Brian Grau

Jun 26, 2001
if he has troule starting an 80.....he wont get past the compression stroke. he wont be able to start it. 88 to 90 or 91 had the high seats and stuff. :confused:


Sponsoring Member
Oct 23, 2000
I wouldn't recommend an XR. They are good bikes but terribly limited. They will last forever but you will soon be wishing you had better suspension, more power and better brakes. The years you are thinking of are between 1986 and 1989 (roughly). I had a 93 with the lower seat and non-adjustable suspension. I am just a wimpy little girl, a beginner rider at that, and I sold it after a year. However if you insist on getting one they do have their strong points. The seat height would be about 35 inches, once again that's a rough estimate. They are also suprisingly hard to find. Weight will be 220-230. Think about a TTR 125 L--BBR makes tons of cool stuff for them, or a KDX 200, which are very reliable.


Aug 8, 2000
The 1981 to 1987 or 9 have taller suspension, lights, speedo, etc. I think the 1990 and 91 models have the taller suspension but no lights. If he can't kick an 80, he won't be able to move the kick starter.

Jon K.

Mar 26, 2001
Yep, everyone is right about the 200 being surprisingly difficult to start. If you tump over on the right side you can just about forget it!
And Firecracker I second your opinion about the KDX200. Great stuff.
That said, I have to defend the XR200. 81/82/83 are the best models ever made, though good ones are increasingly hard to find. In the hands of a fairly lightweight, competent rider these bikes can be made to fly!! Especially suited to eastern woods. In 1982 a rider finished seventh overall in the SERA series on an XR200R. A few years prior Kevin Taylor finished 4th overall on an XR185. There was a guy named Greg Luter from Mississippi who was a threat for overall event wins on his XR200!
If I wasn't so fat, I would still ride one!


Jan 2, 2001
I think its easy to start after u dump. My brother has a 94 and his is wicked easy to start. Cold Hot Dumped any way u want. 1st kick every time. And he can probably learn to start it.


Big Pig
Nov 20, 2000
lost in the deserts of NM
Tight eastern trails, rootes, and mud?
Sounds like XR country to me.
Although, if he weighs 175 and cant start an 80??? yeesh! Tell him to get some excersize! :eek:
The early/mid eighties "R" model 200's were the best (watch to keep fresh oil in those hot running RFVC engines though). And i think for a year or 2 they even came with enduro computers as std equipment!

As far as them being limited, that depends on how far (ie: how much money you have) you want to fiddle with it.
Stiffer springs and suspention work, motor mods, and a few other tweeks and youll give 2 strokes fits in those eastern woods! :D


Aug 5, 2001
I know the '86-'88 models have lights, speedos, and taller, adjustable suspension. The travel for my '87 200 is 9.6" in the rear, and 10" up front. I got my '87 200 in '88 and it was my sole bike up until a few months ago when I got my '96 XR400. I'm about 6'0 190 lbs and ride in alot of thick sand here in NW Florida. She was easy to start, and ALWAYS got me to where I wanted to go, and ALWAYS got me back home. I put on an XR's Only pipe, jetting, and went one tooth bigger on the rear sprocket. It made a hell of a difference in the sand. She didn't have alot of horses, but she was a torque monster.
For your friend, at his weight, I would not recommend the 200. Even with the taller suspension, it would need stiffer springs. Otherwise, anything faster than mellow trail cruising would beat the heck out of the rider and especially the bike. The drum brakes do the job for mellow to brisk cruising with the help of the compression braking in the engine, but any faster and you can't slow down in a controlled fashion.
Your friend needs a MX 125 bike, or a 4-stroke 250 at the minimum. If he can't kick start his 80, tell him to practice, and to put some of his weight into the kick. If he still can't start it, he shouldn't be riding! Good luck.
By the way, if he does go for a 200, stay away from the '84 and '85 models with the 4-valve RFVC engine and dual carbs. They were very tempermental, and not dependable. That's why Honda went back to the 2-valve, single carb version, and have not changed a thing in the engine ever since.


Feb 10, 2001
My XR is hard to start after I dump it. Cold, it starts first or second kick. When I lay it out, ten or fifteen kicks before I get going.

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