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Gothamist: A Suzuki DR-Z400SM built for NYC streets

A Suzuki DR-Z400SM built for NYC streets by Jane Motorcycles
Riding a motorcycle in New York means dealing with tight streets, big potholes and uncompromising taxi drivers. To maximize your chances of survival, you need a bike that’s compact, punchy and nimble—like a supermotard.

Add stylish to that shopping list, and you’ve just described this new custom from Brooklyn’s Jane Motorcycles. It’s based on a 2015 Suzuki DR-Z400SM, and it’s just perfect for the urban jungle of New York City.

A Suzuki DR-Z400SM built for NYC streets by Jane Motorcycles
Out the box, the DR-Z400SM doesn’t make a ton of power. But 40-or-so horses are plenty for a bike that weighs just 320 pounds fully-fueled. The Suzuki handles like a dirt bike and offers maximum smiles-for-dollars.

This one was basically new when Jane’s customer handed it over for a makeover. The brief was simple: make it leaner and lighter, and tailor it to the owner’s 6’3” frame.

A Suzuki DR-Z400SM built for NYC streets by Jane Motorcycles
The Jane Motorcycles shop is a haven for NYC riders who appreciate smart gear, strong coffee and custom motos. So the founders have an eye for what looks good.

Alex from Jane collaborated with Mark from Brooklyn Moto on this build, sharing all the fabrication, mechanical and assembly work.

A Suzuki DR-Z400SM built for NYC streets by Jane Motorcycles
Most of the redesign of the DR-Z400SM happened up top. With 17” Excel supermoto rims and adjustable suspension out of the crate, there was little need to tweak the running gear. (Even so, Alex tells us there are already plans for suspension and brake upgrades in place.)

The concept began as a good old-fashioned hand drawing, then progressed to a Photoshop render. With the design settled, it was time to create new bodywork for the DR-Z400SM—starting with the fuel tank.

A Suzuki DR-Z400SM built for NYC streets by Jane Motorcycles
The guys hand-shaped a foam buck for the new tank, then built the final form out of aluminum on top of it. It holds about two gallons—no-one’s planning to tour with it—and has deep knee indents designed to accommodate the long legs of the 6’3” owner.

Behind it is a new seat, custom-made by Jane to sit further back than stock; another consideration for their client. The waxed cowhide upholstery was also done in-house, and everything sits on top of a custom-built subframe.

A Suzuki DR-Z400SM built for NYC streets by Jane Motorcycles
Lower down, the team rewired the DR-Z400SM to clean it up visually, installing a smaller Lithium-ion battery in the process.

Look closely, and you’ll spot a neat little electronics tray tucked up under the seat. (You’ll also spot the original seat latch cable poking out on the left, giving quick access to the electrical bits.)

A Suzuki DR-Z400SM built for NYC streets by Jane Motorcycles
The air box was ditched in favor of a beefy K&N filter, and the tail end of the exhaust was tweaked with a custom-built, stainless steel muffler. The whole system was then ceramic coated black, and is apparently as loud as it looks.

There’s some pretty slick work going on in the cockpit too. Jane started with an 8” race headlight from TrailTech, then CNC-cut an aluminum plate to sit above it. The plate acts as a dashboard, housing the ignition, a tiny Motogadget Motoscope Mini speedo and a set of LED ‘idiot’ lights.

A Suzuki DR-Z400SM built for NYC streets by Jane Motorcycles
A slew of Rizoma goodies rounds out the package, including risers, handlebars, bar-end turn signals and brake fluid reservoirs. The rear lights are from Rizoma too; they’re tucked away under the seat along with the license plate bracket, and double up as turn signals and a tail light.

Since the DR-Z400SM is destined for frequent urban use, practical OEM bits like the fork protectors, sump guard and exhaust heat shield are still in play. The MX-style front fender is gone though, replaced by a more svelte aluminum part.

A Suzuki DR-Z400SM built for NYC streets by Jane Motorcycles
The final livery is minimal but high impact. Jane matched the black frame and standard gold wheels to a glossy desaturated green, executed by Peach Pit. The result is a bike that won’t just look killer parked outside your office—it’ll get you there quicker than a cabbie with ADHD.

Who else wishes we’d see more custom supermotards in this style?

Jane Motorcycles | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Mathew Andreini

A Suzuki DR-Z400SM built for NYC streets by Jane Motorcycles

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