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250X vs XR4 - Round 2

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Well, as I've said before, my ride buddy has a 250X and I have a Gordon'd '99 XR4. My first ride comparison several months ago had me thinking that there was no comparison; that the 250X had my XR4 covered hands down. But this past weekend, I had a chance to compare back-to-back in a different location with sandy corners, fast whoop sections and long jumping hills. Observations:

1) The 250X handles sharp chop sections much better than my re-sprung but relatively stock valved XR4. The suspension just absorbs.

2) Blasting through smooth-edge sandy whoops, the bikes are very comparable when damping is adjusted correctly.

3) I continually felt as though I was in the wrong gear on the 250 X, whereas on the XR4, even if you're off by a gear, it just pulls. This was really noticeable on a whoop-filled straight-away out of a sandy turn. I could grab 3rd early on the XR4, and just blast through. On the 250X, it seemed that I had to hold 2nd longer, then try shifting in the middle of the whoops - not easy on these whoops.

4) Although the XR4 weighs more (20-30 lbs??) when full, it wasn't really obvious on the terrain we were riding.

5) The button is very nice, even when the XR4 starts within 2 kicks.

6) The 250X gearing seems to accentuate engine braking.

7) The 250X throttle response is very sharp. It's easy to add too much throttle when hanging off the rear blasting through whoops - something I can probably get used to.

8) The 250X seems to take landings from big air (4 - 5 feet for me) much better - more controlled. You don't need lots of compression damping to avoid bottoming.

9) The front brakes on the 250X are fantastic.

Verdict: If the engine valve related postings on the 250X/R board are an indication of overall 250X reliability, I think I'll keep the XR4 a bit longer and maybe have it revalved. The old girl looks a lot better after my most recent comparison. Now, a used 450X......

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