Bad talk about the XR650R

113 replies to this topic
  • BWB63

Posted November 28, 2004 - 06:01 PM


I was out at Sunfair. There was quite a bit of XR650R's out there this time. I think I counted six besides Jay's and Davids. Stopped and talked to three of them. One was off this group. It's nice to see others off the group out there. One thing that has changed is most BRP riders complain more about their bikes now then a few years ago. Two were bigger riders (not fat)with stock shock springs. It used to be that I would ride up on a BRP owner and he would be grinning from ear to ear from the rush of power. Now they are looking for more and the power to be quicker. There are a lot of whoops out there and it just beats the snot out of most riders. They scream about the weight. Looks like the honymoon is over and the XR650R is getting put down more then is should just after winning the Baja 1000 again. You have guys talking bad about this bike looking to go to KTM, CRF450 or what ever but, in the end there will be more XR650R's winning the Baja and the largest percentage of bike entered finishing. Just reading the stories from Gene and David about there races. These are not fresh bikes! They got into race's with issuse and still finish! Most bikes would have given out a long time ago. I think all the talk of Honda cheating in the Baja had something to do with this trend and now that they own without cheating the guy that yeld the most about it :cry: is going to KTM.....Yelling KTM is it :cry: ???
I sure don't see their spiecal KTM twin 700 on the show room floor at Malcom Smith here in Riverside. Just some ranting and ravings about all the negitive talk about a bike that has lasted through the toughest races and is such an enjoyable bike for the average guy. I do think Honda might have missed the boat on not fixing a few things for this market. Like better suspension for heavier riders and the foot peg. Adding a few extra's through the years might have kept it more competitive. The cheating thing sure didn't help. I think I might need two bikes to do all I want but, that doesn't make the XR650R lame for what it dose so well.

  • zx7rye

Posted November 28, 2004 - 06:12 PM


What exactly did Honda do that was considered cheating?

  • jws

Posted November 28, 2004 - 06:44 PM


i still love my BRP :cry: even after the footpeg bolts snapped - out at anderson friday :cry:

  • XR-Det

Posted November 28, 2004 - 07:08 PM


What exacly did Honda do to be inovative on the XRs?? Well, I bought one anyway and like it alot.

I collected some pictures, its amazing how much time and effort they spend re-designing the decals and seat colors:



  • BWB63

Posted November 28, 2004 - 08:24 PM


In all the Baja race' in the past there has been course cutting. There have been pictures from all side showing the other side cheating. Well for the last few years Honda has gott'n better at it then the others and has more money they are willing to spend in this direction. It cost money to have a rancher open a gate here and there and know which bike to open it for and what bike to leave it closed. Some talk about the 1x running the beach insted of the road. Just a lot of talk and sure most of it's true! It sux and they are working on making it all gone. The thing that stinks is now that they ran without cheating??? They still suck according to some. Yes, the CRF250 sucks but, how does that make the XR650R no good? :cry: Come on I can't stir it up any more then that :cry:

  • mikekay

Posted November 28, 2004 - 08:33 PM


Well ya gotta admit...Honda hasnt done anything, i mean absolutely nothing with the 650R since it was introduced. Hard to get excited about something if the factory is excited about it either!!

I dont think any medium/large bore XR ever went 5 years without at least some kind of tinkering. Maybe the '79 XL 250 is the only other one that went without any kind of anything for this long...

In the meantime KTM introduced the RFS in its 520 and then 525 form. Each year these bike are updated. LOTS of new stuff. Each model year has supension upgrades, refinements to the motors, etc. Those RFS KTM's now 'own off road' to borrow from a recent Dirt Bike article. The other bike that is now a generation ahead of red is the Yamaha 450. That bike also has been refined and caressed into what it is now--a super fast, super dependable off roader. Neither bike will drop footpegs, overheat before you can get your zipper up, flood when ya lean over it to adjust the chain, etc. More to the point--they are now a generation ahead in all the different types of technology that exists in 21st century off road: Ti valves, short skirt pistons, e start systems, modern suspension, pumper carbs, etc., etc...and that is just what red has to play catch up with.

Innovation? What ever happened to Honda innovation? Honda OWNED 4 stroke innovation from the mid seventies to the late '90's. And while the 450R is certainly nothing to sneeze at, its 100% motorcross---and its not innovative. It doesnt bring any new technology to the starting line.
Where is Honda with innovation? --- Fuel Injection? Two Wheel Drive? Motard? Diesel? How about a red version of KTM's Hard Parts Catalogue. Do yourselves a favor and stop by a KTM dealer and get a hold of a KTM hardparts catalogue. Its AMAZING what KTM offers OEM in terms of upgrades to their off-roaders.
Where is Honda's support of off road raceing? Baja. Yeah, OK...2 Baja races. And i would hardly call the Honda circus south of the border support. Just ask ANYONE who has raced pro down there (especially Honda racers!!). Where else? GNCC? No. WORCS? No. AMA Nationals? No. World Rallye? No. Fact is Honda doesnt make off-road race bikes. They are not in the serious off road market. They got out of it 6-8 years ago...They do motorcross, MotoGP, and little else when it comes to racing....and why we are at it...why have Valentino Rossi and Ricky Carmichael left red?
I mean really. Reds race world is in a complete shambles. And they are a generation down on technology.

The CRF600 is now being tested. For sure it will be a great bike. But given all the issues with the last 3 models Honda released--i for one wouldnt buy a first year bike from them.

While the 250X (talk about a disaster!) will take at least another year to get the motor sorted out, and the 450X is at best an unknown-and right now it looks to be 20 lbs heavier than a 525 KTM--with less power! I just dont see Honda haveing a viable line up of race ready bikes with the bugs worked out until 2007 at the soonest.

What will Orange and Blue have by then?
Two wheel drive bikes. For sure..Fuel Injection, probably--at least KTM will. Super strong race teams and race support programs. A Baja 1000 victory. KTM will come out with an Adventure Tour program in the USA southwest and or Baja that will blow the Honda/Baja equation away...and with the XR reliability soon to be a thing of the past...well then its just another fact---the Hondas CRFX's are adapted motocrossers. Its not a compelling platform for us in the desert world. We have seen MX bikes fail in the dez for decades.

Where is all this going? IMHO for KTM it will be Dominance, dominance and more dominance. Yamaha will be there neck and neck as well. Green will battle on with the 450--if it ever gets released! Green supports off-roading more than Honda--yet sells a fraction of the bikes. Red--they havent really been a contender anywhere for a long time. We are all Honda guys--myself more than most. I started Baja in 1972 on a SL70--been red thru the Elsinore years, the XL/XR's--i have owned all but 3 of them. Even raced at Carlsbad on the very first year model of the CR250! Riden around Africa, Asia, Europe, and every bit of southwest desert on red...Its hard to change old habits, but if ya step back and look at the big picture:right now it looks like an orange sunrise, with blue skies, and a red sunset. Sad but true.

Its cool of you Bruce to defend the XR. But its a 5 year old bike that wasnt exactly cutting edge when it was released--yeah it was an XR with radiators, yawn---and in the mean time Honda has treated it like a rental property at the beach.
It gets new stripes each season, even as the pipes continue to leak!

Seriously--do yourself a favor and stop off at at KTM dealer, and ask for a free Hard Parts catalogue. Freakin amazing what they offer in terms of upgrades. Now THATS innovation!

And just for the record--the KTM guys stay as far away from me as the Honda guys!! Just calling it as i see it.

  • BWB63

Posted November 28, 2004 - 09:10 PM


:cry: I sure don't have an arguement for that :cry:
I was Just waiting for the KTM win! :cry:
You always say it like it is.......
But, Honda did win :lol: and the KTM 700 :cry:
What happened it's not for sale :D
Thanks for the reply and without adout the XR is a thing of the past don't let yours go :cry:

  • wardo

Posted November 29, 2004 - 04:23 AM


"right now it looks like an orange sunrise, with blue skies, and a red sunset", ouch! A clever phrase, that speaks the truth.... Mike, as always you speak from the heart, and in this instance (as most) your heart is well informed. I'll see you in Barcelona!


  • PowerCell

Posted November 29, 2004 - 08:21 AM


Hey Bruce -

That KTM in Baja wasn't all that unique - just a modified 625SXC punched out to a 700 with some fancy plastic and twin exhausts.

I for one look forward to riders bailing on the BRP and going orange. Now I can finally afford to have an XR650 in my garage as a spare bike. Nothing wrong with the "Pig" - but I think a lot of people have been using it in the wrong evironment for what it was designed for. Keep it out of the woods and in the desert.

Just my opinion of course...

  • motorick426

Posted November 29, 2004 - 09:22 AM


Interesting discussion, all over the place, but interesting. I hesitate to respond, but what the hell, you guys seem like a pretty good group and I have learned allot about my bike here and really respect everyone. The fact is, Moto GP is BY FAR the most important race series in the world to the Japanese, ego, prestige and world wide sales all factor in, with Supercross way down on the importance scale. That might seem untrue to us in the U.S. but it is the case. Of course at the end of the day all of these compaines are in business for one thing and one thing only, to sell units. It dosen't matter what the unit is and of course that changes from time to time.

Honda produces the two best selling dirt bikes in the U.S. - the biggest by far is the xr50. The CRF450 is the Elisnore of this generation, everybody is riding one and they are selling a ton of them. Most riders agree it is the best motocross bike ever. Motocross is where the dirt bike sales are, nothing else is even close. Sadly dual sport bikes are barely on the radar outside of California, I work in the powersports industry and have discussions with oem personal about this from time to time and they all say the same thing. They really would not sell that many more XR650s if they kept putting more money into them, they really don't have much competition in that segment of the market. They have to make decisions every year where to put their resorces. They have determined that winning the Baja races is beneficial to sales and the bike they have gets the job done.

Look at the KX500, not very many changes for a long time, Kawasaki didn't need to, they sold the bike to desert racers, Glamis guys and others that liked to ride 500 two strokes, not really a very big market.

KTM has done a brillant job of marketing to the niche off road users and his son. They are a small company run by hard core off road racer/enthuhsiasts. I grew up in Las Vegas in the seventies and Scott Harden along with Jack Johnson and a couple of others were as fast as anybody ever in the desert. But KTM sales in the U.S are not even close to the CRF450 alone. But they are small enough to respond to market demands in the off-road world much faster than the Japanese and have grown because of that. And those guys know what off-roaders need better than anyone in the world.

This is already too long, sorry, but there are allot of factors that go into all of these decisions. But is would be nice if Honda would refine the XRs a little, no doubt. Also factory racing is very serious and very cut-throat, I don't even want to go there.

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  • resslera

Posted November 29, 2004 - 09:39 AM


I looked very closely at the KTMs, the CRF450 and WR450 before I bought my pig. Buying a XR650R out the door for $4,449 helped make up my mind pretty quick! I'll deal with the shortcomings for that price.

  • KeithBoyd

Posted November 29, 2004 - 10:36 AM


Big cutting edge tech race bikes require race maintainance read $$$....don`t forget about guys like me(and no doubt others) who bought `one to do everything` as well as bringing up 3 kids etc etc .....yip I could afford a big eg KTM but I`d have to keep working on it...the BRP?...point and shoot every time.....pick the horse for the course.... we all have different courses.....!!!!!

  • Ud_Luz

Posted November 29, 2004 - 11:12 AM


Seriously--do yourself a favor and stop off at at KTM dealer, and ask for a free Hard Parts catalogue

That has to be one of the WORST things KTM has ever done to me.

Sell me a great bike then continue to get more money from me on cool parts. :cry:


Posted November 29, 2004 - 11:16 AM


Very interesting conversation here. BWB I still smile when I'm loading up my pig, riding it and even when I'm unloading it. I ride it in tight technical rutted rocky nasty stuff and also in wide open Baja and Ocatillo. Just got back from the Baja 1000 a couple of weeks ago and 85% + of all the bikes down there are 650R's. I love this bike. Being 6'7 250 lbs helps me manage it but all in all I am extremely happy with the power and performance of the BRP. Such minimal matienence. Just go shoot a line to FlynAll about his son Quentins 525 KTM and how he has had to replace the valves 3 times in a very short amount of time. KTM = non stop matienence. All the innovations are great but if you can't get them to work for more than a few weeks before stuff starts breaking then what's the point? I for one do not want to be 60-80 miles out in the middle of nowhere on a bike I can't trust. :cry:

  • zx7rye

Posted November 29, 2004 - 01:12 PM


Very interesting conversation here. BWB I still smile when I'm loading up my pig, riding it and even when I'm unloading it. I ride it in tight technical rutted rocky nasty stuff and also in wide open Baja and Ocatillo. Just got back from the Baja 1000 a couple of weeks ago and 85% + of all the bikes down there are 650R's. I love this bike. Being 6'7 250 lbs helps me manage it but all in all I am extremely happy with the power and performance of the BRP. Such minimal matienence. Just go shoot a line to FlynAll about his son Quentins 525 KTM and how he has had to replace the valves 3 times in a very short amount of time. KTM = non stop matienence. All the innovations are great but if you can't get them to work for more than a few weeks before stuff starts breaking then what's the point? I for one do not want to be 60-80 miles out in the middle of nowhere on a bike I can't trust. :cry:

Being new to the 650r, I have little to vouch about it's performance and maintenance. I went by alot of reviews which indicated that it was very easily particular the valvetrain. I am not new to motorcycling, and have adjusted many valves in my day. My current streetbike has a very simple rocker setup that allows very easy removal of the shims (without pulling cams). It too has been called the dinosaur of sportbikes, yet it pulls 130hp to the wheel on the dyno and I turn very respectable laptimes on it when on track. I could have hopped onto the Ducati but the valve actuation puts the thing out of spec quite quickly and the cost relative to performance is way off. I have no patience for downtime...especially living in the northeast where the season is abbreviated. It sounds to me that KTM experiences it's own issues (as the CRF450 seems to have it's own set of problems). Given one the highest costs of all the manufacturers, I would think more attention would be paid to those critical areas that seem to hurt the KTM. The best point made in this thread was that performance is relative to needs. I don't race and I rarely push a bike to it's limits, and I have a limited budget to enjoy off-road riding. The big XR seems like it will fit my needs fairly well, and I am not ready to write off a bikes capabilities because a footpeg breaks. Better that than a gearbox.

  • JackAttack

Posted November 29, 2004 - 01:36 PM


.....pick the horse for the course.... we all have different courses.....!!!!!

:cry: :lol: :D :D :lol: :cry: :cry:


If I (6'3"/210lb) was looking to buy a new, high performance dirt-bike for a budget of under $6000. I needed it to last at least 3 years, with minimal maintanence. Put about 7,000 hard miles a year on it. I want to do long, hard rides through Baja, and the deserts and mountains of the Southwest, day and night. I want to ride semi-competitively in hare scrambles. I want to be able to dual-sport it, to link trails together. I wanted to ride from 0 to 8000'. I want to be able to throw my girl on the back and ride to the bar in Mexico on the ocean(sip Tecates). I want to be able to ride with my little nephew on his XR50. I want to be able to buy parts for it at a reasonable price. I want to be able to sell it for a resonable price when I'm done.

What bike would you recomend?


  • BWB63

Posted November 29, 2004 - 01:55 PM


To start with I was starting this (thread) hoping to get IronDude all worked up :lol: But, I got Mike Key insted :cry: :cry: There was big talk of KTM taking Team Honda this year in the Baja because cheating was cut down to a mild roar. Honda still #one KTM isn't selling the speical bike they made to take on Honda! The point I was looking for a hot topic and to stir the pot......IronDude hasn't shown up yet....Maybe Mike Key will go get him :cry: If anyone thinks I have given up on my BRP you can check out my web page..
..that's all it's about, XR650R Suspension and XR650R stuff.
Yes, KTM makes a product with all the goodies all ready on it. By the time I bought all the extra's for my Big Red Pig, I have more in it then if I would have, if I bought a KTM525 MXC. But, I would have toasted the KTM many time over by now :cry: They (KTM) have a better chance of taking on the market then Honda because of what Mike said, and few will argue with that. Handa has fallen asleep for us guy's that Love big heave indestructable tanks and they are going to let us go! I have three teenage boy'z and the motorcycle thing will sink us if we don't come up for air. The price of the XR650R sure did help till I decided to make it a money pit :cry:

  • JackAttack

Posted November 29, 2004 - 02:11 PM



I heard Irondude went underground......I think this is a recent pic of his bike:

Posted Image


  • BWB63

Posted November 29, 2004 - 02:39 PM


I just saw that over on the Yahoo group Geoff is sooooo funny :cry:
and the way he gets that women to spank his pig :lol:

I see IronDude pop up now and then...if you stir the pot hard enough :D

I though this would do it but, KTM didn't win :D so, no Irondude :cry:

I was going through all the posts about KTM winning the baja 1000 on the yahoo went on forever :cry: Here also now :cry: I thought this would get it going.

I bought this up because of a long post just before the Baja
1000. In most of it there were attacks on the BRP! It started bad
talk about our beloved Juggernaut :cry: (I looked this word up!
means, "anything that exacts blind devotion or terriable sacrafice"
look it up there is more) the BRP. Well the BRP won the Baja again but, there still seams to be this
cloud hanging over us pig herders. The Oinker blew away the compition
(I am sure the riders had something to do with it). The highest
persentage of bikes! The Honda XR650R! #1 Ironman XR650R But, it's
still called an out dated, heavy....pig. It's time to stand by our
swine and fight back! Let your voice' be heard!
Ok, back to earth....the XR250 and XR400 are on the chopping block
the XR650R maybe next.....Honda is letting us go???? Is KTM going to
be the next king of the Desert??? What is wrong with Honda :D ...fight
the good fight, stand your ground! They won't take my squeeler away
till they pry it out of my cold dead fingers..... Protect your right
to own a BRP! Man, I think I need to join BRPA (Big Red Pigs
Anonymous) :D

I have to give in on the good points Mike Key made about Honda leaving us out to dry but, he is always civil...Irondude can really get things hopping....maybe those days are over ;) When Irondude and Johnyairtime got into it WoW that was intertainment! Oh, and there was one about a used rubber or something like that ;) :lol:

  • Miker

Posted November 29, 2004 - 02:55 PM


First let me say that I love my BRP. Having said that I will say that it in no way compares to a 525 KTM. Just moving either one around in the garage shows their differences. The KTM makes way more power from the mid to the top. If you have never ridden one you are truely in for a shock. I have had Three KTM bikes and have had 0 problems with the exception of rear wheel berrings. I do however think the Honda is way overbuilt in most areas which is why they are so darn heavy. I am glad honda did it that way as I am sure with the right maintanance it will last a long time. Let people say what they want about the bike. "It's built like a watch that's meant to last a hundred years". (Anyone remember that add?) If I had to have only one bike it would be a dual sported BRP. :cry:

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