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Old 12-15-2010, 02:59 PM   #1
SCouch OP
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XR200 Woods bike

Looking for a cheap, small and easy to ride woods bike, something to tag along with friends, no intentions of racing or doing double back flips. I may get a little out of hand and do some jumps, but a few feet off the ground will max me out. Don't need it street legal, just a light, easy to ride dirt bike.

I have found a 2002 XR200 in very good condition, and a reasonable price.
Done some research, and what I've found is the bike is undersprung for my 190 pounds, but this can be overcome with springs. Power is ok to good for woods riding and its bullet proof. Plenty of power for hills. Its not a big bike, easy to handle and very light. Some people say its too small, others say its a very capeable woods bike, and can outdo the larger bikes in tight spots and single track. My only off road experience is on the KLR 650, but I've road it thru some tough ATV trails. After picking up that 650 a few times, I'm ready for something a lot lighter for my trail riding.

Any thoughts and experience with the XR200 appreciated!!
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:08 PM   #2
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I'd really recommend getting an XR250. It's a much better bike for an adult. Are 2 strokes out of the question? There are 2 strokes with lots of low end torque.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:57 PM   #3
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I'm trying to stay around $1,000, but it really doesn't matter 2 or 4 stroke.
the 200 is $800, but I can probably find a 250 around a grand after Christmas.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:24 PM   #4
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I rode one (and rode it hard) the first year they went to the Pro-Link rear suspension. It was an absolute BLAST at the time, but today it would be considered a poorly suspended trail bike. Still, $800 seems pretty cheap for a playbike, and even under-sprung, it would be WAY more fun on a trail than a KLR650. I don't think you could go wrong for the price unless it's beat up.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:31 PM   #5
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Maybe a KTM 200 exc. It would be way more capable. Plus upgrades would be easier to find if you really like it.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:46 PM   #6
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You are pretty much certain not to find a decent ktm 200 for <$1k, though it is a great bike, but perhaps more high strung than what you want.

The XR200 is a fine playbike, but not really very good if you like to push things a bit. Its very similar to the current CRF230F.

The old XR200 from the late '80s was actually quicker and better suspended as odd as that is. It had dual carbs though which can be a bit of a hassle.

The XR250R really switches from small/basic trail bike to full size dirt bike. Much bigger/better chassis and more power.

For playing around you can have a ton of fun on an XR200 and it'll go most anywhere so long as you aren't in a big hurry. It might suit you quite well.

If you want more performance on a budget you might keep an eye out for an older KDX200 (try to stay with liquid cooled models) or RMX250 - both of which you should be able to find for $1k.

The RMX is a very fine bike - basically a two stroke MX bike that's been way detuned to make it easy to ride in the woods (feels a lot like a KDX, only a bit bigger). I don't know how far Atlanta is from you, but this looks nice

This is $1500, but would be pretty awesome - older ones should be within budget.

The RMX and KDX are the sorts of bikes that you can putter around on one day and race competitively in a harescrambles the next -very flexiable. As compared to the four strokes they'll be a touch more finky - you'll have to make sure the jetting is half-way decent or they'll foul plugs (easy to do) and you have to mix oil in the gas, otherwise they are very low maintenance and easy to live with. One bonus is they are ultra-easy to start.
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BikePilot screwed with this post 12-15-2010 at 04:53 PM
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:55 PM   #7
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I had an 81 and an 86 xr 200. the 81 was probably the best bike I have ever owned as far as reliability, and it was great in the trails. The 86 was a little messed up from the po. I blew up 2nd gear comming off a jump. had the motor torn down and replaced 2nd gear and the cam and some valve work. I never could get the 86 ruuning right after the 2nd gear blowing up. the earlier ones had longer suspension travel. right around 10" I believe. The later ones were more of a play bike. I believe in 1981 honda introduced the pro link xr200 as a more competative bike. after a few years they want back to a playbike version with shorter suspension. There is 1 year to stay away from and I think it is 1984 when Honda had a four valve version of the xr200 that was a real pos. The 2 valve xr200's are great little trail bikes although a little underpowered.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:00 PM   #8
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The XR will do just fine. I still have a couple 200X trikes in the garage (same engine and transmission as XR) and they are fun for what they are. It will pull you around and up just about anything except for deep sand, so don't take it to the dunes. Powerall (spelling?) still carries big bore kits, stroker cranks, and cams for these engines if you want to make it a wheelie machine. Remember, it's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than to ride a fast bike slow.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:29 PM   #9
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The XR200 is a fine play bike. I had a XL200R which was the street legal version in 84, it was a pro-link model. Just spring it for your weight and beat on it.

The RFVC XR200R that people say is a POS is not absoluetly true. Hard to get parts for today, probally, but it was ment to be a race bike and putting around on the trails would cause it to overheat. Regardless, they are more of a collector type bike then something to ride since there are very few of them left.

The early XR200R's had a open type frame, which made them lighter but since there is no frame under the engine some type good skid plate that bolts to something other than the engine would be a good idea.

The 83-84? XR200R (the R's are pro-link models, no R then twin shocks) is the one with the long travel suspension and the rear shock has a remote resevoir. They are lighter and faster than the later play bike versions.

Even though the XR250R is a great bike, the 200cc engines are tougher for use as a play bike that needs less attention. The 200cc engines have a wire screen type oil filter that is just cleaned out and the filter comes out with the drain plug (which is a large cap) so there is no other cover to remove. There are only two valves instead of the XR250R's four, just saves time adjusting valves. Also two less vavles needed during a rebuild $$. As already stated, there are plenty of parts for the Honda 200cc engine as they have been around since the early 80's with CDI ignition and stayed virtually unchanged until the end of the XR200R. They were used in motorcycles, three wheelers and four wheelers.

Think about a three wheeler with that balloon front tire and big fender in front of the engine, poking around trails at slow speeds. Not exactly a fresh breeze of air able to get directly to the engine. They surrvived all that heat abuse in the ATC's because they are tough engines designed for that type of abuse.

The only thing that eats money is the drum brakes. In nasty off road conditions, drum brakes are just barely aduequate and wear very quickly. Maybe just hang out for some cheap used forks with disc and call it good.

The CRF230L is another failure IMO. My XL200R was much lighter and just as capable. If the XL200R had disc brakes I would call it superior to the CRF230 in every way that matters to me. All the XLR's had a kick start and a very small battery, they didn't even need the battery to run, just work the street legal stuff.

Anyway, just find any good XR200R that you like and have fun. They will last a very long time with a little attention.
I staired a whole thru the breaks until I remembered the carb prolly has a problem to and I'm gonna hafta work on em.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:44 PM   #10
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Just a couple pics.

This was when I first got it.

On a ride.

I staired a whole thru the breaks until I remembered the carb prolly has a problem to and I'm gonna hafta work on em.
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by BikePilot View Post

This is $1500, but would be pretty awesome - older ones should be within budget.

I had considered this one, its more than I wanted to spend, but I can manage it If I really want it. The only thing stopping me from checking it out us the 2.5 hour one way ride, and it will be a few weeks till I get the extra time.

I'm thinking the XR200 is worth taking a test ride on. Its only 30 minutes from me, and just see if its something I want.
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:23 AM   #12
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I would save up till I could afford a used ktm 200 mxc/exc. There is not a much better woods bike out there. I see them all the time on craigslist 1200-1800 for clean 01-02 models. I have an 02 model that I bought off craigslist. There is no comparison to an xr200, it is truly better in every single way. Good luck!

Here is a photograph of me and my 200exc

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Old 12-16-2010, 03:34 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by smokeeater495 View Post
Maybe a KTM 200 exc. It would be way more capable. Plus upgrades would be easier to find if you really like it.
I was going to suggest this bike as well but I agree that it's a bit over budget. Really worth the extra $ if you can part with it. It's so light, the KTM 200 feels like a mountain bike (bicycle) with a 40 HP motor in it. Just gobs of fun.
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:03 AM   #14
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If the guy really is serious when he means he's not intending to race or do double back flips, I say go for the XR-200R, as long as it's running correctly and in good condition.
If it's a pice of junk that needs work to bring it back to life, pass on it unless you want a winter project to keep you busy and to spend money on.
That XR-200R would be way more effective as a just-for-fun trail bike than a KLR that weighs a ton-and-a-half. :)

Funny how things change, as noted above by a few other posters.
The XR-200 started in 1980, and was basically very much like the previous year's XR-185, having shortish suspension and dual shocks.
Everyone semed to like the bike for trail riding, and the exhaust note and tone went a long way toward that opinion because it just sounded right.

1981 brought two versions of the XR-200:
The same XR-200 with twin shocks and the removal of the headlight, taillight, speedometer, and odometer, and a new version called the XR-200R.
The XR-200 became the official playbike, ridden just for kicks.
The XR-200R had the then-brand-new Pro-Link single-shock, progressive linkage rear suspension which was all the rage.
It had about 9.8 inches of travel at each end, just enough to be considered long travel by most people, and the way the bike was designed, it was made to look like it had even more than that - that was very important for the times.
The XR-200R was shown in the sales brochures and magazine ads as a bike you could race enduros on or trail ride for fun - your choice.
In fact, the pictured guy riding it in the ads always wore Hondaline off-road riding gear and had race numbers on his bike, strongly suggesting he was at the time en route to winning his class for the day.

The XR-200 stood like that, with cosmetic changes and a different seat and fuel tank and side panel shape, up to and including 1984, where after that, it was gone from the Honda line-up.

From 1981-1983, the XR-200R was Honda's bike to compete with the Yamaha IT-175, Kawasaki KDX-175 and KDX-200, and the Suzuki PE-175.
That's how Honda advertized it - race it or just have fun on it.
During these three years, the XR-200R got a change in color and cosmetics, and some detail changes like better drive chain guides and the removal of the finning on the rear shock reservoir.

1984-1985 were the years of the 4-valved, RFVC cylinder head, twin-carbed XR-200R.
New engine and new chassis.
Supposedly better at everything.
Apparently, most people liked the sweet little two-valve engine better, even though the RFVC engine supposedly made more power at it's maximum.

1986 brought a combination of the two previous versions of the XR-200R:
They went back to the 1981-1983 2-valve engine and used that in a chassis very much like the 1984-1985 bikes.
The bike got a thumbs-up once again, but, by this time, the other Japanese manufacturers had not only gone to 200cc engines (and they were 2-strokes that, really, out-powered the XR by a fair degree in horsepower), but the Japanese were by then on the verge of semi-forgetting about the 175-200cc off-road dirt bike class.
The Yamaha IT-200S of 1986 was the last Yamaha IT sold in the USA, and the Suzuki PE was over with when the 1984 model year came and went.
From that point, the XR-200R was no longer advertised as a part-time racer, but, a go-have-fun bike, even though it was no less capable of a dirt bike as it was back in 1981.

I never owned an XR-200R, by the way. :)

YZEtc screwed with this post 12-16-2010 at 04:06 AM Reason: spellin' :)
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:21 AM   #15
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I had a 200 and 250 in my garage at the same time for years, my bro owns the 250 and I had a 200. I loved my 200, it was the most fun you could have on 2 wheels, power is ok, if you pick up something around an 85-88 model you get awsome suspension, after that you get lower suspension with no good shocks...

I had the pick of the two bikes all the time, and I always picked the 200. its so light and fun...

i have the 230 now, and its just as fun....

needs more suspension tho..
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