Is WR worth a damn on woods trails?

I'm looking at buying a WR426, but I'm concerned as whether it will be any fun on tight woods trails. I'm sort of looking at the DRZ. I like to go fast on occasion but I'm really looking for something to hook up and haul on hills and woods trails. I ride in the North Georgia mountains so I've got soft dirt and some rock.

I know that the WR is the most High Tech, and I want one like crazy, but they don't do test rides around here and I have no idea if it meets these needs.

Any Input? Non-Biased Input? BTW I'm 6'3" and 250lbs.

..."tight woods trails".... is not what the WR does best... it likes faster stuff better.

But you didn't tell us what kind of riding/racing experience you have.... sounds like not much?

The DRZ is better in the tight trails, but might get scary in the fast stuff and has a soft suspension (you might have to buy springs for it at 250#s).

The Honda XR400 might be the best choice, because the tighter and tougher the trail, the better it is... you would be one of the few guys who didn't have to buy a softer rear spring for it also (the stock rear spring is way too stiff for most people).

thats my .02c

I rode XRs when I was kid. About 15 years ago. I've ridden street, and I frequently ride my brothers RM250 and KLX300. I don't want to get in over my head with the WR. But once my skills get better I don't want to get stuck with a dog either.

I bought an XR400 last year after not riding for 18 years, thinking the WR would probably be too much for me. I rode it for a month and was beating it into the ground (in the woods). I lost money selling it and bought a 2000 WR this spring - I am way happier. I am 6'2 and weigh 190lbs.

I left my XR 250 about 6 months ago. I don't have a lot of time in the saddle of the WR however; here are my thoughts:

I don't have the bike singing in the tight stuff yet however; I believe the bike will. You just have to get used to it. The bike has all the potential in the world and will be a DRZ killer once you figure it out. I'd buy one and practice, practice, practice.

[This message has been edited by Bryan Bosch (edited 11-07-2000).]

Hey Chugger, I am 6'3" 225lbs, and work out daily so not a lot of flubber. I just had my 2000WR out for the first time this weekend and can't say enough about it's capabilities. My last bike was a KTM300EXC, and before that a XR250 (rode CR500's when I was younger). Two of my riding buddies were on Performance Honda's CR500F's, the other one was on a 2000 CR500. The guys riding the 500F's are full out desert racers that are first place point contenders, the other guy is just getting into racing but has a lot of years riding. The first trail we took was fairly open and rutted. I was breaking in the bike still, but stayed in second and third place all of the way. I had never been on the trail before and these guys ride it all of the time. I'm not a great rider, but the bike is just that good. Our second ride was on tight rocky terain with lots of trees and cactus, very technical. Finished with the same results. The XR was like a mountain bike to me and i could man handle it through turns. The EXC was fast but didn't turn as well. For your size the WR is about as perfect a bike as you are likely to find, for any kind of riding. Hope this helps you out.


Chugger, I was in the same position as you. Rode dirt 15 years ago in my teens, been riding street since then. I got re-bitten by the dirt bug a few months ago and started lurking on this and other sites. Most of my riding is in VT in tight trees w/ tons of mud, roots and some rocks. Couple of open fireroads around also. Some guys I know built a short MX track literally 100 yards from my house. So I really was jonsing for a bike that would take advantage of all that. After riding friends' two strokes, couple XRs, and a WR400F, a went out and bought a '99 WR400F. I eliminated the 2 strokes and that left the XR, DRZ, and WR. I thought about the YZ400(26), but the guys here convinced me that the WR w/ a few mods was better suited for what I wanted. Also, wanting the latest and greatest pushed me towards the WR or DRZ. Having said all that, the WR seems to have more potential in terms of power and handling out of the box. From what I've read, the DRZ is better for tight trees than the WR, but that is not the only thing I'm riding. I want to go 60 or 70 in a hurry sometimes and jump over small tabletops at others, so the power and suspension of the WR tipped the scales in its favor. Bottom line is that you won't go wrong w/ either of these bikes. That's the great thing about the choices we have. If you can't get to ride on either, than go with your gut. It really is up to the rider to make his bike perform the way it should.


Hey Chugger,

nope, my machine is bone-stock except for the front sproket change. I'm a long term street rider venturing into the dirt world. So I thouht I would ride for a bit before changing anything. The FIRST modification I'll make will be a new seat and the second will be some higher-rise bars. It took me a few hundred miles to feel that I could voice an opinion about this wunder-bike and my butt voiced it's opinion first. :)

IS IMS (ISM?) the place to go? I'm still looking and since it's -15C here now, there's time to make that decision. Luckily the cold should moderate a bit and I'll be able to get out again before xmas.


depends what we mean by tight woods.

if i were to ride around an open throttle corner & change direction without blipping the throttle i would say the handling was sure & stable.

but anything that means zig-zagging around rocks or tree stumps & you have to put sooooo much leverage into the bars! i have to push with the whole fist & can't get my fingers clear to the levers.

i can on a one off but when you're knackered & two hours into a race i have to really force the high side of the bars away from me in a corner.

that's why i get hand cramp (no jokes!) in an enduro. my hand is always a fist.

i really would like to take 1 degree out of the headangle & try the scotts (SSTC). the scots especially. i'm brassic for now though.

i even pushed the rear wheel back when i geared it up; i was fed up with wearing out the mudflap.


I ride a 2000 WR, with a stock YZ seat & tank(which I highly recommend). I ride almost exclusively woods type riding.(You know, the 1st,2nd & 3rd gear variety.) I think once you get used to the bike, you will be amazed at what a big power, fairly heavy bike can do. Do yourself a favor though and ditch the stock tires, front tire at least. I raised the rear sprocket 1 tooth, and shortened the wheel base up. I raced 2 enduro's this year, and the bike will wear you out,but enough seat time will cure that.

Taffy, I know what you mean about hand cramps though, the last race I ran, I had to shift without the clutch for a while because every time I pulled it in , My hand wouldn't release it!! I ordered a scotts dampener that should be here tomorrow with the triple clamp setup and protapers. I'll give you my impressions after I ride with those installed.

By the way, this is the first bike I've had since about 1985. This is my first year racing, and I am still thoroughly impressed with the capabilities of this bike.

I hadn't riden in 20+ years and the last bike I rode had the power of a weed whacker and the suspension of a pogo stick. I wanted to get back into bikes and wanted something fast that I could ride MX or trails. The DRZ was not around and the XR was a soft slug.

I bought the WR rode a few weeks, once in the woods and bought some handguards and raced a GNCC. hat was I thinking. Being from California and racing in the woods of North Carolina was all about survival. I did finish and had a ball. The WR's power saved my butt a couple of times and on some very slippery, rooted and rutted hills I just twisted the loud handle and roosted pass all of the two-smokes laying all around. Of course they all passed me back, but it was still fun.

I have no regrets on buying the WR and am always learning to go faster. Which is an option on the WR.

5'11", 190 (hard) and 41 last week!



86TT225, 98CR80, 99WR, WR timing, throttle stop trimmed, air box lid removed, White Bros head pipe, silencer and air filter. Odometer and headlight removed. Moose hand and mud guards. YZ stock tank and IMS seat. Renthal Jimmy Button "highs" and Renthal Soft half waffle grips. AMA, SETRA.


have you got the Y2K model?

i haven't heard of anyone putting the scotts (less offset triple clamps) on this model.

it was considered a good mod in 99. the shortening of the wheelbase can only have pushed the balance of the weight forward & shouldn't really have helped the steering at all/much/if any.

but the 5mm shorter frame AND the clamps, now that would be a good bet.


hey there...

I'm about your size and weight and I find the WR to be great in the woods. I dropped a tooth on the front,as per recommendations found on this site, and my blue beast suits me fine. :)

if you're not on dial-up, check out htis video... it's 130 MEG big, so unless you're on cable or DSL or T1.. forget it :D But it does show the trails 'we' ride on up here. .. and the bike in the vid is a WR400


'00 in Calgary,

Have you done anything with the clamps,bars or seat foam?

I'm not buying a XR400, simply because Honda is showing the watercooled, high compression next generation version in Europe according to Cycle News. These things loose enough value without a signifigant model change.

Taffy, I have a 99 with the IMS seat/tank. This did help quite a bit. Makes the bike feel smaller and of course, you can get further forward. I do have the stock 739 tire. Maybe that's my problem. The front end does feel a little squirly. Regardless, with more time in the saddle, I'll do just fine.

Van Brocklin

i use the progrips as there is a bit more meat on them.

these, the juice clutch & the protapers have all helped.

another thing i've done which i haven't ever mentioned before is that i get my levers & immediately bend them forward & around to the front. this allows me to keep my two smallest digits on the bars. i love it. the scrutineers laugh & my mates question my sanity-again!!!!

but the real reason for my thread is to ask if you are getting the scotts short triple clamps? i'm absolutely convinced that you will be improving the bikes slow speed steering by purchasing the scotts STC's.

all i ask you to do is vision the following scenario. you're on an old bike with the stand up. you go from lock to lock while sitting at a standstill. the bike sits lower at full left & right lock. your effort goes into lifting you & the bike up vertically about 1" to point the wheel ahead.

imagine it with the clamps holding the legs 1" further forward. imagine the leverage you would need to put in to get the front wheel upright.

i hope i've persuaded you. remember that to speed up the steering we generally make it less stable. & YOU'VE GOT THE DAMPER AS WELL!!!!!

i hope someone with a Y2K or an '01 will try this.



In reading through the threads here, I get the impression that the '00 WR's or '01 WR's have a shorter frame, hence tighter turning radius? I know my bike is longer than my son's YZ125. . .but not by much.



'00 WR - a big BLUE thumper w/all sorts of fun modifications.

well we know that the 00 has a 5mm shorter frame & we've taken it that it was around the steering head thus forcing more weight onto the front wheel.

if you look up the discussion archives to the left & go for the lower one there are loads of threads (i think) on the clamps that scotts produces.

they machined the holes for the fork legs 5mm nearer the rider. this was accepted as improving the slow speed steering on the 98 & 99 models. but nobody has tried the clamps on the 00 model with it's 5mm shorter frame. the 5mm modification can only do two things. 1) puts weight on the front for grip & 2) shorten the wheelbase which was 5' long but is now 5mm shorter!!!!!! wow&%$#@!inweeeee!!!!

the problem is that the front wheel is kicked out too far in degree's & the only thing you can do besides a cut'n'shut to the steering head is the scotts STC's.

riders think "these clamps don't look so different to my street bike" but they forget that the wheelspindle is well in front of the bottom of the fork tubes.

IF the forks were off a street bike with the hole exactly under the middle of the forks; for the forks to be in the same position the yokes would have to look like something off a 1920 indian!!!

anyway i can always hope....


My 2000 WR is great in the woods. Suspension is bone stock. Only adjustment from factory settings: 1/4 turn less on high speed comp damping rear shock. Only thing is our woods in Calif are probably different than GA. Randy Hawkins/ Barry Hawk seem to have no trouble with the East Coast woods.


I went back and checked out the threads as you suggested. I agree with you 5mm is not something to get your knickers all greased about, but the Scott's STC's might be interesting. I've been thinking about putting on different triple clamps, and changin' the rake of the front wheel enough will definitely change the balance of the bike.

I'll do some research here and get back with a post.


Damper?! I don't NEED no stinkin' damper - I have insurance!!!

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