XT350 bang for the buck

I'm considering buying my dad's 1996 XT350 with less than 200 miles on it. He's had it since day 1 and obviously barely used it. I've never had a dual purpose bike and was wondering what kind of mods you guys have done that are not only essential but what was the best money spent. And just some general info stuff/tricks I should know about the bike.

Use it like it is. After a while you'll know what suits you and your uses. Others may have different needs.

As an example: Many WR250R owners swap the pipe and get a FI programmer to compensate. I haven't, as I wanted it really quiet, and felt the power was ok for my needs. After several years of ownership, I can say I still don't require those mods. Someone else probably does. What I'm getting at is that what suits me may not suit you.

That said, and since I have owned one of the XTs in the past:

When the chain and sprockets wear out, go to a 520 chain in whatever ratio you find you need. They are geared a little low for pure road use and a little high for mostly off-road use, but it is a good compromise stock. Just get the same ratio in size 520 as whatever you find you need. Also: try and make the front as large as possible within reason, as it makes for better chain life. The parts for the 84 XT250 are direct bolt on, just size 520. Don't go to an aluminum rear, it will just wear out in no time at all.

Keep track of the valves, and change the oil at least every 3K miles, although I'd do more often, and use high quality motorcycle oil. I suggest a suitable synthetic, such as Mobil 1 Racing 4T or similar. Do not use car oil. Keep fresh gas it it, and lube the linkage yearly, and the wheel bearings at tire change, and you'll have a nice reliable bike. I would run premium in it, but lots of others won't agree with that. And set the idle mixture screw at 3-3.5 turns out from lightly seated: makes it a whole lot easier to start and live with.

Here's a link to a free manual site. You can figure it out when you look at it: http://www.carlsalter.com/motorcycle-manuals.asp

Edited by Yamaguy55
added manual link

I would say the only must do 'mod' is removing the brass cap that covers the Pilot screw and then adjusting the screw out 3-3.5 turns from bottom. This will help with starting.

There aren't really any performance parts out there so there so no suggestions there.

I'd replace the bars and get some handguards if you are going to hit the trails.

If it still has the trail wings on it, get rid of them. They suck for just about everything except pavement.

Like Yamaguy said, depends on what you want out of it. I bought an 89 a couple months ago and don't feel the need to do anything to it performance wise. I use it 99% pavement and while it doesn't come close to the power of my XR650R, it does fine for it's intended purpose. I'm very happy with mine.

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