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Old 12-14-2012, 09:39 PM   #1
segge OP
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Amount of maintenance CRF450 vs. XR650R or XR600R

Hi People,



I've owned had XR600s and XR650Rs forever while living in developing countries (Egypt, Libya, Mali) and love them for their reliability and mechanical simplicity. I just bought a 2008 CRF450x, ran great for 6 months. Now has issues, valves, pistons and or carburetor. The guy I bought it from did a few modifications: piston, jetting , cam and exhaust. This bike is so different from those I have experienced. I'm in Qatar at the moment and going to move to West Africa where parts and service will be unattainable. My questions:


Should I go back to an all stock set-up?


Do CRFs require more maintenance than XRs?


Are they more finicky?


Thanks, Steve
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:45 PM   #2
davidb21
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no first hand experience here on the bikes in question but from what ive read and heard the crfx is going to be more high maintenence
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:10 PM   #3
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450R - brutal on maintenance
450X - still maintenance intensive
650R - maintain on schedule
600R - put sand in the carb and drain the oil, who cares? No problem.

Losing weight and gaining power you will pay a maintenance penalty.
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:55 PM   #4
elsalvadorklr
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post above is pretty much as close to accurate as possible...you know the xr already...valve adjust every 10 oil changes or so and your good to go only keeping correct oil level a MUST.

every other bike mentioned will be much more maintenance intensive only because of extra stuff and complexity...radiators...ti valves...blah blah blah, high tolerances etc...

Ive wanted a crf for a while now...but even after putting stainless valves and adjusting valves every second...they are just racing motors designed to be rebuilt after a certain amount of hours...not so on the xr unless you consider topend rebuilds every 15k-20k miles or so "often"

cheers
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:03 AM   #5
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Should I go back to an all stock set-up?

In my view trying to extract more HP out of such a high performance motor is not worth it unless perhaps your racing, particularily when you can't risk not getting home.... like in the desert which is where I assume you ride.


Do CRFs require more maintenance than XRs?

Absolutely....high performance almost always equals high maitenance. One way they lighten the bike is by reducing oil volume therefore on the crf it's critical to change the oil often.


Are they more finicky?

Once you have a well set up xr your likely riding what many would consider the industry benchmark for off road reliability....my xr650r has never missed a beat, stock and uncorked this thing rips and is a huge blast in the dunes......check out the xr650r thread, some guys are getting huge miles out of them before rebuild. I have been ripping the shit out of mine for a few years and it still runs like new.

Still having said that the crf is likely 50 lbs less than the xr650r plus e start. When your dog tired and hot and the xr is flooded sometimes that extra maitenance doesn't sound so bad.......
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:46 PM   #6
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If you rebuild the head with new valves and replace the piston before you move, you should be good to go for awhile. CRF's will always be higher maintenance, stock or not. A short stroke piston traveling twice as fast as a long torquey motor is going to wear twice as fast, regardless of oil or materials.

The biggest pain on the newer style motors are valve adjustments. You have to measure it, calculate what the clearance should be, then figure out the correct shim to get there, and the cam has to be removed. You should definitely pick up a complete shim kit for it as well.

If you plan on racking up a bunch of miles and will have a hard time getting parts, my choice would be an XR650R
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:57 PM   #7
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It really depends on how you use them. An XR600R modded out to stay sorta close to a stock CRF450X gets really unreliable as can one that's pushed really hard. An XR650R is very well suited for long-distance off road touring. A CRF is really well suited for winning off road races, including long ones.

The theory about stroke and rpm isn't grounded in physics or empirical observation. You could maybe come up with some theory involving mean piston speeds, but what really matters is what the engine is built for. Xrs are built to go a long way, if not particularly quickly. CRFs are built to win races.

As for whether you should go back to stock, that really depends on the details of the aftermarket parts you've got. Generally the stock cam will probably let the valve train live longer than an aggressive aftermarket cam.

Aftermarket valves (or OEM valves for a TRX) will last longer than the Ti stock valves.

If it were me I'd freshen up the CRF motor while you are in an area with parts access, possibly modify it for additional oil capacity, fit stainless steel valves, and have fun. It is particularly important to keep the oil fresh and at proper level, air filter clean and properly oiled and valves adjusted. If you start out with a good valve train and stainless valves and don't spend a huge amount of time on the rev limiter it won't need a valve adjustment too often.

Honda was pretty kind in designing the CRF head. Valve adjustments are quick and easy compared to most competition-oriented four strokes.

I found my CRF to be extremely non-finkiy. Super easy to start, pretty tollerent of less-than-perfect jetting, and generally just easy to get along with.
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:26 PM   #8
elsalvadorklr
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someday, somdeday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

my idea is to trade my xr600 thats been well modded for a suitably maintained crf...like others have stated the weight and lack of estart are the ONLY things I can find a flaw in the xr.

since Im a honda fan and dont mind maintaining..in fact I tool around more than I ride I see no issue for me doing so.

Ill hate myself the day I let go of my xr6, I mean that...it will kill me to see somebody else ride it after takig such good care of her and modding so much...

But I know Ill be a much faster and better rider in a lighter easier to manhandle bike...thats a fact...

anywhoo

cheers dudes
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:29 PM   #9
montesa_vr
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Yeah, there's a world of difference between Honda's XR650R and the 450. Kevin Cameron, the technical editor of Cycle World, has made a hobby of warning people of the cost of maintaining a modern 4-stroke motocross derived engines. For example, http://www.cycleworld.com/2011/04/05...kevin-cameron/

The problem isn't really engine speed, because the new engines are so oversquare that the actual piston speed isn't any greater than a longer stroke motor. To get that short stroke requires a piston that looks more like a tuna fish can than a soup can, which makes it more subject to rocking in the cylinder. But the biggest issue is power per liter, and power per pound. The new crop of 450s put out as much horsepower as the old 650s, and they do it by high compression, violent valve action, single ring pistons, and parts made of unobtanium.

As Cameron said in the May 2010 issue, "many an MX dad has asked his district referee if there's any way to bring back that simple machine, the two-stroke."

Honda eventually refined enough durability into their 450 to make it a Baja winner, but it will never be bulletproof like the XR650R.
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:41 PM   #10
elsalvadorklr
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montessa is there such a thing as a normal long skirt piston with more rings for the crfs? you know like the xr pistons?

to make the crf style engines more reliable and less prone to rocking...etc...?
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Old 12-15-2012, 02:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elsalvadorklr View Post
is there such a thing as a normal long skirt piston with more rings for the crfs
Well, you can't get a longer skirt because with such a short stroke, the piston has to be very short to clear the flywheel at bottom dead center. It's just part of the design. But it is possible to get a two-ring piston from various aftermarket companies. Possibly there are genuine Honda replacement parts that are more durable alternatives to the stock piston and valve train, especially for the CRF450X model. You might want to search for a more CRF450 specific forum. Maybe BikePilot or one of the other guys can steer you.

montesa_vr screwed with this post 12-15-2012 at 02:39 PM
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Old 12-15-2012, 02:38 PM   #12
frog13
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If your going to freakin Africa....go back to an XR.You already stated there will be no parts there....you'll need time to order.The XR will be more reliable/less expensive later on.
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Old 12-15-2012, 03:04 PM   #13
montesa_vr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frog13 View Post
If your going to freakin Africa....go back to an XR.
I'm thinking the same thing. Nothing you could do to a CRF would make it as reliable and trouble free as an XRR.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:39 PM   #14
tommyvdv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crocodile Tears View Post
450R - brutal on maintenance
450X - still maintenance intensive
650R - maintain on schedule
600R - put sand in the carb and drain the oil, who cares? No problem.
the 600 r looks like a good commuter/play bike. however I find contradictions in some people's oppinion.

does anyone who has been riding this as a commuter/play bike have any comments on the service interval? is the bike up to it or is commuting a bad (expensive) idea on this?

I'm looking for a cheap mode of daily transportation that allows the occasional weekend on road touring as well as the occasional tractoring but I'm afraid I would kill the bike by doing so.
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:14 AM   #15
SpeedoJosh
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No experience with a 600r but my experience with the 650R is that they are indestructible. Me and my buddy both had one while going through a lot of training, so the bikes were our escape. We'd romp them off road during the weekend, and use them for commuting during the week. Rarely changed oil. We stored them outside, sometimes with a cover, sometimes without. They got rained on, 100+ degree sun, etc... Walk out there, kick, and go.

Only problem I ever had was with the jetting on an aftermarket carb, and the kill switch wires coming undone (see ride report). Both of which were aftermarket add ons. The carb thing was only a hassle b/c it was my first dirt bike.

Only regular maintenance we did was spray the chain with lube before we rode. Other then that, pretty much an awesome bike. Their only downfall is the no e-start, but our bikes were one-kickers so that wasn't an issue.
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