Honda CRF 250L Vs Kawasaki KLX 250S
Back in the day there was a wide range of trail bikes on the market. From the two stroke brilliance of Yamaha’s DTs to the mighty Honda XRs. If you wanted to go green you could head for the Kawasaki’s KDX or KLX range for your dose of off-road riding at the weekend and then return to commuting on the same bike on Monday morning.
But things have moved on since those halcyon days. Trail riding has become more and more difficult to do thanks to meddling middle-aged townies moving into the countryside and the demographics of motorcycling have followed them into the middle years. The resultant effect has been that there are precious few true trail bikes left, and the off-road market has polarised to Austrian domination of bikes that in reality are far from trail bikes. So in a landscape dominated by supremely competent enduro machines that can pound the lanes one day and win Romaniacs the next, is there still a niche for an old fashioned trail bike?
Honda Vs Kawasaki… which is really better?
Looking at our list of trailies from the glory years, the KLX250 is still the only one surviving . Kawasaki continue to produce the soft-roader some thirty years later and although there have been subtle changes and upgrades over the years, the basic bike is still much the same animal – a gentle and easy to use bike that will run for the next two decades with very little fuss. The 2016 version may take some of its design cues from the KXF motocross range, but this boy is no track monster.
For Honda, the XRs and XLs have long since been consigned to the history books. When we contacted Honda to obtain stock pictures of the XR400R for our XR Vs DRZ review, even after trawling through the photo archive of the whole global network from California at Tokyo, Honda could only locate a solitary image of the bike. The XR was made for nearly ten years, sold thousands of units across the globe and continues to be a firm favourite a decade after production ceased, yet only one image exists. That’s show business …
In its place, Honda now has the CRF250L as the only true trail bike in their range. Using what is essentially a road bike engine in a steel frame, the budget priced bike is constructed outside Japan and has proved to be a popular bike for both commuters and would-be off-roaders.
After retiring all of the trusty Honda XRs from our tour bike fleet in Southeast Asia and we needed to decide on their replacement. So which of these bikes would takes the top step in this battle of an often forgotten class? We had to know…
Toby purchased one of each bike in Cambodia and Julian took some out for test rides on the UK’s green lanes. The Kawasaki KLX250S Vs Honda CRF250L… which is really better?
The Kawasaki KLX250 scores well for comfort, thanks to a good seat and good suspension. Even at full chat the bike remains planted and copes with the big hits well. Although the CRF would take the win for road riding comfort.
Although the frame looks sturdy and well finished, the steel needs care to keep it from getting rusty in damp conditions. The bike needs a proper bash plate straight away.
As the KLX is relatively tried and trusted tech, it needs to be a tad cheaper than the RRP. Haggle like hell if you are buying new.
The KLX has some MX style presence in the car park and looks the part. Expect to change plastics occasionally to keep it from looking tired.
As stock the power needs freeing up to be really enjoyable. It’s fine and stupidly quiet in standard form, you just know it’s being strangled. We wouldn’t dream of using this bike on our tours without modifications.
Green, Clean and far from Mean – KAWASAKI KLX 250
The fact that this bike still exists within Kawasaki’s range is something of a miracle. With the big K often struggling with Suzuki to keep up with Honda and Yamaha, the need to streamline their range must be ever present. So the very fact that it is still there does suggest that however much the market might have shrunk for this machine, it is still there. And on the basis of our test, we can see why. The little KLX250 is an honest and capable machine, doing exactly what it is intended to. And what’s more it’s capable of being substantially better with not too much effort or indeed cash.
Coming in at just over £4000 in the UK, it’s a cheap bike to start off with compared to the performance enduro models at almost double that. The bike runs a four valve, fuel-injected, six geared 249cc DOHC motor in a steel perimeter frame. The front forks are only adjustable for compression damping, but the rear can be tweaked for preload, compression and rebound damping.
The bike runs the usual off-road combination of 21-inch front and 18-inch rear that affords a full choice of proper off road rubber, which you’ll need if things get slippery. The main bugbear in the spec sheet is the 138kg that the KLX tips the scales at. Kawasaki say this is the curb wait rather than dry weight, so at least that’s the top end, but try to get that on a paddock stand and you certainly want any more!
So what else do you need to know? The brakes use a 255mm front and 230mm rear disc, the tank has a fairly small 7.7 litre capacity and the ground clearance is 285mm – that’s not massive in off-road terms but big in road terms.
The clocks are clear and easy to see, which is not true of the headlight.
The exhaust is a full Euro 3 compliant unit with an internal catalytic converter. These are not words you want to hear.
If you think that engine looks familiar you’d be right. Back in the early 2000s, Suzuki and Kawasaki combined forces to reduce R & D costs. The result in terms of motocross was the first tranche KXF250s that enjoyed fantastic success in both US and World motocross, while the almost identical but yellow Suzuki did next to nothing of note. But on the off road side of things, the flip side was true, with the mighty DRZ400 selling boatloads all over the world and continuing to be popular, while the again almost identical KLX400 being almost as invisible as sensible American politicians. We literally have never seen one in the UK.
But the smaller sibling 250 is far more visible and the lump it uses looks a dead ringer for the DRZ donk, even if the internal capacity is lower. And the similarities don’t end there… Click here to view on the Kawasaki website.
RIDE EXPEDITIONS RATING: KAWASAKI
The Honda CRF250L may not have adjustable suspension, but what is there does the job well. The seat is ‘all-day’ comfortable and the cockpit is open once you ditch those nasty steel bars. The KLX has the upper edge of comfort on the tougher off-road.
Even though the CRF250L is built far away from Japan in downtown Thailand, the Honda quality is still there. From the steel frame to the excel rims, it’s good stuff. You will however want to add a strong radiator guard to the top of your shopping list
All this goodness and flexibility for less than 4 large is great value in any currency. Buy a nearly new and you can take a quarter off that too!
For a budget level bike, the Honda is still a looker, so scores high with its MX inspired styling.
As stock it’s competent and copes with on or moderate off-road easily. And simply a new pipe lets the power rip.
Little Red Rooster –HONDA CRF 250L
Pitched at the same price point as the KLX, the Honda CRF250L has been a bit of a silent assassin in the range, clocking up fans from both the tarmac and mud community. As a true Ronseal bike, the Honda does exactly what it says on the tin. You can commute every day from now until your pension kicks in and the bike will never let you down, yet if you want to mix in a bit of dirty fun, then it’s happy to oblige. It’s a winning combination.
Honda list the little CRF in the adventure section of their website and in fairness that’s not wrong. People are taking this bike on trans-global expeditions thanks to its rock solid capabilities and reliability. Like the KLX it’s a 250 cc, six geared, four valve DOHC lump wrapped in a steel frame that’s painted to look like aluminium. It’s clearly not ‘ally’ because if it were the bike wouldn’t come in at a decidedly porky 144 kg. American website Motorcycle.com called this ‘feathery’ – they clearly have some mighty big birds in the US …
The wheels are 18/21. The ground clearance is lower than the Kawi at 255mm and the brakes use a combination of a 256 front disc and a 220mm rear. The look of the bike fits in with the rest of the bikes in the CRF range, but the motor is a transfer from the road division having been swiped from the CBR250R. It works well on the dual-purpose guise having been given a smaller 36mm throttle body and a longer, narrower exhaust header to extend the midrange. The bike is more than capable off-road and just as the KLX, the motor has more to give once freed of the emission friendly gubbins that the regulators seem to love.
Like the KLX, the tank is 7.7 litres but as with the Kawasaki, the Honda is not a thirsty bunny – it sips the unleaded like it would prefer not to have to bother. Click here to view on Honda’s website
RIDE EXPEDITIONS RATING: HONDA
The CRF and KLX out on the trail
Heading out onto the trails, these bikes feel remarkably similar in standard guise. You immediately lose the weight that is evident on the side stand and the bikes both feel surprisingly agile given their bulk. Also immediately noticeable is that you step off an enduro bike onto these two mild-Millie’s you are going to be seriously disappointed. You really have to reset your head to cope with the power drop on the standard bikes. If you keep these bikes for any length of time then the chance of you not seeking out a bit more oomph are small – but more of this later.
The overall dimensions on the two bikes is compact too, maybe a little more so on the Kawi than the Honda. Both use ‘cheap as chips’ steel bars that bend far too easily and transmit lots of trail vibration. Although we appreciate that they are built to budget, not fitting alloy bars to bikes being made in 2016 is a bit rich – ditch them and go alloy before you take the bike out of the garage in our opinion.
The cockpit and the Kawasaki is pleasing and really easy to read compared to the more slim line off-road models. The Honda isn’t bad too, just a bit more cluttered to our mind, but it does have a fuel gauge while the KLX goes for a tacho instead. Both bikes have conventional key controlled ignition that you will forget if you are not used to keys off-road – that’ll be us then!
” On the red dirt roads and easy trails the comfort and smoothness of the Honda wins every time, but when you get to the more snotty stuff it’s the more agile handling and superior suspension of the Kawi that takes the win. And that’s before the mods! “
– Ride Expeditions founder, Toby Jacobs
Out of the two the plastics on the Honda work better, as the tank shrouds on the Kawi seem to catch your riding jeans on occasions. It’s also made of a tougher compound too – our KLX in Cambodia was dropped and plastic snapped far too easily. Similarly – we can hardly believe we are saying this – the footpegs are better on the Honda being both wider and more comfortable than the skinny steel items on the KLX.
Suspension wise, the Kawasaki KLX250 comes out in front, thanks to the adjustability of the rear and front compared to Honda’s ‘you get what you are given’ units. But while that’s a win for the green bike, Little Red gets the vote on the power of the stock machine as it’s got that little bit more bite that you need.
One annoying glitch on the Honda CRF250L that was really noticeable was the fact that the engine is asymmetrical and really sticks out on the right hand case, forcing your legs wider than the left. In comparison the KLX250 feels much more natural.
Both machines come with road based semi-knobbly tyres that sort of do the job on both surfaces, but inevitably fall short once it gets slippery, giving them a vague and uncertain feel. They grip, just take a while to do it almost like they are operating on a fly-by-wire interface, rather than handlebars.
As a final note, the fuel economy on both bikes is just staggering. We went out all day on both machines and when it came to refuel time our trail riding buddies were putting in £8 of fuel in their two-strokes, while the KLX took half that at £4 and the lil’ Honda just £3.50. Impressive stuff.
CRF250L Vs KLX250 – THE VERDICT
From stock these bikes are very similar, as you’d expect. Where the one excels, the other has an answer up its sleeve. Both are extremely easy to ride both on and off-road, but if left standard you will soon find their limitations. On the basis of the marginally more punchy motor the Honda edges it in the battle of the CRF250L Vs KLX250S, but the Kawasaki is damn close even given it’s long model run. Upgraded, it’s a different story…
” We will be replacing our trusty old XR’s with the Kawasaki KLX250 for the trails in Cambodia alongside our YAMAHA WRF450’s for those that insist on extra horses!. But the Kawi as standard simply won’t cut it, so ours will all be heavily modified to improve performance – bored out to 300cc, fuel controllers, aftermarket exhausts etc. The Honda CRF250’s will be used for our tours up in Laos and Vietnam. “
RECOMMENDED BY US…
Ride Expeditions have upgraded our fleet of Honda XR250’s and Suzuki DRZ400’s that we used on our off-road tours in Southeast Asia, and it is now the Kawasaki KLX & Honda CRF 250’s and the YAMAHA WRF450s are the ones to fill their shoes. But bearing in mind that the little 250’s lack in power when left standard, we need to look at options for upping the ponies.
HONDA CRF 250L
For the CRF, releasing the power appears to be relatively simple. A quick swap on the strangling pipe that Honda have fitted to a far more free breathing FMF version releases the horses like opening all the stable doors at once. From a shy librarian it removes its glasses, shakes loose its hair and is suddenly far more fun to be with. In fact the power and noise on the FMF make the CRFL feel much more like its predecessor XR’s – close your eyes and you’ll be convinced that Honda are still making them.
Next up the tyres need to go in favour of proper off-road rubber, though what you choose depends on the terrain. In the UK we go for a trial rear and enduro front, but in Vietnam and Laos where we will be using these, then enduro both ends is the best way to go.
Other than this it’s just a set of new taller alloy bars, either cross-braced or FatBars and we are good to go on a totally transformed Honda that will still return 70mpg and run all day – perfect.
KAWASAKI KLX 250
For the KLX, the older engine needs a bit more help to get real sweet. We’re heading along the route of ‘there’s no replacement for displacement’ by fitting a 300cc big-bore kit for the new bikes we’re using in Cambodia. Allied to this we’ve changed the exhaust system to let it breathe freely and added a hopped-up EFI control unit with improved mapping to match the pipe. The results, when matched to a new 14/45 sprocket setup are an astounding improvement over stock and release the potential in this dependable little motor. Where the stock bike lacked the snap to overcome trail obstacles, the upgrades make it one hell of a bike for adventure motorcycling, and a worth successor to the legendary Honda XR250s we used to run and love. The King is dead, long live the King.
Love a bit of Trail Riding?
Ride Expeditions run incredible tours in amazing places. From the flooded trails of Cambodia, to the hilltop tracks in Laos, our trail riding holidays will make you smile from sunrise to sunset
MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews
We were very impressed by the Kawasaki KLX250 when we rode it at the press launch a few months ago. In particular, we thought the bike was well-sorted, from an engine performance, comfort and suspension perspective. Although the only real change for 2018 from the 2009 model we previously tested is the addition of fuel injection, this change seemed to benefit the machine by providing improved engine performance (including responsiveness and fuel economy).
We asked Kawasaki for a test unit after the press launch, and put miles on the bike, both on road and off, near our offices in Temecula, California. Here is our report.
Our general impression from the launch remains. This bike feels bulletproof, which is important for a single-cylinder 250cc, street legal machine. In other words, you will spend a lot of time with the throttle pulled to the stops and the rev counter near redline (10,500 rpm). Throttle response is smooth, and the new fuel injection system is well tuned, providing a broad, linear powerband.
We found the KLX250 relatively smooth. A 250cc single is, in general, barely fast enough for commuting on the highway (here in Southern California, the flow of traffic can be near 80 mph), and the KLX250 is no different. Although the bike will do an indicated 80 miles per hour, it is much happier at 60 mph, or so. Nevertheless, if your commute does not include long stretches of highway, the KLX250 could be an excellent choice in a dual sport.
Averaging roughly 65 mpg, we didn’t feel particularly limited by the 2.0 gallon fuel tank. The light (Kawasaki claims a wet weight of 304 pounds), nimble nature of the KLX250 is a huge plus when you want to grab a bike in the garage and go for a ride. Despite the light weight, the KLX250 proved stable flat-out at 80 mph.
The bolt upright, dirt bike-like ergonomics are extremely comfortable, and allow the rider to easily survey traffic conditions on the road. Designing a seat for a dual sport is a challenge, particularly when you want the bike to be a capable off-roader, while still being reasonably comfortable on the street. Here, we think Kawasaki found an excellent compromise, as the seat is flat and narrow enough to move fore and aft off road, but still reasonably comfortable on the street. If a rider is purely focused on the street, however, an aftermarket, wider seat might be a wise choice.
The long travel suspension works well in the dirt, yet remains plush and reasonably controlled on the street. The knobby tires, of course, are not the best for carving tarmac, but they do add to the off-road capability of the KLX250.
The brakes, including the single disc in front, work surprisingly well — in part, no doubt, due to the extremely light weight of the bike. The six-speed transmission shifts easily, and positively, together with a relatively light clutch pull.
If you are looking for a light, comfortable dual sport with genuine off-road chops, the KLX250 deserves a very close look. With a U.S. MSRP of $5,349, we think it presents good value, as well. For additional details and specifications, take a look at Kawasaki’s web site.
See more of MD’s great photography:
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Post by dave
That was the kind of opinion that I was looking for. Most guys like
what they ride and have a higher opinion of "their" bike.
(this message may not even make it through as has several I have posted
in the past two weeks). But here's my two cents:
I own a DRZ400 and almost bought a klx250 - huge fan of both. And I race
mx on a real mx bike - and still like the heavier, slower cousins.
Bottom line is, either bike will make you happy. They're comparatively
very similar given what you'll get out of them. As in, these are not mx
bikes nor are they pure dirt bikes - just as they are not sport bikes. I
have owned other dual sport bikes for over a decade and they're all
about compromise. There isn't one ideal bike.
However i commend you on your dilemma as to me those are great choices.
Your question is which. Well, that comes down to you getting your ass
over to a dealership, sitting on both and if possible take one on a test
ride. It also helps if you can let us know what type of riding you plan
on doing (although I suspect you have but I can't see that post given my
unreliable service). The klx will suffer on speeds above 110 km/h. The
drz has no problems with that. In fact my drz rides as smoothly on the
highway as my xl600 used to and it feels every bit as powerful.
My drz isn't the S model, it's a E model with lights put on. I have
never ridden the heavier S model but I tell you this, I would not trade
this bike for anything else including the klx250. The klx simply lacks
the power for my type of riding. And I dislike the fact that it is lower
than a full size dirt bike. I like my bikes tall then again I am long
legged. The drz doesn't feel top heavy, maybe because I was riding a
sport bike when I got this bike and it felt feather-light in comparison.
But it is substantially heavier than my mx bike but that's the nature of
the beast. If you have the muscles and the height, there is no reason
why you shouldn't go with the drz. All the power you need and the
reliability of years of progression, unlike the brand new klx.
I'm sure I would have been just as happy if I had gone the other way and
ended up with the klx. But I'm happy with the drz as it is a lot of
bike. My beef: wish it was a two stroke. But for that you have to look
at a KTM. That would have made me even happier.
Looking for some confirmation - Suzuki DRZ-400?
Hi all, I'm in the process of looking for a used bike as my first ever motorcycle (I"m 44) and likely to take the plunge in the next month. I think I've settled on a bike choice but looking for some of you to sharpshoot my decision-making skills or confirm for me that I'm making a good choice. After looking at a bunch of options, I think I've settled on a Suzuki DRZ-400. Please tell me why I am right or why I am wrong.
About me: I'm 44 y/o, 6' tall and fluctuated between 180-220 all of my adult life (currently on the high end of that), I've spent a lot of time on ATVs and snowmobiles but not much time on motorcycles besides a couple of times around a field at moderate speed. I've never had a motorcycle mostly because when I was single I didn't have the money or space, and since I've been married my wife has safety concerns. Well after 20 years she has relented and agreed to let me get a bike. More about me: I like to hunt and fish and travel, I dream about wild places more than city jungles, but hope to use the bike for commuting purposes. A large part of me wants to use my future purchase for scouting out hunting spots (a couple times per year out west on rough trails) and maybe taking some day trips to go fly fish around home (1-3 hrs away via backroads or interstate). I currently commute daily on a round trip of 75 miles where much of it is 65 mph highway, but by end of summer I'll likely be commuting round trip of 20 miles through mixed city traffic (interstate and side streets). While I think it would be fun to take this bike on a long trip, I think that is unlikely and I'd more likely haul the bike in my truck bed or on a hitch-carrier for 90% of the way then use the bike in and around my destination. Also, I'm currently scheduled to take the MN Basic Rider course the first week of June.
I've researched and considered KLR 650s, KLX 250s, Honda CRF650 and CRF450, the Versys, the Vstrom, BMW F650 and G650, the Suzuki DR650 and DRZ400, the Yamaha WR250, XT250, TW200, Royal Enfields, and Triumph Tigers. I want this bike to be an entry bike where I buy used, don't pay much and possibly upgrade in the future. I've settled on the Suzuki DRZ-400 for the following reasons, it appears to be big enough for highways speeds, but small enough for me to learn and handle easily, small enough to put on a hitch carrier, agile enough to deal with rough trails. I decided 250s and 300s are probably a little small for highway commuting, and 650s seems to probably be a little big for beginner trail riding. As far as choosing between the Honda and Suzuki, the Honda seems higher priced and harder to find, and I like the Suzuki coloring better. Oh, one other thing, I have four kids (17, 17, 15, 13) and I'd like them all to learn to ride too someday. Even if I upgrade in the future, I may decide to hang on to this bike for one of them, and lighter might be better.
Now for helping me on price...I've found a couple of options around me locally. One option is a 2009 with 5k miles for $4500, the other is a 2012 with 1.5k miles for $5100. Both seem overpriced by $1000-1500 based on blue book values. Should I expect to pay above book value in the current market?
Thanks in advance for any advice.
Klx250 drz400 vs
Ah, the good ole DR-Z400. This legendary bike off road from Suzuki was first released in 2000 and is still powering on today, basically unchanged too. As you may or may not know, Honda has just announced their new CRF300L and Kawasaki the KLX300 dual sport. And you know what I think Suzuki should do? Trump both of them and announce a new DR-Z400.
So I know it’s not just me who thinks Suzuki should make a new, updated DR-Z400. I’ve been thinking it for ages, I’ve had multiple people comment on my recent videos and the internet has been screaming out for one for years. I mean, the last update the DR-Z had was in 2007 and that was only to the crappy S model.
So currently there are 3 versions of the DR-Z400. We have the E model, a more off road biased version which has higher performance, approximately 48hp at the crank and is slightly lighter. Ok 48hp is definitely generous, but it’s what Suzuki quotes alright.
Then there’s the S model, a softer dual sport version with approximately 40hp at the crank, lower compression, a smaller carburettor and a stronger sub frame. And finally we have the SM, the motard version.
Now in Australia, the E model is street legal whereas it isn’t in some overseas markets (I’m looking at you United States). They have to put up with the shite S model.
Now, while I know a lot of people are excited for the new CRF300L and KLX300, I have a strong feeling they are both going to be underpowered and the CRF is going to have rubbish suspension. To me, it’s hard to recommend a CRF250L or KLX250S over a DRZ400. The DRZ400 is better off road, weighs the same, has more power and is stupidly reliable.
Now the current DRZ still sells by the truck load, but it still has some issues and it could be way better. First up, it has a 5 speed transmission with terrible ratios, the stators tend to burn out and the regulator rectifier needs to be upgraded, the seats just too hard, the suspension is way too soft and it’s still running a carburettor.
What I’m proposing is Suzuki scraps the S version, and has just one off road version. The SM model can still exist for all those motard fans.
So, what do I think Suzuki should do to make an upgraded DR-Z400? The first change I would make is getting rid of that archaic carby and move to electronic fuel injection. Now I can already hear the comments, ‘’But Curtis, EFI, that’s just another thing to go wrong. What if I’m in the Sahara and my EFI fails?!” No, no it won’t. I mean come on people, it’s no longer 1950, fuel injection has been around forever now and is nearly never at fault. While carburettors are fine, EFI is simply superior. Its stupidly reliable now, bikes start easier with it, they run better and you don’t have to worry about elevation changes. And if you are riding a DR-Z400, there’s a fair chance you’ll find yourself riding in a wide variety of elevations.
Next up is the transmission. My first option would be to change it to a 6 speed. Boom, fixed, done. I’m happy if they keep it as a 5 speed, but boy do they need to change the ratios. I’ve ridden a DR-Z400 tons of times and find that the 5th gear is way too short and the lower gears are just…wrong. This isn’t fixed with a simple sprocket change either. When you do that, first gear is too long for the dirt and fifth is still too short. So, that’s the next big thing I think recommend they change.
Honestly, if they just did these two things, I’d be pretty happy and I think a lot of others would be too. But this is us fooling around and we can do better people!
Fix the seat by adding softer seat foam. Add LED lighting to save weight and upgrade the current candle they call a headlight. Tidy up the rear end so it’s less Khloe Kardashian and more Jessica Alba. Fix the stator problems. Give it a makeover to bring it out of 1999 and into…well maybe 2020 because it’s fucked, let’s try 2021. And finally, firm up that soggy suspension. Some heavier springs and thicker oil should do it. Or even better, put some RMX450Z suspension on it. Now we’re talking.
And voila, we have a dual sport that nearly everyone wants. I’d be happy if they didn’t even upgrade the engine bar adding EFI. Sure, making it a 450 would be epic, but we want to keep it at pretty much the same price it is already.
Will Suzuki do it? Probably not while you dumb asses keep buying their pus S model and ancient DRZ400E’s by the truck load. Expect Suzuki to do ‘’bold new graphics’’ for plenty of years to come as a result.
Everyone at the moment is searching for that ‘’unicorn’’ dual sport. And frankly, it just doesn’t exist. Yep, every bike isn’t perfect, but I think my new DR-Z400 would be pretty bloody good. What do you guys think, should Suzuki make my new DRZ400? Let me know in the comments.
Alright everyone, thanks for reading and keep it OnTheBackWheel.
My XR's motor/exhaust is stock other than jetting. The suspension has a bit of work, plus the requisite armor, bark busters, big tank (5.8 gallon), pegs, fat bars, race light etc. It weighs a real 294 lbs with two gallons of gas, so its not exactly a lightweight but not crazy. If you are really curious about them, you are welcome to come up north and ride it.
After riding the XR for a bit, it would only take a 5 minute spin on the DRZ onverthe pavement to see what I am talking about. The DRZ is just so much smoother. It can be made to perform much like the XR offroad, just a carry a bit more weight. But if its an adventure "light" bike... well you are going to be adding luggages and spares anyways, so geeking about weight is really kinda a mute point. If you are really looking light weight dirtability, get a plated dirt bike. But a plated dirtbike wont make a good light adventure bike.
Important note about the DRZ400S. It got the fully adjustable DRZ400E's suspension in 2002 I believe. You want/need this. Google to confirm year the change over occurred.
I've also owned and spent considerable time on a XR650L and DR650. The XR650L will chug along at 65-70 on the highway with a bit less fuss than either of the 400's. Its pretty decent offroad with some tweaks if the rider has some experience and can deal with its height and 360lb wet weight when kitted (mine). The DR650's motor is a real gem. Much smoother than the XR's with the same ability carry a moderate highway speed. It also runs cooler that the XR650L. The achilles of the XR650L and its older design is heat... it breaks down the oil quicker, and they tend to burn a bit more than the DR650s if run all afternoon on the highway. Its what often leads to the premature engine failure of them. For the average dualsporter, non issue. As an adventure light bike, it something keep in mind if you were doing cross country/state work. Non issue if aware and keep on top of it or even add an oil cooler.
The real gem would be the DR650's motor in the XR650L's chassis. I swapped back and forth between the two that aquired and kitted out both, then spent 6weeks riding to/from and in baja from the city giving me the ability to make a pretty fair evaluation of them.
I would never consider such a trip with that much road work on the XR400R, but might on the DRZ400S.
Money no object, probably the best bike for what you are trying to do is the KTM690 or Husky 701. But you probably already know that.
Or get a damn dirtbike and a KLR for your adventures....
I'm looking for 1970 or older Triumph 650 project, cheap and preferably complete. PM me if you have something - will provide it a good home.
If you think me being naked is offensive, dont look!
"You find the biggest meanest bull, chop off his balls, dangle them in front of him, then hop on his back. That should give you some reference point. Either that, or shove a shuttle rocket up your ass. Take your pick." Colin Edwards
'Cycles is a mean toy lady" Big Halsy
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