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 Suzuki - 820 DR Z Dakar
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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.

Le fichier Moto Passion réalisé par François-Marie Dumas réunit près de deux mille photos accompagnées d'un historique très complet des machines présentées.
Il sera progressivement mis à jour ici et toute information complémentaire est la bienvenue sur info@moto-collection.org.

Cette documentation unique, qui constitue sans doute l'encyclopédie la plus exhaustive jamais écrite sur l'histoire de la moto, a été réalisée avec l'assistance de nombreux spécialistes dont principalement Didier Ganneau, Christophe Gaime, Mick Woollett, Jean Goyard, Bernard Salvat, Christian Rey, Yves Campion, Helmut Krackowizer, Michael Dregni, Michel Montange, etc. que je remercie ici.

Disponible sur demande :
- Les fiches originales sur papier
- Les photos et archives signées de mon nom en haute définition ou les documents originaux.
Me contacter sur info@moto-collection.org pour les conditions et droits d'utilisation.