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BlueBayou

KX500 vs XR650R

16 posts in this topic

I've seen quite a few posts where members state that the KX500 is the true king of the desert and whatnot.

So I'd like to hear why people think each bike is better.

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Different eras really, and the KX500 isn't even made anymore. Kawasaki won because of a great team, excellent riders and well prepared bikes...just as Honda is now. In both cases the stock bikes simply provided a great basis for a race bike, but any advantage the big KX had over the old air-cooled XR600 is long gone with the newer bike.

I've seen quite a few posts where members state that the KX500 is the true king of the desert and whatnot. So I'd like to hear why people think each bike is better.

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I owned both at once (KX was too good of a deal to pass up to resell andmake $400 on). I'd say any 4 stroke thumper is better b/c if you're inthe middle of the desert, how many Pemex stations will have 2smoke oil?? :banghead:

The KX I rode was stock except for a ProCircuit exhaust system. The power band was wickedly uneven. Fun to ride but not as fun as the XR...

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I owned both at once (KX was too good of a deal to pass up to resell andmake $400 on). I'd say any 4 stroke thumper is better b/c if you're inthe middle of the desert, how many Pemex stations will have 2smoke oil?? :banghead:

The KX I rode was stock except for a ProCircuit exhaust system. The power band was wickedly uneven. Fun to ride but not as fun as the XR...

yeah, finding oil is one thing, what happens when you blow your rings? smokers just don't have the reliability of thumpers.

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The KX will walk the 650 in a race.

Ever note that honda tried everything to beat the KX yet kept blowing their big XR bikes up?

The KX dominated and perhaps may still dominate - your north american rider danny hamel (?) was a great rider of this awesome machine. Tragic he died, man he was good. Destry abbot is another great Kawaka rider.

I'm not talking smoothness or niceness as a bike but outright race wesponry - the fire breathing KX500 simply will cain the XR650

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Different eras really, and the KX500 isn't even made anymore. Kawasaki won because of a great team, excellent riders and well prepared bikes...just as Honda is now. In both cases the stock bikes simply provided a great basis for a race bike, but any advantage the big KX had over the old air-cooled XR600 is long gone with the newer bike.

I really think you're glossing over the extraordingary effort Honda went to to try and beat the KX.

Honda tried for years and got abolsutley hosed by the 2 strokers.

Try Hondaredriders.com for the amazing bike they built in the low 90s to try and beat the 500s. When Kawasaki left Honda has no competition.

I would be willing to bet that equally supported, a CR500/KX500 rider would destroy a XR650 rider.

That also ignores wider issues facing bikes which is why we see less big 2 smokers - emissions and the fact they are plain nasty!!!!

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???? Not quite.

At 125 mph, Johnny Campbell's XR has at least 5 mph on the former team Green Kawi's. An important advantage over the length of the El Diablo lake bed and other open stuff. And being a thumper, it is much more likely to transfer it's considerable power into forward momentum instead of excessive wheelspin, as open class two strokes are famous for!

I'm not talking smoothness or niceness as a bike but outright race wesponry - the fire breathing KX500 simply will cain the XR650

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You seem to be purposely confusing the old air cooled XR600 efforts to that of the newer 650 which is a completely different bike, and even in race trim has an enviable reputation for reliability and winning... and more then able to deal with 500cc two strokes in the desert. No one is trying to compare the XR650 to an old air-cooled KX420!

As noted elsewhere, thumpers have the added advantage of actually putting power to the ground and not just throwing a lot of extra sand in the air! Open class two stroke proponents look for conspiracy theories and high handed environmental legisilation to point to their demise, when the plain truth is that the newer four strokes simply out perform them...matching them in power and even weight, but actually hooking up and smoking the ring dings. Thumpers have been dominating 500 two strokes in Open class World Championship MX for over ten years now for these very reasons.

I really think you're glossing over the extraordingary effort Honda went to to try and beat the KX.

Honda tried for years and got abolsutley hosed by the 2 strokers.

Try Hondaredriders.com for the amazing bike they built in the low 90s to try and beat the 500s. When Kawasaki left Honda has no competition.

I would be willing to bet that equally supported, a CR500/KX500 rider would destroy a XR650 rider.

That also ignores wider issues facing bikes which is why we see less big 2 smokers - emissions and the fact they are plain nasty!!!!

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I have owned both. Still have the 650 and do some desert racing. I have also had 2 600s and a CR500. The 500s have a greater power to weight ratio, but make a lot less torque. On hard pack, baja, bitd type terrain the 650 has a pretty solid advantage. But in tighter stuff, WORCS, etc the KX is ALOT lighter and easier to start when cranky. After taking a digger in a hot sand wash I would rather kick the 5hundo than the pig any day!

Always the standard thing, the great riders can pretty much rip whatever.

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Very true. Depending on your age, the ultimate desert bike could also be an old 400 Husky two stroke or a 650 Triumph twin! At the end of the day, the fastest bike will be the one with the fastest rider on board.

Different eras really, and the KX500 isn't even made anymore. Kawasaki won because of a great team, excellent riders and well prepared bikes...just as Honda is now. In both cases the stock bikes simply provided a great basis for a race bike, but any advantage the big KX had over the old air-cooled XR600 is long gone with the newer bike.

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I have owned all 3 bikes (600, 650, KX500) mentioned in this post. In a short drag race the 500 would win pretty easily. For playing around in the desert the KX500 was hard to beat, simple, fast, somewhat light, and decent suspension. For riding/racing long distances the 650 shines and it can't be touched by any bike for this type of riding. The shorter desert races the 500 would definately be a good weapon of choice but its too bad they don't make them anymore. No problem for me though I went ahead and bought a Service Honda 500 cuz I love 2-stroke 500s.

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...what blvd619 said.

Nobody here can light up ANY thumper faster that I can a KX500 or CR500. Magic button or not. With the engine warm, tranny in second, the piston just past TDC, with the throttle pinned WFO, a KX500 or a CR500 will light up before the kick starter even hits the stopper on the footpeg. I even pulled a holeshot on Shane Esposito twice with my CR500 (yeah, he passed me!) Even in desert races today, if there is a 500 on the expert line, he always pulls the holeshot over the thumpers.

Then there is the harsh vibration issue on the KX/CR 500's. It is brutal, and tiring.

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as to the torque issue...

I was under the impression (mistaken??) that 2 strokes make more torque than a 4 stroke??

They may make it over a narrower rev range but the big 500hundys are known to be luggers with no pop stall like 600/650s have.

Also I find it extremely misleading to say CC for CC that 2 versus 4 are same power.

There's no way a CRF450 makes as much power as a KX500 or CRF450.

The bottom line is that if the 2 smokers had had the same money and development as the 4 strokers then we may have seen more friendly 2 strokes. Europe and the US however saw fit to encourgae emission reductions and this also coincided with the development of the big new 4 strokes.

This really ties into many areas - the manufacturers aren't going to race factory bikes they cant sell on Monday and Govts all roudn the world clamped down on emissions compunding the move to 4 strokers.

This is not syaing I like 2 strokes but HP and Torque facts are facts. I have 2 4 strokes (XR628HRC and 04 CRF450R) and love them to bits. But I recognise the absolute mucleman effort that must have been required by desry and danny in the mid 90s to manhandle these big 500s like the KX and CR. The vibration must have been horrendous!!!

The ability to pull big desert gearing is by power and torque - at falt out high revs I back a 2 stroke over a 4 stroke.

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I don't think anyone here has suggested that?

Why would you...those bikes aren't in the same class. You're comparing an open class two-stroke to a middleweight four stroke that runs in the 250 class!

Open class thumpers are 600's, such as the larger Bergs, Husky's and KTM's that run in world championship MX and have proven more then able to deal with 500 cc two strokes since 1993, when the two smokes were at the peak of their development. Kind of throws out the lack of two stroke development excuse! 500's are no longer winning because they stopped developing them...they stopped developing them because they were getting beat by thumpers, and the teams shifted their efforts to four strokes that could put their power to the ground.

There's no way a CRF450 makes as much power as a KX500 or CRF450.

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I still own both bikes under consideration. The KX500 is a vibrator big time. It will get you to it's top speed quicker than the XR650R but it does not have the top speed of an XR650R. The R is no slouch and definately faster on top if you got the guts to put her there. As for me, I'm no racer and do not have the inclination to put the pedal to the metal on either one of these machines for any great distance. I have all the respect in the world for those who do. :banghead:

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sorry to bring up an old thread, but came across this and laughed when I read this...

Nobody here can light up ANY thumper faster that I can a KX500 or CR500. Magic button or not. With the engine warm, tranny in second, the piston just past TDC, with the throttle pinned WFO, a KX500 or a CR500 will light up before the kick starter even hits the stopper on the footpeg

before I got my Hotcams, I could kickstart my WR with half a kick start stroke with my hand... hand start. If I tap the "MAGIC BUTTON" when my bike is warm it starts, and launches better than my friends CR250R, then he pulls me, gets 3 bike lengths ahead of me, then I pull him, leave him in my 93mph dust(which is nothing to a 98mph XR650R|hey, its a 250cc thumper)

also, I saw dyno's of Ron Hamp getting 60+hp with 450f's. and the DRZ475TT makes 58 hp and a CR500R made the same 58 hp on the same dyno. Also saw Ron Hamp made a 67hp CRF450X

but none of those above mentioned bikes will make the 20+hp off idle a 650r will make, not to mention fuel milage~this is a desert bike

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