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Gal with a xr400r

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HI All,

I am new to Thumper Talk and dirt bikes also. I have a 1997 honda xr400 and love my bike. After a few spills i love that it's virtually unbreakable.:bonk: So far it is completely stock. But I am not without problems and hope to get some advice here.

It took me about 2 weeks to figure out a technique to start it. I have a crook knee so i have to stand beside my bike and stomp on the kick start to get it to start. Usually takes a couple of goes.

Ok here's for the problems. Firstly i am 5'9 and able to touch the ground tippy toed. I would like it to be a bit lower. i took my seat off the other day and put a thin pillow there instead and felt that the bike was much easier to corner with me lower to the ground. I think my sag is already adjusted out. the adjuster nut thing is already almost to the top?

I think I am too light for the spring. It doesn't bounce much at all. I weigh about 145 pounds. How can i tell if this is the case? Or is it just that i am a new rider in need of more experience.

Another issue i have is when i fall off my bike which has been a few times now....It is near impossible to lift the thing back up again. anyone else?

Anyhow thanks for reading. I look forward to someday confidently riding my xr and having many fun adventures on her in the future

cheers :smirk:

Kylie

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Hello Kylie,

I have an 2002 XR400, my first 4stroke after a 20 year hiatus in bike riding.

If you want to lower the seat height try XR's only lowering link

http://www.xrsonly.com/dirt-bike-parts-1/honda-dirt-bike-parts/honda-xr-models/honda-xr400r/xrs-only-lower-lowering-link-honda-xr250r-96-up-xr400r

Also it would appear that the stock spring is too stiff for your weight, have a look at this link. http://www.4strokes.com/tech/honda/sprngrts.asp

Hope this helps

regards Andrew

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Try this, well established technique,and for much heavier bikes. When the guys drop their bike in the BRC 2 or ERC they all use this method.

http://www.ibmwr.org/otech/pickup.html

Google around "picking up motorcycle" if you want video or other ways of explaining.

Good luck, and welcome to the board.

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So that you're not wasting kick effort, have you been told that you need to start your kick from the pistons Top Dead Center, every time. If not, say so, we'll explain. It's tough enough starting the bike normally sometimes, the way you're having to do it is doubly so.

I'm just guessing that your Aus. XRs spring rates are the same as US XRs. So ideally, you need a lighter shock spring for your weight. Race Tech calculator says an 8.7kg/mm or closest, theirs being an 8.5..

With the preload on the shock spring backed all the way off, determine your current sag. Use the search function here and read about how to take/set your sag measurements.

Don't leave the nuts backed off completely away from the spring. You need to have at least a slight preload on it so it's not flopping around between upper and lower spring seats.

Do a Youtube search on how to lift a motorcycle off it's side. Lots of videos to show you exactly how to do it. Take a look at the seat straps you can make or buy that mount to the seat bolts that are meant to help lift and pull on your bike. I think one such product is called the tugger. http://www.cyclebuy.com/shopping/tugger/index.htm

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I am a fellow gal riding a xr400 as well. I am 5'5 130lbs and I had to lower my bike to fell comfortable on it. I used the devol lowering link and slid the forks up in the triple clamps. Also when starting you bike make sure your kickstarter is engaged before you riped on it as if you just throw your foot down with out making sure the gear is engage you can strip the kick start gear. I've only dropped mine twice but when I did I could definately feel the weight of the thing. I can pick mine up by lifting by the seat throwing setting on my knee and then hoisting all the way up.

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Lowering link will help 2 things... Stability standing and should help kick starting effort also. Very easy install.

Top dead centering as TrailRyder42 said is also the easiest method for starting.

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Yes, at your weight a lighter spring will help a lot. That will let you get your sag set correctly. I'm 5'7 1/2" and with 105mm of sag, I'm still on my toes but it's not too bad. IMO, get the correct spring 1st then see if you still need a lowering link. You can also take your seat cover off and shave down the seat foam.

As far as starting, my routine is this. -

Kick through slowly untill I find the spot with the most resistance. Stop there and let the kickstarter up all the way. Then I pull in the manual decomp lever and nudge the kicker past that point just a little bit. Let it back up then give it a good kick all the way through. Hot or cold this works well for me. :bonk:

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It took me about 2 weeks to figure out a technique to start it. I have a crook knee so i have to stand beside my bike and stomp on the kick start to get it to start. Usually takes a couple of goes.

Ok here's for the problems. Firstly i am 5'9 and able to touch the ground tippy toed. I would like it to be a bit lower.

I think I am too light for the spring. It doesn't bounce much at all. I weigh about 145 pounds. How can i tell if this is the case? Or is it just that i am a new rider in need of more experience.

Another issue i have is when i fall off my bike which has been a few times now....It is near impossible to lift the thing back up again. anyone else?

I start my XR4 the same way due to a bum knee. As long as you start from TDC, and turn up the idle a bit, it'll start right up. Hopefully you aren't running stock jets - re-jetting is pretty much required for that bike.

You can shave the seat to lower it. Shaving the width will do even more than cutting down the height. Look into an A-Loop kit if you can find one.

You are definitely too light for the stock springs. The fork springs might be OK, but you should get a shock spring that is somewhere in the 8.5 range. Unless you are hitting big jumps, turn the compression clickers all the way out.

Incidentally, nobody can pick up a fallen XR400. If you dump it, just leave it there and buy a new one. That is specifically the reason why I ride 125s now :bonk:.

JayC

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Hi everyone and Thanks so much for all the great advice. I need it so much.

Trailrider72 I make sure she is at tdc before kicking. I just have to make sure i do a real good one before kicking. Sometimes have to start it without the fuel turned on also as it floods easy if I have to do more than one kick. It needs a carby overhaul I'm sure...It's warm here ans i use a half choke unless it has been a cold night and turn up the idle a little. Also use absolutely no throttle. i hold the seat to make sure i don't use it.

1bad88xr250r. great to meet another girl with an xr and even better to know you can pick it up. I will have to figure some techniques out not that I want to fall off it again anytime soon.

Yeah that lowering link sounds like the go and the lighter spring will look into those after christmas and report how it goes. Can't wait. Coulda bought my bike lots of gifts but the kids won out :bonk:

Thanks everyone for your help

cheers

Kylie

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I start my XR4 the same way due to a bum knee. As long as you start from TDC, and turn up the idle a bit, it'll start right up. Hopefully you aren't running stock jets - re-jetting is pretty much required for that bike.

My bike is definately running stock jets. i can tell it has alot more to give but it can't so that's another thing i need to do.

cheers

Kylie

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I had a problem with seat height before as well, im 5'5" and about 150lbs. I set the sag correctly, but was still too high. So I ended up taking the cover off the seat and shaving about an inch or so of foam off it. Also created a little "butt stop" towards the back, then just stapled the cover back on. That helped me out quite a bit. Let me know if you want a picture.

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if you cannot pick up your bike

get a lighter bike or build some muscle

and use your brains to help start the bike

advice from a fellow female,

5' 6 1/2" and overweight

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Finally, a gal that admits she's a little over the normally way skinny and she has a xr400 . :bonk:

I was thinking this thread needs some pics :smirk:

Missyhissy..... lets see a pic of this sag problem and the rest of you gals... you too, just for comparisons.

Edited by crazyfast

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motoxrider, I am interested to see how your bike looks with the shaved seat... been considering doing it myself (a lot cheaper than lowering links, new springs, etc!)

I'm glad to see I'm not the only vertically challenged person riding a big XR4!

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I found sometimes it helps if I tap the decompression lever right as I start the kick from TDC. Just a nab, to get my foot moving really fast on the kick through.

also, if I lay it over, I hold the throttle wide open and the decomp lever, then kick 15 times through. then do the above and it usually starts right up.

when the bike is cold in the morning.. I turn the idle screw until it starts to feel a bit of tension spinning. I'll have to see how many rotations it is. then I hold the decomp lever and throttle wide open and kick 10-15 times through. then let go of throttle and decomp, full choke and kick once or twice and it starts up and idles nice.

that's very nice, fiep. My wife has a hard time picking my xr250 up, I wouldn't expect her to pick up a 400.

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Ooooh just realised you put a pic up anyhow.motorxrider.That looks pretty good. Did you use a carving knife. The electrical ones? I have the staple gun already so just a matter of slicing some off. thanx for the pics :bonk:

Edited by missyhissy
mistake

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Hi Fiep. it ain't just a matter of muscles but rather having a bad back already and not wanting to make it any worse. Last time i came off was on a hills side where the top of the bike was lower than the wheels. My man could even do it from that angle by himself.

n16ht5....unfortunately mine no longer has it decompression lever or cable. I can see where it was connected though. I have to turn mine over with the fuel turned off and it can take quite a while lol. thanks guys :bonk:

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that's very nice, fiep. My wife has a hard time picking my xr250 up, I wouldn't expect her to pick up a 400.

what are you trying to tell me?

that you ride alongside to bail her out if she drops or stalls the bike?

'size appropriate' is not gender specific

if you can not handle it - gal or guy - get something you can

there are plenty of bikes in all size available

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Ooooh just realised you put a pic up anyhow.motorxrider.That looks pretty good. Did you use a carving knife. The electrical ones? I have the staple gun already so just a matter of slicing some off. thanx for the pics :bonk:

I didnt have access to an electric knife, so i used the blade from a hacksaw and some sand paper for smoothing it out.

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