White Brothers carries progressive-rate springs for forks and shock. Others do too, but WB seems to be the one you hear about most. Contact a suspension shop who can tell you what's available. Also, there are quite a few exhaust upgrades out there--Pro Circuit, FMF, Cobra, and SuperTrapp among others. SuperTrapp has a great reputation. Just remember that if you're opening up your exhaust, you need to create more intake to maintain the balance--I'd recommend looking into re-jetting and install a K & N filter. The XRs respond well to K & Ns and they are super easy to take care of.
Check out www.hondaxr.com for suspension tuning tips (and info on engine-related mods), which you might try before reworking suspension. I think they recommend a little more compression damping for sand. Also, the Scotts stabilizer makes a big difference, albeit pricey. White Bros. sells the E-Pipe, which is one of the better XR pipes I've encountered. Don't buy direct from them; they charge full retail. Distributors (Rocky Mtn, Chaparrel, etc) have better prices.
Stay away from progressive rate srings for sand. They allow the front to dive through travel to soon and cause the front to knife. If you are going to be riding predominately sand build the motor for quick reving top end to get you up on top of the sand instead of plowing through it. I think XR's Only makes a 280 kit. Hate to say it, being the owner of several 4- strokes, 2smokes are better suited for sand. Just keep the gas on to float the front end. Stand all the time, legs give you more travel Sand is awesome once you get the hang of it. Plus it is softer to land in.:D Always wondered what it was like in the ladies room. Looks the same as the mens only cleaner:p
My wife rides a '92 XR250R - wonderful bike except for two things 1) sand 2) whoops (or a combination of the two....)
Her bike has an FMF Perform-o-max exhaust & runs a UniFilter foam air filter. I don't know if anything else has been done to the engine - we bought it used. The FMF exhaust fits well - the bike had a hacked together Supertrapp set up when we bought it so I don't have a 'stock' baseline comparison.
The forks on these bikes are non-adjustable so that doesn't leave many options - any good shop can set you up with springs for your weight. The rear end is adjustable but is probably too soft for sand. You're probably looking at having the forks & shock revalved.....
I just installed the SRC fork brace and it definitely makes a big improvement - kinda pricey but I think you'll be impressed.
I have a K&N filter for sale (from my XR600) that is in excellent condition - the part number is listed for both the 250R & 600R. We don't use it anymore because all the bikes use UniFilters to simplify maintenance.
Depending on the year of your XR250, the fork may have at least compression damping. I know later models do. The site listed above has specs dating back to 1997. Otherwise, look for adjustable damping on the bottom of the fork
I have a '00 xr250r
So far i have put in an 14:1 wisco
A hot cams stage 2
had a nice port and valve done
an exhaust endcap
and a K&N
I found that the porting done with the cam really woke the bike up. the Porting and valve job only cost me 80 dollars. I also because a distribtor of company that make ti valves. Send me and email at Morbidsmurf@crowfans.com if you are intrested. ill sell them at my cost + shipping
Since you live in NJ, I would stay away from the loud pipes. Ive had good luck with the FMF Q series silencer on my DR350S as well as my YZ 250 qnd Lissa' KX 250 2 strokes. This is Rob, Lissa' bfriend. Good boost with out alot of noise. I would also stay away from the K/N style paper filters, with the amount of water that we get in the pines, they can (the K/N filters) swell when wet and shut the bike off. Some of our enduros can be under water!
As far as suspension set up, talk to Drew Smith at Works Enduro Riders. He and his brother have alot of experience with the XR 250.
Have fun, Rob
Thank you Rob! This is Lissa now. Anyway, I had a '90 XR250 for quite a few years before I went 2str and learned a lot on air-cooled 4str set-up. Engine wise the 'hot' cam really woke the bike up but made it a ticking time bomb. I rebuilt the valve-trane three times in 9 months. The final rebuild held up better because I learned what was destroying the valve-trane. With a 'hot' cam (higher lift, longer duration) you need stiffer valve springs to prevent valve float at high RPM's. No one really offers (at least when I had mine) hardened rockers arms to with stand the additional force caused by the stiffer valve springs. The higher lift and stiff valve springs turned the rockers arms into trash in about 3 months. I finally fixed it on the third rebuild by re-installing the soft stock valve springs and redrilling the predrilled timing gear to retard the timing one tooth (it's been a while, but I think we retarded it). That fixed it and made it more reliable. Between the 'hot' cam and 280 kit with a higher compression piston the bike was a huge improvement over stock. But I learned a vaulable lesson with those motors, Leave'em bone stock except for a pipe and air filter! If you need more horsepower, get a faster bike. Your year has the cartridge forks on it so you should be able to get a little bit better suspension asction out of it. Still no matter what you do the suspension and bike won't ride whoops and deep sand like a 2str or even newer styled 4str will. They just put too much weight on the front tire and don't have zappy power that makes plaining sand easier. Instead enjoy the XR250 for it's good virtues. It is really good in nasty tight woods and on faster rolling trails. I still have a soft spot for those small bore thumpers but remember they do have their limitations. I hope I helped a little, Good luck and have fun!
I had both a 95 and 99 XR250's. I never get to ride in sand so I can't really tell how it'd handle that
The '95 was a wet noodle in the frame department. I could watch the whole front end flex when charging whooped out terrrain. The bike always felt sloppy no matter how new or tight the bearings were. It had a Supertrapp exhaust which didn't do much for it.
The '99 was a whole new animal. Box section frame was much better as was the suspension. However, I sent my suspension out to WER and had them rework the settings for an A rider that does scambles, enduros and occasional MX riding. I also bumped up the springs (straight rate) and added an inch to the oil level in the forks. The bike was the sweetest handling dirtbike I ever owned. Drew Smith at WER knows XR's well since his brother campained one for a while.
I know you are going to hate this part BUT, I left the motor stone stock AND left the OEM Honda muffler on it but removed the removable quiet core. The motor is flat compared to most but what is flat is usable. The header is the exact same size as my XR400's so there is no need for a larger header. As stated before reliabilty and starting ease go down with money dumped into the motor. I did remove the backfire screen and installed a twin-air filter and a slightly richer jetting job to help keep it running a little cooler than the stock honda gas saving eco jetting.
I won a series scrambles championship and about 75% of the races I entered in the fourstroke class against 400's and 450's in our eastern woods. If it were me, I'd save the money and buy a newer XR with the square tubing ('98 and newer I believe).