Honda XR400 questions.
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Thread: Honda XR400 questions.

  1. #1
    Senior Member jtomelliott49's Avatar
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    Honda XR400 questions.

    Hello folks!! I'm looking at a Honda XR400 locally and want to know who has experience with these XR's??? And what, if any bad things to look for.??? I have a couple locally on CL that would seem to me to be good candidates. One in particular. @1750 asking price, so I'm thinking somewhere around 1500 and me riding it home. It's kick start only, so I'm a little leary, as I'm not a motorcycle mechanic. the seller says it does require a very specific procedure to start, but he can start it in any condition easily.

    What say you???
    BkCntryCrwlr likes this.
    Tom in Wichita

    78 Moto Guzzi SP1000
    87 Yamaha TW200
    99 Yamaha TW200
    03 Honda Shadow Spirit (girlfriend's ride)
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  2. #2
    Member westcoasting's Avatar
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    If it is in decent shape that is a good price. However i think for that price something has to be wrong... like the starting procedure signals something. When tuned up these bikes start easily in 2 or 3 kicks, buyer beware.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member jtomelliott49's Avatar
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    Thanks for your response, westcoasting. The bike is a '97 model and looks like it's in good shape to me. But a pic on CL says nothing if the picture taker does his work right.lol I'm not young enough to have to kick the starter through ten or fifteen times to start it. Some of the 350's have a hard start reputation. Maybe it's not deserved.???
    BkCntryCrwlr likes this.
    Tom in Wichita

    78 Moto Guzzi SP1000
    87 Yamaha TW200
    99 Yamaha TW200
    03 Honda Shadow Spirit (girlfriend's ride)
    74 Moto Guzzi Eldorado Police model (in many pieces)

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    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
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    Hey Tom,

    I have owned 4 different XR400's and never experienced any significant problems with any of them. They are probably my all-time favorite trail bike for fire roads. As you mentioned, the biggest downside for me was no electric start. While the XR400 is not difficult to start, it does take some technique and a strong leg. Over the course of a one or two day ride, all that kicking adds up. I was able also able to get mine converted over to being street legal so I wasn't limited to just off-road riding. I would buy another one if they came street legal with an electric start!

    2002 XR400 - Right Side.jpg

  6. #5
    Senior Member Deepseadan's Avatar
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    I purchased a brand new 02 xr400 and converted it to street legal. The bike was super reliable being air cooled, got decent gas mileage but the suspension was awful and it was top/front heavy. Being front heavy with poor suspension made the bike want to push and plow in sand and gravel. I spent 12 years fighting it, got into my mid 30's, had a couple spills cause I couldn't touch the ground well, and finally decided to give up on dirt bike riding all together. Then one day I rode my brother in laws ktm 500 exc and it went through sand, gravel, roots and ruts like they weren't even there and knew I had to get one. I love the ktm but it's also a little tall for some stuff so I decided to get the tw200 and love it too. It goes well through most stuff too.

    So now that you've read my life story and to sum it up, I would go different route then then xr 400. It's the one of probably 20 bikes I've owned or ridden that I wouldn't get again. Just like riding a tank.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    jtomelliott49 likes this.
    Current bikes 2016 KTM 500 EXC, 2016 Yamaha TW 200

  7. #6
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    I've spent my fair share of time riding XR400's and 600's. IMO they are fantastic bikes. The one problem that I recall in particular, concerning the 400's, at least, is the propensity for issues with the auto decompression system (has been known to stick a valve open sometimes, which can cause stalling or no-starts). I think the only real issue with the suspenion is that it is unbalanced - much stiffer in the back. Of course that can be fixed if you care to. I really like the tractor-like character of the motor. Some, like Deepseadan, aren't happy with that. In my book, it's great for dirt bikes. For sport bikes (even though I don't ride them anymore), I actually like the power to peak right before a stratospheric redline That can be fun ​for dirt bikes, too, but not so useful.
    Last edited by kj7687; 11-12-2016 at 02:15 AM.
    jtomelliott49 likes this.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

  8. #7
    Senior Member ejfranz's Avatar
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    I had one for a year. If you are just interested in fire roads it is a great bike.
    I changed the final drive to ride tight single track and found the bike too heavy and tall.

    Once you learn the technic for kick starting it, it will fire up in 1 to 3 kicks.
    I prefer an electric start, especially when you screw up on a nasty section of a trail.
    jtomelliott49 likes this.
    2001 TW200 sporting a MT43 up front. Duro has gone to a good home. 2015 VStrom XT, 1996 DT 200, Broken 2010 Xingue 400 XY. 2009 WR250r now shared with my son.

  9. #8
    Senior Member jtomelliott49's Avatar
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    Unfortunately for me, I haven't found places close to ride off road. So, I ride to work occasionally, and around back. I love my TW's, but for on road riding I feel the TW is a little underpowered. I could ride my Guzzi, but it's waaaay more power than I want for riding to work. I appreciate all your input on this subject, and am carefully considering the purchase. I should sell some of my projects so I can more easily justify this XR. Oh, and I still want to buy a garden tractor from Jeffrolives, that is, if he still has it and wants to sell.
    littletommy likes this.
    Tom in Wichita

    78 Moto Guzzi SP1000
    87 Yamaha TW200
    99 Yamaha TW200
    03 Honda Shadow Spirit (girlfriend's ride)
    74 Moto Guzzi Eldorado Police model (in many pieces)

  10. #9
    Junior Member Jefferey98TW's Avatar
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    Baaaaaaap!!!!
    jtomelliott49 likes this.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member fishguy's Avatar
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    I kinda like Yamaha's TW200. Most guys here like'em too.

    Does Honda still make motorcycles? I hadn't noticed.
    littletommy and jtomelliott49 like this.

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