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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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Old 1 Oct 2010
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As lightweight, Dual-Sport/Enduro bikes go, I only have experience of an XR400.

Great bike at what it was built to do, but to anyone thinking of buying that or similar models I urge you to seriously research and test, if you can, as comfort was the main reason why I had to sell it.

The XR saddle is torturous.

There are solutions: custom seats being the obvious one.

It may be that more road biased 350+ bikes are more comfortable, but I say check lest your dream trip be reduced to an avoidable orthapaedic nightmare!!
Adventure: it's an experience, not a style!
(so ride what you like, but ride it somewhere new!)
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Old 1 Oct 2010
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The XR400 is a great bike. But depending on where you buy it, it may not be equipped for road use. In the USA/Canada this bike was sold as "Off Road Only". Very different bike than a "Road Version".

The US version has a headlight and tail light but nothing else. Stator output is low also. NO battery, NO electric start. Perhaps in Europe its a totally different bike? Generally when Honda make a bike road legal they also change engine internals and many other items.

Example: difference between XR600 (dirt bike) and XR650L (road legal dual sport bike). Basically same motor. One is kick only, no battery, and a race motor. The L version has different piston, cams, Comp. ratio, Carb. , battery, and suspension. Has full wiring Loom and all street requirements. XR600 has almost none of that ... very basic, just like the XR400R.

I owned a '97 XR400. (USA). Mine was converted to street legal using a Baja Designs kit. Very common with this bike back in the 90's.

Very reliable but not really a long range travel bike, IMHO. I took it on a few multi day dual sport rides and on one long Baja ride. I struggled a bit in Baja regards carrying luggage. The bike rode great, just not much room to carry stuff, which is hard in rough off road riding. It's OK on highway if your happy cruising at 60 mph. Any faster and the motor is revving a bit fast.

Several of the most successful Baja bike tour companies still use the XR400 today. This is probably the highest praise that could be offered on this bike. The other bike used is the Suzuki DRZ400E. Both are good, but none of these Baja tours go for more than 5 or 6 days and the riders are not required to carry ... any gear at all. Everything is provided ... they fix flats and even help you pick up your bike.

The Seat replacement is an easy solution. Any good seat company can make a custom seat for the XR400 or DRZ400. Both would need this to make realistic travel bikes.

Honda stopped importing this bike into the USA in around 2000 or 2002?
Not sure about EU or other markets.
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Old 2 Oct 2010
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Originally Posted by skierd View Post
Super long HUBB type trips? None that I know of yet (get off your arse eddie!) Shorter trips (under about 6500 miles), plenty...

mine from last year

How I spent my summer vacation, or 6000 miles on a WR250R - ADVrider

2000 miles in alaska
1950 miles in 7 days on a WR250R in Alaska? - ADVrider

10cup's Continental Divide ride
Continental Divide Ride August 2009 - ADVrider

and Western TAT
10Cup & Oleary at Moab, Western TAT - ADVrider

BigDog's Shadow of the Rockies...
BigDog--ShadowOfTheRockiesTrail/Colorado/Wyoming/Idaho/Utah - ADVrider

...Poncho and lefty...
BigDog----Poncho and Lefty - ADVrider

...and Mexico to Canada, and then some
BigDog/DingWeeds-Mex/Can AndThenSome - ADVrider
Wow, thanks! Nice lightweight setup you've got there.
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Old 3 Oct 2010
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What are the motors like on those xr400s?

I picked the dr350 for my mongolia trip, because it seemed to be the lightest most off-road focused bike that had a motor made to rack up high mileage like a road bike. I specifically picked the enduro (non-road) variant over the more common 'S' model. I conceded to fitting the three phase alternator, regrec and a battery to it, but in heindsight that was a waste of time and I should have just stuck with the basic ac lighting coil electrics - runs a standard 55/60w headlamp fine.

But my opinion of the bike is that the topend design is pretty weak and rockers get damaged way to quickly in the event of oil starvation. I'd be interested if the XR400 motor could rack up the same kind of mileage as the DR350 is capable of, but without being quite so eager to eat its own topend.

My thoughts on suggested bikes, for the OP:
Dr650 - Still too heavy, not enough of a weight stepdown to be worth changing bike
DRZ400 - I'm skeptical of the watercooling and the 5spd gearbox. Plus it sounds quite difficult/expensive to track down the genny and mechanical parts to add a kickstarter.
XR250 - How well do the motors stand up to high mileage touring? Would be interested to see some trip reports of 20k mile runs
UK to Mongolia 2009, on a DR350
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Old 6 Oct 2010
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Originally Posted by Nath View Post
What are the motors like on those xr400s?
But my opinion of the bike is that the topend design is pretty weak and rockers get damaged way to quickly in the event of oil starvation. I'd be interested if the XR400 motor could rack up the same kind of mileage as the DR350 is capable of, but without being quite so eager to eat its own topend.
Regarding top-end on DR350: is that only because of oil starvation?

One thought I had recently is: BMW G650, same weight as a DR650.
My F650's got the same engine. Apart from 1 waterpump: no problems on 120000 km. I never even had to change valve shims. (And I really don't mind carrying a small spare like a waterpump).
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Old 18 Oct 2010
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Thought I'd add something else about the WR250R that I only remembered on my way out and back from my girlfriend's college this weekend, about a 200 mile ride all highway each way. The bike's alternator puts out 350w of electrical with about 250w of that in reserve.

It was sure nice to have the electrical juice to run the heated grips and jacket (warm and safe 65w) on their highest settings, heated gloves and socks at about 50%, with my GPS running, at 65-70mph when the temps dripped into the low 40's to high 30's F.
2008 Yamaha WR250R
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