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pros/cons XR400

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I may be opening up a can o worms here.

I am looking to purchase a XR 400 in the 95-00 year range. Can you guys tell me the pros and cons of these bikes. I realize some things changed from year to year and I would like any valuable info on that also. What I really am looking for is things such as "subframes crack easily" or "engines tend to run very hot so are not for slow speed use in the mountains" sort of things. Of course hearing about the pros is good as well. I don't need to hear "great bike" or "you'll love it". I am looking for more technical info than that. Are any parts very difficult to locate? I know the aftermarket has lots of accessories available. Do they use a wide ratio tranny?

The type of riding I do is mainly slow speed single track Colorado mountains from 6500ft to above 13000ft with trips to the slickrock in MOAB. Right now I ride an 86 XL250R. It is geared with 11-53 sprockets so I like to go pretty slow.

Thanks

Darrell

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Thanks Jazzbrother.

I read that post yesterday. Nobody had mentioned any flaws other than it is heavy...My XL250R is 280lbs so the 400 is actually lighter by a couple pounds so the weight isn't an issue for me. Plus I am 6'5" and 250lbs. My biggest complaint is peg to grip distance..I need more....

Darrell

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If you ride trails and fireroad stuff, the XR has few "cons" aside from weight and a lack of top end pull versus some other 400 class bikes. For low end, the XR is about as good as it gets. Myself and others have issues with the tendency of the front end to wash out in soft stuff. The steering head angle is pretty steep on the XR. This helps in really tight stuff, but can make the front end squirrley at times. Over time, you get used to this and adjust your riding, but it can be an issue for some.

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Thanks Jazzbrother.

I read that post yesterday. Nobody had mentioned any flaws other than it is heavy...My XL250R is 280lbs so the 400 is actually lighter by a couple pounds so the weight isn't an issue for me. Plus I am 6'5" and 250lbs. My biggest complaint is peg to grip distance..I need more....

Darrell

Okay, fair enough

Pro's

I think fairly minor mod's (new bars?) could make it fit your size

I don't think any of the potential issues you mention (eg overheating) are much of an issue for the XR. The water-cooled bikes, from what I hear, have more a problem with overheating without motion/airflow (I have no direct knowledge of that)

Huge array of aftermkaret parts out there for almost any need.

Con's

Stock suspension could be better - esp front forks. (Spring replacement and other suspension mod's most frequently mentioned here)

Yeah, it's not that light. But you have to compare within the category. ie - it has a headlight, taillight, kickstand. (Also, it doesn't cost $7K new either).

It doesn't rev up that well - it's all about the bottom end.

I've been out of bikes since I raced 25 years ago (125cc 2-stroke). Takes a while to get back into it, particularly since this bike is the polar opposite and so is the riding. It's a trail bike and it's really good at that.

I wouldn't take it to the track. (Well, I'd kill myself even on a real MX bike, but you know what I mean).

There are some real experts here (I'm not one). Keep asking and you'll get your answers. :cry:

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Do a search. There is a ton of info on the XR400. I purchased mine less than a year ago, and almost all my questions have been answered via search.

Regarding the running hot issue. XR's tend to run hotter at HW speeds than on the trail. It's counter-intuitive, but it only takes a bit of airflow to wick away the heat, and at high speeds your cooling is not much more effecient yet you are producing a lot more heat from increased friction and spark frequency. I've never seen an XR overheat from riding too slow in hot weather.

If you do decide on the XR400, check out the upgrade timeline. There are definitely some upgrades (suspension, carb, kick start shaft) that are worth noting on the later models, but then again you may get a better deal on an older one.

Good luck.

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As a former XR owner I think you may be better served by a newer model that has better front end suspention. There is thread out there with the XR400R timeline and updates throughout the years.

PROS:

1) Bullet proof design like your 250. Oil changes and air cleaner is about all you need to do.

2) Good range on a tank of gas

3) Loves going slow is the twisties.

4) CONS;

1) Steep head angle will wash out at speed.

2) Does not have the "HIT" of the liquid cooled bikes.

3) need mods to get it to go. IE; pipe

4) Low foot pegs - watch your toes and feet in the wooded /rocky stuff.

5) Suspension is a bit lacking.

I have an '03 that I would like to sell. PM if you are in the rocky mountian area and are interested. I am going to Steamboat on the 15th of this month. Can bring it down for you.

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I am looking to purchase a XR 400 in the 95-00 year range.

<font color="navy">Well, first off, I don't believe there were any '95s...

I realize some things changed from year to year and I would like any valuable info on that also. What I really am looking for is things such as "subframes crack easily" or "engines tend to run very hot so are not for slow speed use in the mountains" sort of things... I am looking for more technical info than that.

<font color="navy">The key technical stuff is that it took the '96 and '97 model years to work out some suspension and carburetion glitches. From '98 on they are nearly identical and very solid -- some minor tweaks, but not worth passing over any particular year. For that matter, I wouldn't turn down a 96 or 97 either, for the right price, just know that you might have to do some of Honda's homework yourself.

Are any parts very difficult to locate? I know the aftermarket has lots of accessories available.

<font color="navy">Parts availability should not be a problem at all. These are still well stocked bikes.

Do they use a wide ratio tranny? The type of riding I do is mainly slow speed single track Colorado mountains from 6500ft to above 13000ft with trips to the slickrock in MOAB. Right now I ride an 86 XL250R. It is geared with 11-53 sprockets so I like to go pretty slow.

<font color="navy">Gearing is probably slightly more oriented toward fire roads and open trails than very tight stuff -- though it's torquey motor let's you flog it good in the tight trails too. If you like it slow good snap off the bottom end for trail work, you might want to go down a tooth on the front sprocket, or up a few on the rear. The higher elevation will help richen things up, if the one you get is still set at the very lean stock settings.

Otherwise, I think you got plenty of feedback from others here!

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Darrell, I don't find the suspension in your case a con actually. XR suspension is not on par with the latest Showa stuff however can be made to work very well with a good suspension shop. The reason I don't find the suspension as a con is that based on your size (no disrespect intended)they don't make a off road motorcycle that is set-up for you. Whatever you purchase one of the first things you should do is get the suspension done as it will greatly improve the handling characteristics and your enjoyment.

Pro's:

XR reliability has set the standard that everybody believes the 4 stk's should be. You do research on about any bike and someone will compare the reliability to an XR.

Comfy- XR seats are very comfortable and are good on the rider even after a long day and alot of miles. They really don't make seats this comfy any more.

Very adaptable-You can easily modify for different terrains and this may be one of the most versatile bikes ever made (trails, hare scrambles, dual sport) NOTE: It can go on the track and jump but its doesn't excel at it. This bike is very good with a wide range of gearing (14/48 for tight nasties or 15/42 for very streetable "stock 15/45")

Up to you:

Ergo's: The XR has old school ergos. Its not fancy or sleek or up to date, however it works very well. Some people think this is a pro some think con.

Power delivery: The XR lives in the low to mid. It does not scream and if you ride it this way you not riding it where it needs to be. Mods can enhance one way or the other, but with that being said you should have a plan with any bike you mod so your not just throwing stuff on for the heck of it anyway. A lot of information exists to take the power where you want it as there are versions with around 27 HP up to around 40 HP...but this won't ever be the 4 stk that lives at 12,000 RPM.

Modification $$$ will make for a much better XR...but it will never be modern or new fangled...It will still be an XR.

Cons:

Stock the XR is corked up-See Gordon mods.

Carburation is lackluster with bogs when wacking the throttle...some people can make stock carburation do wonderful things but there are many believers in aftermarket carbs (Edelbrock and Mikuni pumper)

Nobody is going to flock around you to look at your new fangled rocket ship....XR riders are comfortable with who they are and don't need to have their ego stroked by others.

XR's don't have the latest geatest rims, handlebars, suspension, wide pegs, brakes and is on the heavy side however with some focused mods it can be better and when items need replacing it can help with this (choose lighter more durable chain/sprockets...when its time for brakes replace with good light weight rotors, etc.) The XR will never be a 210 lb MX bike.

Stock tires suck-choose almost anything and it is an improvement over the K Dunlops.

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Thanks for all of the replies.

I ride pretty slow for the most part...I can fast walk next to my 250 at idle in 1st so high rpm isn't my thing I like low rpm engines and the 4 strokes are perfect. I like my XL250 just fine but want something that is better suited to tight,rocky, steep nasty trails. I want to be able to loft a tire over a log easliy and with my size the 250 has a hard time doing that at low rpm. Never had a problem with the 250 just think I am ready for more oomph..and sometimes a rooster tail is fun in the dirt, mud or snow.

One complaint about the XL 250 is that the front end seems to wander more than other bikes. Everything I can think of has been checked and rechecked. Does the XR4 have issues like this? I also notice the front fork has a steeper rake than say a XR650..Any idea why this is. Does it hurt/help steering in certain situations and what situations are they thanks for the help...By the way one I am looking at is a 1999 XR 400r for $1950...good or bad deal if it is in decent shape?

Thanks

Darrell

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By the way one I am looking at is a 1999 XR 400r for $1950...good or bad deal if it is in decent shape?

Darrell

Sounds like a good deal to me - like you say, if there are no issues.

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Like has been stated the XR loves the low rpm's. The XR4 will have a tendancy to washout at high speeds due to the steerng angle. Good in the tight stuff...not good at speed. The opposite holds true for the 650. Just remember that to buy the XR4 at $1950 then do mods and suspension upgrades etc are you better served going with an 01 or 02 WR250F?? Just a thought as they make about the same horsepower. I think to buy a bike and put a bunch more money into it to make it what you want seems odd. Granted the XR is the most bullet proof thing out there. No ifs and or buts about it. Good luck.

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jhteneyck, based on his size and weight there is not a bike manufactured that is built for his specs. I figure the suspension work into the initial purchase price. Although with that being said, anywhere he goes from the XL250 will make a pretty big difference suspension wise.

Darrel, you should also just bite the bullet and figure a couple ergo mods into the mix also as you are tall. Some bikes have a more open riding compartment than others, but at your height to be comfortable you may have to put aftermarket triple clamps, high bars, or risers to be comfortable. You will find tall riders that ride any bike that you choose...they can point you in the right direction.

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:cry: I love mine!

I ride it as a TRAIL BIKE! Tight twisty trails through the woods. It excels at hill climbs. It loves technical sections where you have to be exact. Use that low end torque and the steering is spot on!

Do the Gordon Mods and re-work the suspension and you're done! :cry: The suspension comes stock very soft, I re-did mine and WOW! :cry: It hauls @ss too! I'm 265 lbs. at 6'5" and it has more power than I can use! :lol: I did put the 1" bar risers and the Desert Bend Renthals on it. My single MOST IMPORTANT mod! :cry:

It's not a MX bike. Don't plan on doing 60 ft. doubles! It will not rev. to the moon! :lol:

Good luck! :cry:

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If I use my favorite 14/47 combination for the tight technical "Goat Trails", with a 6th gear, I could still have a reasonable top gear for the flat-out stuff without having to switch to the stock 15/45.

How about a more of an overdrive 5th? That would be nice! :cry:

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Only need 3gears on the trails I ride. Most of the time just 2. I think the stock gearing is awsome. The first gear is low enough to pull me through anything without bogging and such. Pretty nice just to let out the clutch and just let it crawl. :cry:

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The choke flap breaking off and going into the combustion chamber is a definite thing to watch out for,You can get a new one that does not have the little spring loaded flap on it , and that seems to solve the problem, and while you are at it , my kick starter snaped off , yes snapped off, just inside the engine the shaft fell in half.This may be a result of the prior owner removing the auto decomp system whilst installing a mega hi comp piston in it. :cry: :cry:

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