XR 650 too heavy for woods/trails/hare scrambles?

Looking at the XR 650r, DRZ 400e, XR 400...What are the best applications for each...

Open country/ fire roads for the 650

open country/ fire roads/woods/hare scrambles for the DRZ

woods/trails for the XR 400

Am I somewhat on target with each of their applications?

Thanks for the insight.

Yep, sounds about right to me.. You will find that the XR650R is not good at tight woods, the weight, long wheelbase, and wide ratio transmission make it more adept at wide open spaces, which is what it was designed for. The big XR also doubles as a superb dual sport bike if you make it street legal.

The XR400 is much better at tight woods, and has great low-end torque for that type of riding. The DRZ-400 is great for woods also, feels like a 4-stroke RM to me, and has great top end performance, even stock (much more than an XR400 at higher rpms).

Hope this helps .


Hope this helps you out.

I ride a 650r in the woods and its has great power but a little to heavy but I weigh 255lbs. If I were to get a new bike I would do a KTM 520/525 I think its 30-50lbs less and still has lots of power.

Most of my riding on the XR650R has been in the desert. As you know, that is what it was designed for. It's pretty much a hand full in the tight stuff.

I am now 210lbs and I am much faster for extended periods (2hrs plus) on my 650R in the woods than I ever was on my XR400... You may "FEEL" faster on the 400 but if you take a stop watch and time yourself on Cross Country Courses you will find that you can ride the 650R for longer periods with less energy...

People never learn this unless they actually time themselves.

I rode my XR650R yesterday for about four hours straight with a mixture of single track and open desert riding. I rode pretty hard most of the time. The bike really didn't wear me out. The big XR seems heavy at slow speeds, but really levels out once you start pushing it.

2001 XR650R/Power-up.

I haven't found any desert out here yet but the 650R makes a great tight woods bike. If you are short or light a smaller bike will naturally work better. I'm a big ol' boy and I go just as fast on the BRP as any other bike I ever owned. It is geared a little tall for the really tight stuff but that is an easy fix if you feel the need. Scott Summers just won a hare scrambles on one down south so it can be done. No bike is perfect for everything. Just pick one and ride the wheels off it. :)

I have to agree with you on that. I have never actually tried riding my XR650R in tight woods, since there are not any woods around my area, it's mostly wide open areas. It would be interesting to take a stopwatch and actually try that experiment. The only reason I said it was not that great at tight woods was because people have said that, and also, I have noticed it's kind of a handful at lower speeds.. But I would like to try your idea and see what happens, since the 650R is a MUCH faster bike than the XR400 or the DRZ. Also, I only weigh 185 and I didn't consider how the big guys could muscle it around easier. So,, I think you've got a good idea there. .

I ride my BRP mostly in the NW woods. Nasty roots, slippery rocks, slippery rocky hill climbs etc.. I have no issues. None. I, however am 6'6" 260 lb. This bike has so much torque/power it is not an issue with me. I giggle when people say it is not a good trail/woods bike. If you can handle the power then the issues are very small. If I was not such a large guy I would probably want a lighter bike but I am not. I could only see the weight being issue in woods for a smaller guy, picking it up that is.

I ride the tight woods around Vancouver Island with stock gearing, it works just fine, thank you. I ride mine dual sport mind you, that's why I bought the 650R. The bike has an amazing powerband, very very grunty, and revs out well, too. If you apply any throttle at all, it simply chugs up big, twisty, rooted and rocky hills with ease. I don't find the bike tiring to ride is tight woods either. I find it less tiring than a DRZ400S, for example, my last ride. The motor is less frenetic?? and just lopes along. I am very pleased with the bike so far. Does everything well I can throw it at.

BTW I am 5'11", 185 pounds w/o gear.

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since there are not any woods around my area, it's mostly wide open areas

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Where in North Central Texas are you from? You owe it to yourself to try http://www.redrivermotorcycletrails.com/

some of the best single track riding around. Tight to very tight woods riding. You will want a 13/48 or 14/51 sprocket combination, as some sections are trials like. Sharp rocks standing on end 15" tall. The plastic skid plate is toast in short order. Not all of the trails are that nasty, there is some very fun riding. They hold National enduro and Trial events there, so there is quite a mix of riding. Some of the guys say that several of the sections are as techical as anything they have ridden in Colorado. The BRP is ideal for me in the woods, but I'm 6'9" 235.

jpeters, You are exactly right about the timing thing. A couple of years ago my brother and I did time me on our 4 mile tight, 1st gear, 2nd mostly, tree banging woods loop on a modified 97 XR400 and a uncorked 00 XR650r. This was the riding order, lap 1 400, lap 2 650, lap 3 400, lap 4 650.

I was 10-15 seconds faster on the 2nd lap on the 650, 20 seconds faster on the 4th lap on the 650 when I was the tiredest.

I had had been riding XR400's for quite a while and had been racing this 400 for about 1 year. I traded a guy my XR250 for this 650r and had just been trail riding it, but it was pretty much setup for racing. After this test I started racing the 650r in our local harescrambles series and won 2 races that year in the 4stroke class and won the season championship in my class that year. The bike is now my dualsport bike and I love riding it on the gravel roads from trail to trail but, I don't race it anymore.

I'm now racing a 02 400EXC and love the KTM, I won 8 harescrambles in a row last year on the 400EXC. I had a 01 520EXC before I got the 400EXC, thinking it would be like a lighter 650r with E-start, but it ended up being just a little to much for me.

For a do it all bike, I think it's hard to beat the 650r.

I had a guy on an xr 650 absolutely push me harder than anyone ever has on an easy little 5-6 mile single track we rode. He would tell you its a little heavy also but really enjoys the power.

I would tell you I was hanging it out so far there were more pucker moments than not.

good riders can make any bike perform.


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