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Can't decide. Here's the story, haven't ridden in 14 yrs. 5'11 190 last bike was a yamaha 100. Looking at the 400's. I was set on an XR until running across this site. Everybody seems to think they're durable but that's it. I went to the Yamaha dealership and saw some WR426's. Honestly I cannot decide if a liquid cooled is better than a air(XR)they have to be durable for a reason, right? I have also heard a lot about the DRZ. My question though on the differences between the XR, WR, and DRZ are never answered by a dealership and I can't exactly take em out for a day. So could somebody give me a straight up opinioin on these bikes for mostly trail riding, little MX I expect, and some serious thrashing.

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Not more maintenance. Just maybe harder to do the work and the WR is more difficult to initially jet and setup. For example the airfilter on the xR takes 20 seconds to remove vs. WR's 1 1/2 minutes.

Don't think about maintenance, that comes with every bike. Think about performance and cost of ownership.

Really, the 3 are in different classes. The XR is the happ-go-lucky trail bike that can be lugged around all day and won't beat you up if your a tame rider. It also won't thrill you as much (low end, not much else) and limits your riding potential once you pick up speeds. The XR will need serious suspension work to take big jumps.

The DR is heavy, yet is in a more refined class and prefers better suspension, liquid cooling and the accelerator pump over the now antique design of the XR. You don't know it's heavy until you have to pick it up, though. It handles quickly, yet becomes twitchy at speeds like 2-stroke. minor tweaking can help this to some extent. The DR feels smaller than the WR and about the same as an XR, but this is with the huge stock WR tank. I didn't like the ergos, but I'm 6'2". The motor is strong, and the power badn is wide.

The WR feels heavier, but it isn't. I'm not exactly sure how much each bike weighs, but I think the WR and XR are within 1 lb, and the DR was something like 17-20lbs heavier! The seat and tank suck and need to be replaced for better steering. The WR is very stable for high speed work, stock it turns the worst of the 3, again tweak it and it's a nice blend between slow going tight trail bike, MX and open or desert terrain bike. The engine and overall package is impressive to say the least. Engine response is quick, yet predictable. The suspension can handle MX at your weight unless you're really up there.

Sounds like the terrain you ride and your need for an aggressive bike rules out the XR.

Could be a tough one... If you're strong, want an aggressive bike, and are willing to jet the bike and spend a few hundred extra bucks in a few extras, the WR will be the one to keep. Extra bonus if you plan on riding MX or fast trails a lot.

Otherwise if you'll be a lazy rider most of time, again are willing to work with jetting and a few extras, and don't plan on jumping too high (or willing tospend more $ on springs), the DR may be for you. The e-start is sweet, too.

Good luck, I would ask the same question over on the DRZ side of the house, too

The WR will wear you out faster than the other 3, especially the muscles that form your smile 🙂

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I come from the same background and had to make this very same decision last year. I did not have the DRZ to think about sonce I never buy the first model year of anything. I'm very much a "techie" and can never do enough research.

The last dirt bike I owned was a 68 Kawi 120 enduro, but I've alwayts followed MX and had a bunch of friends that raced. So I prefer to to ride MX and have had the opportuniy over the years to ride some really nice bikes like the Maico 490.

I got back into riding for some quality time for me and my son (14). I wanted a bike I could trail ride and MX. I wanted more MX than trail. My first ride with the long hiatus was the XR. From the test ride I knew the lack of suspension and power would bore me ASAP. When I checked out the WR, from the minute it fired up, I was sold. It is a huge jump from a 60's or 70's enduro, but you can dual sport it, race hare scrambles, trail ride or MX and it will do all very well.

From my ongoing research, the mags say the XR is outdated, but still an excellent trail bike and only a trail bike. The DRZ has pontential but is underpowered, under sprung and not very dependable and can trail ride very well and MX OK, just ok.

It really comes to personal opinion. Figure out what you want from your bike and ride all three. The dealers told me that they don't let people try to dirt bikes. I told them no try, no buy. I was able to ride all three.

Good luck


PS I have a buddy who wanted more performance than his brand new XR400 and bought the KTM 400 with e-start. He is very happy and soon I hope to ride it for a comparo.


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.

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Thanks for everyone's input. It seemed to strengthen what I've researched. I know it's a way off but I will be buying the bike in March or early April. I am really leaning towards the WR426. I am heading to Texas for a week but I am going to give it a test ride when I get back. Then hopefully I can test the DRZ or maybe even a KTM. The Honda didn't really impress me. IT was a lot of power since my last bike was a 100. BUt, I believe I will outgrow it quickly. You were talking about tweaking the steering on the WR. I (sorry for being ignorant) am new I have no idea what that entails. I have read a lot of stuff about triple clamps and dampeners on this site but honestly feel like a moron because I don't know what they do? DOes it stabilize the steering? Does it make it more responsive or less?

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Originally posted by 2bthumpin:

You were talking about tweaking the steering on the WR.

Since Yamaha shortened the frame just behind the steering stem for ’00 it became popular on pre ’00 WR/YZs to run aftermarket tripleclamps with different offset that more or less duplicated the effect of the shorter ’00 (less front end “push” & better steering). This may or may not have been what mcarp was referring to, but there are a few ways to set up a bike that will change, slightly, the way it handles like changing the race sag (rear shock height w/ rider aboard) or location of fork tubes in clamps (up or down).

A lot of guys also ditch the stock WR tank and seat in favor of something less obtrusive that allows the rider to move his weight further up on the bike (IMS makes a YZ-like seat and tank kit). This is something that many XR owners do as well (A-Loop tank and seat kit).

Dampeners, dampers, dampners etc. all refer to a steering stabilizer, the most popular one being the Scott’s. These attach to the bar clamp and dampen steering via a link to the frame. They are pricey but almost every serious off-road competitor has one on his bike. I’ve got one too and swear by it.

Since you are not planning on buying a new bike for several months why not spend a few grand on a five + year old two stroke MXer or XR/KLX/DR. After you’ve ridden that for a few months you will have a much better idea of what kind of bike you want next and can avoid making a mistake on a brand new one (and if you’re careful about what you buy will have little trouble unloading the older bike).

Cycle Trader has a searchable web site that should give you a good idea of used bike pricing (and newer bike resale value).

For now I’ll add my two cents and say that the WR was designed to work well when ridden hard and does not like slow, tight trails. The XR does but can also be ridden hard (and raced off-road successfully for that matter).

I’ve yet to ride a DRZ but would encourage you to not rule out KTM, especially if there is a good dealer in your area.

[This message has been edited by Hick (edited 11-28-2000).]

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If I were you, and I have been. I'd think about two bikes WR400/426 and the KTM400E/XC.

Here is what you need to do to both to make each the perfect 80%woods 20%MX bike.


1 - Raise the forks in the triple clamps about 6mm. ($0)

2 - 7.5oz flywheel weight for tight woods riding ($99)

3 - Skid Plate ($75)

4 - Protaper, Scotts triple clamp, Scotts Stabilzer Combo from Scotts ($599)

5 - Terry Cable Hot Start Button ($75) Relocates Hot start button to the handle bar.

6 - Switch to the YZ seat and tank ($200)


1 - Scotts Stabilizer ($299)

2 - Skid Plate ($75)

Just an opinon mind you, but I'm sure most will agree.


JJ - 99 WR; WR timed, stock jetting, Scotts stabalizer, Scotts triple clamps, Pro-Tapers, Terry Cable Hot start, MSR Raptor clutch lever, Moose skid plate, Works frame guards, Acerbis Pro Rally guards, Renthal MD-soft grips, Russel speed bleeders, Factory Effect graphics, YZ rear fender

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yes, I am referring to the steering geotry. The '00 have quicker steering, so the extra clmap is not needed to alter geometry. As mentioned you can raise the forks in the clamps to place more weight on the front end. Same result when setting sag to less than average.

Also gearing down to either 13/50 or 14/51-52 is a great help. I shortened my chain 2 links to shorten the wheelbase, which will make it handle quicker, less less stable. The bike is already stable and damper takes care of everything else. suspension settings are important as is the choice of tires. Hard terrain tire as terrible in the mud on a WR!

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