XL or XR

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#1
Rode a xl 500 today and thought it had a fair bit of go , anyway i was wondering if i was going to buy one for trail riding would i be better of getting an older xr or xl. I have heard that the old xr's had problems with the cams and valve train wearing , is this true. Also do the xr and xl 600's ( 80-85 models) have basically the same engines. If they have the same engines would i be better getting an xr because it is more off road orientated.
 
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#2
In '83 the XR500 got the "new" RFVC motor. These earlier RFVC motors tended to be a little hot headed, and in some cases ended up cracking from the exhaust valve seat to the spark plug hole. Also some of the earlier big XR's had gearbox problems. If you can stretch the funds aim for an '88 XR600, even better yet a '91 or onwards as they have the Cartridge forks, Piggy back shock, and rear disc. I'm not entirely sure if the XL's followed suit with the XR's as to the engine changes.
 

penguin

N. Texas SP
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#3
I agree, go for the 88 or newer XR600 if you can. The 88 and newer models had a single carburetor rather than the overly complex dual carb setup on the older bikes. A bike that would be a great find would be a 1985 XR350. this was one of the best 4 stoke Japanese dirtbikes you could get untill the introduction of the YZ400F. If you found an 85 XR350 in good shape, it would be worth a little more than a similar XR600. I still wish I had mine. I sold it 1996 and still see it occasionally, ripping up the North Texas trails, and it still looks and sounds great.
 
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#4
I would go with an XR over the XL for me because I find the XLs have too soft of suspension for me. Mind you, I like to hit jumps. My XR100R has stiffer suspension than my dad's XL250S. Go for an XR. Dual carbs aren't as bad as people say, but some RFVC engines had over-heating problems.
 
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#5
Penguin
how did the 85 xr compare powerwise to an xr 600 af that vintage? did it have good power for it's size or was it just a ultra good bike?
 

penguin

N. Texas SP
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#6
the 85 XR350 was no motocrosser, but it was not obscenely heavy and made decent, but not overwhelming power. The 85 XR600 made more power but was a lot heavier and had the dual carb setup. In my book the 350 is a better dirtbike the 600 would be better for pavement. The 350 would be my choice for a do everything bike from that time period.
 
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#7
I'd take the 600 over the 350 20 times out of ten. But It comes down to preference, rider style and size. I can remeber people touting the XR350 as having almost all the weight of the 600, and a little more power than the 250. But never having ridden one personally It's just hear say. '85 is going back quite awhile now, but the ever important dollar is probably what is dictating your purchase. The '88 onwards XR6's are a good reliable option.
 

penguin

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#8
I have ridden every XR made and I would take an 85 350 over the 600 any day. Now if you throw the 88 XR600 in the mix I would take the 600. and if you go with a 91 or newer 600 there is no contest, the 91 600 wins going away. that is the beauty of the XR line, no big changes every year, but steady improvement over the years.
 
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#9
"I have ridden every XR ....." :)

Perhaps, but I was talking about the '88 onwards 600's what on earth were you reffering to?

The 350 was a good stab at what is the prime dirtbike niche now, but It didn't quite hit the spot. No doubt a friendly bike but if you are big enough to ride it the 600 stands out as far as I'm concerned with the older XR's. As for steady changes I think '92 was about the last real change for the XR6's. Apparently Mr Summers kept damaging front axles so they beefed them up. Aside from that the good old "Bold new graphics" were the touted change from year to year.
 

penguin

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#10
the original discussion covered XR's from 83 onward and I have experience with all XR's from 1981 on. It all depends on how big you are and where you want to ride. I could go nywhere on my 85 XR350 that you could go on the 600 and with less fatique, but you are right if you are big enough, the 88 or newer XR 600 is a good bike. the 350 was slightly ahead of its time :)