Exclusive to the New Zealand market and available in limited supply, the Suzuki Jimny Safari adds to an already versatile and unique compact three-door model in the small four-wheel-drive vehicle sector.
This true family business is run in Opiki, southwest of Palmerston North, by Ken, wife Jill and sons John, Mark and Ross. They milk 400 cows, run bull beef and crop 15ha of turnips and 5ha of forage maize.
As on most dairy farms, much of their available time each day is taken bringing cows to and from the milking shed or moving young stock and followers between paddocks.
Their on farm transport falls to the Suzuki brand, with a fleet of four DR 200SE Trojans and a LT 300 quad, the latter doing spot spraying and haulage tasks like calf retrieval and feeding.
Ken says the Trojan is “a really good all round machine”, not surprising given the model’s history.
A prototype, developed by Suzuki NZ with the help of local farmers to meet local conditions, was sent back to the factory in Japan before hitting dealer showrooms in 1996.
Power comes from a single cylinder 200cc engine, fed by a conventional Mikuni carburettor and prodded into life with an electric start. There’s a standard kick start for back up.
Layout sees a 21 inch wheel up front and an 18 inch at the rear, combining to give 260mm ground clearance and an 810mm seat height.
“The Trojan is really comfortable and easy to swing a leg over, but most of all reliable,” Ken said.
Weighing about 130kg, the machines are easy to handle and steer, making them ideal for the Anderson operation.
“We particularly like the powerful halogen headlight that’s useful for early starts or late finishes out on the farm.”
Ken also notes the Trojan comes at a good price, is supported by a good dealer and once on the property it never leaves -- it just becomes a valuable source of spares for the current machines. This is particularly so with wheels and tyres, with two spare sets available at any time. So punctures, whilst an irritation, only need a wheel swap, with repair done next time someone goes into town.
After arrival, the new machines get a first service at the local dealer’s, but from then on get routine maintenance on farm at 2500km so they start when required and go on to lead a trouble-free life. One machine, seven years on the farm, had its odometer turn over 60,000km, so the team obviously know what they’re doing.
Standard equipment is a disc brake up front, a drum unit at the rear and a useful clutch lock, meaning the bikes can be left in gear when stopping to open gates or drop hot-wires. Add to that front and rear racks to carry necessaries, and guard bar, sump guard and a fully enclosed chain case.
Ken sums up the Trojan: “We have a great relationship with our dealer Phil Turnbull of Courtesy Motorcycles that goes back nearly 40 years and at least 40 machines. They’re well priced, but importantly they’re reliable and a great all round bike.”