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Old 28 Jun 2005
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Xr400r or XR650r


Which of the above for overland travel - some off-road but not too severe. One-up with minimal luggage. Assuming larger capacity tanks fitted to both.

Any pros and cons appreciated.


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Old 28 Jun 2005
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Best way to decide would be to test out both bikes for yourself and then make a decission.I suppose it will depend on how tall you are,your riding experience(both on and off road),how far you intend travelling and where.If your planned trip is somewhere with predominantly good road network then maybe the bigger of the two will be more comfortable for long periods.On the other hand if you're planning a trip through Africa or somewhere with a lot of unsurfaced roads(or you're not that tall) then i'd certainly go for the 400.Does'nt sound like a lot of difference between a 400 and 650 but when you've just dragged it out of the 10th muddy/sandy rut in as many minutes,every kilo feels like a ton! I've got a XL600LMF with the big tank and it's quite capable for even "medium" hard going,though i'm 6'3" and have been riding on and off road for the best part of 28 years.....In short,only you can really decide which to go for,and having a few hours on each will help no end.Best of luck!

Just going for a short ride on my bike....
Just going for a short ride on my bike....
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Old 28 Jun 2005
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Putting power & off road capabilities aside, you need to consider that they;re quite different bikes.

XR400's are air cooled, steel frame & quite simple. Not sure if later models have e-start or not?

XR650R's are water cooled with an aluminium frame. Kickstart only.

Check out the servicing requirements of each bike. I think a fairer comparison for the XR400 would be an XR650L - an air cooled 650 Dommie engine, retaining. the e-start, in an XR600 style steel frame.

Rich Lees has a well sorted XR650R for sale in the For Sale section on this site. I saw it last weekend, already equipped with a massive fuel & drinking water capacity.
My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
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Old 28 Jun 2005
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I've used an XR400 with car support and both the XR650L and XR650R for trips through Africa.
the 400 and 650R are very similar weight, but the 650R has just so much more power and better suspension. there's little in it on fuel consumption: I've managed 20-22kpl on both. Acerbis do 22 litre for the 400 and IMS do 27 litre for the 650R. I've seen a 400 with a DR350 27 litre tank.

IMHO, the 400 is slightly more crash tolerant and simpler to maintain, being air-cooled. neither subframe looks up to the job, but neither broke despite some hard riding and hard falling.
seats ... they're both hard. the 400 is more comfortable than the 650R.
if you want the power, you need the 650R, but I suggest you don't need the power and most people will find the 400 has enough while the 650R has more than enough to get you into big, big trouble.
there used to be a moroccan tour company who had both and you could try them both on a tour.
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Old 1 Jul 2005
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i'm driving a 650R and indeed a massive power machine! which can get you in a lot of trouble when not handled well as rich pointed out. but then again when you get used to it it's a massive thrill!! I don't worry about the subframe strength either...it held on several trips in severe conditions, with luggage on the rear and front. have driven a 400 as well (a 1997 model though) and it felt pretty comfortable and very light, and indeed powerfull enough to do intensive offroad...but it's not quite the same as the 650.
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