Help! New XR650R

I just bought an 03 today! But, I have a couple problems. :D

First off, why is this thing so damn hard to start? Will 'uncorking' it make it easier to start? I have a CRF 450 that is easier to start than this bike.

Second, when I did finally get it started, I let it run for a couple minutes to warm up. I rode around the neighborhood and at low RPM's it ran fine. But, when I gave it anything past 1/4 to 1/3 throttle, it acted like it was running out of gas. :D

And before you ask... :D yes, there is gas in it, and yes it is turned on. Is this 'normal' for the BRP? Before taking things apart, could it be a crimped fuel line? Any other ideas?

Thanks in advance for any help. :)

Do a search in this forum about uncorking the Big Red Pig. There is a mountain of info on this. Big, very big performance increase, guaranteed.

In all honesty, your bike maybe should feel like it's running out of gas, considering that it comes stock with a very very tiny 125 main jet. As well as a restrictor device not only in the airbox, but also in the intake manifold boot.

Hard starting is also typical of a stock 650R. Overheating is another problem, stock.

Uncork the bike properly before riding it next time, and you will see HUGE improvement in all areas. Go to and do a search for "XR650R" to find out how. and what part numbers you'll need to get. OR, search this forum for the info. In either case, you will need to do all of the changes together to get the results desired.

Properly uncorked and powered-up, this bike is really, really fast (like a CR500 but much more controllable power)

P.S. it's very hard to pinch the fuel line, notice how short and stout it is. Also make sure the choke is off. It will run even more crappy stock if the choke is left on.



I can understand it being underpowered, but it really runs bad. I had a XR650L (stock) a few years ago and it didn't run like this. It really bogs and there's a clacking sound in the motor just beyond 1/4 throttle. Low on power is one thing, but sounding like it's about to die is another matter. I will try the mods to uncork it, but it seems like there really is something wrong with it. I've owned quite a few bikes and nothing I've had has ever run this poorly in stock form. If anyone else has ANYTHING to add, I would appreciate it.


If its running that bad, then take it back to the dealer and have them sort it out. I would hope they'd give you good after sales support.

Clacking sound.

Do you have the stock skid plate on there or a metal one? Metal ones reflect noise and need a foam pad or other barrier to deaden the noise. Also, look for loose bolts holding the skid plate on. This kind of rattle is not uncommon if the above conditions are present.

It's all stock (plastic skid plate). Just bought it new from the dealer yesterday afternoon. If it's any help in figuring the problem out, the only time it makes the clacking sound is under load. If I pull in the clutch and rev the motor, no problem. Let out the clutch and it starts clacking again. Only in the upper 2/3 of the RPM's. Any more input would be greatly appreciated. I hate to have to take it back to the dealer if it's something simple that I can correct.

Thanks y'all!

what gas are you running? if its got low octane you could be pinging,it would run like crap and knock like crazy. I just bought an uncorked '00 BRP on the 24th, mine runs great once you figure out how to kick it but the throttle is sticking. :) Anyway, I would check your gas first, sounds like detonation to me.

the only time it makes the clacking sound is under load.

This makes more sense now. Perhaps it's bad gas as already suggested. Too lean of jetting can also cause pre-ignition/detonation issues, which can lead to permanent engine damage, so make sure to uncork your bike 'if' what you're experiencing is detonation.

If you're lugging your bike in too high of gear (at too low of RPM) with leaner jetting (like putting around slow in 3rd gear), then you'll also experience clacking. Make sure to uncork your bike or have your dealer do it and then see how it runs.

If you're rolling along in 2nd gear at 1/4 throttle and then roll (not whack open) the throttle to wide open, does the bike still make that clacking sound or does it rev out clean all the way to WOT?

Do the uncork job after the dealer either checks out the bike or first O.K.s it. While you have the carb apart check the float level. Mine was set too low. Also, check your valve clearance. This would not be causing your problem but it doesn't take much additional time once you have the bike that far apart. The 2000 BRP I just bought second hand still had the tits on the front tire and most of the rear tire. The guy couldn't get it to start so he never rode it. One exhaust valve, the non-de-compression one, was about 2/3 turn tighter than 0 clearance. I got a smokin' deal just because of poor set-up.

Thanks for the replies.

As far as the gas goes, I think the dealer put in ONLY about a quart of gas! I rode it around the parking lot very slowly when I bought it. Too low of RPM's for the problem I'm experiencing now. When I got it home, I rode it around the neighborhood and noticed the clacking. Really sounded like it was running out of fuel. Sure enough, the fuel was very low. Bought some more super unleaded and filled er up. Went back out and the same clacking happened. So, I'm thinking that it is not bad gas as it has done this with gas from two different places.

I really don't think it's a lugging problem either. This is my eleventh bike and I've had a big single before (XR650L). I'm not a pro rider by any means, but I know not to lug a bike, especially when it's being broken in. That's why this problem really concerns me.

As for the rolling along in second and then rolling the throttle on from a 1/4 turn, yes I have tried this. In first, second and third gears and in all gears the same clacking sound comes from the motor once the throttle is beyond 1/4 to 1/3 open.

Again, thanks for the replies. If there are any other ideas I would love to hear them. The dealer doesn't open till Tuesday, so I've got a couple of evenings to try to cure this. If I can't get it cured, I'm gonna take it back to the dealer. I really don't want to run it again unless I make some sort of adjustment (that's where your suggestions could come in :)). There's no way this could be good on a new motor.

It's really frustrating because I've thought about this purchase for a while and read up on the bike. Everything I've read says what a 'bulletproof' bike this is. I actually test rode a used one. It was uncorked and was awesome! It pulled about as hard as my CRF450. I would've bought that one, but it had hit the ground a few too many times (but still ran great). So, after much searching, I decided to buy new. Now this...


"If it's any help in figuring the problem out, the only time it makes the clacking sound is under load.

If I pull in the clutch and rev the motor, no problem. Let out the clutch and it starts clacking again. Only in the upper 2/3 of the RPM's.

In first, second and third gears and in all gears the same clacking sound comes from the motor once the throttle is beyond 1/4 to 1/3 open."

Key point to focus on is "under load". Not discounting the preignition idea. Just exploring other possibilites.

Have you checked the chain for tension? It may be loose and slapping around. Check the rear wheel for alignment (center of swingarm pivot bolt to center of the axle nuts on each side). You may also want to remove the countershaft sprocket guard and make sure the countershaft sprocket nuts are tight. Torque: 12 Nm ( 9 lbf-ft)


Thanks for the tips. I'm definitely gonna do the uncorking as soon as I (or the dealer) get the bike running correctly stock.


Thank you also for the tips. That is the exact kind of thing I was looking for. Never thought of the countershaft sproket being loose. :) I'm gonna check it out...


I checked the countershaft sprocket. Unfortunately, the torque wrench that I have only goes down to 15 ft/lbs. So I put a socket on there to try to give it a turn. They seem tightened well enough. There is a little play, about 1/8 inch, that the countershaft sprocket slides on the countershaft. Is this normal?


If you are talking about a little in and out play along the length of the countershaft then that is normal. You did the right thing using the feel method, wrist tight is all you need. These bikes are known to be noisy, but excessive noise should be investigated. Some people have complained about clutch slippage (very uncommon) and have added an extra steel clutch plate (part #22321-KA4-710) before the judder spring seat. You might have your dealer look at the clutch springs for tension.

Sorry that you are having to struggle with this, my experience with this bike has been great. I will ride this bike until it can no longer be repaired or rebored and then I will keep it as a reminder of the good times I had.


The slight in and out play is exactly what I was talking about. Thanks so much for all your suggestions. I think I'm gonna take it back to the dealer when they are open again on Tuesday and see what they say. I feel confident that it's a good dealership and they will stand behind their sale. I'll let everyone know how it turns out.

As I previously posted, I've ridden an 'uncorked' one and had a blast. That's what convinced me to buy one. Hopefully, this problem can be easily corrected and I will soon feel the same about my XR as you do about yours.

Thanks again for all the feedback to you and everyone else that has posted. This is a really great site with some helpful people.

May my next post be positive!!! :)

I was out for a ride this morning and my bike makes the same type of noise you are talking about. I usually run the stock exhaust tip with only the center pipe drilled out so it is alot quieter than the average BRP. I never rode it completely stock so I can't speak from experience but I would say you are hearing alot more motor noise on acount of your intake and exhaust being so "corked-up". I also have a ProCircuit T4 with a 2" outlet and can't hear any of that anoying motor noise when that thing is on.

I decided to change the oil to see if that will lessen the motor noise. While I was letting it drain I looked in the service manual and it says for poor high speed performance the first thing to check is the valve clearance and ignition timing. I am going to check the timing later today. I'll let you know if anything comes up.

Welcome to the fold TommyA. Sorry to hear about your Lame Pig. Have you checked your oil level? :)

Oil level is good. I have not checked the valve clearance or timing. I'm gonna give my dealer a call tomorrow and have them check it out.

I'll let you know what they say.


I just changed my oil this morning and it now runs with much less engine noise at this time. Amazing... The level had been about a 1/4" above the top hole on the dip stick. Maybe it had got some gas in it?? The factory oil seemed very thin when I drained it out. My sniffer doesn't work right now so I can't say if it had a gas smell. I put in Valvaline 10-40 and a new filter. My bike has about 100 miles on it and I thought I'd go about 300 before changing the oil. I'm sure glad I didn't. I guess what the magazine guys say is right. We should not trust the setup and lube job from the factory and just tear that new bike apart while she is still clean and make sure everything is set up right before we ride. Best of luck.

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