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Which one for me?

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I know I'll get slagged for asking about an XR vs.WR, but here it goes. I am 28 years old. 220lbs. working-class family guy. I had an 80cc when I was a kid. Then a couple of crappy Kawi dualsport bikes stripped down a bit. I rode the bikes into the ground. They sucked. I'd say my skill level is lower-intermediate. I had a back injury, subluxated disk, crushing my siatic nerve. Orthoscopic surgery, and some recurring pain. I think it would be cool to enter a local Hare scramble or shorter variety enduro, once I build my skills and confidence a bit. But lets be realistic. I am a guy with a back injury, who smokes a pack and a half a day, and will probably only have time to ride the bike once or twice a month. I don't harbor any illusions of riding competitively. I had my heart set on an XR400 until I saw the new WRs. I have have ridden the XR400, it was a solid simple bike, easy and fun to ride. The XR has a soft fat-cushy seat, plush suspension and a simple Air Cooled powerplant with good bottom end. I am really more interested in the WR though because I think as my skill level increases I might regret not paying for newer technology. Which ever bike I choose, I will probably have it for a long long time. The ergonomics and design on the XR seems to be getting pretty dated. On the other hand it seems that everyone says that the WR handles harshly at low trail speed and really rocky areas. Which unfortunately describes the riding conditions here exactly. Also although I haven't ridden a WR I did sit on one at the dealership here and that skinny-ass rock- hard seat isn't too comfortable.

Sharp suspension jolts+hard skinny seat=BACK ACHE!

Anyway, I have a seven year old son who is interested in riding. I am going to pickup one of the KTM 50s for him so we can do some hillcountry trailriding here.

I need some honest opinions of WR owners. How hard/expensive would it be to find a cushier flatter seat and soften up the suspension for lower speed riding? I'd like to hear any recomendations. Which bike for me XR or WR. Price differences aside which bike would be the best choice? I'm still leaning towards the WR. Also if any parents out there have had any experience out there with the Husky or KTM or LEM 50cc bikes. Thanks.

[This message has been edited by Texas (edited 03-01-2001).]

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Have you thought about a DRZ? For what you are riding, the amount you will be riding and the back pains that may be a great option. The WR can be a bear at slow speeds, although a lot of guys say a gear change has helprd them a lut. The WR suspension works best when hammered on. For comfort the WR is on the bottom of the list VS a DRZ or an XR. After long rides I often get tailbone ache and I have no back problems. I hope this helps. Check in on the DRZ page. The DRZ may be a good compromise. More power than an XR and mor forgiving than a WR. You can get a DRZ with electric start....Yumy.

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I have had several xrs. I had a 2000 xr400. I recently sold it and purchased a wr426. There are times that I miss my xr and there are times that I really enjoy riding my wr. I will say that the xr400 is the best all around machine made. It is not the fastest nor does it have the best suspension, but it is extremely reliable. I will take that bike anywhere. You will be riding this bike for many years with minimal maintenace. This is the bike for you if your riding will be focused on casual trail riding.

If you have any inclination that you might want to race I would go with the wr. The wr is a bike that likes to go fast and to be rode hard. I think the wr is a good combination of a race and trail bike. It has the best of both worlds.

Good luck. Regardless of what you buy, you are on the right track because thumpers rule.

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I had them all too. XR400, WR400, etc.

Go with a KTM 400EXC and will just anwsered ALL your questions as long as your not planning lots of dual sport rides! It has good low end, great suspension, light weight, etc., etc. 2nd choice is WR. You can play with the suspension to get a softer feel. THE MOTOR ON THE WR IS AWSOME.

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You sound about like me except I don't have back problems or kids. I have a '99 WR400 that is dual sported. I have installed stiffer springs for my weight and softened the compression damping on both ends to help ease the pain & suffering on rocking single track.

I wrestled with the XR400 vs WR400 decision myself in early '99 before ordering my WR. In hindsight I probably would have been better off getting the XR400. Don't get me wrong, I love my WR but for my skills & riding area the XR would have met my requirements better. I have no experience with the DRZ but I hear it is a very nice compromise between the XR & the WR. The KTM is out of the picture if money is an issue.

There are a ton of used XR400s available because of the WR, DRZ & KTM - go buy a decent one and enjoy riding with your son.


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WR vs. XR... been there done that. I went for the WR and have three buddies that went with the XR. Here are my opinions;

1. WR can be a great tight and narly trial bike, even with stock gearing. This bike can LUG! If I can do it, it can be done :)

2. XR is still much easier to handle in the tight narly stuff. (steeper steering angle is always going to be easier to handle in the tight stuff).

3. WR feels heavier even thought they weigh the same with gas. The reason is the XR carries the weight lower.

4. XR=30 hps, WR 400=43, WR 426=45

5. WR handles better at speed i.e. more stable.

6. WR carries more gas and can ride a bit further.

7. Believe it or not the bottom end on the XR is at least as strong as the WR if not more so. The thing is a tractor!


1. 40 hps

2. better suspension than the XR

3. electric start avaiable!

It is almost the perfect balance between the XR and WR. It is heavy though!


1. lighter

2. slimmer

3. electric start

4. nicer componantry

5. good suspenders for offroad riding

400 not quite as much power as the WR, 520 more power...


JJ from WA - 99 WR; WR timed, EKN Needle, Scotts stabalizer, Scotts triple clamps, Pro-Tapers, Michelin S-12's, Terry Cable hot start, MSR Raptor clutch lever, Moose skid plate, Works frame guards, Acerbis Pro Rally guards, Renthal MD-soft grips, Factory Effex graphics, YZ IMS seat base, YZ Factory Effex seat foam and gripper seat cover, YZ rear fender

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I’d agree with most here except rob f, forget about KTM. For your purposes the new KTM thumpers are about the same as a WR (stiffly sprung, faster than stink, all-out race bike) only more expensive and UNAVAILABLE. Call a few KTM dealers, let them have a good laugh, and you’ll see what I mean. On the other hand you may get lucky and find one that is not yet spoken for (probably only SX models).

I leaning towards the XR for you, but I think you should compare this to a DRZ first.

XR Pros

Insanely reliable



Tractor-like power

Reasonably priced

XR Cons

Old school

Relatively slow

Bad ergos for big guys, IMO the bars are in your lap, but you can fix this, there is a ton of aftermarket solutions to every shortcoming anybody ever thought of for this bike.

DRZ Pros

E-start avail.



Easy to ride

Probably WAY faster than XR

DRZ Cons

Not as reliable as XR

You can get a WR and set it up perfectly for your needs with some effort and expense, but having read your post over a few times I’m thinking this will be too much hassle for you. Both the DRZ and XR are very popular scoots so should you change your mind at some future date you should have little trouble selling them for a decent price, but you will lose quite a bit off retail. Having said that then perhaps you should shop the used market place. Try Cycle Trader, they have a search feature, you can narrow it down by bike, region, and even area code.

Whatever you get, lavish yourself and your son with protective gear, be careful, and have fun!

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