XR400 sandy conditions

:thumbsup: 2002 XR 400 Fun Bike but when ever I get to a sand wash or even Sandy conditions the front end gets Squirrley and wants to wash out when turning. Seems like stiffer fork springs might help. I weigh about 220. Anybody out there got any good fixes they have found this.

YEP! Sand is trecherous on any bike. I rode in the sand almost all my life and soem of it deep sand. Anybody I take out there they freak out because of the way sand makes their bike move all over the place. I just hit the gas and go. You really need to shift your weigh bakwards and steer more with the rear end than the front. Just beware when you let off the throttle the front end will dig in the sand and get real squirly. You can move your front forks allt he way down on the tripple tree which gives it a longer rake and should help a little. Riding in the sand just takes time to learn especially soft and deep sand. Don't fight the front end, let it go where it wants within reason and it will go where you want it to. Steer with the rear end more than the front. The faster you go in sand the better. Also let some air out of your tires almost down to 5 psi but no lower or your tires will break away from your rim

I too had the same issue. I am also a "heavier" rider and had the exact same front end behavior. I went to 46 kg springs and this made a BIG difference. I did a lot of online research and found this recommended in by quite a few others as well. - Hope this helps -


If you have your suspension compression and rebound settings setup for a plush ride, it also helps to stiffen compression some for riding sand.

I had done all that everyone recommended on my XR, stiffer springs, lowered forks in the clamps, and sat back on the bike. All of them made an improvement. Then one day the bike got all twitchy and the front end washed out easily. Forgot I lost about 15 pounds, sag was off.

:thumbsup: 2002 XR 400 Fun Bike but when ever I get to a sand wash or even Sandy conditions the front end gets Squirrley and wants to wash out when turning. Seems like stiffer fork springs might help. I weigh about 220. Anybody out there got any good fixes they have found this.

I've found that the sand is what it is. Like all the guys above say, make sure your suspension is right, and be back on the seat. Let the bike move a little. I hate the sand. I just can't get used to the wheel moving, but that's the way it is. I also think the XR400 is worse than a lot of bikes in sand. I rode a 250CRF, the R version, and it felt a lot more stable.

I had put new springs and a fork brace on my old XR, it barely helped, I did find out that staying back and not freaking out, and yes, going fast, all helped.

Good luck and be safe.

Hey Adventure - do you have experience with other bikes in the sand to compare your XR4 to? If this is your first time in the sand with any bike, then, yea, sand really sucks. If u rode other bikes that handled better than your XR4, that is another story and u can look at the tip above to tweak your suspension.

There is a huge debate about sitting on the rear of the seat OR with your nutz up against the gas tank. I use the nuts approach and after my third ride and a very conscious effort to stay on the gas, I don't mind the sand anymore and can handle it. When u feel tippy give er' gas and it will straighten the bike out.

Good luck!

Try standing up and staying on the gas hard. XR4 can be very good in deep sand but it takes some getting used to. The conventional forks might even be better in sand than USDs. HTH

Yes I have other bikes. I have an 02 CR250 2 stroke. I bought the XR after I got my son an 07 Yamaha 250F just to have 1 before I get to old. I figure it is that HUGE engine and spindlly forks. I normally have no trouble with sand and like like sand. Factory connection says they can spring and rebuild for about 210 bucks. I was wondering if a revalve was worth it.. I see allot of guys puting USD forks off 250 and 450F's on there XR's.. I saw some stockers for sale on ebay that had been built up.. but soon after the seller said he decided to go USD.. Love the XR power,, but the wallow sand dive is kinda funky.. maybe some more seat time on a SLED will help.. then when seals leak I wil respring.. I mostly wonder if the re-valve is worth the $$$

I say don't waste your money respringing, do a conversion. I resprung, and the bike was better, but even with the shim stack mod, and a fork brace, the forks were old technology. Maybe a gold valve kit would have helped.

Sell you stock forks on ebay (75-125 is what I've seen them go for on average), and take the 120 bucks you'd use for springs, 100+ you'd use for a fork brace, and 160 for a gold valve kit, and go inverted. Get some USD forks from a newer Honda, CR125, 250, or the CRF bikes, any of them will make you bike better, MUCH better in my opinion. My XR was a lot more stable when I put 2001 CR125 forks on the bike, and guys with CRF250 forks seem to have even better results. If you could find a deal on CRF250X, or 450X forks, you'd be set. You just need the conversion stem from emig racing and it's a bolt on deal. Very easy. So easy a caveman can do it! I did! :thumbsup: You will need to modify the triples a bit, do some grinding, etc. but it's all doable, and worth it IMO.

By the way, I rode today at St. Joes. Took my CRF250X, SO much better in the sand than my XR was, but sand is sand, I still don't like it. Too much wandering.

Good luck with whatever you do.

Factory connection says they can spring and rebuild for about 210 bucks. I was wondering if a revalve was worth it..

I had a '98 XR440 with Factory Connection suspension, it was light years ahead of the stock suspenders.

I ride my 98 XR400 a lot in the NJ Pine Barrens. We ride in deep sand all the time. I found that tires make a lot of difference. I used to have Dunlop D606s front and rear, and those things tried to kill me every chance they got. The front wouldn't grip, wouldn't steer, and wanted to wash out constantly. The rear wouldn't grip much either, but that was easier to deal with. I only recently stopped limping from the last time I lost the front in sand using D606s.

I finally got wise and put a Michelin S12 on the front, Kenda K778 on the rear. What a difference! Bike feels planted, stable, wants to steer, hooks up. Problem solved - and I generally run 10 psi front, 11 rear.

I find there's a transition speed - about 20 mph, in second or third gear - where the bike stops plowing and misbehaving and you can get on the gas and go. The trick is to get up on the pegs and get to that speed as quickly as possible, to minimize the time you spend fighting the bike. It helps to start in second gear sometimes, as you don't spin the rear up when you gas it.

It also helps if you maintain your momentum when you're in deep sand. Throttle solves most problems in sand - but not all problems. :thumbsup:

I had XR's Only rework the front forks with .48 springs and their own revalve. Makes a huge difference in the whoops, but not so much in sand. The XR is front heavy and the only solution that I have found for desert sand wash is to plant your ass on the back of the seat and pin it. With my 400 I don't dare let off in sand or I am wallowing all over the place. In really deep sand, the XR requires a heavy throttle hand or pay the price.

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