Is this WR too big?

HELP! I'm having serious doubts about the size and weight of my 99 WR400.

Granted, I've been away from dirt bikes a while and have only been on 3 all day rides on my WR, but man this thing feels BIG. I'm 6' 175lb and in good shape, so I didn't think handling this bike would be a real problem. I'm riding trails, doing some hill climbing and trying small jumps.

I know, practice, practice and more practice....But I'm not sure that it's just my skill level.

I hop on my buddie's CR500 and it feels like a kids bike. I can whip that thing around no problem. I can wheelie hill climbs and catch air on that bike with no worries! Then I ride my other buddie's KX250.. HA! Compared to my WR, that KX reminds me of my old Honda XR80. Small and flickable.

Does the wide WR tank and seet have THAT much to do with it?? I still have the stock tank, but am considering trying the YZ tank and seat to get that slimmer feel.

And speaking of seat... DAMN is my seat hard. Can anyone suggest a softer seat without adding height to the bike?

* Would softening my suspension help with the "control" aspect of the bike? Comparing it to my friends' CR500 & KX250, it feels awfully stiff and very hard to manuever.

* Should I raise/lower the handlebars? I assume the height is stock, but I can't be sure since I bought it used.

Any tips or suggestions on making this big boy "feel" slimmer and easier to control would be GREATLY appreciated!


I just spent the weekend in Moab with other WR owners and that was the big question of the trip.

I am 6'3'' tall but have a 37 inch inseam. I think the WR fits me like a glove. I can easily put both feet down and crawl up knarly hills. I rarely fall over. It is just the right length too.

KerryT is even taller than me and after putting on some riser bars, feels good with the WR fit.

However, Dougie is a different story. Doug is a great rider. He is 6 feet tall but has short lets. He can't put his feet down. Buying the YZ seat probably made things worse. So nasty hills that I can easily dab and continue on, he can't put a foot down and if he gets stalled out, his bike falls over. I think it really got to him this weekend. After a couple of falls on Friday, his confidence was shot and he started to fall more.

ScaryMyths DRZ400 is smaller and would fit Doug better. However, the DRZ seems too little to me. But, Scarymyth is the kind of rider that can ride any bike faster than the rest of us. Even if it were too big. He can ride his big ole XR650L faster than most mortals on any bike.

Personally, I wouldn't want a bike that was too big for me. It could make my riding a living hell. But, it's all a matter of personal preference.


This may sound bad, but I'm glad there are others that may think this bike is too big..


All you big guys out there don't realize how much work it really is for us "little" guys to be jockying around a 260lb bike without the assistance of our legs. We don't have the luxury or being able to put our feet down in the technical stuff or rescue our simple mistakes.

The two guys I ride with are both 6'3" plus and 250lbs plus. Big fellas. They LOVE my bike and can whip it around no problem.

If I start to loose the rear wheel on a hill climb - forget it - By the time my supporting leg gets to the ground the bike is on its way down. :)

Funny thing is that I never considered myself short until now. :D

Hang in there Doug. I too am only an honest 5'11" and 220. Seems heavy for 5'11 but I've spent the better part of two years adding that mass via weight training. Now I'm trying to drop the weight I worked so hard to gain. Obviously my strength is a plus, but I still do not "flick" my bike. I to have been away from bikes for a while (20yrs) and I love the power of the WR so for that reason I will find a way to make it work.

I am going to lower the forks and work on my suspension set-up. I also have a thirteen tooth countershaft sproket (lower wheel speed per RPM for technical stuff) on order and will remove a link from the chain to shorten the wheelbase. If this doesn't help I'll be adding the triple clamps that also shorten the wheelbase. I ride mostly MX but have competed in a GNCC, what a mistake with my current suspension settings. I got to the first big hill, it took three attempts to get rolling and I ended up falling about 4-5 times before I made the top. I thought I was going to die, my heart rate was through the roof. So I can relate to the lack of "dabability and then a fall".

I'm going to keep trying and if doesn't work. I'll buy a KDX200 for my son and I'll use it for technical trails and racing Hare Scambles and use the WR for everything else.

I could never sell this bike it's the ultimate all around bike to me.

Good Luck and hang in there



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.

You might give Devol Racing a call. They can lower the rear suspension up to 2". I'm 5'9", and have a hard time reaching the ground too.

You might give Devol Racing a call. They can lower the rear suspension up to 2". I'm 5'9", and have a hard time reaching the ground too.

I can understand your frustration and concern. A couple of observations:

1) It takes time to get to know the bike. It is not a kick back and cruise machine. It is designed to be ridden in the attack mode. The harder you ride it the better it handles – even on tight trails. Many times when I back off on a hill or a tough spot, I get in trouble (read – stall or fall over, pick it up and bulldog it back to where I can try again). When I attack the hill, tough section, etc. then the machine amazes me and I say wow that was FUN. The trick is to make riding it fun.

2) Practice with the throttle – this machine has responsiveness and tractability for all situations – it just takes practice.

3) Invest in the YZ tank or IMS tank and the YZ seat. You will be amazed at the handling difference.

4) Dial in the suspension – the rear spring rate is soft relative to the front.

5) Dial in the rear sag – this affects steering sharpness.

6) Set the fork position lower in the triple clamps – often lower is better for the tight stuff.

7) Realize this is a big bike and will not be really flickable – but it can take on nasty terrain.

Have fun,

Eric in WA

I'm glad to hear its not just me. I've thought the bike was slow turning and felt heavy. But since I've been away from riding for a long time and haven't ridden any other bikes, its hard to know whats the rider and whats the bike. I ride mx and trails and it feels like my forks are a little stiff and the back end is spongy/springy, especially after a big landing. I've ordered the YZ tank and IMS seat and I'm going to raise the forks/lower the triple clamps ~ 10 mm.

If any of you experianced guys could help with settings that would great. Maybe the a description of what the perfect setting feels like and ranges for the different adjustments. A section kind of like the jetting table would be cool.

Any help is appreciated. I'm 6'00, 175 lbs. about the same size as Scott.



2000 WR


I am 5'10" and 170# soaking wet. I find the suspension poorly setup for me. Initially the suspension did not feel balanced to me. I am still playing with it. If you feel like it, a re-valve can do wonders. Unless you are running 1989 Honda Showas, you can do amazing things with your clickers and oil (fork oil). Just keep going lighter on your compression settings, make sure your rebound is not too slow. As long as the suspension isn't TOPPING out, your rebound can be set very light. When working on my suspension, I adjust it in increments of two.

Right now I am at:

Forks: Comp: 15 clicks out

Rebo: Standard

Shock: Comp: 13

Rebo: 13

I am still working on it.


Now for some really basic ?'s. What's a revalve and topping out? Thanks Kevin


A Revalve is paying Pro-Circuit, FMF, Race-Tech, Factory Connection, Scott's Suspension, etc. to change the fork/shock internals to suit your weight and riding style. Count on dishing out an easy $300.00 for this.

Topping on suspension is when the shock/fork spring back too rapidly after being compressed. Severe topping would include a "clank" when the suspension springs back. "Topping out" is the exact opposite of bottoming out.

Ha, funny you bring this up. Like Bryan said, I had a tough weekend at Moab. Now I go to Moab all the time and never had a weekend like this. The WR is big for me. But I never really noticed it like I did this weekend until I went to YZ timing.

This was my first real ride with the YZ timing on rocky, tight, nasty trails and I must say I did not like it. The last two times at Moab on my WR with WR timing, I never dropped it. But I had a hell of a time getting up steep rocky stuff and around tight single track that I never had trouble with on WR timing.

I am going back to WR timing this weekend. It only makes sense for the terrain I ride. With the weather breaking, I won't be going to MX tracks anymore. It will be trails and mountains for me. The midrange power hit is just not enough reason to keep the YZ timing. I need that lower pull.

Even though I am 6' tall, I only have a 31" inseam. The WR timing seems to be the equalizer that I need for the terrain I ride. I used my legs so much more with YZ timing than I ever use to with the WR timing and it got me in a lot of trouble.

We would come up on a nasty climb and I'd have to stay on the pegs (like you're supposed to) but a loose rock would swing the back end and if I put a leg out to right myself, well, only my tip toes would touch and that would spell trouble. Then I would watch Kerry and Bryan basically walk their bikes up while still sitting on the bikes. I was envious.

So yeah, the bike is big for people 6' and under. But in my opinion, the WR timing helps compensate for lack of size. The bigger guys can move that bike around where they want and use their legs for support. Which is why they can get away with YZ timing in the sticky situation. We have to rely more on the lower end and correct riding technique, which on a bigger bike with YZ timing does not always mean good things is sticky situations.

Also let me add that I love this bike. I have no problems keeping up with anyone I ride with and vice versa (except Scarymyth). I just don't like the YZ timing. I though Bryan was going to make me walk home when I brought this up this weekend. The WR with WR timing is a great bike for me. That is all.


The opinions expressed above are purely my own and are not meant to speak for all riders 6' and under :)


Dougie, '99 WR400

Mods: YZ timing, Race Tech Suspension, FMF PC IV, FMF Hi FLo Moto, YZ seat, IMS 3.3 tank, One Industries Graphics

[This message has been edited by Dougie (edited 04-17-2000).]

5'10' 200 lbs can hardly touch the ground, but who wants to walk the bike. Let the bike work with you, keep up the speed and it will do just fine for the little guy. You only need one leg at a time anyway right? The IMS seat and tank help a lot. It helped me especially in the turns. The way to go for all, but very usefull if you are under 6'.


Im 5' 9" a 29-30" inseam and I cannot touch the ground without leaning to one side-stock with proper sag setup. I'm in the process of lowering the bike about 1". My first attempt did not work out as well in the handling deparment as it could. I will be picking up my shock Tuesday or Wednesday this week, which went back in for further shortening and valving adjustment. I think this should do it and will further improve the handling on ruff trails. Time will tell and once I get it dialed I will post what I had done and how it worked out.

This is the same process I went through with my Husaberg FE600E and it worked out fine it also took two tries to get the proper front to back balance and the correct valving to handle the shorter stroke/valve stack position, etc.


Thanks for all your responses fellas! It's encouraging to see others fighting this problem as well, and apparently winning. I'm not going to throw in the towel just yet. :D

Hey CO guys.. For frame of reference, how would you describe the trails, in general, at Woodland Park? Technical? Tight? Easy?

I'm going to give ol' Neal at A-Loop a call and see if they can help me out. Just found out that they are located about a mile west of my house!

It sure would be nice to be able to put my feet on the ground when I need to. :)

I would say the trails at Woodland Park are a bit like Rampart but without all the big whoops and maybe a little narrower.

Fun for all. Easy enough for novices but fun for better riders at speed.

But don't tell anyone because the trails aren't very crowded (yet).

If you go, do a 4wd trail called Hacketts Gulch. A good warm up ride, pretty easy overall, very wide, a couple of nice little barely technical sections, sandy and steep in a few places, and a COMPLETE gas coming back up!


Originally posted by Scott:

Hey CO guys.. For frame of reference, how would you describe the trails, in general, at Woodland Park? Technical? Tight? Easy?

Come on.. They are definately on the easy side. I find a few different things about WP worth the drive, though.

You can put in a very long day (mileage + time) without destroying yourself for training purposes.

Smaller whoops are better on these 37" legs :)

Much lighter traffic than Rampart for 3rd gear stuff. I don't stop so quick.

There are decent towns/restaraunts within riding distance for good food and gas.

Camping close, if you're into that.

I would say generally, we enjoy WP, but wouldn't consider it difficult. We all enjoy riding around Crested Butte, Steamboat and Grand Junction/Moab.

Rampart's great for location and leg work, but way too crouded and the bank turns teach us BIG guys bad habits.

Let's go ride.


That's what I said. Easy for novices, but if you are a good rider, you'll like it too. You just have to go real fast. Lots of fun turns and burms.

Hacketts gulch has some sections on it that can be a little technical. If you climb up the hardest part of Hacketts Rock and keep going up the climb, for about 1 minute you'll think your climbing in Moab. But beginners can easily choose to ride around these obsticles.

And the opposite climb out of the river has some big ass water bars to climb over and a pretty steep hill that may or may not be a challange depending on rider ability.

Ask KerryT sometime about when he climbed that steep and very sandy hill right out of the river on his XR650L and had bald tires. Technical is all relative you know. Of course that hill is easy on the Wr

As I mentioned, I was at Woodland last Sunday. This is where all the frustation came with the bike feeling too big...

I didn't think it was too difficult though. We hit a few trails that were pretty steep, rocky and rutted up, but not too bad. Once again, it would have been a different story had I been able to put my feet down a few times. :D

We did run into some snow and ice in a few places which made things interesting. The snow, of course, seemed to be right in the corners of turns causing occasional jocky wettage.

I thought it was all definitely ridable for a novice such as myself. Good times!

I was just curious how experienced riders would describe the difficulty..

Getting back to the size of the WR - I spoke with Niel at A-Loop and he offered a few suggestions right off the bat. I'll be taking my bike over there in the near future and having him take a look.

Who knows, the previous owner may have been a sizable fella and had the suspension tuned for him..?? And it may just take a few clicks here and there..

I don't have anything to compare it to so I'm not able to tell soft from stiff. (You know what I mean!) :)

Im only 5'8" with a 30 " inseam. I have no problems with my WR. You want tall? Try trail riding an XR650L in the tight and rocky trails. That thing was a tall, top heavy beast! The best way I find to compensate for being vertically challenged is to get on the pegs and gas it! Ive never been intimidated by the taller bikes, guess I just never really thought about it. And yes, I have ridden in plenty of tight rocky trails. Honestly, I think what the magazines say really rings true with the WR. The more aggressively you ride it the smoother it handles. It definitely doesnt like to putt...its a thoroughbred, it wants to run! Gotta love that.

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