6. Honda XR Four-Strokes
Playbike riders seeking a simple, reliable and excellent-performing off-road thumper need look no farther than Honda’s un-killable XR line of four-strokes. Discontinued [or in the case of the smaller-displacement models, morphed into the CRF family] since 2000, the Honda XR600R was Honda’s off-road answer to the beach cruiser, although XRs have racked up wins everywhere from Baja to GNCC.
If you want an affordable bike that will pull double duty as a pitbike and a bike for the kids, the XR100 is virtually unbeatable. Need an excellent-running, easy-to-ride lightweight for your significant other? Look into an XR200R or an XR250L. Need a mid-sized fun runner for the woods or the desert? Check out an XR400R. Like the idea of an Open-class thumper for running down to the end of the Baja Peninsula and back? An XR600R or XR650R is the way to go. And if you want a street-legal dual sport that can do almost all the same things? It’s called the XR650L.
There are some years you may want to avoid, however. For example, the 1985 Honda XR350R is a legend, but the 1984 model had clutch issues. The 1986-87 XR600s breathed through dual carbs that worked well but added unnecessary complexity to the bike; better to start with a 1988 or newer model. And, by all means, absolutely stay away from any dual-carbed RFVC XR200s or XR250s from the mid-1980s. They’re overweight turds. Otherwise, if it’s an XR, you should be in excellent shape.