Pros:low end torque,easy to ride,nimble handling
Cons:softly sprung rear,fork dive from moderate front braking
I have a 1989 XT350. It only had 1200 miles on it when I got it a couple of months ago and from all the things I have read about this bike,not much has changed on it since it first came about in 1986. That's not a bad thing.
Recommend this product?
It shows that it's a proven and reliable design. It has some weak points. The forks do dive quite a bit from the strong front disc brake and the rear suspension is a bit soft even with all 5 clicks on the damper and preload wound all the way up. I think it a fair compromise,being that it is a dual purpose bike. It was designed to make that post office run for stamps..even better if there is a short cut through the woods to get there.
It is a pretty nimble bike in the dirt and in traffic.I wouldn't take I-95 from New York to Miami on it by any means.Consider a smaller rear sprocket though,for any sustained highway use,just because the engine willingly spins to around 6500 to 7000 RPM's at highway speed and near redline on the interstate. Even with the gearing change,the saddle will give you a soar behind if you spend more than a half a day on it.
No..it's not a YZ or WR. It's just a solid little bike that can get you there and back on the street and the dirt,while getting a little air in the process.
If hitting the dirt is the main purpose in the duality of this bike,spring for some knobs,after market shock and some stiffer springs for the front end. A Supertrapp is a good alternative to the stock pipe,even taking the baffle out helps it out quite a bit.
The gearing is low and with a six speed gear box,you'll find yourself shifting a bit more than a normal street bike. Not to worry...short shift it and enjoy the wonderful low end torque. You'll be hard pressed to stall it,once rolling.
The torque and low gearing really shines in the dirt and trails. You chug right up the hills. Leave it in a taller gear than you think and roll the throttle,once the CV carb. kicks in, you can powerslide and be the flat tracker you always wanted to be in your mind.
As for starting,this is my way..choke on when cold and off when hot. It's the warm state that can get you little worn out. But in this day of creature comforts, a kick starter takes you back to the good ol' days.If the battery is weak,you won't be worrying about an electric starter. The only problem I can see for some people is the head light,it only burns when the motor is spinning.
Look around,you can find ten year old XT's
with very low mileage and a low price to boot! What is the beauty in that? It's the same bike as the one in your dealer's showroom right now.
Life is good sometimes.
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