Jul 23, 2001
From above posts, thats two thumbs up for the 1985 XR350.

Did the 1985 XR350 have the over-heating problems of "the early 80's" XR's?, or was it corrected by then? Any other important items to check on these when looking at a used one?


N. Texas SP
Feb 19, 2000
all the RFVC motors would run hot the 350 included, you just had to change the oil frequently. the fact that there are still 1984 and 85 XR350s and 500's still running around is a testimony to their reliability. 3rd gear was a problem on some bikes, but if the bike is still running it might not be a serious consideration. the valves and rocker arms and crank could wear fast if the bike was run low or on dirty oil. I would check the oil to see if it looked or smelled old or burnt. Other than that on a bike that old check for bent or cracked frames, loose suspension linkage or excessive engine noises, poor compression, general condition of bike...etc


May 9, 2002
Did you have any luck finding an '85 yet? I have been looking for one for my friend so he'll quit whining about selling him mine - not gonna happen! He's ridden it and didn't much like getting back on his bike. Mostly see only 83's and 84's for sale.

Mine doesn't seem to run overly hot. I change oil frequently. I love this bike and have had no problems with it. Except wearing the rear tire out... :yeehaw: This is one toy that hasn't required much attention. Wish I could say the same for my Jeep.


Mi. Trail Riders
Jan 16, 2002
OK Hurbane here you go: The 85 XR350 was one of Hondas best shots a making a true woods bike in that era! The previous models were twin carb (pain in the neck to get rid of the flat spot just off idle - I spent HOURS on my 84 and never did get rid of it!!), and they were "wet sump" motors meaning they held the oil in the crankcase instead of in the frame. This craeted major oil overheating problems and contributed greatly to premature engine breakages for those early models! The 85 is a COMPLETLEY different bike/light years ahead of the early models as far as reliability issues go! Inside the motor is a series of oil lines servicing all critical areas and a duel oil pump to keep things going!! Oil is then taken out of the motor to get "cooled" in the frame. Resulting in very few of the early stated type of probs! Really are a great set up!
I have had a couple of each model and I still would advise you (if looking at a used one) check the oil in the frame make sure it is full and clean. Ride the bike until it gets good and warmed up (15 minutes is sufficient) and then listen at the top of the motor for unusual rattling sounds - rev the bike up to a little above and idle and let it run there a minute or so. See if it develops any strange slappy/rattles iin the top!! The timing chain on these bikes like to wear and cause topend problems! Also the cam center bearing/bushing likes to wear out as well as the lifters! They are completely rebuildable/parts are still available from Honda CHEAP when compared to other fourstrke rebuilds (keep that in mind if it sounds like the one your looking at may need to be freshend up! I bought all the parts to redo my 85 from Servicxe Honda for under $400!! New cam/couple lifters/gaskets/time chain ect..
I run a 560 chen shin tire on mine that hooks up beyond belief! I also have a Super Trap on it but other then that it is stock!
The bikes greatest downfall is the suspention! I have always found them to be just to heavy for the suspention! If you are looking at the bike for a great play bike and dont plan on over riding it at all GO FOR IT!! If you think you are gonna at times "challenge" ANY whooped out trails you would be highly advised to think about the XR400 (if an XR is what you really want!).
Yea they are hard to find because lots of us have found that they make a great second bike cause they are just plain FUN!! And oh by the way - you wanna learn to wheelie?? My nephew has been riding mine and with 3 days he was riding that thing on the back wheel thru 2 gears (2nd and 3rd)! There is just something about that low slung/smoth power delivery XR350 that invites you to ride the back wheel (what a blast!!)! Course it aint as easy to go thru all five as my KDX 250 but its still fun :))
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