Oct 10, 2000
I originally posted this in the Beginner's Forum, but it was suggested that I re-post it here, so here goes:

My son (now age 11) and I are new to the sport of trail riding. We bought bikes back in October of 2000 and have been out about a half dozen times both at home in Michigan and down in Florida (Croom). We are having a great time and my initial prejudices/fears about the sport were way off base. My son has clearly outgrown his 2000 Honda XR100R already, so this past weekend he started riding my 1991 Yamaha RT180 (a nice bike that runs perfectly, but clearly too small for me). We are going to sell his XR100R and he will keep the RT180 (hopefully for a couple of years, anyway). He is probably 4 inches taller now that when we bought the Honda in October, so who knows how long the RT 180 will do for him, but at least for now he is happy.

Now I need to buy a replacement bike for myself. I am about 6 feet tall and close to 290 lbs, so the RT180 really was straining getting me uphill and through deep sand. I have considered a Honda XR400, but there seem to be alot more XR 600's and 650's available used right now in my geographic area and they are in the same price range as the 400's. Would the 600/650 be too much bike for a relative beginner? I have also found a couple of used Suzuki DR350's in the right price range. What else should I be looking at? I don't race and (as far as I can tell at this point) will not be doing any competitive enduro or scramble riding, just riding the trails with my son.


Aug 15, 2000
If I was in your shoes I'd go with the bigger bike. Where are you finding plentiful used 600's & 650's? There are none listed in the local trade-n-times.
I haven't ridden the xr400 but can comment on the fact the 600 is much tamer than a WR400.
BTW, my 99' 600 is looking for a new home. It's kinda big for me @ #170.


May 13, 2001
The Honda 650 is great, but if you plan on man handling it a lot, you will tire fast. The Honda XR400 is a fun play bike with potential to be a woods weapon. I ride a WR400 and it is okay, KTM in the future, need more ponies! By the way, just for reference, I am 6'3 and 220. Not far from you, either...just across the border by Port Huron!

VOR 492

Feb 18, 2001
the XR 650 is a very heavy bike to muscle around the trails, I am 6' and 235 Lbs and my 250 Lbs of VOR is a little much at times. I would buy the lightest bike I could find, Which the 4 stroke KTM's are around 235 Lbs, Not sure of the weight of the XR 400. I would perfer the 400 over the 600 or the 650

Or if you went to a two stroke KTM, GasGas or KDX would all be good choices. You can find clean used KDX's cheap.



Jun 12, 2000
I agree the XR650R is a lot to handle for trail riding. The used 650s you're looking at are probably 650Ls, which are even heavier than the new 650Rs. Personally, I like the XR400 as trail bikes go. I had a DR350 and it is very reliable and trail-worthy and suitable for the riding you enjoy. And they're a good used value. With the XR400 or the DR350, you may benefit from a change to stiffer springs.


Mi. Trail Riders
Jan 1, 2001
Welcome from West Michigan!

Ya can't go wrong with an XR400R. A 600/650 is too big and heavy for most anywhere you will be riding unless you like the dunes at Silver Lake! IMO, the 400 is probably the best casual trail bike made. Just don't try to MX it with stock suspension.

Don't forget the WR250F either. Just as fast as the 400, lighter, and much better boingers.

Either bike is great to have with a fast growing youngster since he will take it away from you in 2 or 3 years. You will then be forced to get a new bike!

BTW, my son is 11 also. He rides an XR100R and will outgrow it this summer. We are holding out for the YZ125F!
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Sponsoring Member
Dec 30, 2000
Sandbar, NY

I agree with woodchuck. The XR400 is probably the bike best suited to your needs. There are plenty of aftermarket goodies you can throw on it as well.


Mod Ban
Mar 7, 2001
well you are a big person so go with big cc's,it is nice to be able to lift the bike off of you if(when):confused: you fall but im 13 so take my advice with a grain of salt i want a xr 250

Scott Perry

May 8, 2001
Sounds like a recipe for a Honda XR 600/650 depending if you want new or used. I weight 190 and used to ride and XL 600. It has a high seat-height but what doesn't these days. You always want power to grow into and a bike that keeps you near the edge.

I would say this is an easy answer. Do the XR 600 (or XRL for street/dirt) and squirt some dirt from the bottom all the way to the top end. They are serious bikes and perfect for the larger rider. Worth every penny too.


Aug 15, 2000
I have the XR600 and while it can be a handful in the woods if you are pushing hard, it sounds like you won't be doing much of that. BTW I can hold my own with riders on a WR400 but they do have a distinct advantage in terms of power & suspension. While I can ride the XR all day, my butt hurts after 10 miles on the WR as the seat is so hard. I have gotten my bike street titled so I can take advantage of the wide open spaces (two tracks, etc.) where the bike is more at home.


Aug 22, 2000
Since it sounds like you're riding with your son most of the time, I'd seriously consider a DR350. The 1994 & newer models are easier starters than the earlier ones.

The DR350 is a great trail bike, very under-rated by the real go-fast guys, but that's not what it was designed for. We've owned 3 of them over the years, and now have a DRZ400.

Given the choice between a DR and an XR600 or 650 (of which we've had one), I'd choose the DR for tight woods riding (or keeping up with an 11 year old), and the XR for desert or fire road riding.
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