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2002 WR 426 or XR 400

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I am looking to buy one of these two bikes within the next few days, so please help me ASAP. I know this has been discussed before, but I want current opinions. I need a bike that will be able to handle my daily commute of 20 miles on the freeway, cruising at or above 70mph. I don't want to spend more than $100 in maintenance every 4 months.

2002 Honda XR400R EXTREMELY Low Time bike. California Street plated, with Baja Design light kit. TAG Bars. FMF Q2 pipe. Starts and runs great!

$2400 - $2500

2002 WR426 street legal, CA license plate and tags, green sticker, runs perfect, new tires, chain & sprocket, bars, steering damper.

$2100 - $2200

I seriously prefer the looks and performance of the WR, but how much less is the XR going to cost me in the long run?

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20 miles of highway driving over 70 mph doesn't sound like the ideal situation for either bike to me. What else are you going to do with this bike? I mean you won't be running knobbies so why not buy a real dual sport with the gearing and oil capacity etc. to actually survive that kind of ride every day.

I don't know if the XR400 has the power to pull the necessary gearing to cruise at 70+ or not and it certainly isn't the most stable platform for that kind of riding, but what I do know is that the WR426 is a high performance 4 stroke and I'd have severe concerns over its longevity in that situation. My buddy cooked his riding high speeds for a week in Baja.

2 pennies,

Dave

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20 miles of highway driving over 70 mph doesn't sound like the ideal situation for either bike to me. What else are you going to do with this bike? I mean you won't be running knobbies so why not buy a real dual sport with the gearing and oil capacity etc. to actually survive that kind of ride every day.

I don't know if the XR400 has the power to pull the necessary gearing to cruise at 70+ or not and it certainly isn't the most stable platform for that kind of riding, but what I do know is that the WR426 is a high performance 4 stroke and I'd have severe concerns over its longevity in that situation. My buddy cooked his riding high speeds for a week in Baja.

2 pennies,

Dave

+1 :bonk:

Neither of those are designed to handle those speeds, they can get there but it will cost you down the road. For that kind of stuff you really need to be looking at the XR650, DR650, or possibly the dual sport/street legal versions of the WR250, DRZ400's.

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At 70+ you'd want a bigger bike. Below 70 I'd take the XR just because I'd be scared of the rebuild cost of the WR.

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My budget is below $2700. I can't just throw a sprocket with 1 or 2 less teeth on the rear and cruise at 70 mph? It is going to be 90% street and 10% offroad, so I figured I would gear it completely towards road-riding, and put some smoother dual sport tires on it. I am also shopping in the xr650 market, but these guys seem to sell the minute they hit craigslist.

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Might be a tough pill to swallow, but I, too, think you're looking at the wrong bikes for what you've said you'll be doing with them.

If you had your priorities flip-flopped (wanting to do 90% off-road), then I'd get an off-road bike (but still avoid the freeway :bonk: ).

Sounds to me you need something that can run at a comfy pace on the freeway without looking in your rear view mirror all the time for fear of being run over, although I think they'd be fun on secondary and back roads.

An XR-400R or WR-426F feel just fine in off-road situations, but when you're talking about running with freeway traffic day-in, day-out, you'll soon see that they suddenly don't feel that big, bad, and powerful anymore, especially when you gear them to the moon in order to give them the taller gearing to do that kind of stuff (one or two less teeth ain't enough to get you 70mph all day long without feeling like they're winding out).

Another big thing to consider:

They don't hold that much engine oil, and you'll need to check the oil level frequently.

So, while it can be done if you insist, it sounds like you really need more of a big-bore bike with a big ol' engine in the frame with street-biased tires and moon gearing.

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Yep an actual street bike would be best or a real dual sport. You should be able to find a KLR650 in that price range.

Just remember, the same stuff that makes a great dirt bike (light weight, quick steering, plush long travel suspension, aggressive tires, etc. etc. etc. ) makes for a crappy street bike and vice versa.

...the KLR isn't a great street bike and it isn't a great dirt bike, but dual sports are all about compromises and it gets the job done in both venues unlike most other bikes.

An XR650L or DR650 would be viable alternatives IMO.

At the end of the day, having a bike that can regularly do 20 miles of 70+mph days can't also be a good dirt bike; those two scenarios are simply too far apart. If you DO take a real dirt bike and gear it for the highway and put on pirelli scorpions (or equivalent), you'll have a twitchy, white knuckle highway ride that won't last long and it will still suck off road.

sorry to be a wet blanket

Dave

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sorry to be a wet blanket

Dave

I would say more good advice than a wet blanket. :bonk:

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I assume by saying "one of these two bikes" you already have them "lined up"...

I am with the others on this... neither is best for what you describe... a DR650 is a great choice

That said... if it HAD to be one or the other... XR, with frequent oil changes and gearing change

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ahhh...you guys are killing me, but I know you are right. I might change my route to avoid the highway for the majority of the commute and jump on the cheapest street legal bike. I will factor in the cost of maintenance ( a guess, of course ), and see if it is still less than a 2000 xr650 ($2800).

I just love the WR's shredability. I will update this thread with any issues or non-issues I have with my 426 and it's life as a street machine. I took the WR on the highway the other day and hit 90mph during a test ride, but it only felt right cruising at around 65 mph. A new route is in order.

Thanks for all of your help, and I know I'm dense.

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WR's engine just doesn't take the hours that the 600/650s that were discussed earlier...1/2 hour a day running at 5 days a week for 6 months = 90 hours...Keep the speed below 65 watch the oil level, running those engines at high speeds can make them use oil, also don't over fill that can be worst...Make sure at check the oil exactly like the owners manual says...If you run that engine hot the cylinder wall coating will come off and ruin the crank also in the process, you will be parting out the bike on ebay...

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My first bike in nearly 20 years was an '03XR4, and part of it's mission was *exactly* what you describe.

It sucked. It's a *great* city bike- 30-50mph, no issue, but once you're going 70 there is nothing left in the motor, and gearing isn't going to help you much since the big drag (literally) at that speed is aerodynamic.

Then I got an XR650R, which was much better in the engine department (though not very comfortable), but for the trails I ride and my skill level, it sucked offroad- just a big heavy beast of a thing. Brilliant at 85mph down a rutted dirt road, but nearly killed me more than once going 12mph in tight singletrack.

The WR is a much more modern design, plus it's watercooled, and they seem to be pretty reliable (the pick of the litter is an '00 400 I believe- they still had stainless valves at that point), so of the two I think I'd choose it.

If you can plate it, consider a 2 stroke KTM 300; cheap to run, and radical.

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