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Tips for new xr owner

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I recentlygot a 91 model xr 250, my first bike and love it to death. i am an ok rifer but need as much help as i can get. What kind of gear and mods do you have on your bikes? What works and what don't? Also if you have any riding tips throw them in too if you want to.


RIDE TO LIVE!!!! :cry:

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I used to post an XR250R faq on usenet's rec.motorcycles.dirt back in the early 90's. I dug it up on google groups - it is dated so here is a partial list that is updated to the new millenium.

1. The throttle is a push-pull throttle - you can remove the push cable to get reduced throttle pull. The second throttle cable is to keep the honda lawyers feeling happy they won't get sued by someone sticking the throttle.

2. The newer XRs (starting in '96) come with a front brake master cylinder that has a smaller piston. This makes it less effort to brake. If you can dig up one off of a CR that will fit - it is the same thing. I think I bought one off of a '95 CR way back when - but be careful - different years mount differently at the master relative to the front brake line.

3. Remove the resistor in the spark plug cap and replace it with a hunk of copper wire the same length. Look up inside the spark plug cap and you will see a straight notch - stick a very small flat blade screwdriver up there and unscrew it - a small resistor and a spring will fall out.

4. When I was young and burly I would remove the decompression cable for easier starting (well it makes it a little harder to kick over - but it starts "quicker"). This is the cable that runs from near the kickstarter up to the cylinder head. It holds one of the valves open until the kickstarter is disengaged. If you take it off you are building compression from the "git-go" and also if it is adjusted wrong the bike can be a real pain to start - so I always took it off.

5. The decompression lever is below the clutch lever in a location that is hard to reach. I like rotating it around so that the lever faced me and I could grab it with my thumb coming into a corner (if I stall it and want to get it rolling again). After rotating it into this position I would trim away a notch from the grip so that it pulled into the bar without interference.

6. I used to buy white brother's megalloy pipes because they were so dang light - but they don't make them any more and noisy pipes are no longer vogue anyways... The stock pipe is very good. You can pull the baffle out of a '91 and the noise isn't all that obnoxious and it will work better than most aftermarket pipes. Otherwise, I would stick with stock and dig up a different baffle that flows a little easier (like one from thumper racing).

7. Remove the backfire screen from the air filter or just buy a uni that comes with a free flowing cage. Do not, no matter what you do, buy a k&n air filter - it may flow more per unit area - but in this case the back of it is metal - so if someone can make an argument that the metal somehow flows air better than foam - then go for it.. :cry:

8. The stock tires on the '91 XR are an IRC VE-35F and a VE-33 in the rear. Both wear like iron and I used to run VE-33s religiously in the rear until I discovered michelins which work much better in the mud. The stock front doesn't work well anywhere - it is a six ply desert tire - I like running a michelin m-12 front tire much better.

9. There are alot of aftermarket parts available - countersprockets, sprockets, levers, etc. Some honda oem parts are much better than aftermarket - stock honda levers will bend and not break. Aftermarket levers are very brittle and will snap right off. Another piece that I would only buy from honda was countershaft sprockets. The stock honda piece fits better and is of "the right hardness". I learned my lesson after wasting a countershaft on one XR because I was running a super hard sprocket. You want the countershaft sprocket to be softer than the countershaft that it is riding on so that the countershafter sprocket is the one that wears out. :cry:

10. The stock springs on your '91 will sack out quickly and leave the bike riding very low in the stroke. Replacing the springs with aftermarket springs will help greatly.

11. After riding for a bit the front fork will build up pressure and get a little harsh. Run zero air in them to start off with and then bleed them after riding for an hour.

12. Safety wire the grips on.

13. I like to put in a zerk fitting in the steering head and pump the steering head full of high temp grease. After every wash, I would pump a little grease in the steering head to force any water out. Doing this makes the steering head bearings last a lifetime. The oil cooler is on the steering head and will warm it up - so be sure to pick a high temp grease - otherwise, grease will be oozing down your fender, and it isn't pretty.

14. The rear shock linkage on your '91 comes with grease fittings :cry: Honda sells some moly paste that works well here. I had another grease gun that would use for this purpose (loaded with pro-honda moly-50). After every wash - just a tiny squirt to force any water out.

15. I also added a zerk fitting to grease the brake pedal pivot. You can drill and tap a hole. Install the zerk and then file the threads off that protrude into the pivot itself.

15. The stock bars are very low and would strain my lower back. I used to run with CR mini-hi's way back when. A taller bar is much easier on the back - a CR-HI bend works well. For tight woods, I cut mine down to 30.5" to clear the trees a little easier.

16. For better bottom end throttle response, you can adjust the intake valves "a touch" on the loose side. I used to adjust both the intake and the exhaust valves to 3 thousandths of an inch clearance.

17. Change the oil often. If you live in a colder climate, a synthetic oil will let the bike start a little easier. Diesel truck oils work well in the XR (or any 4 stroke wet clutch app) - Delo-400 15W40 is great. If you want to go synthetic then don't do so to stretch out oil changes. Always change the oil often regardless of what type of oil you decide to use.

18. Oh yeah, don't use gooey commercial chain lubes. Hate em - they stick to everything and really attract dirt. I use tri-flow -alternatively use 90W gear oil.

19. After washing the bike spray the engine cases, header pipe and chain down with WD-40. WD stands for "water displacement". Doing this will displace water and prevent corrosion on these items. If you strip the header down and spray it with WD-40 after every ride it will end up "blue-ed" and nothing will stick to it (kinda cool).

- jeff

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I really appreciate the comments guys and i look forward to learning a lot and having many good rides in the future. If you got any more tips keep 'em coming.

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