband, good handling and decent suspension, the DR-Z shines like the star it is. Available in enduro, dual sport and even supermoto trim, it has proven to be a dead-solid performer with excellent reliability and long service intervals.
There really isn’t a bad DR-Z in the bunch, and $4000 should be more than enough bank to land a really clean example in the trim of your choice. That said, we recommend staying away from DR-Zs that have seen heavy engine mods, especially if the previous owners have installed stroker kits, as these can significantly shorten engine life. However, money spent on an aftermarket pipe and carb, and suspension upgrades, is money well spent.