XR for desert racing

I am looking into getting into desert riding and racing after years of mx racing. I currently have a CR and CRF 250. In all honesty I am just toying with the idea and want to buy something as a first desert bike. I owned an XR 350 in 85. I wasn't really that impressed with it and thought it was heavy and lacked power. I realize that four strokes have come a long way since then. What would you recommend for desert racing XR 400, 600 or 650? What about the CRF 450? My concern with the CRFs being reliability. Would it survive the Baja 500 or 1000? Is having a heavier bike in the desert an advantage in stability?


If you are lookign into Baja stuff the XR650r is simply put, King of the Desert. Right now the 650R' s offer a real good bang for your buck. I see The XR400's selling for more than some 650's.

Make sure if you go with the XR you have Precision Concepts do your suspension. IMO they do it right and that is the big XR's downfall.

If you’re thinking of doing any other races besides long, fast ones you might rethink your choice of the 650 although you’re right about the stability. My 650 would plow through obstacles that my 250 bounces off of.

XR 6 fiddy if you can handle a bigger bike and like to go 90 MPH all day long...................:censored: Reliable,unbreakable, and does not require valve work 300 miles down the road......

Great. What other mods am I going to need to get prepared for desert racing? IE Larger tank, lighting kit. Would I just be better off finding one that has been setup for desert racing already?

My thoughts are to enter a couple local desert 100s this spring in prep of doing the Baja 500. Anyone have exp with the 500? I rode down on the Baja last year and had the time of my life. Just for fun however. I have several friends who ride which are wanting in on the Baja. Of course we are all newbies to desert racing and don't know our asses from a hole in the ground.

Given the fact our first attempt would be crossing the finish line and not trying to win the darn thing would the 650 still be the best choice? Thanks

I bought a decent xr400 and have had the time of my life rebuilding it...ALL new bearings, top end, suspension work, desert tank, stabilizer, tires, seat, and plastic (graphics pending), and EDELBROCK carb. This thing rips!! And I have the energy left at the end of the day to load it up. (Try that with a 650 by yourself!!) The 400 is the perfect bike for me. I'm not intimidated by the weight of it (like the 650) and can pick it up if I fall on the down hill side. I can ride it MUCH more aggressively than a larger bike. I've ridden the 650r and it's a GREAT bike. If your race combines flat out fast, open areas mixed with some nice tight single track, the 400 is a great choice. If you have miles and miles of straight line dirt road, the 650r is probably a better weapon. I guess it all boils down to rider size and comfort, and which type of riding you predominantly do. Either way you go, you made a good choice!!

Get the 650 and ride the hell out of it. Baja, single track, rox it's all good. Try Dist. 38 to get your feet wet with desert racing, you'll have a blast.My 650 has 20K miles of every kind of riding there is(except MX) and it still runs fine.

try dist 37 desert racing to get youre feet wet .great bike for open desert but handful in the tight and twisties.i own a 2003 650r all done up and if i were to do it over again i would choose a lighter bike .

try dist 37 desert racing to get youre feet wet .great bike for open desert but handful in the tight and twisties.i own a 2003 650r all done up and if i were to do it over again i would choose a lighter bike .

We probably have the same bike, boy a 50 lb. lighter 650 that's just as dependable would be real nice.Probably not possible, that's what keeps me riding the BRP.:censored:

i have a 650 and a 450, and I usually race the 450. its just snapier, but then again, my 450 is tuned more, especially suspension. but it'll run 90, and not burn up, I'm not up for too much more than that even if I have it. and the 450 is enough lighter that I don't get as tired on it.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now