Honda XR400R Review (Top Speed, Weight, Horsepower, Specs)

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Are you looking at a Honda XR400R to buy? Did you already buy one and would like some more info on it?. Well good, here’s an in-depth Honda XR400R review that will go over all of the “must-know” items before (or after) getting one. My hope is to provide you with all you’d like to know and give you a good idea of whether this is the dirt bike for you.

Although the Honda XR400R is no longer in production (it’s been replaced by the Honda CRF450X), it is still an iconic and legendary bike.

In my (personal) opinion, if you find a nice one used, and you’ve contemplated whether you should buy one, go for it. It’s definitely a solid dirt bike, and no Honda doesn’t pay me to say that (unfortunately).


What is a Honda XR400R?

Honda XR400R dirt bikes came out in 1996, after the proven success of other Honda XR models. The XR400R was made from 1996-2004, when Honda discontinued the XR series for more high performance trail riding dirt bikes that became more in demand… think CRF models.

Overall, the XR400R is a great dirt bike for trail riding, putting around, going on adventures, etc., but it lacked the superior suspension, adrenaline-pumping performance, and the lightweight handling and appeal of the newer high performance dirt bikes.

History

Here’s a great snippet I grabbed from Wikipedia.com:

“The XR 400R was introduced in 1996. Its frame, plastics and suspension components were similar to those of the XR250R, and it had… more suspension travel and a longer wheelbase than the XR250R… and was perhaps the most versatile of the XR line-up… with street-legal lighting it also worked reasonably well as a dual purpose bike… simple, reliable and long lasting…”

Honda XR400 Specs

The following was taken from a press release containing the Honda XR400R Specs.

ModelXR400R
Engine Type397cc air-cooled dry-sump single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and Stroke85mm x 70mm
Compression Ratio9.3:1
Valve TrainSOHC; four-valve RFVC
Carburetion36mm piston-valve
IgnitionCD with electronic advance
TransmissionFive-speed
Final Drive#520 O-ring-sealed chain; 15T/45T
SuspensionFront: 43mm leading-axle Showa cartridge fork with 18-position compression and 12-position rebound damping adjustability; 11.0 inches travel
Rear: Pro-Link Showa single shock with spring preload, 16-position compression and 16-position rebound damping adjustability; 11.8 inches travel
BrakesFront: Single disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear: Single disc
TiresFront: 80/100-21
Rear: 110/100-18
Wheelbase56.1 inches
Rake (Caster Angle)25.3°
Trail94mm (3.7 inches)
Seat Height36.6 inches
Ground Clearance12.2 inches
Dry Weight257 pounds
Fuel Capacity2.5 gallons, including 0.4-gallon reserve
ColorRed

I’ve picked out the main specs that most of us are looking for, and added a few categories of my own. Here they are:

Manufacturer: Honda
Model Name: XR400R, XR 400 R, XR 400
Dirt Bike Name: Honda XR400R
Dirt Bike Type: Offroad, Trail dirt bike
Years Made: 1996-2004

Seat Height: 36.6” (93cm)
Dry Weight: 257 lbs. (no gas)
Top Speed: 55-85* (yeah… that’s a bit of a gap!)


Honda XR400R Engine & Transmission

Honda dirt bikes are well-known for being durable, dependable, and easy to maintain.

Their maintenance schedule (CRF450R example) isn’t anywhere near as involved as a motocross dirt bike. Also, with the engine oil capacity of 1.8l, you’re at more than double of a CRF450R race bike. That’s a good thing when it comes to maintenance and durability.

In addition to being well-made and dependable, I really love how easy Honda XR dirt bikes are to ride. Ever since I jumped on my brothers’ XR80 (he soon after got the XR100) I could tell these bikes were made for having fun.

They aren’t the fastest, lightest, or most agile, and they really don’t jump well, but you can still ride wheelies and they’re great for trail riding, dessert riding, and whatever other adventure-type riding you’re up for.

Just like the rest of the Honda XR line up, the XR400R has a very controllable power delivery. Even though the bike comes stock with less than 35 horsepower, the power goes straight to your rear tires and it hooks up great.

Seriously…

You may not send the same roost as a Honda CRF450R, but instead you will be sinking your rear knobbie into the dirt, getting traction at most angles, and you’ll feel much more glued to the ground.

Horsepower

The Honda XR400 horsepower comes in at about 35 HP at 7000 rpm. Why “about” 35 HP? Okay, it’s actually listed as 34.3 HP.

Again, depending on whether the dirt bike has an aftermarket pipe, carb, jetting, etc., the motor may put out a little more horsepower and/or torque than a stock Honda XR 400cc.

Top Speed

If you go to a dealer and ask how fast an XR400 goes, they might tell you somewhere between 55-65 MPH. Sounds reasonable enough, after all, it is a trail bike. However, if you look on forums or if you’ve owned or ridden a similar dirt bike, you should have some red flags going up.

A Honda XR400 could easily go faster than 65 MPH… or not even be able to hit 55 MPH. It all depends on gearing. If you’ve geared your dirt bike for trail riding, then it won’t go as fast as if you’ve geared it for the road or dessert racing.

But assuming the bike has stock gearing, a Honda XR400R dirt bike should go around 75-80 MPH. And that’s plenty fast for a dirt bike made for the trails.

Engine Specs

Engine Size: 397cc (known as 400cc)
Horsepower: 34.3 HP
Engine Type: 397cc air-cooled dry-sump single-cylinder four-stroke
Valve Train: SOHC; four-valve RFVC
Transmission: 5-speed, manual-clutch
Starting: Kick start
Cooling System: Air-cooled
Fuel Capacity: 2.5 Gallons (9.5 Liters)
Fuel Type: Petrol / Gasoline
Fuel Supply: Carburetor
Oil Capacity: 1.8l (with a filter change)

What motor oil does a Honda XR400R use? Honda GN4 10W-40 Oil.


Honda XR400R Handling

Weight

As shown in the specs above, the Honda XR400R dry weight is 257 pounds. However, the wet weight is listed at 276 pounds. That is quite a difference, but then again, this isn’t a motocross dirt bike. It is definitely a little heavy, but it’s center of gravity and power-delivery make it an easy dirt bike to ride.

What’s the difference between weight wet and dry weight on a dirt bike?

The difference between wet weight and dry weight is actually pretty straightforward once you hear. The term “dry weight” refers to the the weight of the dirt bike as it was when shipped from the factory.

For example, it doesn’t take into account the weight of a tank of fuel.

The term “wet weight” does take into account a full tank of fuel, as well as any and all other necessary fluids.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter which weight you’re going off of if you’re comparing the weight of another dirt bike to this one. Just compare dry-to-dry, and wet-to-wet when making comparisons. Also, you may want to keep in mind that if you buy a used bike, you may want to empty the tank, grab your gas can (these are cool) and fill the tank up with your own quality (non-ethanol) gas.

Seat Height

The Honda XR400 seat height measures exactly 36.6″ from the factory. Assuming the previous owner and rider hasn’t done many suspension mods or adjustments, this will give you a good idea on what size rider would fit the XR400.

The mild and controllable manner in which this bike handles does make it more rideable for even smaller people. I’ve seen guys who are as small as 5’1″ ride these, and bigger dudes who were over 6′ and probably 230 lbs. scooting around on one.

Overall all though, it is a big bike for smaller people. If you’re on the shorter/lighter side, you may want to consider the Honda XR250 since you can add power to it easier than you can remove weight from the XR400.

Suspension

Front Suspension: 27mm leading-axle Showa fork
Rear Suspension: pro-link Showa single-shock

Handling Specs

Chasis
Frame Type: Diamond-type pipe frame

Brakes
Front Brake: Single disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear Brake: Single disc

Wheels and Tires
Front Tire Size: 80/100-21
Rear Tire Size: 110/100-18


Are Honda XR400 Dirt Bikes Good?

Yes, of course they are. They are Honda dirt bikes, after all.

But seriously, a Honda XR400R is a fantastic bike, but they aren’t for everyone.

  • If you’re looking for a trail dirt bike… they’re a great choice.
    I’ve grown up around them and they’re probably one of the best dirt bikes for beginners and intermediate riders on the planet. Whether you want a dirt bike to go trail riding, or to just “braap” around and have fun on your property, choosing the XR400 is an easy (and good) decision.

    Again, If you’re a fairly small person or a beginner, you may want to go with a Honda XR250R since you can add power to it much easier (if you need to, and as you progress) than you can remove weight from the XR400.
  • If you’re looking for a motocross bike… they’re a terrible choice.
    In fact, if you want a dirt bike that will do good on trails and track, I would not recommend this dirt bike. Here’s a list of good trail dirt bikes that include some great options.

Positives

  • Honda reliability
  • A 0.4 gallon reserve gas tank
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Plenty of power and torque for intermediate to advanced riders
  • Simple to work on and maintain
  • Smooth, roll-on power

Negatives

  • No electric start
  • A bit heavy (it’s an older bike now)
  • Easy enough to find used and in good shape

Buyers Guide (Best Year, etc.)

I hope this Honda XR400R review has given you a better idea of whether the dirt bike is the right one for you, or that you’ve found what you were looking for.

Assuming you’re as convinced as I am that these are killer bikes, where do you go now to find one for sale?

I tend to stick to three main areas:

  1. Craigslist
  2. Facebook Marketplace
  3. Friend-of-a-Friend

Yes, there are 248 other places to find a used Honda XR400R dirt bike for sale… approximately, of course. 😉

I like the three on the list there because I can check out the bike in person, without having to travel too far. When buying a used dirt bike (of any brand), you always want to see it in person first. If not you personally, then at least a trusted person who knows more about bikes than you do.

So what year should you buy? The best year for Honda XR400 dirt bike is any one from 1999-2004. There were no real changes other than graphics from 1999 all the way up until it was discontinued.