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XR400 - do I have the right bike?

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I need some advice. I bought an XR400 to have a cheap commuter and to then do the odd trail ride (maybe 3 times a year, not a lot). After my first ride on the street with it (have owned many road bikes so not first time there) I found so many compromises I wasn’t expecting. Am I dreaming if I’m wanting a decent road bike out of the XR, or are they worth compromising? BTW I’m running Dunlop 604s (new) front and rear on 18/21s.

The brakes are weak and I’m leaving a larger gap than I would just in case. The steering is really heavy, and it loves to weave when lane splitting. It’s not the easiest bike to lane split! I also can’t find neutral when the engine’s hot. With my winter gloves on, my hands get squashed between the handguards and grips, so will have to remove them.

Overall the bike feels really heavy too. Maybe it’s just the high c.o.g. compared to a road bike.

I need a bike that’s affordable and not a rocketship (I need my licence!) so my thinking is that maybe I’m better off on something like a GS500, ER-6n, even VTR250 for the commute. I’ve had SV650s and 1000s but even those ask me too often to be the hooligan and don’t have the discipline 

What do you think? I know some things here like gearing can be easily fixed, but I’m worried I might pour some cash into it trying to reach an unattainable goal….

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Well considering the XR is a trail bike that has been converted for the street, it is no surprise it doesn't shine out on the street. If you were doing trail rides three times a week, not a year then the XR would be for you. For what you are asking of your bike, the XR doesn't really fit the bill and you would be happier with a much more street orienting bike. Husky TE610? Maybe even the V-Strom?

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Ah a Vstrom, of course. Not a bad suggestion at all. The motor would be familiar too. Cheers guys, will look into it.

Oh and selling it - I'm in Oz, the magical land where all XRs are plated off the showroom 👍

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I appreciate the feedback guys, cheers. This weekend I"m going to line up a few test rides that will include the DL650, ER-6, and maybe a street triple 👍. On paper the vstrom is looking great, although I'm wondering if it's a little chubby for heavy traffic duties....

I'll keep you updated, although I must say that I am getting more used to the XR's shortcomings. I know it's still not right but I'm living better with it.

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Not sure what you mean by too chubby for heavy highway use. Mine is great on the highway, but it is definitely chubby for offroading. I have only had it a few months and just now trying to learn to maneuver this thing offroad (dropped it over the weekend).

DSC00994.jpg

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Ah sorry, I meant for city commuting. Wondering if, with the 19" front, that it might just be a bit slower in terms of responsiveness, than say a standard naked bike. What do you think?

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Good Times,

I know very little about these bikes. I bought it without doing very much research. My local dealer had a leftover 2006 that caught my eye a few months ago. I sat on it and decided to get it just for the ergonomics, gas mileage and reputation. I can tell you it handles great on the road - a lot of fun.

Stromtoopers.com have a lot more info on these bikes if you are looking for detailed technical type info.

Jim

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I thought I'd update everyone. So after I tinkered with the gearing on the XR, I found it had a 13/45 combo which sucked major butt on the road. I switched to 15/44 and it was perfect gearing for the girl. So each time I was messing with it, it was getting better. My concerns were now narrowed down to handling (maybe because of the wheel size?) and brakes (ie far too weak for road duties).

I ended up deciding to see it rather than try to turn it into a street bike. Today I bought a DRZ400SM and have only ridden it a short while but think I've found the ultimate bike for my needs. It's ultra plush and comfy, too easy to ride, the brakes give me the confidence I lacked, and I'm loving having the digi speedo on the road as well. It's stock so sounds like a sewing machine, but that's an easy fix.

It feels a little softer in torque than my (derestricted) XR, but is also smoother which is fine with me. Loving it.

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I thought I'd update everyone. So after I tinkered with the gearing on the XR, I found it had a 13/45 combo which sucked major butt on the road. I switched to 15/44 and it was perfect gearing for the girl. So each time I was messing with it, it was getting better. My concerns were now narrowed down to handling (maybe because of the wheel size?) and brakes (ie far too weak for road duties).

I ended up deciding to see it rather than try to turn it into a street bike. Today I bought a DRZ400SM and have only ridden it a short while but think I've found the ultimate bike for my needs. It's ultra plush and comfy, too easy to ride, the brakes give me the confidence I lacked, and I'm loving having the digi speedo on the road as well. It's stock so sounds like a sewing machine, but that's an easy fix.

It feels a little softer in torque than my (derestricted) XR, but is also smoother which is fine with me. Loving it.

The DRZ will build power higher up in the RPM range........look into a few simple mods such as the 3x3 and Jetting Kit to help waker her up. Cams, FCR, aftermarket or E head pipe, and E base gasket will also yield big returns........

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