Apr 23, 2001
Similar to the person who posted for general information on their XR500R I'm interested in general comments on my '85 XR350R. I hear 3rd gear is a common failure point and if it breaks roll the bike into the trashbin as there are no replacements. Other thoughts? worthwhile mods or tech tips? Thanks in advance!


Big Pig
Nov 20, 2000
lost in the deserts of NM
The XR350R was built from 1983 till 1985, the '85 supposedly being the 'best' year.
The '83 & '84 had 339cc dual carb engines, the '85 had a 353cc single carb engine.
It also featured a digital enduro meter as std. equipment.

IMO these bikes were years ahead of thier time in performance and styling.
In fact, a well riden XR350R can still give the DRZ400, XR400, KLX300, and maybe even a slow WR400/426 fits.
I have heard stories about the 3rd gear malfunctions too though, so be carefull before buying.
All in all they are great bikes, that i wouldnt mind owning one myself.
Ant other comments.


N. Texas SP
Feb 19, 2000
One of the best XR's ever built. You can still get parts for it. Leave it stock. only mod I would do is maybe a less restictive muffler. I wish I still had mine.

dirt bike dave

Sponsoring Member
May 3, 2000
It was a good bike for it's day, and I almost bought one new in '84. It certainly does not perform up to today's standards, especially the suspension. My buddy had an '84 (first year of the front disc, last year of the dual carbs). Performance wise, the motor is fine. The XR350R has a short wheel base and a steep steering head angle, so it turns quick for a 4 stroke but would not equal my '84 KDX200 in the tight woods due to the Honda's weight.

The XR350R motor is fun, but noted for running hot, so change the oil frequently. The short wheelbase and a high center of gravity hurts hill climbing ability, even though the motor would be a nice hill climber in a different chassis. Would make a very good budget dual sport conversion.


May 17, 2000

I sold my 85 xr350 to by my DRZ400, the 85 XR was bullet proof, turned
great, great bike for tight woods, bad head shake at high speed, watch
out for 3rd gear alot of breakage on well used bikes, it had fantastic
low-end , good mid-range, and so,so top end, even with an aftermarket pipe
It could hang with some of the new models on low end and mid, but it would
get killed on top end, It was one of my most favorite bikes.


Apr 23, 2001
Awesome feedback folks. Thanks and I'll take good care of this old girl. It's my first dirt bike and it seems I've wed a good gal. Thanks.

Jon K.

Mar 26, 2001
Please note that the '85 had the dry-sump engine. '83 & '84 models had the wet-sump and these engines run ridiculously hot.

I had an '83 and still vividly remember running hard to a gas stop, taking off the gas cap and having the fuel BOILING in the tank.:eek: :eek:

The dipstick got a little longer every time I rode it, and my boots lost all their plastic on the inside.

Aside from that; Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?


Jan 27, 2000
Cycle Toad.

I have an 83 XR350 that I bought brand new in 83. Still have it, rode it yesterday. Most dependable bike I have ever owned. Also, one of the best handling woods bikes ever made. IMO.

Like others have said, they made some improvements on the 85, oil in frame, disc brake in front, single carb. Parts are still available.

I may sell mine someday, if it ever wears out.

trl junkie

Feb 25, 2001
Me and my little bro just are about done restoring an 1985 XR350. I have ridden it a few times (breaking in the engine) and I have barely gotten on it, and it feels fairly good, so far. I do hate the 17" rear tire, however. Mine is completely stock. I dig the stock digital odo! :cool:
Top Bottom