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 Suzuki - DR Z Dakar
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Suzuki D2-492-32-16
Photo ou archives :

Capacity : 820
Model : DR Z Dakar
Production : 1987 - 1987
Category : (Off-Road) Enduro


820 DR Zeta / Paris-Dakar -1988

Challenging the trans-African twins

Though twins had been the dominant force in trans-African events for seven years, Suzuki went on the rally offensive with a single. But it was no ordinaty single.

A Real Big Single

In 1987, Suzuki made an official entry in the Paris-Dakar with a prototype 650 single, which had nothing in common with the production 600 DR. It employed the combined air/oil cooling of the supersport GSXR multi-cylinders. The following year, for the tenth running of the famed rally, Suzuki exploded a real bombshell by unveiling its extraordinary prototype DR Zeta, still a single, but displacing over 800cc!

Light and Compact

Compared with the big, heavy twins, the Suzuki DR Zeta had the advantages of compactness and a good power/weight ratio. While, with a power rating of 65 hp, it was giving away some 10 hp to the twins, it usefully scaled 60-70 lb less. Suzuki's 1988 team boss Gaston Rahier (winner in 1984-85 on a BMW) knew from experience that towards the end of a 375 mile stage, ease of management and lack of tiredness were big advantages. Sadly, machine preparation (it overheated and suffered from vapor lock), coupled with unfavorable race conditions and, above all the fact that the Paris-Dakar had become a real sprint across the desert never allowed the DR Zeta to demonstrate the soundness of its conception.


Engine: 820cc air/ oil-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke

Power Rating: over 65 hp @ 6500 rpm

Valves: overhead-camshaft

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: 5-speed, chain final drive

Suspension: RM cross with Kayaba telescopic forks (front); swing arm with mono-damper (rear); travel front/ rear 12.6/ 12.6 inches

Brakes: disc (front & rear)

Wheels: unpuncturable Michelin Bib Mouss; 21 inch (front); 18 inch (rear)

Weight: 342 lb

Maximum Speed: 115 mph


To combat the big-twin "Desert Boeings," the Suzuki SR Zeta at least took an original line, with its odd-ball styling, aerodynamic front spoiler and 800cc single-cylinder engine.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at info@moto-collection.org for conditions and copyright.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

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