XR 400 vs XR 250

I am considering buying an XR 400(model 1996-2003).

There aren't a lot of them available where I live but I found several XR 250 in mint condition, whereas the 400's are usually in lesser condition. I suppose it 's because the 250 is favored by more casual riders or perhaps women.

I am looking for a bike to do all the things I can't do well with my DR 650, and that I used to do on a 250 MX bike: agressive trail riding, tight trails, hill climbs, MX and jumping, fun stuff no serious riding or huge jumps. I like the idea of a light bike that will do all these things and that I can lend to a girlfriend for ex.. Does the XR 250 feel lighter and do the 400 and 250 differ mainly on power ? Or is what I read correct and the bikes handle differently and much work would be needed on a 250 to make it work as well as the 400 on a MX track ? My weight is around 150 lbs and I ride like the average casual MX rider.


I read that the 400 is a better handling machine than the 250 which according to the article I read rebounds very badly on landings and bottoms out in whoops making it difficult to ride at a decent pace.

I have owned both a 1994 xr250 and currently own a 2002 xr400. I doubt either would be good at all on a mx track.

The xr400 feels significantly heavier. It has more torque and is better when the trail is sandy or wider. THe xr250 feels more like a toy and works great in the tight stuff and not so great in the fast sandy stuff.

If you want a bike for the girlfriend to ride, I would suggest the xr250 as it is much more beginner friendly.

XR's have Smallish front Forks. I have an 02 Cr250 2 stroke and an 02 XR400. The 2 stroke is what I like for play tracks in the desert with deeper whoops and berms. But the XR is a Blast on desert single track and power line roads. I have not had the forks re done on the XR which I hear helps with the Squirrley handling in sand when you let off the throttle. The XR does not turn like a 250 MX bike. I also have an 07 YZ250F ( sons bike) I ride it some days and WOW that is Fun. If I could get my money out of my bikes I would get a WR250F or YZ 250 2 smoker. I like the light on my XR so I would get the WR as the next bike I want before I go to the BIG RIDING area in the SKY.

The XR250 is a great all around trail bike,It will feel much lighter than your DR650 on tight trails.If your gonna use it as your "guest bike" It should be a good choice,the reliability and toughness will help if inexperienced friends ride it a lot,keep the oil changed,knock out and grease the swingarm bolt and suspension linkage as soon as you get it, do all the Gordon mods.The 250 handles better than the 400,it is lighter,and turns easier,it also handles tight slow trails better than the heavier 400,and is easier to man handle it the tight nasties.Your gonna be dissapointed if you want to motocross the XR250,sure you can ride it on a moto track,but its not a MX bike,or even a serious enduro bike.For a good reliable all around Fun machine,its hard to beat.I got it because I wanted something lighter than my XR600 to play on,and I dont regret it one bit.Stick to the purpose your buying the bike for,and than get the bike that best suits it,either way,400 or 250,you will have a good reliable machine.

My priority is really a rather light bike that handles very well on hard packed dirt and fast straights but also on slower MX tracks with lots of small jumps . A bike that given excellent riding skills would not look stupid when raced against race machines. I remember the first enduro I raced when I started with a YZ 125 in 93 was won by an XR 250 ahead of 2 strokes,Huskys , Bergs etc. so I figure this XR 250 can do damage in the right hands ( the 400 even more) but also if I no longer improve or ride slower than back in the days ,well ... I won't look too stupid when being passed on the track I am on an XR not a CRF).

Basically I just want to get back to MX and my twenties without the hassle of maintenance and the expensive parts and want to be able to ride to the track and back. Now if I can lend this bike to a girlfriend that's even better.

I thought I would put my two cents in since I am new to the sport and just purchased a '97 XR250R two months ago. Last summer was the first time I had ever ridden a bike. I went riding with a co-worker who has a RM250 and a KX500. I think he was trying to kill me, but I survived and got hooked. When I started looking for a bike for myself I wanted a low maintenance bike that would be kind to a beginner, yet could grow into. I have no desire to get off the ground! Hey, I'm an old man(39)!! The XR 250 has been great to me. Compared to the two strokes I can keep it under control (most of the time) and it stays anchored to the ground for the way I ride. I think the 250 would be a good option for the $$ versus the 400.

Anyway, my buddy who has years of experience can do serious work on the trails with the XR250. However, you might be dissapointed if you try to use it like an MXer...she's not made to be jumping alot and whipping the rear tire around on the corners all that much.

You will love the 250, I've been riding my xr 350 for years, just bought a 02 xr 250, this thing is like a mountain goat! I can climb any thing that my 350 will climb, more nimble in tight stuff, starts easy, feels a ton lighter,rides better, just not as fast on long straights, but its a blast to ride!

yea i'd say go XR250 all the way bro, unless you run into a real clean 400 that you want.

Go with the XR250R for the lighter nimbler stuff. The girls might also like it. I weigh 170lbs fully dressed and have gone with the 280cc kit, 34mm carb, all Gordon mods, CR500 forks and Stage1 cam. Sure it wasn't designed to jump but at my age (42soon) I don't want to either. But speed and comfort wise, I will hang anyday with the boys on their 400 and 450 with the proper gearing. Mine is a 1999 and has many years left in it. I paid $2700CDN for it last year(it was mint) and now have put a little money to make the little bullet it is now. And I benefit from the low maintenance. Just change the oil about every 500 miles or whenever we cross deep rivers.

like Barry3308, I too am new to the sport...or at least for me, anything with two wheels and an engine!

I'm 33, 6'5", 245 lbs and just bought an '01 XR 250 in mint condition ($1,600 :applause: ) about a month ago, off the original owner. I came here first and 2/3 of the members told me to get an XR 400 over the 250 because of my size, certainly not because of my experience. I'm sure you are a ton more experienced than I but if the bike is for a friend, another casual rider, or for you on the trails then I'd go with the 250. I'm not going to pretend that I've ridden an XR 400 because I haven't but I ride my brother's Yam WR450. That thing is no trail bike unless you've been riding awhile in my humble opinion. My 250 pulls me up hills with no problem at all and has the power I need to get on it and go. Then again I'm not looking to fly through the air either. I'm very happy with my purchase and love the slightly smaller size and weight. It is very easy to handle and throw around and plenty of power for me.

Very well said D1K, If First thumper is that affixed on a light moto-x bike,Why not consider a newer used 125 2-stroke?of course Id say buy the XR, Im XR_Ron,but if its moto on his mind,why not a MX bike??The last time I was on my friends 98 CR125,it was actually kind of fun,but after riding it a while,and switching back to my XR,it felt like I was sitting back down in a familiar lounge chair.Purpose your using bike for = type of bike to buy.

I also agree on buying the bike built for what you predominantly ride.

Took me a while to come around to that realization. My last 3 or 4 bikes have been purpose built for off road/trail (xr250, xr400, 300xcw, 200xcw) and they work much better in the woods (at least for me) box stock than a mx bike.

If you plan to ride predominantly track, go with a MX bike.

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