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XR400 vs Suzuki DRZ400

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OK I know I'll get mostly Honda answers but other than the kick vs electric start could some of you fill me in on the pros and cons between these two bikes? I'm going to check out a 2003 used XR tomorrow and a buddy has a DRZ for sale. Price is within $100 for the two.

This will be my first dirt bike since my Montesa 123 Cota trials bike in the early 70's so I'm looking for a bike that easy to ride the tight stuff and basically makes the tough stuff feel not so tough. I'll live with whatever it gives me on the open logging roads.

I'll be searching the threads as well but there's not a lot of comparison threads so that's why I'm asking.

LET THE ZOOK BASHIN' BEGIN! :cry: (but nicely please)

Oh, and I'm :cry: (just thought I'd get that little smilie in there... )

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I am an XR guy, but I have gotten two of my buddies who are fairly new to riding to buy the DRZ (kick models). Another buddy has the XR400 and I have owned three (two were XR440's). I like both bikes. Here are the two biggest differences I noticed. The DRZ has more power, the XR suspension feels more balanced (barely though). Other than that, I think it's a matter what feels better to you. They will both run forever and both kick over easy (if you go for a used DRZ kick model, which were discontinued in 2003). The XR is simpler being that it has no radiators to squish) The DRZ might feel a little heavier up top, but they both will manuever well. People complain about the slope of the DRZ seat making you slide back on the bike. The DRZ carb is a little harder to get to for rejetting. Since I ride a 650, I like the DRZ power. You could hop up the XR, but it will get more finicky and less reliable. The other thing I like is that the DRZ are usually a little less expensive from what I can tell. The worst part is that they are yellow :cry: You will have fun either way :cry:

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:cry: Gentlemen,

The DRZ is HEAVY. It comes dual sported and does have the magic "E" button. It is water cooled and has those nice radiators up front. Oh, and it is a Suzuki..... :cry:

I love my XR. It's a better "dirt bike". It costs to dual sport and I could use that E button on occasion. Steering is spot on and once you dial in the suspension, it's unstopable. Mod. that beast and it will blast up those hills! :cry:

Question is.......what do YOU WANT TO DO!? :cry: Buy the bike that meets YOUR needs! :cry:

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That's my problem. I'm not sure of my needs.

I perched myself on the baby, mama and papa Hondas today (CRF250X, XR400 and XR650) and loved the CRF for it's light weight but found the XR400 to feel only a trifle more heavy in the patented knee swing back and forth method :cry: The 650 felt like an elephant compared to the other two so that's RIGHT out.

I have to say that the XR felt GOOD under me. Not too tall or too heavy or too long and gangly like some of the motocross bikes feel. Tomorrow I hit up a Zook dealership to try the same on a DRZ.

Right now the lack of a water hooka on the front is a big plus. You can't break something that's not there....

Thanks to you two for the opinions and info so far.

My biggest concern for now is that I want something that'll plonk down low and tractor my butt out of tight fixes. With my rusty off road skills I'm sure I'll be too meak to attack stuff the way it should be. I also appreciate a bike that will noodle it's way through tight twisty trails but still maintain a sense of stability at moderate logging road speeds.

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I had to make the same decision. I had not riden in the dirt for 10 years. I found the drz felt to tall. (I am 5 11). The xr just felt more comfortable. The xr has lots of power and will climb anything. It's good in the slow stuff. On fire roads it will cruise right along. The xr starts great by there have been time where I wise I had the magic button. :cry:

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E-start would have been nice, but probably not necessary. My bike starts so easy anyways.

Torque? TONS of torque. It moves even at very low rpm. My XR426 feels like it makes its most power right before it stalls. The XR426 actually makes more torque than a WR426.

I would buy the XR400 if I did it again, even knowing what I know now. It just handles great, and works perfect for what I do.

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Never owned a yellow bike, but I ahve owned 3 XR's over the years, 2 250s and a 400 that I still have. Get the Honda. Bullet proof design, good after market parts, easiest bike on the planet to work on and it will have better re-sale as people know the XR's proven reliablity. The red bike will bring you home when the yellow one may not. Not bashing the yellow brand but I have owned the Honda and you can ride that bike hard and put it wet and it will come back for more.

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Just made this decision myself a few months ago when I bought my first dirtbike. My only riding experience prior was riding an old Suzuki just twice when I was a kid and riding a quad recently. All dirtbikes have room for improvement - no matter which you choose, you will immediately want to spend $ on upgrades.

XR - Lots of parts available, some mods are almost free (I did these), you'll need to invest in real handguards and and engine guard/skidplate right away. For me the novice rider/mechanic, the power is reasonable with enough extra for a novice to get you in trouble - I have a scar to prove it, bike is forgiving, no radiators, etc. to break (this has been good for me), pretty easy to work on, too. E-start would be nice for when I drop it and flood it, but not having it forces me to work harder to learn not to drop it/stall it. Post jetting, my bike is a little pickier about altitude changes, but that's probably because I need to dial it in more.

DRZ - Good bike too with electric start. I believe it has about 10 more HP than the XR and power is more noticeable. Beyond radiators (you would want to buy radiator guards right away - I think replacement radiators are $300) there are lots of hoses that don't seem to have adequate protection, again an engine guard may help. Also, the engine and clutch cases have brittle magnesium alloy covers. I understand that these covers are so brittle that a hit on a rock or log will crack them - here again, you can buy guards that glue on. Most bothersome aspect for me was sitting on one - the bike seems much bigger than an XR and the radiator shrouds stick out quite a bit.

Tip - Spend lots of time sitting on both bikes while at least wearing hiking boots to get an idea of your comfort. And, plan on spending perhaps $300-$500 on either bike to make improvements, and that's after spending $$$ on quality gear if you don't already have some.

Not sure if you're in California, but if you are and are buying new, both bikes are green sticker. For the DRZs, older models skipped a year (I think 2003 was red sticker) before going green.

Good luck!

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My biggest concern for now is that I want something that'll plonk down low and tractor my butt out of tight fixes. With my rusty off road skills I'm sure I'll be too meak to attack stuff the way it should be. I also appreciate a bike that will noodle it's way through tight twisty trails but still maintain a sense of stability at moderate logging road speeds.

I have an XR400 and it works great down low. That's where the XR's shine, lots of low end torque for when the conditions get nasty. In the tight stuff, it just keeps on plonking.

The DRZ's are good bikes too, and probably better for the higher speed roads and stuff.

I like the XR reliablility. I just trail ride and no matter what I ride I'm sure people would pass me. I know my bike will get me back to the truck. That means a lot to me. We've seen more than a few bikes dead out on the trail that needed a tow rope to get back. None of them have been XR's.

They can still hustle down a trail pretty fast though. Jimmy Lewis (Dirt Rider) rides an XR400 (as well as a KTM). That says a lot too. He has access to many sweet rides, and he still has an XR for trail riding.

I would love to have a new high tech ride, but I'll always have the XR in the garage too.

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Thanks again all. The case covers being brittle is a red light for sure. And that bit about the XR reliability hit home as well. Ditto your feelings about the stump pulling torque.

I have been considering motarding the bike as well but first and foremost it would be an off road. Obviously the DRZ would be best for that.

I'm off today to sit on a DRZ and Honda back to back. A dealer locally is a dual franchise.

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I ride an xr and have two buddies that ride the drz. One is an s model and one is an e model. The e has higher compression and the s has all of the smog stuff. I know everyone with an xr hates radiators, but in my year and a half of riding I have yet to see a problem with them. Personally I prefer the xr. It has tons of low end and plenty of power for what I do. The drz seems more top heavy to me, but it isn't the bike that I ride everyday. My friends think that the xr feels weird to them when they ride it. Bottom line they are both excellent bikes that will give you years of trouble free riding. Pick the one that you are most comfortable on.

:cry:

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the drz is weak dude, its a revy engine u gotta let'er spin out to make the power. my advice buy a used 2000 xr400 for 2000 bucks spend a couple hundred on suspension and a pumpercarb and a 426 or 440 kit and u will have a bike far better for offroad then a DRZ. My freinds Drz has cracked the case twice even with a skid palte oinstalled. the overall quailty of the bike seems poor. Its a big bike, i would compare it to an xr600 its great in the open but in the tight stuff is sucks. besides dude everyone knows yellow is a girls colr(only cause my lil bros both ride rm125s and i hate them)

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I was just riding with a DRZ400E Saturday on some tight, muddy trails. First things first. The drz was stock except for the protection ideams on it and had the end cap removed. My bike has all the mods listed below. My brother on his xr650r was also with us with the mods listed below on his bike. Also there was a z400 quad but I will leave that out since it was handycapped by the 4wheels. :cry:

We were going throught the trails and I was out front since I always get picked as the leader for some reason. Anywho the drz was keeping up with us. We came to the end of the trail and the 650 got stuck so we had to lift it out of that stick mud crap and when we left they took off first as I need to still start my bike and go down the trail some more to turn around to miss the mudhole the 650 got stuck in. In about a min I was cought back up with them even after their headstart. They were using the same pace as we were the whole day so I guess I was just using a even faster pace to catch up I dont know. But going through the tight woods I still thought my bike had an advantage as I seemed to be going through stuff much smoother. The 650r was still the fastest one out of the bunch. Dont be mislead, the xr650r is a VERY capable woods bike.

Drz400 pluses was that even with the endcap off it was still super quite. Also the e-start.

XR400 pluses- Lighter weight and it seemed to be able to loft the front wheel up with way less effort. This is still true with even stock XRs.

In the end, do you like red or yellow better. Or which local dealership do you like better...

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air cooled, won't start when ya need it, with a dorky steep saddle seat front that stops you from sliding forward on the bike for cornering position. The XR is ancient early 90s technology and ergos. The DRZ is a modern water cooled 4 stroke. Get real, your XRs are dinosaurs, soon to be left gathering dust in the museums of yesteryear.

The new CRF-450X....now that is a Honda! :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

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I don't think you can go wrong with either bike. I just know what my xr400 has been through and kept running with no problems. There's not a more reliable line of bikes than the xr's. I don't care if they are old technology they are great bikes. :cry:

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air cooled, won't start when ya need it, with a dorky steep saddle seat front that stops you from sliding forward on the bike for cornering position. The XR is ancient early 90s technology and ergos. The DRZ is a modern water cooled 4 stroke. Get real, your XRs are dinosaurs, soon to be left gathering dust in the museums of yesteryear.

Try mid '80s technology. Hmm, 20 year old designs that are still competitive with modern watercooled technobikes. Honda must have done something right. Dorky? You shouldnt buy anything to impress others. The slope? Its not an MXer.

My advice: If the capabilities of two bikes are comparable, then get the one that will benefit you in the future, ie more reliability, easier maintainence, comfort, etc.

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In talking with one of the fellows I'll be riding with and tellling him of how I've narrowed the field he told me that while he thinks the XR is a great bike it's not for me and the local trails. He said there's lots of hills around here and lots of logs to get stuck on where there's no hills.

He figures I'll get bushed just starting it the 20 or 30 times per ride. Not to mention trying to kick it if I stall ON a hill. I have to admit that I suspect he's right.

The sad thing is that after tossing a leg over a DRZ and the XR together I still think the XR feels like it fits me better and carries it's weight lower.

I'm SO confused. I'm thinking CRF250X now but the valve issue has me worried. Even if they fixed it for this year I'm serious about getting a used one.... and then there was the way that the Blue Brand WR250 felt so narrow like it was a mountain bike between my legs.. just like the CRF250

I'm SO confused..... :cry:

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I never have had any trouble starting my xr400 in any situation. The xr400 does great on hills and logs. The more challenging the terrain the better the xr is. Now the 650 can be a pain in the ass to start when flooded but the Edelbrock carb took care of that. It will start 1st or 2nd kick no matter what. :cry:

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In my humble opinion, you should forget the 250 fourstrokes (CRF and WR). They are NOT trail bikes first and foremost. You must be honest with the kind of riding you will be taking on, and the skill level you are at/can achieve. I love the KTM, but for the riding I do, a fourstroke will be better.

I have a KTM 250exc 2 stroke at the moment, but I am trading it in for a brand new DRZ400. I have been agonizing over EXACTLY the same choices as you have. Let me give you MY feedback and findings:

XR400 - GREAT BIKE, without a doubt one of the best motorcycles ever created. I used a friends XR400 the other day. It was a 2002 model. Don't let anyone tell you they are hard to start, it's rubbish. My friends has NOT been uncorked and starts great now he has got to grips with the proper procedure. People who can't start the XR just don't know how it's done. It you have starting probs on the XR, you have an underlying jetting problem. Suspension was soft, power was soft, whole thing was "friendly". I liked the bike, but felt after the KTM it wouldn't be something I could grow with. Of course, people do all kinds of things to their XR's to make them go faster, but to me that misses the point. If you need to mod the XR to extremes, you chose the wrong bike. Sorry, that won't be a popular statement, but hey.

The DRZ400 is "like an XR on steroids". It can't be compared with my YZ400F, as it just doesn't have the same snap to it. The E-Start is a nice little extra, but shoudn't be a deal breaker. The fact that it has radiators is not a problem, and I really don't know why XR owners make such a fuss about it. You have as much chance bending a rim, bending handlebars, puncturing a tank, snapping a lever etc etc. No rads are not a major issue for me. If I break a rad, it's bad luck, that's bikes for you! I chose the DRZ because I wanted a more modern base to start on if I wanted to improve the package. Somebody mentioned that the DRZ needs to be wound up to make power compared to the XR's low end grunt. I think that's misleading. While the XR has low down grunt, it runs out of steam so quickly you're up the gearbox quicker than with the DRZ. The DRZ has a way bigger rev range, making for greater flexibility.

I hope this helps, but remember, aside from the facts (weight,power etc) the choice is just that, a choice. Weight is deceiving, more important is WHERE the bike carries it's weight. The XR is great here. It feels (when tipping it from side the side) lighter than my YZF, but that's not the case on paper. Power is the same. My KTM is way more powerfull than the XR OR the DRZ, but you try getting that power to the floor! Not easy where I come from!

So, drop the 250 fours, they are a big investment in your time and effort and offer no massive gains in useability than the DRZ or XR. They are lighter, yes, but they are not designed for trail riding (in my opinion).

You can sure of one thing: Which ever bike you choose of the two, you are getting a MEGA bike. They are both excellent, and do the same job perfectly, just in slightly different ways.

Hope this helps................

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The fact that it has radiators is not a problem, and I really don't know why XR owners make such a fuss about it. You have as much chance bending a rim, bending handlebars, puncturing a tank, snapping a lever etc etc.

Gotta disagree with you there. My neighbor has a WR250f. He fell going less than ten mph in a rut and bent his radiator. It didnt hit hard at all...

He STILL wont buy rad guards. I think theyre fine with guards, but geez... I'm not gonna be hauling his butt back to the truck, when his bike is spewing coolant all over.

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