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-   -   XR400 or 600 for touring and enduro fun? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/honda-tech/xr400-600-touring-enduro-fun-37745)

pbekkerh 12 Sep 2008 16:02

XR400 or 600 for touring and enduro fun?
 
I want a bike for a bit of everything: playing in fields, woods, beach at home and maybe tours in Sweden/Norway/Spain/Morocco etc.

I looked at the XR400 (max. 1995-98, because of very high taxes here) because of the low weight but found that a XR600 weighs only about 8 kg more, cost 20-25% more but has 25% more power.
7% weight increase for 25% power increase sounds really good. Is there any reason, apart from price, not to take the XR600 ?

Warthog 13 Sep 2008 09:22

Only 8 kgs more? But where are the kilos?

If they are up top, it might feel like mmore. I have never ridden a 600, but I do own a XR400. I must say, I have not ridden off-road with it yet, but its a ncie solid little bike. I imagine that you would not feel the lower power that acutely. Plus the Krones saved could pay for some nice tyres etc!!

In a nutshell, without comparing to the 600 in any way, I think you would be happy with the 400...

Touring. For this more popwer is always nice, but I have travelled long distances on my XR400. I stuck to 80-100 kph, and still had plenty of power to push to 130kph.

Economy was very goo, especially given the standard tank size. Achilles heel? The seat: it should be banned along with land mines, and torture...

Can't tell you if the 600 is any better. You could buy a sheepskin or air-hawk to help.

backofbeyond 13 Sep 2008 15:51

I'm the other way round to Warthog in that I've had a 600 for the last 15 yrs but never ridden a 400. I've used the 600 for just about everything - green laning in the UK, touring all over EU, two trans sahara trips etc.

For muddy tracks etc unless you're some sort of moto god the 600 is too big and heavy. It may only be 8kg more than the 400 but after a while you really feel those kilos. I'd take an XR250 over the 400 and get the weight down even more.

For normal winding roads the 600 is a great bike. No great top end but the punch out of the corners makes for an enjoyable ride. I used it to travel to work in London for years and it's great in the traffic - until you stall it at lights when you look a complete plonker having to get off and push it to one side.

Loaded up for solo overlanding it's ok (ish) I didn't do much to the subframe other than redo the welds at the end where the mudguard mounts but I did weld in some extra brackets at the bottom so I could triangulate the pannier frames. It hasn't broken so far but it does flex a lot side to side and I've never really been comfortable with it.

The biggest problem with the 600 is the kickstart. I've broken a couple but it's really the whole palaver of getting the thing started. You can't just kick and hope like you can with a two stroke. It requires a ritual that you have to go through and a kind of whole body commitment that just becomes too much after a time. The 400 has to be better in this respect. On the last UK - Gambia trip I got to the point where I'd leave it idle rather than have to go through the starting ritual and when I really had to turn it off (borders / hotels etc) I'd pay the (inevitable) bunch of kids 20p to push start me.

DavePortugal 13 Sep 2008 19:06

The 400 is deifnitely better off-road, feels lots lighter than the 600 and better suspended. Don't really know about on road where the 400 is OK with the correct gearing but maybe the 600 would have the edge. Kicking a 400 really is easy as well so, for me, it's the 400.

pbekkerh 13 Sep 2008 19:45

Lets see some pictures of failed frames
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by backofbeyond (Post 206621)

Loaded up for solo overlanding it's ok (ish) I didn't do much to the subframe other than redo the welds at the end where the mudguard mounts but I did weld in some extra brackets at the bottom so I could triangulate the pannier frames. It hasn't broken so far but it does flex a lot side to side and I've never really been comfortable with it.

The biggest problem with the 600 is the kickstart. I've broken a couple but it's really the whole palaver of getting the thing started. You can't just kick and hope like you can with a two stroke. It requires a ritual that you have to go through and a kind of whole body commitment that just becomes too much after a time. The 400 has to be better in this respect. On the last UK - Gambia trip I got to the point where I'd leave it idle rather than have to go through the starting ritual and when I really had to turn it off (borders / hotels etc) I'd pay the (inevitable) bunch of kids 20p to push start me.

I tried a XR400 and the subframe was visibly bent to one side and I found also that the welding on the metalpiece that connetcs the two sides, was cracked. The welding looked awfull, not even a 1. year welder apprentice would weld like that and leave all the spatter and just paint over it.
It definately needs some triangular members welded in horisontally.

I'm surprised by the kickstart problems. The owner of the 400, didn't really kick it, he just pumped it 2-3 times and it started. After a short ride it was turned off and, 20 min later I started it, on the second kick even though I think its normally the worst conditions when you don't know if its hot or cold. And its on the standard carburator.
This was my first kickstart of a single, since I started a BSA 500, many years ago.

Doesn't the 600 have an automatic decompressor, like the 400 ?

If this is unique, maybe I should rush and buy that400 ;o)

I would still like to see pictures of broken subframes. With all the talk about them, there must be some pictures somewhere.

pbekkerh 13 Sep 2008 19:48

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavePortugal (Post 206636)
.....better suspended..... .

Do you know why ?
Does it have a different brand fork/shock ?
Or is it longer, stiffer ?

mollydog 13 Sep 2008 20:08

That pic is funny ... at first I thought the bike had TWO shocks:D

KEVTHEKIWI 13 Sep 2008 20:13

Xr 600
 
I got a Honda XL600R...Great bike on the road,, and gravel..also take it on the beach.....lots of fun...........
But its a pig to start.....
Last week i was trying to start it..and it gave the hell backfire.....
Spent half the night in hospital.....badly sprained ankle...and a month of work....bit scared to go near the thing at the moment
My next bike will definatly be a lecky leg....................

mollydog 13 Sep 2008 20:22

It's technique, not technical.

pbekkerh 13 Sep 2008 20:55

Quote:

Originally Posted by mollydog (Post 206649)
That pic is funny ... at first I thought the bike had TWO shocks:D

I DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE. I found the picture on the net and saved it for the sidetank, then found it again but focused only on the frame.

Tim Cullis 13 Sep 2008 21:33

I ended up selling my XR400R. It was fun in Morocco, but needed a bigger tank for range, also needed some way of carrying necessary spares.

The biggest downer though was the starting problems. Wouldn't get a non-elec start again.

Tim

Stephano 14 Sep 2008 05:54

Easier XR starting
 
I know not everyone wants to spend that much cash but swapping my XR400's carb for a Mikuni completely took away the hassle of starting the bike. Those for the older XR600s are cheaper too.

I still prefer the electric start on the CRF though. :thumbup1:
Stephan

mollydog 14 Sep 2008 06:21

If the God's are smiling on you ... it will start. If not .... Hmmm ....
pull Spark plug and wait.

backofbeyond 14 Sep 2008 10:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by mollydog (Post 206688)
Most guys don't know how to start a four stroke and sit there and bang away to no avail, get exhausted and are miserable.

That's very true. Some years ago a Ducati riding friend asked if he could try the XR. I told him that if he could start it he could have it! After 10 mins he admitted defeat, knackered, and gave it back to me. By using the correct technique I had it going in about 30 secs to his complete amazement

DavePortugal 14 Sep 2008 11:26

Quote:

Originally Posted by pbekkerh (Post 206647)
Do you know why ?
Does it have a different brand fork/shock ?
Or is it longer, stiffer ?

I really don't know enough about the 600 to say why but I've ridden a 600 and then my 400 back to back and there was no comparison on technical dirt trails. The 600 felt very top heavy and difficult to turn and bottomed out on jumps far more easily than the 400 (which is itself quite softly sprung). The 600 engine was nice though, very torquey and the guy who owned it didn't seem to have any trouble starting it.

400 subframes will crack and would need bracing to mount serious luggage.


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