XR 650R or WR426F

Ok people, you have probably heard this topic hundreds of times, but for some strange reason the search function wont work for me on this site sooo..

Here is the situation. I will be buying another bike here in the next few weeks or so and I am wondering how the XR stacks up against the WR426. I want a bike that is good for tight trails and can go fast as well. I wont be racing or anything like that. Now I used to own a KLR 650 (2000 Model) and was wondering how the power of the XR and 426 compares to the KLR. I was really happy with the KLR's power but not the weight or the fact that it costs me 1600 (cnd) for 6 months of insurance. I know that an uncorked 650r absolutely smokes the KLR in the power dept and it is probalby 100 lbs lighter fully tanked up. Really, how does the bike handle trails? Would changing sprockets lower the revs enough to be useful on the tight twisties, or would the WR be a better bike to start with?

I had a 98wr400 that had yz timing. I used it with both, the regular timing and the yz timing and was never happy on the tight twisty trails. It felt like you always had to be on the throttle or it would stall. The handling and suspension were fine but it always liked the MX track better than the tight woods. I have a 2001 XR650 now and have uncorked it. It feels just as powerful as the wr but it can really lug low without killing the engine. I've tried 13 teeth on the counter shaft but I think I will go back to the 14. I've also had it on the MX track and its a blast there also. This is the best all around bike I have owned in 32 years of riding. It seems to be able to handle sand, hills, woods, mx tracks, and anything else I put it through with no problems. The first weekend I had it I broke it in doing a hare scrambles after 2 days of rain. Everyone else was spinning and getting stuck, the XR just chugged on by them, it is really great in the wet. I was passing so many people at a slow (break-in)pace that I was laughing most of the race. Here's these guys screaming past me and on the next turn they are stuck or on the ground and I'm just tooling along. Had a great ride and it really showed me what the bike could do. As always, just my .02, I'm sure others will have other opinions and this may be the wrong bike for you-it all depends on your likes and what you expect of the bike.

I'd say the WR is better in tight woods. The XR is OK on technical stuff, but the weight does show. Don't let anybody fool you into thinking it doesn't, because it does. The power output of the two bikes couldn't be more different. The WR is a high revving motor that just loves to be wrung out. Ride it like its made to be ridden and it will haul serious ass. The XR has truckloads of torque on hand in any gear, but still revs out OK for a big thumper. It will plant your eyes back in their sockets. Both bikes would make short work of a KLR.

It just boils down to your style of riding, and where you'll be riding. I give the XR the nod for more faster, open terrain. The WR is the better woods bike.

I own a '98 WR400, and yes, I had a lot of stalling problems at first, but after the free mods (airbox lid, YZ timing, grey wire, throttle stop), a FMF Q-series pipe, hydraulic clutch, and proper jetting, WOW! The last three weekends I've been bragging to my buddies how much I trust this bike to lug and not stall. Climbing over root infested hills, feet never touch the ground, lug along with a little blip of the throttle here or there to keep balance or loft the front over logs. Man, it's fun. Never rode the XR, but I love my WR in the tight stuff, and it has plenty of power to hang with most anything. I think it's one of the best do-it-all machines.

Yesterday I took a ride on my friends new ktm520exc.I was very impressed although Due to location all I did was make some straight fast runs on smooth surface, cant tell much about handeling or suspension.The bike felt a little heavier than my crf450, but a hell of alot lighter than my xr650r-about 40 lb. lighter!It had electric start and is also 10 to 15 lbs. lighter than a wr426. The ktm was real fast,with a 6 speed gearbox so you can keep up with the 650 top end no problem.The radiator shrouds are part of the gas tank which is cool and holds alot.Honestly I thought the brp was the greatest dual sport all around bike,now I am not so sure.Of course the brp is king of the desert,but on trails what about a light fast bike that you never have to worry about stalling?

I've ridden both these bikes so here's my .02 worth-

1. The 650 is around 10 kg (or 25 pounds) heavier than a 426 and you notice this more and more the tighter the trail.

2.They make very different power. In my opinion, the 650 has a more usable engine, especially in slippery conditions but will still smoke the WR426 in a straight drag. The trade-off for this though is engine weight!

3.The suspension on both bikes is excellent and will handle a variety of conditions, but the 650 holds a slight advantage in rocks.

4.The XR650 is much easier to work on-Airfilter access, valve-adjustment and carby access being main examples.

*It really comes down to you and your riding, if your doing a lot of tight stuff, buy a WR. If you're a desert rider or are riding more open trails, buy the 650. :)

I have a xr600 and bought a KDX250. I have ridden my friends KDX200 and use to have a cr250. HEre are a few things I noticed:


-The weight. Pushes the front end especially in lose stuff!

-Longer wheel base makes it harder the tighter things go.

-The weight! Watch the ruts, get a SRC fork brace to solve a lot of the rut and front fork flex problems

-lots of low end power even with a cam, carb, and full exhaust. The bike really does better as things open up.

-plug is a PIA to get at, but not as bad as a xr400

-low maintenance

-very easy and comfortable to ride long distances

KDX or smaller 250cc type of bike:



-harder power to control

-better suspension and stiffer frame

-easier to ride faster in the tight stuff

-jumps better, less weight

-easy plug access

Really for the woods the smaller bike will win. I am amazed at how fast my friend can ride a 83 kdx200 and he is about the same riding ability as me. It is the bike. Tight woods do not favor the xr600s especially with ruts and single track deer paths. The lighter smaller bike is much easier to go faster. I swapped out to a KDX250 for the perimeter frame, inverted forks, lighting coil on a 2 stroke and less weight. I am still rebuilding a lot of the small things on the bike like the forks, bearings and suspension linkage. But have only had the bike 3 days. I am anxious to try it up on the grade where we ride when I get it done.

Thanks for the info guys. Very informative. Personally, I would like a bike that I could lug down low better than one that I would need to keep the revs up. Our trails around here are mainly old logging roads and the odd wide single track. Like everything it keeps coming back to the BRP.

Thanks again

No worries mate. The 650 will lug much better than a 426, but if you're riding much inthe way of tight trails, don't hesitate in getting a lighter bike. Big 600's and 650's can be real pigs in tight stuff. :):D

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now