XR650L - Opinions?

15 replies to this topic
  • radar_ridr

Posted March 30, 2002 - 02:24 PM


I am considering a dual sport for dirt roads, easy trails, around town, and paved back roads. Keeping the XR4 for the tough stuff. How is the power of the 650L in stock form? How difficult is removing the smog equipment? Would it need to be re-jetted? I have read the gear ratios are not great, a big gap between 1st and 2nd, is this really a problem? The only alternative seems to be the DRZ... but I am concerned about its durability. My experience with a few XR's really has me believing they just live forever and I am not sure about that with the Suzuki. One last question, is the chassis / suspension of the L really almost exactly the same as the XR600 (great suspension)? Thanks for any info... Ride safe...

  • radar_ridr

Posted March 31, 2002 - 12:41 PM


Yep, well I finally woke up and did a search on XR650L and found this question has been answered many times already.... I thought you guys were just rude or something. So, what's a good price for a new 650R? I know, I could search on that too....

  • Ed_Buratti

Posted April 01, 2002 - 04:47 AM


I know most of you won't agree, but I think it's very very hard to beat the XRl650 for both trail and street. I'm 6'4", 225 lbs and loving mine. I recently had the suspension done for my weight and the bike (in my opinion) is a cheater now. It runs over rocks, roots, etc like they're not even there. It has gobs of torque, and if you use it the right way, you'll fly on the xrl650. I'm not taking anything away from the XR650R, but if you do a lot of street riding in addition to trails, the L is the way top go.

  • terryhotshoe

Posted April 01, 2002 - 02:26 PM


I agree with the last post!!Even though I own a new xr650r street legal!!ITs a great bike and if ridden by a good rider it can almost keep up with a xr650r!E mail gene at genelane@aol I have ridden with him out in the desert and he knows all the tricks jetting etc to get the xrl to haul ass!!Terry :) :D

  • Wilson-1

Posted April 01, 2002 - 04:29 PM


If you want to get a good dual sport bike consider getting a dirt only XR600 or XR650 and installing a Baja Designs dual sport kit on the bike. The kit will allow the bike to be ridden
on the street legally. A friend owned a XR650L and the weight and soft suspension made taking the bike off road a task if it was anything more than gentle trail riding. I ride a 96 XR600 with the Baja kit on it and its been great having the best of both worlds.

  • radar_ridr

Posted April 02, 2002 - 01:48 PM


Thanks for the info. I checked into dual-sporting a 650R and it seems to be difficult if not impossible in my state. I also would like to take a passenger occasionally. So, the price of the 650R plus the cost and hassle of the dual sport kit has me leaning toward the 650L.

Ed, does the 650L have enough power in stock tune? I don't really need wild amounts of power or anything but I would hope it's not a real dog either. Don't want to have to put money into swapping out the carb, etc. Do you know what the bike's load (passenger + cargo) rating is? What did you have done to the suspension? Thanks for your help.

  • CJA

Posted April 02, 2002 - 05:50 PM


You must reside in Cali? Bummer...you'd be way happier getting the R and dual sporting it out. Throw on the inexpensive hop-up kit and you've got a beast of a machine. It weighs close to 50 pounds less then an L, is liquid cooled, has better suspension, and has enough torque to drag two DRZs around...good luck no matter your choice.

  • Ed_Buratti

Posted April 03, 2002 - 05:37 AM


As it comes from the dealer, the bike seems blocked up. I did some research on the internet and found 3 things. 1) Smog removal. The kit costs about $25 and you can remove the octopus in about 1 hour. 2) Thumper racing tailpipe insert. Get rid of the stock stinger and put in the insert from Thumper. Its about $80, but very worth it. 3) To go along with the insert, get the BajaDesigns carb kit for XRL650. It's about $30 dollars and requires you to make the hole bigger in the stock carb slider. I was scared at first, as this is not un-doable, but it works jist fine. I then removed the snorkel from the airbox and bought a K&N filter. I know that sounds like a lot, but it totally transforms the bike. The best part is that it doesn't do anything to the engine (I don't want to even think about taking my engine apart), and in fact, improves the drive-ability of the bike in all circumstances. I blew my shock after 1 year, so I sent it to Factory Connection for a woods setup. Now I think it's so nice, I cannot stop giggling when I ride it. Suspension is expensive, though ($700). If you want both street and off-road, this bike cannot be beat. Where are you? If you're close enough to Northeast Pa, you're welcome to come with me for a ride and check it out.

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  • Ed_Buratti

Posted April 03, 2002 - 05:43 AM


I almost forgot, I ride a lot with my wife on the back, and we have a great time. Power is fine for two-up riding. We've ridden dual-sport events with some tough trail. Also, I've ridden the new XR650R with the hop-up kit, and it was absolutely the most powerful dirt bike I've ever ridden. I was unable to keep up with it on my CR500. However, if you do street rides, the dirt-only machine is more harsh than the XRL. Also, consider getting an SRC fork brace no matter which XR you choose. It makes a huge difference.

  • ossagp1

Posted April 05, 2002 - 08:30 PM


I am about to buy another L version,,but if I were riding lots of street and the occasional dirt road I would buy a kawasaki KLR. It is that much better on the street(I could put 700 miles a day on one several days in a row). Since I don't plan on this one being on the street in most cases for more than 8-10 miles and then on dirt roads, I am getting the Honda, as it is way better on trails. FYI I couldnt see a place that the Suz 650 was superior anywhere to the Honda.

  • ossagp1

Posted April 05, 2002 - 08:32 PM


I am about to buy another L version,,but if I were riding lots of street and the occasional dirt road I would buy a kawasaki KLR. It is that much better on the street(I could put 700 miles a day on one several days in a row). Since I don't plan on this one being on the street in most cases for more than 8-10 miles and then on dirt roads, I am getting the Honda, as it is way better on trails. FYI I couldnt see a place that the Suz 650 was superior anywhere to the Honda.

  • Jim_Scheide

Posted April 11, 2002 - 03:36 AM


Hey XR650L Rider! I've had the 650L only 4 months so far, but it's the best Dual-Sport ever (I still have & ride a mint '74 Yamaha DT 360, KLR 250 & a KDX 220 Enduro). The 650L can run with Harleys on the road (I have!) & hold its own in the dirt. Mine's still stock except for a Clarke 4.7 gallon tank (awesome). Just ordered the Uni Air Filter, Smog Block-Off Kit, Jetting Kit, Acerbis Tail-Light & FMF Slip-On Exhaust for the bike..(Baja Designs). This seems to be the way to go based on what I've seen on the net...there's some great sites with links...start on xronly.com & justxr.com! About the bike in stock form....IT'S GOT BALLS!! If you crave the rush of a 100mm bore piston accelerating AT WILL, the 650L rules! Definately gear down up front if you ride any technical trails...a 14t seems to be a good way to go. The seat height of 37" is VERY TALL(I'm 5'9", 170lbs 31" inseam...I look for high spots, left side to mount and dismount...have stalled the bike at slow speed & done the side dump/drop..can't stop it from going over...the lower front gearing should help. Stock suspension is EXCELLENT & add a little air-pressure up front & it stiffens the ride alot. I plan to get Acerbis Bar Guards, Renthal Bars, & Skid Plate. The stock tires are fine on-road, but kinda WEAK off-road...be careful of going too low on your tire pressure, because this bike's heavy & you will pinch-flat. I'm nervous below 20lbs if you ride hard. Once you get used to the ride-height, it does have some advantages! Visibility is GREAT, ride comfort & ergonomics excellent, & the suspension just PLUSH everywhere. I ride the bike ALOT on the street, & it's great! It can cruise at 70mph, but with no fairing, windage is your biggest problem. I think 50-55mph "State Roads" & backroads are the best. I drop my Sport-Bike buddies on bumpy backroads & hold my own everywhere else. The Sunday Roadride is MINT on the 650L. Well, as my other 3 bikes are screaming "ride me", I'm suiting up for another Ct. State Forest 650L adventure. You know, a little pavement..a little dirt..a little more pavement..a little more dirt....THE FUN DOESNT STOP..Will post you on the upgrades as they happen! Definately look at Baja Designs & XRONLY!! PS: My Wife LOVES 2-up riding on the 650L, so the XR650L dude can justify the 5.5k expenditure with a simple "honey it's for both of us"!! RIDE ON MY BROTHERS & SISTERS!! Big Jimi

  • Ed_Buratti

Posted April 11, 2002 - 08:19 AM


I'm with you Big Jim! Sounds like my riding almost exactly, and I couldn't agree more.

  • dan_Rekito

Posted April 11, 2002 - 03:39 PM


I have a 1996 XR650L with 14/48 sprockets "sunstar" brand. love the bike but it needs to see Jenny craig in a big way its Heavy!!
A Suzuki DRZ with conversion kit from Http://www.bajadesigns.com - will roost all over it. :)

[ April 12, 2002: Message edited by: dan Rekito ]

  • DR.Zaius

Posted April 11, 2002 - 05:28 PM


Um, I second that motion! :)

  • sunny

Posted April 12, 2002 - 01:02 PM


Try taking your wife on the back of the DRZ then(I did, never again) it's bad enough one person sitting on it never mind two!!!!


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