Differences of the Honda XR100 & XR100R

by John Willis

Honda's XR100 is a junior-sized entry in what has been one of the greatest all-around dirt bike lines ever made: Honda's versatile, nearly indestructible XR line. Honda has manufactured XR100s and XR100Rs. The differences between the XR100 and the XR100R models has more to do with the year the model was manufactured than their features lists.

Subtle Distinctions

Like any long run of motorcycles, the XR line was tweaked here and there each year, though changes in the XR100 (including the XR100R) were very subtle. Fuel tanks were switched from metal to plastic. Each year, slight aesthetic changes were made: tank colors, graphics and slightly redesigned parts. But, at its core, the XR100 remained a capable and durable off-road motorcycle meant for the pre-adult.

Year of Manufacture

In 1981, the first XR100 rolled into showrooms without the "R" designation. The XR100 remained. From '81 to '84, while the XR's look evolved, Honda made few substantive changes until '85 when it introduced the first XR100R. The primary difference was a major upgrade in rear suspension from the traditional, dual rear coil-over unit to the more race-like, single rear coil-over and redesigned swing arm.

Pro-Link Suspension

Commonly referred to as a "mono-shock" (Yamaha's trade name for the single coil-over design, which is now synonymous with the feature,) Honda's version was called the "Pro-Link." The two rear coil-over shocks were traded for a single, smaller coil-over unit that provided damping and rebound for the rear wheel. The swing arm had to be modified with an armature so the single coil-over shock could attacch from the frame to center of the swing arm. XRs manufactured in '85 and beyond were given the "R" moniker, though the Pro-Link suspension itself continued to evolve.

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