Cycle News

Cycle News 2021 Issue 08 February 23

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 116 of 127

CN III ARCHIVES L ast year, the beloved Suzuki DR-Z400S celebrated its 20th birthday, which, for hu- mans isn't considered old, but in motorcycle years, whew, that's getting up there. The DR-Z400S story begins in 1990 when Suzuki brought a full stable of new dual-sport motor- cycles to the market. In addition to the conventional marketing efforts that accompanied the launch of the DR650S, DR350S P116 and DR250S, Suzuki under- took an educational project to show dealers and event promot- ers across the country how to organize and present dual-sport rides. Led by industry visionary Mark Blackwell, Suzuki's U.S. staff and others went across the country explaining ride layout, creation of the roll charts and actually riding the new Suzuki's with influencers decades before 20 YEARS BY KIT PALMER HAPPY BELATED Cycle News was there when Suzuki introduced the very first Suzuki DR-Z400S to the media in Death Valley in 2000. that label became part of the lexicon. The Suzuki DualSport Rider's Club was the focal point with newsletters and physical sup- port at the events led by Team Suzuki Off-Road mechanic and tuner extraordinaire Mark Hyde east of the Mississippi and Avery Innis of Suzuki's Technical Service Department at select western events. Often joined by other Suzuki professionals like racing managers' Pat Alexander and Mike Webb, this group was charged with making sure Suzuki riders would have a good time at these formal rides. They also rode and passionately shared what they learned, and more importantly, what they learned from Suzuki DR riders with their comrades at Suzuki Motor Corporation in Japan. The fruits of the reports first came with every dual-purpose DR receiving electric start in 1993, just a few years after the entire line was launched. But there was more to come as the reports and the dialog be-

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