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Back to my roots

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I have been a fan and rider of XR's since the beginning. My passion has always been 4 strokes, especially Hondas. My favorite for many years was a 600, but I decided to go with a '98 400 and found out I really liked it too. In fact it was about the only bike I have owned that I rode completely stock, except for opening the exhaust and pulling the snorkel, and adding a stabilizer. To be honest I can't remember if I even changing the jetting. It was hard to start but once it warmed up it was great. I just never felt the need to change it as it worked so great for me. I know what some of you may be thinking, but I do ride aggressively, in many D37 events, and it just worked right for me.

So time passed, the 650 came out and I convinced myself that on some of the steeper climbs in a D37 race I could use more power, so I got a 650. I had to do the suspension on it, it was way too soft, and I did a pipe, but I was happy with it too although I never got another D37 trophy after I started riding it (FYI, I have several #1 Sen Open Am finishes including DMC in 2000 on the 400). Then at the end of 06, I had a chance to buy a tricked out KTM 525XC with the 540 kit. I have never felt competely comfortable on it, too much two stroke feel, like the CRF's. Even with a flywheel weight to tone it down. I have put lots of miles on it, mainly in Baja and all in all it's been a great bike except for the overheating on every slow speed section I've done.

So, a few weeks ago an employee of mine told me he was looking for a bike, and knowing his financial situation a bit and his ability, I thought a 400 would be a good bike for him. In doing some research I came across a thread by JAT about a 400 he built. It really spiked my interest. My employee wasn't quite ready to buy yet but I was looking around for him, and I came across a 01 with original tires and decals at a really great price. When I saw it I knew I had to buy it. I couldn't get it started, it had been sitting and even though the guy who was a mechanic had cleaned the carb, from my previous 400 experience I expected a cold hard start, and it was so clean I couldn't pass it up. At home, I still could not get it started, maybe I'm a little out of shape having the magic button for 5 years, but then I remembered the trick I used to use...lay it on it's side for a few seconds when cold. It fired right up.

The more I looked at it and the more I looked at JAT's bike, the more excited I got about it. It has a pipe and header on it, and it was jetted to 155, 55 (which may be stock) and still had the snorkel in place. After reading here, I changed it to a 162, 60 and took out the snorkel and now it fires first kick without laying it down.

I took it out to the dez this weekend. I rode my KTM the first day just because I hadn't ridden it since February and I needed to get a baseline to judge the 400 with. The second day on the Honda was, well let me just say that the KTM is now for sale. All the good memories came back and I felt so at home on it, and I will have no problem saying goodbye to low oil capacity and water cooling.

So now my dilemma is this: I definitely need a stabilizer, and considering JAT's change to CRF forks, I am wondering if it would be wise to go that route, perhaps with the Emig setup and their stabilizer. With their design having no dampening back to center, I am wondering how that works. Has anyone here had any experience with it? Maybe I would be just as happy with just a GPR set up with new bars and run the stock forks. I hammered some whoops this weekend and it really felt pretty good although my confidence level would be improved with a stabilizer.

Any input would be appreciated.

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good stuff... glad you re back to xr's... sometimes up at the trail head here it s like a ktm commercial... orange everywhere...

i recently did an emig stem crf fork conversion on my 97... turned out great... couldn t be happier... no steering damper tho... lots of good info on here as i m sure you ve discovered...

have fun with the xr and let keep us informed !!

cheers

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You are allowed to have more than 1 bike. :smirk:

I have a KTM and a XR4 that I will NEVER EVER sell. I know what your talking about though, if I had to sell 1 for whatever reason,,, it would be the KTM. It's lighter, faster and handles better than the XR but it lacks something. Not sure what to call it but the XR has "it" for sure. Just a fun, fun bike that is a pleasure to ride in every way. :bonk:

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