XR400 vs KDX200

Hey, all - got a chance to ride a ride a '03 KDX 200 this past weekend. Since my XR400 is currently apart (I'm doing some fork upgrades), a buddy let me ride his KDX 200. This was a pretty neat comparison for me, since most of the trails we rode is stuff I've ridden on my XR400.

Right away I noticed the lesser weight of the KDX. I think on paper it's something like 30 lbs less (didn't research to find out exactly how much), and it felt much lighter on the trail.


XR: I have to hit these pretty hard to keep the XR stable (I think I need to adjust my suspension as well). Usually, I try to jump two at a time.

KDX: You can jump two at a time, or just ride straight through them - the suspension is soft so it just soaks it all up.


XR: Gotta stay on the gas, for sure, or it will plow.

KDX: Same thing mostly, but tends not to plow as much due to lesser weight.

Up Hills:

XR: just keep the throttle steady, and let it tractor up.

KDX: needed to shift more frequently. If you get off the pipe, then you will need to downshift. It revs quickly, however, so sometimes you can gas it and save the gear you are in. Front end is light, so I sometimes wheelied up hills (even with weight forward).

Down Hills:

XR: get weight waaaay back, keep in gear, let it roll

KDX: same thing mostly. Light front end helps to keep weight back.

Single Track:

XR: charge hard into corners to get the bike sliding and get it leaned over - otherwise it will stand up and push you out of the track

KDX: keep those revs up! If revs die, so does your ability to corner effectively. get on the gas early coming out of a corner!


The XR is just a do-it-all trail bike that relies on torque (at least in stock form) to pull it's weight around. If you don't fight the bike, it gets you most anyplace you want to be.

The KDX is a lighter version of the XR, but relies more on revs to get the power you need. But, it DOES have torque - a lot more than I expected. When the speed gets up there, you will need to do some work on the pipe/suspension to make it work out. In the tight stuff, it really shines.

My friend said that top end work on the KDX is infrequent. It's a pretty bulletproof bike, for a liquid cooled machine. Oh, and it's much easier to start than the thumpers.

I dunno - pretty even with the XR from what I can see. Better in the tighter stuff for sure, better in the whoops, but lacks in the more open type of riding.

Now, if they could just make a new XR400 that's about 30 lbs lighter...


Good on you! Sound like you had fun! I love doing that, Comparing other peoples bikes to mine!

The KDX wasnt a 2 stroke was it? Or not?

I cant remember what KDX is, 2 or 4. :cry:

Good on you! Sound like you had fun! I love doing that, Comparing other peoples bikes to mine!

The KDX wasnt a 2 stroke was it? Or not?

I cant remember what KDX is, 2 or 4. :cry:

It's a 2 smoke :cry: .............. but it is a awesome machine :cry::cry:

The KDX is a very nice woods bike, but in the real nasty deep woods swamp stuff I'll take the XR4. I ride with 5-6 KDX guys down in the Wayne Nat. Forest in southern Ohio a couple times a year. They really like thier bikes, till we get down in some of the wet slippery valley areas....then they are alittle shy on bottom end. Your right it would be nice to have a XR4 that is as light as a KDX. :cry:

I rode with a friend of mine who had a KDX2 and was pleasantly surprised by its performance. Its ability to lug (for a 2 stroke) and the compliance of the suspension package while still being stiff enough was good. Jumping off an XR4 the ergos are much different as the bike has radiators and is a little lower but still has that trail-bike feel. Powerwise it felt as if it could run with the XR off the mark but lose out on top speed, but the XR requires much less gearshifting especially in tight conditions.

So in short, I would call it the easiest 2-stroke to get accustomed to after riding a four-stroke and an alternative to the 1,000,000 different 4-strokes available on the market today. Good fun!

Thanks for the write up Desertwind. Based on what you wrote, I went out and bought a sweet 2001 KDX 220! My son wanted a 2 stroke, I secretely always wanted a 220. I'll be sneaking this one away from him often.

I'm sure you will like it. Keep in mind my review was based on the KDX 200, not the KDX 220. However, 90% of the parts of those bikes are identical.

The 220 should provide for more grunt, and less top-end, since it has a size smaller carb than the 200. If you want more top-end, and less grunt, you can put a larger carb on it (or get one off a 200).

Have fun (I know I did)!


Anyone know the range of the stock tank on a KDX 220 or KDX 200?


I figure I get about 60 miles per tank.'00 220 w/some mods.A great bike.

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