WR426 vs. DR-Z400 vs. XR650R

I'm in the market for a new bike and was hoping I could get some input on these 3 bikes. Everyone here may be a little biased towards the Yamaha, but I was wondering what your opinions are.

The last bike I owned was an '84 XL 250. OK bike except for power and suspension bottoming out.

I'm 30 years old, 6', 170 lbs and haven't ridden a bike for about 10 years. My plan is to make the bike street legal with one of the Baja Designs kits. Plan on some street, trail and maybe some hill climbing / jumping.

Any info would be appreciated.

First time visiting site and am very impressed with the positive feedback from the members.

Thanks in advance,


If you don't get a lot of help here, you might want to try that question at.... www.dirtrider.net ..... in their "Thumper Central" Forum... there is a lot of variety there


I own a YZ 426 and have ridden an XR 650. The 650 I rode in the woods, fireroads and on a very muddy practice motocross track. I loved it. This would be a perfect bike to dual sport or for long rides on more open terrain or dirt roads. Sure, it IS a heavy pig (I think it is in the 280 range) and you need to spend some money to “uncork” it (bike comes w/ restrictive exhaust and intake that needs to be swapped out) but it handles sweet for such a big bike and has a great big seat that would work well for long rides. I was able to bottom the XR’s suspension but it took WAY more effort than I had anticipated. All aspects of the bike’s handling (brakes, suspension, turning, power delivery) made it feel lighter than it really is. BUT, as soon as you push too hard you are rewarded by a 280 pound beast trying to yank the bars out of your hands. On a tight, fast, obstacle-strewn trail that requires quick handling this bike would be a handfull.

The WR makes a good dual sport as well and is just as easy to convert (has a lighting coil) but would not, IMO, be nearly as comfortable to ride on the street as the XR. Don’t be fooled, the WR is a pure race bike. Mechanically it differs from the YZ in gearing, suspension valving and cam timing but that is about all. The WR rewards aggressive riders and is well suited (along with the YZ) for racing and less technical enduros.

I haven’t ridden a DRZ but have read a lot about it. It would seem to be sort of a compromise between the XR and the WR. It is heavier than the WR but lighter than the XR, has more manageable suspension, chassis and motor characteristics than the WR for less tiring rides through more technical trails. On top of all that you can get one with an electric start which can’t be done with the Yamaha or Honda. Of course you can also get the street legal DR but I think the suspension is even softer and the bike even heavier.

So if you don’t plan on racing or really aggressive trail riding I would say get the DRZ. If you are one of those guys who just plain loves Hondas then by all means get the XR, especially if you ride more wide open trails.

My two cents, hope this helps…

[This message has been edited by Hick (edited 09-06-2000).]

Thanks for the useful information so far.

Does anyone have any information on trying to make these bikes stee-legal in California? I've been hearing things about the red & green stickers causing problems. Are red sticker bikes mechanically (EPA) different from the green sticker bikes?

Thanks again,


I would agree with Hick completly. I own a WR & have ridden a few XR650s.

Hope this helps.

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