I'm having a real rough time navigating my Uncorked BRP in the desert technical, rocky, slow sections. I'm 5'7/225 and have installed a lowering link and can touch mid-foot(not flat), but I feel that this bike might be too much of a monster for this type of riding. I hate coming into a sharp corner on this beast because I always feels that I'll plow right through the berms....I have to slow way down. Fire Roads and wide open stretches are what the XR650R lives for, but that's not always the type of riding I do. I've ridden my buddies DRZ 450 and it handled way better and was far more responsive and "floated" on the gravel trails. I was thinking on ditching the BRP for possibly a WR 450. Any Suggestions? :)


Well SD - a large part of the satisfaction I have received

from my BRP is configuring it to work well in places

like you are complaining about. The fact also is that I'm not as vertically challanged as you are.

I also ride a WR450 and it is a great bike, but in your situation in Vegas I'd look at the KTM, (Keep The Manual), 450/525.


I have been spending more time on a MX track (see sig link) with the BRP. I'm not jumping doubles (only table tops for now), just getting smoother on the turns. Took the BRP down into a wide, deep sandwash and played as well. The Teraflex tire and 13/48 gearing rules!!!

The BRP is a challenge, but I look at it this way. If I can learn to be good on it, other bikes will be like playtoys.

I know this sounds bent, why would I want to work so hard when I could be having fun. It's because of the grunt that the BRP has. There is no other bike like it.

One other thing I might suggest, cut a notch in the seat foam where it meets the tank. I cut out a 5" widex6" long curved section that is about 1.25" deep at the thickest point. When I need a little extra footing I slide forward and down into the notch.


Dutch is right, it is what you make it. I ride my 650 in just about every terrain you can imagine, with the exception of snow, but that is becuase it will never snow in my corner of the world. Just this last weekend I even raced it in a motorcross race and placed 3rd, beating several two strokes. That was fun.

You might need to try a lowering kit as it is a fairly tall bike. I am 6'3 and 195 and at times there are places where I wish I could reach the ground easier. Rare but does happen. Try playing with the gearing, you might have it geared too tall. With lower hearing it makes the technical sections a bit easier. I am a big fan of the rocky technical sections and I really like it on a 650. Something you will notice if you ride your BRP vs any others is that wherever you point the front tire, the rear will follow. Also generally wherever you point the front tire, you will go with it. It is a very forgiving motorcycle. Give it a chance and get used to it before you give up on it.

In the end you will be happy you have it as you can grow into it. Good luck.

If you are a C rider and you frequent tight, rocky, or rooted stuff--the BRP might not be the right bike.

I race the BRP in Baja-and at faster raes like the Vegas to Reno and Parker 250--for sure the BRP shines. But in the tuff, tight, wooped out, rocky stuff- i get roosted by light, nimble, well suspended KTM 450/525s, WR450's all day long. Plus i am significantly more fatigued from throwing a 320lb rottweiler into the mix vs. a 255 lb greyhound.

SO yeah--maybe its time for a different bike. The BRP is the best choice for Baja, aggressive Dual Sporting, and for REALLY fat people. But the lighter bikes will kill it in tighter stuff.

There are a few great new bike choices:



EXC 450/525



Alternative options would be to find someones used but fully built XR400/440. A desert-ized CR500 would be another interesting option.

OR keep the BRP for longer open rides, and get a $2000 or less small bike for the tighter stuff. Howabout a 1998 KTM EXC 300? Or for $2200-2400 a fully built XR 400/440?

If you can wait 9-10 months the all new CRF450X will be out. That will be the perfect bike for you and me both!


I'm more like a B Rider - I have a ton of dirtbike experience when I was younger and have ridden streetbike for about 13 years. I'm 31 now... So I am capable of much more - definately on the right bike, I would consider myself an A rider with a little more experience - back to my roots. I just find that I'm second guessing myself when It comes to decisions on the 650R. It's really big and It's difficult to muscle around. I thank you for your bike recommendations. I've been doing a little research and found the '03 wr 450 has definate issues (woodruff key) that I certainly don't want to get a lemon. I've never really considered a 2-stroke because of maintenance issues. Would a 2 stroke be OK for the desert, how about dependability? Would the 250 be too small, not enough power going from the 650 monster?? Maybe the KTM 450 is looking pretty good. Do you know if it has elect. start? Thanks for the help.

I'm going to take a flyer here, but you mentioned that you installed a lowering link. Did you lower the front a like amount? You said that you felt like you were going to plow through berm on the outside, if you didn't lower the front you have chopperesque fork rake. The BRP is pretty stable stock and doesn't need additional rake. Slide your forks up in the triple clamps an inch and try it. Just a thought


yeah, I've already done that. It does handle way better w/ the lowering link and I can flat track around corners and rip around wide open. it's just the slow turns that it seems to plow.

What is a good gearing ratio for technical stuff - any recommendations?

I've never really considered a 2-stroke because of maintenance issues. Would a 2 stroke be OK for the desert, how about dependability? Would the 250 be too small, not enough power going from the 650 monster??

I don't think you'll run into maintenance issues unless you're getting a 125 or smaller where you'd be buzzing the engine all the time to go anywhere. A 250cc or larger size 2 stroke shouldn't give you any maintenance worries except for pre-mixing the fuel, which is a bit more of a hassle, but there's no cam, no valves, or timing chain, etc, to go wrong. Doing a top end on a 2 stroke is a piece of cake and way less expensive when compared to a 4 stroke. A modern 250cc 2 stroke has an excellent power to weight ratio and can stay with the XR650R in a drag race up to a point, but it's way more flickable, more responsive and will out handle the 650R in the tight stuff. The power band will be more explosive which is something you'll have to get used to (some people prefer it and some don't) and you'll be riding higher in a RPM range, but I just love 2 strokes and spent most of my riding time on open class 2 strokes (mostly Yamaha's).

Get some time behind a mid 90's or newer 250cc 2 stroke and see what you think. You might be very surprised at the power from a 250cc 2 stroke and like anything, there are mods to increase the performance even further should you want more power. Modern day 2 stroke oils like Mobil's MX2T mixed at 40:1 (highly recommended) work very well and there's no smoke, etc, and fouling spark plugs or loading up is not an issue like it used to be many years ago. You'll still be fiddeling with jetting your carb though, more so than a 4 stroke if you plan to ride at significantly varying elevations and want the most performance from your ride, but its no biggie once you get things dialed in.

There's no perfect bike made today that will meet everybody's needs. I really like my XR650R and its been one of the best do-all type bikes for my needs and I'm very happy with it, but I wish it weighed 65lbs less. It's a blast in the desert which is where I mostly ride, but some of those desert trails get gnarly steep with big ruts, rocks, etc, and a heavy bike that's tall gets awkward at times.

This weekend I seen a guy on a KX250 waving at me from the side of a mountiain. I shut off my bike and heard him screaming. It would have taken me forver to walk to him because of the terrain, so I rode a steep narrow ugly canted billy goat trail with ruts and bowling ball size rocks to get to him and it scared the crap out of me getting to him. On one portion of the trail, I was going downward on a steep section of narrow trail where the dirt was soft enough to where my front wheel was frequently plowing and there was a cliff on my ride side that surely would have killed me if I had fallen off. I couldn't see what was around the corner or what was ahead of me, but there was no place to turn around or even park a bike for that matter. Once I got to him, the only thing that was wrong was that his bike was out of gas and that really pissed me off because I thought somebody was hurt. In anycase, there was a back way out that was much easier (thankfully!) and I got word to his buddies at camp several miles away that he needed fuel, but I wish I had been on a different bike than my XR650R while on that type of trail. The kool part was that I seen two coyotes & a bob cat all within ~25 feet of each other...odd combo huh?

I'm looking forward to see what the CRF450X has to offer, but I've heard a lot of good things about the CRF250R and CRF250X so check them out too in addition any 2 strokes (YZ250, CR250, KX250, RM250, etc).

13/48 is great gearng for the technical stuff, and it's cheap.

The BRP is a different kind of bike. Here are some other things that I changed to help with the tight stuff:

1. The right tires for your environment.

2. The right air pressure in the tires for your environment.

3. Larger footpegs.(really helps with moving the bike around)

4. Handle bar positioning.

5. Suspension dialed in.(really keeps the tires planted on the ground)

After changing the springs and messing with the front compression clickers, I really got the front tire to stick to the ground and bite in the corners. Go as soft as you can without bottoming.


Qadson is right on the money. Look at any GNCC or Hair Scrambles. Lots of 250 2 strokes going wicked fast-much faster than the BRP can do--even Scott Summers has all but given up racing the BRP in the tight stuff.

If i where you i would buy a second bike. A 1997-2000 Exc 300 KTM. Light, nimble, fast, super fun. You can find em for $1700 clams.

If just one bike go with the WR450 or the KTM 450. Both had some issues-a few woodruff keys snapped under very odd situations, and a few Russian made Ti valves on the KTM broke--but those things have been ironed out--and they happened to a small minority of owners.

Remember: Our BRP is prone to LOTS of issues as well. Like the countershaft seal going out, the crank giving up, a carb that floods if you sneeze in its direction, a sub-frame thats always bent, a cooling system that is notorious for overheating, an overly choked up engine, a thermostat that is always stuck, front forks that are 10 years behind the times, and of course the 'issue' of being to damn heavy!

The WR 450 is a great bike-not a lemon at all. The KTM 450 is also a great bike. Both are lightyears ahead of the BRP in terms of technology-and both have the E button!

Guys, I'm having a real rough time navigating my Uncorked BRP in the desert technical, rocky, slow sections. I'm 5'7/225 and have installed a lowering link and can touch mid-foot(not flat), but I feel that this bike might be too much of a monster for this type of riding.

I've always felt that the 650R and the previous 600R were really bikes for bigger guys. At least, if you are looking to do technical stuff. Baja roads, jeep track, sure no problem, anyone will like them. In the tight stuff they are a lot of bike for smaller riders, and I've always tried to recommend the 400 or 250 here for trail riding.

If you're big or strong, or both, the torque and tractibility can be an asset even in tight woods, rocks, etc., and a lot of guys can go real fast on them here, but you have to be able to deal with the weight!


I'm 5'9", 165lbs. and ride tight woods stuff almost exclusively. When I get done riding a scramble or just hammering with the boys I think about switching. Then I ride by myself on a weeknight and remember why I bought it. It's just plain a fun bike to ride. I know I could move from the middle-of-the-pack to the front with a different bike, but I'm having more fun where I am.

That's just how I'm looking at it right now.

Good luck. :)

So...basically what you've got here on 2 pages of opinions from us experienced fellow riders is....


Thanks for all of the help! I appreciate all of the input and will consider all of that in my decision. There seems to be no perfect bike for all situations, although some are good for most. Anyway, I'm still confused as ever, but I'm doing my research before jumping into another bike. Thanks guys!


Have you install aftermarket triples that move the bars forward? That helps alot. Front tire pressure seems to help as well, if I run mine too high like 15 or 16psi ( which I recommend when riding far from home or camp ) it is difficult to handle in slow corners. At Glamis Sanddunes I can rail corners w/ no problems because I run the front tire at around 10 psi. Try lower pressures if there are not alot of rocks were you ride.

Im almost as verticaly challenged as you and have been riding the XR650R Since Feb. of 2000 when they first hit the showroom floor at my local dealer. I had your exact complaints for quite a while. I loved the bike but when I would dump it in the slow tight stuff it would just wear me out. After a while I began to learn to let the bike work for me. Im not fast but I can get in a groove from time to time. I love the bike in the desert, it's so comforable. I have raised the fork tubes so it turned sharper but never installed lowering links. I may give that a try since I love my XR650R and am constantly adding improvements to it.

I also ride a KX500 set up to do tight mountain trails with a flywheel weight and GPR stabilzer. This is an awsome trail desert or anything else you wanna do and it's light. You do have to put a little money into them to get them ready for the different riding terriens.

This year I bought a 04 KTM 525 EXC. Yes it has an electric start. This bike can do it all right out of the box. I just had to change the jetting and put some barkbusters on. It weighs 257 lbs but rides and feels like its as light as my KX500 (that is no exaggeration). The seat is not near as comfy as either of my other 2 bikes. Other than the stiff seat and ride I can't say there is anything I don't like about this bike.

Now let me tell ya, there are times when I prefer my XR over the 525. Long long desert rides the XR has a very comfy seat and a 4.6 gal tank. They don't make a tank bigger than 3.1 gal for the KTM. Sometimes I just love to ride my KX500 over either of my other bikes. Every 2 stroker out there knows why.

I tend to hang onto my bikes and keep them maintained. Not everyone does this or can afford to. So if I was suggesting just one of them as an all around bike it would be the KTM or maybe the XR, well maybe the KX. :):D :D :D

There seems to be no perfect bike for all situations, although some are good for most.

So true! Bike selection is often about compromises, whether in the dirt or on the street. All you can do is assess your riding syle and conditions the best you can and choose what you think is the right tool for the job from the bikes you like. Honda looks to be on track with the new CRF "X" models, as the air cooled XR's are getting a little long in the tooth, although still great, reliable play bikes.

I have converted MX bikes for off-road work in the past, and although it can be done, it's a lot easier to just wait and let the factory do it!


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