Kdx To Xr600/650. Talk Me Into It!

I am new to this site and have been searching this forum to see what everyone's opinion is on these bikes. I've been riding dirt bikes off and on since I was 10 and had everything from a Sears catalog minibike to CR500. I had a XR500 so I am familiar with the monster thumper power. I am 37 now and have a KDX200 with tons of mods. Here is my dilemna, I love the KDX for the tight woods riding here in Oregon, but I only do that type of riding 2 or 3 times a year. I mostly ride in more open 2 track and fireroads putting behind my 3 boys (10, 8, and 6). I want to do some dualsporting (30% road, 70%), but still be able to do those tight woods rides from time to time. I guess what I am asking is will the XR meet all of these needs better than my current KDX? My only concern with the XR is the weight and handling in the woods and the ability to "putt" behind the kids. I would love to take the XR to Central Oregon where we have high desert and hundreds of miles of trails to ride. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Keep the KDX and still buy a 650R. I have both a KX250 and my Pig.

You can't ask for more..... kinda like the best of both worlds :ride:


Don't know about the KDX compared to an XR. Something about the KDX has always apealed to me though.

Having enough bikes to specialize is nice. Even having two can go a long way towards having the right bike for the right situation. I ride a CR250 and an XR650R (and an ATC250R!).

I had a fully modded race KDX200 and it compares nothing to my mild modded 600R thumper

Keep them both.

I have a KDX250SR and a XR650R. The KDX is in its element in the woods as you know. Both bikes rule.

The XR is the first four stroke bike I have ever owned, and I had my doubts before buying a 4 stroke. All doubts soon evaporate once you sling your leg over the beast. Keep both. Great to have that choice of 2 or 4 strokes !!! LOL

I ride my XR in Oregons woods, :ride:

Welcome to Thumpertalk, firffighter. :ride:


Love those KDXs!

For putt-putting around after the kids you may not need the power of a 600/650. Both are great bikes but feel pretty heavy lugging around after wifes/kids.

I'm 145lbs and my 600 is a handfull at wife/XR200 speeds.

For putting around after the kids maybe an XR400 would be good? Still lots of power for "alone" times and less weight and "snap" than a 600/650.

The 400s seem to be holding their value very well. A $3000 XR400 now will probably be a $2500 XR400 two years from now.

My 2 cents.


Hey thanks for the input. I would love to keep the KDX and buy a XR as well, but there is a taskmaster who runs the family books and she might stroke out if I tried that. Sounds like some of you are riding your XR in the tight stuff. How does it do? Do you get worn out quickly? I would like to go the dualsport route with the XR as well since I live close to a lot of great fireroads in the Mt. Hood National forest. If the XR doesn't beat me up too bad on those rare woods rides, and it can putt behind the kids for a few hours, then it seems like a versitile enought bike for me. Can the XR handle the multitasking?

The XR is a very well balanced bike, and feels like a 250 crosser in the mid section, ie. it is slim.

The bike is designed to be ridden at speed through the desert. Kicking around in the woods in 1st and 2nd gear is not what it is really designed for.

Not sure what your summers are like up there in Oregon, if it gets hot, then the bike will over heat and you will keep losing coolant if you are not riding fast enough to get a good breeze through the radiator fins.

So you will be putting around with kids and wife, and then every so often you will have to open the bike up to cool it down. Alternative get a fan.

Cooler weather is not such a problem with over heating at slow speeds.

Not sure if this is talking you 'in' to it , or 'out' of it ! But be aware.

If the big XR is not very good at puttin with the wife and kids, then maybe I am thinking too big. Maybe a XR400 or XR250 with some goodies might be better. Maybe I got too excited after watching Dust To Glory 100 times. I want the bike to be able to putt, dual sport, and woods ride all in 1. Am I asking too much of 1 bike?

I think it's getting pretty hard to dualsport anything in oregon now. You might consider a drz400 or a xr650L. I have a 650L. It is a heavy bike compared to your kdx. I haven't ridden at high speed off-road but I have done trail riding on it. Not the greatest on tight trails, but it can do it.

If you could find a plated XR400 I think it would be better all around.

I found a 87 xr600 just down the road for $1200. It has a suppertrapp exhaust and the rest of the bike is stock. This bike is in awesome shape and has low hours. I have around $2500 to spend so would this be a nice bike to mod and put a dualsport kit on, or should I wait for something newer with a single carb and rear disk brake? A couple of you have mentioned the xr400 for what I want to do with the bike. From what I have read a xr250 with mods might work just as well (6 speed and less weight). Any opinions?


let's get this right ? You have a KDX ? Probably a 220 ? The 250s were never exported out to the States. Perhaps a 200. Loads of mods ? PC pipe ? After market reed values ? Airfilter tossed ? Awesome bikes. Reliable as hell. I have 50,000 hard ridden k on mine. Bike rocks. Spare parts everywhere.

You were thinking of a 650 ? Respect. Welcome to ManHood. The bike is the dog's dangily bits.

Now you are thinking of an XR250 !!!!!!!!!!! My mother's sewing machine has more power !!! You will not be 'putting' beyond wife and kids, you will be trying to keep up with them, while they laugh at you !!!

Pull the top end on your KDX, replace the KIPS values, new chain and sprockets, tyres. Psyched !

OK. Let me clarify. I have a KDX200 with all of the performance mods done to the engine (pipe, reeds, airlid removed, carb mod, etc.). I love the bike. Super reliable, great for woods, putts behind the family well, but I do want to dualsport ride. I know some people have dualsported their KDX, but I dont think I want to go that route. I've ridden the bike for about 10 miles on pavement, and it vibrates the everlivin tar out of you. I have owned 2 XR250's and they are great little woods bikes and will putt all day behind the kids. My concern is that it wont be enough bike to dualsport ride. I am looking at riding on pavement on rural roads up to 50-60mph for 20-30miles at the most. The idea is to get to more trails and fireroads. I ride with my friends in tight woods 3-5 times a year, with the family 20 times a year, maybe a off road race or dualsport event 1-2 times a year, and would like to do the dualsporting 20-30 times a year. Not a lot of riding, but 1 bike to do it all. I am 5'10" 200 lbs 36 years old and have ridden since I was 10. I dont mind a heavy bike like the XR600 as long as it can handle the duties I have in store for it. The '87 XR600 is very clean, low hour bike, but if the dual carbs are a nightmare than I would rather go another route. Not any problems with getting my bike plated, I actually walked right in to the local DMV and plated my KDX last year.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I dont mind owning 20 year old bike, I kind of like old school stuff, my KDX is a '92, but is pristine with only 750 original miles on it. Money is also an issue and my spending limit is $2500. Sorry this is so long.

What is your budget? for $8-9000, the new KTM and Husky's are street legal out of the box with fairly high performance. One of my buddies went to check out the Husky TE510 and says that it has alot of cheap bits and pieces on it like clamps, bars, levers, and such. The KTM 525EXC comes with a fan that you can mount.

XR400 comments: The XR400 weighs the same and is similar dimension-wise to the XR650R. They both weigh about 300 lbs with gas. The XR400 is pretty heavy for the power output. The good thing is that air-cooled doesn't puke out coolant when you're putting around. I would consider it as a lighter option to the XR650L with the same or similar power output. My buddy had a XR400R with a FMF header and pipe. He could smoke any XR650L in his area and weighed 50 lbs less than the L. The DRZ 400 doesn't have much more power than the 650L or XR400.

Woods riders are swearing by their KTM 300 XC or XCW 2 smokes. I'm not sure if I can put on an orange clown suit, but I think its a pretty popular bike in the woods around there. Super light and amazing power/power delivery for a 2-smoke. Probably can't make it street legal in Oregon, but I'm not an expert on this matter.

Here is what I think.

No hassle, medium budget dual sport DRZ-400.

Low hassle, high budget dual sport KTM 525 EXC. Some people say the reliability sucks, others say its fine. Probably have to know the ins and outs of KTM quirks to figure out preventative maintenance tricks.

Ultimate woods machine with gearing for possible dual sport activity KTM 300 XC-W (W is for wide gear ratio, watch out for older models and overheating issues)

More street and open offroad than tight stuff, low hassle - used street legal XR650R

Low budget dual sport - used street legal XR400/XR650L

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