XR650R Hillclimb Tips?

After making most of the suggested changes to my new 650 it seems to be lacking the ability to climb hills like my CR500. Does anyone have good tuning tips to make the 650 an awsome hillclimbing beast. I like to hear all the details about tricking things out too. Or even tips on how 4-strokes like to climb vs. 2-strokes.


Adjust the Carb or change the power output on the pipe if applicable or get a pipe that you can adjust like the procircuit t4 series or white bros e-series. You could also change the gearing on the bike so you have some more bottom end. 4strokes don't zing out instant power like the 2 strokes so try to get a little bit of a run at the hill if possible.

Also what type of hill are you trying to climb?!?

I believe it's just a learning curve. I have one hill that I use as a guage for a bike, I've tried my XR650 & YZ426 as well as an XR600, XR400 and CR250. The XR400 was a full-blown race bike (one of Mike Healy's old XR's) and the XR600 was stock with suspension and a pipe. Both of these bikes was about the same, I made the hill but, not by much. On the 2000 CR250 I couldn't even make it (I grew up riding 2 smokes). My 426 was much better but, I did manage to get up it (maybe just because I didn't mind thrashing my bike but I didn't want to trash my buddy's CR) My XR650 makes the hill look easy I don't make it every time but if I stay on line I make it.

The other thing is what type of soil are you riding? In sand forget it, a 4 stroke is NEVER going to climb like a 2 stoke in the sand. The hill I speak of is typical of a hill you racing desert but, larger. It is approx. 600' high with sand at the bottom, a shale rock surface in the middle, a two foot vertical ledge, and then more rock. It would be an easy hill on a two stroke until the ledge. The ledge shoots you strait up, if you just pin it you land further down the hill than when you left. You have to lift the front wheel over it and slam the rear wheel into it (off the gas) to stay low. Then get right back in the gas, to make the rest of the hill, only the 4 strokes will hook-up and pull after the ledge. The two strokes make lots of noise and wheel spin but, will not go up the rest of the hill.

You could try to remember to keep the RPM between 1/3 and 2/3 of redline for max pull unless your in sand then hold it wide or go get the 500.

Your XR650R is one of the very best bikes for climbing technical hills. However it's not the best bike everywhere. I hope this longwinded comment helps free free to ask more and I'll try to help.

Remember keep the RPM lower and let the bike hook-up, it's different than a two stroke. Good luck,


Thanks a lot guys! The gearing is one thing not changed yet, but very much suspected as a culprit to the loss of momentum. I agree there is a learning curve, having spent all of my dirtbike carreer on 2-strokes. I love my new 650 and am glad to hear we can be a great hillclimbing team if I do my part.

The hill it choked on was dry clay. Some powder and some hard spots, with roots and holes (medium difficulty). Not extremely steep, but steep enough to stop my momentum. I don't have an adjustable tip, but I was suspicious about the carb tuning and gearing. I think its a matter of getting me and a few things on the bike to work together. Thanks again for the help and keep the tips coming.

By the way, I hope to get this thing over the top of the Horn-Tode at Jawbone Canyon in Mojave. I think you're right about the way 2-strokes have problems after rock. The Horn-Tode has plenty of what you describe and always gave me that challenge on my 500. Its all in the head tho, cause the bike could make it.


Just be careful on the gear ratio you change to... you don't want to scrub too much top end or guys like me on my little XR440 will catch ya. I rode F1 (GP) at glen helen a couple of weeks ago it was a XR650. I know now why I can never catch you guys out in the dez. I want the engine in my bike, I just don't want the weight.


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