The one bike I seem to always go back to is the good old Honda XR400R. They are awesome trail bikes and run forever. I found an old 1997 XR400R for sale and it was in need of a few repairs to get it where I wanted it. But I could see the potential. The engine on this bike ran well but I figured it was 20 years old and should probably be refreshed. I got this one pretty cheap so I decided to go through everything and make it how I wanted. You really can’t beat the reliability of an old XR and the ease of maintenance. They are a blast on mountain trails and are plenty fast out on the desert trails and washes! Check out my process below.
Here is a before shot of the bike. For the most part the bike was in decent shape for a 20 year old bike.
For the age of the bike, I was surprised because I’ve seen some hammered bikes out there. Some wear and tear on this one, but not anything I would worry too much about. Yes, it had it’s fair share of dings and scratches but that’s expected. Check out the timelapse below to see what I saw in this old bike. This build took several days with many late nights but I think it turned out pretty sweet!
Continue reading to see a few ‘behind the scenes’ pics of the rebuild as well as a list of parts that went into the bike.
Here is a short walkthrough of my process to bringing this awesome bike back to life!
A Clean Bike and Organized Plan
First and foremost, I washed the bike. Who wants to work on a dirty bike, right?
Then I tore the whole bike down and put all the parts in order so I knew how to put it back together.
Tip: A good way to remember how things go together is to take pictures BEFORE anything is taken apart. Putting parts in bags and labeling them is also a good practice.
I really wanted to get into the engine of this bike and see what kind of shape it was in. A little carbon build up on the piston but overall, the cam journals, cam, and other internal components looked very good. I didn’t see any signs the engine had ever been starved of oil and the valves all looked great.
Many upgrades are available for these engines but I decided to keep this one as close to stock as possible. I recommend always going with a reputable company when it comes to buying engine components.
*Always check the bore size and verify what you’re buying will fit your bike.
Here is a link to the kit I purchased for the rebuild, Wiseco Top End Rebuild Kit.
Placing the engine back into the frame.
Now we’re talking! Getting closer to completing the engine.
After many of hours of work. The bike came together just how I wanted it to. It is always a little nerve racking the first time a bike is started after being rebuilt, and even for the first few rides. This bike started great and has been running great since!
Below is a list of parts I used on the bike. I’ve included comments on some of them based on if I had to modify or adapt them to the bike.
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Product list for a 1997 Honda XR400R Rebuild:
*Always verify parts are for the correct make and model. Some of these links or parts may have changed or vary slightly from the time I purchased them.
- Front fender, this is from a 2006 CRF450R, I had to cut a few inches off the back to allow airflow over the engine.
- Back fender, the holes for the side panels had to be cut out but the fitment was great.
- Top End Rebuild Kit
- Paint – for the frame
- Rubber gloves
- Graphics – these look good but i had to adjust the fitment and trim quite a bit.
- Air Filter
- Motor Oil
- Kill switch
- Hand grips
- Seat Cover – This seat cover fits awesome and is very good material
- Throttle Tube
- Handguards – don’t forget the mounting hardware for steel bars
- Chain and Front and Rear Sprockets – these have always been good for me for a lower displacement bike. I did gear this one different from stock and purchase the chain accordingly.
I also have new tires for the bike that I haven’t put on yet. The current tires still have some life left to them.
Here are some after photos of the bike. Turned out pretty sweet!
I am very happy with the results. I consider it a success.
The graphics turned out well with what I had to work with.
A new seat cover is not only a good way to protect the old seat foam, but it sure makes a bike look complete. Seat covers come with different textures too. Some are slick and smooth and others have grip. This one has grip on the top (black) and smooth on the sides (red).
As long as the weather is good (and even if it’s not sometimes), I’m going to jump on this bike and go for a ride! These old bikes are always very dependable and never disappoint!