7. Suzuki DR-Z400S
It’s hard not to love the Suzuki DR-Z400S, which has pretty much been Suzuki’s definitive Dual Sport model since 2003. Replacing the old-school yet still-cool DR350, the DR-Z400S was a completely different animal. Its liquid-cooled, 398cc engine delivered zingy power via revs that felt like they stretched to the moon (peak horsepower came around 8000 rpm), thanks to a 90mm bore (just 10mm smaller than the DR650S) and short 62.6mm stroke. That, power, fed through a silky-shifting five-speed transmission give the DR-Z400S plenty of thrust to tackle most off-road obstacles, and its DR-Z400 (off-road model) suspension can handle an awful lot of nastiness. The DR-Z is another example of perfect balance between off-road and street capability, but for roadies there is also the DR-Z400SM, which is shot with 17-inch rims and radial tires. We’ll take the Dual Sport version, thank you. If you’re a Kawasaki fan, also keep an eye out for the Kawasaki KLX400—it’s the same bike rebranded in Green Machine livery.