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Should I upgrade my XR?

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I own a 03 XR 250 (great bike), but I'm looking for a bit more power. I'm going to look at an 03 XR 400 tomorrow. What are the biggest differences I will find? I mainly use the bike for trail riding (not too tight), but would like to start going to hardpack desert also. I also ride with my son on his CRF 80 so I need to be able to lug. I am 5'10", 175lbs., 47 years young. Not looking for a racebike just wondering about the XR4.

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The biggest thing you will notice is power and weight. The 400 is awesome, however it will take some getting used to, but once you have acclimated i'm sure it will meet all your needs. it has good torquey low and mid range power and will get you where you want to go. As for "lugging", it loves to lug, and for desert riding it will do 60 comfortably 80 wide open. You notice its weight most when going slow or when you have to pick it up, but like I said, you will get used to it.

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Don't forget about the 650r, all the power you will ever need. I have a 400 right now and love it, you will like the torque over the 250 and the 400 just shreds dirt in the first 3 gears. I also want to buy a xr200 for fooling around and trail riding and eventually a uncorked 650r to jump on when I want to ride a rocket ship in the dirt.

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A friend has a 250 but while it was in pieces last year for a major overhaul she borrowed my XR400. She found the power increase & response a bit of getting used to. But it was the starting procedure that was so differant.

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Search for XR250 and XR400 and you'll get a lot of reviews.

There are two times the weight is really felt. Downhills and picking it back up.

XR400's have a tractor like torque powerband. If you like short shifting, you'll like the XR400.

The bigger the mountain, the deeper the sand, the faster you want to go... get a bigger XR to get. More nimble? Go smaller.

In trees, the XR250 feels more like a mtnbike compared to the XR400.

In climbs, the XR400 is idiot proof. If the XR400 is capable of the climb, the incompetent can climb it. I've screwed up so badly, most other bikes would have stalled. The bike made it, I did not. The XR400 just chugs up the hill to the top. Go up 3/4 up a hill on an XR250 and slow, you'll need to make another run from the bottom. On the XR400, it's just a Homer Simpson, "Duuuoooh", fan the clutch and continue. I've passed more than a few 450F bikes in tight sections where they have stalled.

I've ridden the desert on my XR400 with my friend on an XR600. Trails were even. Drag race across a dry lake bed. Flat out at 75 mph on my XR400, he looked at me, cracked the throttle, and disappeared. It never was full throttle in 5th gear.

I've ridden the Oregon forest on my XR400 with another friend on his XR250. Hill climbs were easier for me. When we swapped, he like the power of the XR400, but like the mtn bike feel of his XR250. He was going to get an XR400, but just stuck with his two XR250's. One for Oregon, one for Baja.

The XR400 is great all around. If money was no object, I'd have a tricked out XR250 with a big bore kit and an XR650R.

Edited by Kev_XR

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Great insights, and well appreciated.

I did search this site and found some info, but really wanted to hear from those that have owned, or at least ridden both. I still have people asking why I want to buy an outdated motorcycle that is too heavy. I suppose my answer is reliability, and ability to just lug when needed. Pricing sure doesn't hurt either. My paycheck seems to keep getting smaller these days:( (sorry that's a whole different thread not for this site). Are there other benefits to the "oldschool" XR? I am starting to wonder if I should look into maybe a 250x or 450x (or something similar). I have put the purchase of the XR4 on hold at least for a couple of days. There seems to be a few to choose from out here.

I have thought about the 650, but think it is too heavy for my style and places of riding.

WiNot - What is the starting procedure on the XR4?

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On my XR400 the start procedure seems to be a little differant to how my friend starts her XR250. On my bike, to start from cold I prime the engine by holding the kill button, WOT & the manual decompressor lever pulled in. I then kick the engine over about ten times, then find the compression stroke...listen for the automatic decompressor clicking away...find TDC then give it one good kick. 9/10 the engine starts first time. If not, find TDC again on the compression stroke & give it one good kick. My friend stabs at her kickstart lever on her XR250 & finds it difficult to start at times. But after having started my 400 she now uses the full swing of the lever & hers starts so much easier.

As for a comparison between the newer bikes & the venerable XRs, I also have updated my ride with a KTM 450 EXC

Picture255-1.jpg

The engine is a lot more fun but I still like the way that the XR steers on slow nadgery stuff. I'm also quite concerned about radiator damage so fitted braces to the katey as a matter of course.

But for now i'll keep both in the guise that they're in at the moment. Then I have the best of both worlds...

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I also have an XR400 and a KTM450EXC like Winot does. The XR is considered heavy, underpowered and outdated but if you ride them back to back you'll be shocked at just how good the XR still does in comparison. The difference isn't as big as it's made out to be or what you would expect it to be by reading mags or forum posts. The XR is a solid trail bike that's plenty fast for 90% of all trail riders still to this day.

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Hey Michigan400, just curious how the powerband is in that 450exc? Does it have low end like the xr or is it a top end screamer. Your exc is a sweet looking bike, I heard that 450 is like 45hp stock. My brother wants that KTM 530 that is in the 50+hp range. Expensive bike though. looks like the perfect dual sport though and they will beat a 650r top end.

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The XR has a touch better low end but from about 4,000 rpm up it's all KTM. I wouldn't call it a screamer but the midrange hit is impressive on it. Strong but still smooth in delivery. The 6 speed tranny makes it a rocket out on the road, you won't hit 6th untill your already going about 55-60 and that's with it geared down. XR works best for all day rides where the smooth power and comfy ride won't tire you out. KTM works good everywhere but you better be on your game in the tightest stuff.

EXC on tight single track vid. Works great here but you can get yourself in trouble real fast.

http://vimeo.com/30550009

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For your weight, I would put a 280 kit on the 250 and tune the suspension if you haven't.

MEGA fun, not much slower than the 400 but still feels way lighter. (the 400 feels more than 20lbs heavier)

The 650 (either) feels like a freaking TANK compared to either, but certainly the 250.

If you are a "go faster", then get the bigger bike. Personally I don't like going 50mph offroad, but then we dont' have wide open spaces here in the midwest.

A CRF will not be the putt putt with the son bike!

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Good advice on the 280 big bore, I have owned three. A 280 with the suspension revalved/resprung for your weight and riding type is quicker in the woods than a stock 400 and only marginally slower in acceleration and climbing power, much less tiring to ride. It also responds well to gearing up to take advantage of the added torque. One tooth up on the countershaft or 3-4 smaller on the rear does not hamper acceleration and raises the top speed to close to 80. If I run onto a good deal on a 250 fixer-upper, I will be doing another 280.

Edited by creeky

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Im not really thinking of selling the 250 just yet, just adding to the collection. Unfortunately I waited too long on a a great deal on a 400. The bike sold the day I cancelled my appointment with the guy. The next day I found out I have a cracked gear in my starter shaft on my 250. I knew the ticking noise was bad:-(. The guy who is working on it said I was really lucky it didn't break off. Anyway, more money but I am going keep an eye out for another 400 for sale. It really sounds like the bike I'm looking for. All/any extra input is still appreciated. Maybe what to look for when buying. I seem to be learning something new eveyday. How do check the swingarm bolt when buying a bike, or can you?

As for boring the 250, doesn't that reduce their reliability?

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I have been a die hard xr fan due to the reliability and the torque; but have had my eye on the newer 4 strokes the past few years. Pulled the trigger on a "new to me" KTM, 530 6 day edition.

Was a little leary of being too much power; but after a few rides I have a new love for riding!

Not too much power at all, and this thing is a torque monster!!! Wish I would have done this a long time ago.

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