XL650 vs XR650 Differences, Are They That Much? Looking for info.


43 replies to this topic
  • Boston Mangler

Posted September 16, 2006 - 05:16 PM

#1

Hey Guys

I am getting ready to pull the trigger and buy a new bike. I havent ridden in about 7 years but grew up riding Hondas and have owned probably close to a dozen or so.

I want something i can ride on the street once in awhile but not have to worry about the DMV sending me a letter telling me all the $ i spent on a conversion was a waste and its now illegal.

So, i have been leaning toward the XL650 for reasons stated above but am afraid i will be dissappointed with it in the dirt.

I understand the L is air cooled and the R is water cooled and personally, the simplicity of the air cooled is appealing to me considering this bike will be ridden in some pretty remote places where simplicity is key.

I see that the L is almost 50lbs heavier, but being 6'3" and 255lbs it isnt that big of a deal! :thumbsup:

I know the R has much better suspension and tranny (for trails) then the L. Can the L suspension be modified to make it closer to R level performance?

Would the taller gears in the tranny be that big of a deal?

What i am trying to say, is that i dont mind starting with an L and converting it to as close as an R as i can if i means i dont have to deal with DMV bs down the rode.

Also, i understand the engines in the L require less maintence, is that true?

Any advice on the differences between the 2 and how to modify the L for more dirt use, would be much appreciated.

Thanks a bunch
Kevin
San Diego

  • BWB63

Posted September 16, 2006 - 05:30 PM

#2

Well the bottom line is they are not even close to the same bike.
One wins the Baja 1000, Baja 500, Baja 250, Reno to Vegas and lots of other races the other you can drive to work and do some great dirt road riding.

XR650R aluminum frame, kick start, water cooled, 44hp to the ground, 306 pounds ready to ride.

XR650L steel frame, E start, air cooled, 36hp to the ground, 348 pounds ready to ride.
Not bikes that can be compared and should not be on the same forum.

  • snaggleXR650

Posted September 16, 2006 - 05:40 PM

#3

There are almost no similarities in the XR650R and XR650L, only the name sounds similar.

That said, alot of my dual sport riding buddies have L's. The L is tall and heavy, but at your size you would be fine with it. The L is perfectly fine for recreational trail blazing, and the bike has enough umph to pull the taller gearing off road as long as it's uncorked/rejetted and has a more open exhaust pipe. If you want lower gearing you can always drop the 15T for a 14T front sprocket. Beyond that you can go up on the rear sprocket also.

The air cooled XR's are about the most bullet proof bike that exists, only an idiot could trash the motor. XRL's are not the latest and greatest, and won't get you any girls, but it WILL get the job done. The 650L hasn't changed one iota forever except the color of the plastics and the stickers, so an older one with low miles would be a fine choice.

The XR650R, if you can legalize it or buy one already legalized, is an awesome ride. More power, better suspension, and much lighter, but you have radiators to worry about and no E-start.

If you are willing to spend the $ on a new bike, I would also recommend looking into the '06/'07 Husqvarna TE610. I'm a Honda man through and through, but even I've been eyeballing the TE610. Aftermarket is weak, and dealerships are scarce, but they are nice bikes and I think I might buy one :thumbsup:

  • rmhrc630

Posted September 16, 2006 - 06:24 PM

#4

There are almost no similarities in the XR650R and XR650L, only the name sounds similar.

That said, alot of my dual sport riding buddies have L's. The L is tall and heavy, but at your size you would be fine with it. The L is perfectly fine for recreational trail blazing, and the bike has enough umph to pull the taller gearing off road as long as it's uncorked/rejetted and has a more open exhaust pipe. If you want lower gearing you can always drop the 15T for a 14T front sprocket. Beyond that you can go up on the rear sprocket also.

The air cooled XR's are about the most bullet proof bike that exists, only an idiot could trash the motor. XRL's are not the latest and greatest, and won't get you any girls, but it WILL get the job done. The 650L hasn't changed one iota forever except the color of the plastics and the stickers, so an older one with low miles would be a fine choice.

The XR650R, if you can legalize it or buy one already legalized, is an awesome ride. More power, better suspension, and much lighter, but you have radiators to worry about and no E-start.

If you are willing to spend the $ on a new bike, I would also recommend looking into the '06/'07 Husqvarna TE610. I'm a Honda man through and through, but even I've been eyeballing the TE610. Aftermarket is weak, and dealerships are scarce, but they are nice bikes and I think I might buy one :thumbsup:



I support Snaggles conclusion on the TE610. The husky is what Honda should be building - kinda the best in-between bike that we could have. The Husky has it all - great power, suspension.

Bascially of you dont mind a 10-15 year old design get the 650L.

If you want current technology and what Honda should have been making get the Husky.

  • Old_Man_Time

Posted September 16, 2006 - 06:32 PM

#5

Ive been eye balling the 610 too but am not convince on the quality or reliability yet. I talked to a dealer who said the 610 motor is not at all the same as the other dirt race bikes made by Husqvarna. The 610's motor is an old Swedish motor that has been around for a while. Some owners swear by them and claim they are rock solid. Too many owners for my comfort have had a lot of trouble and not much support. All the owners say they love the bike when it's running right.

So I'm still in the research stage before I leap and buy one. The XR650L and the KTM 625sxc are the other two bikes I am considering. If you get a XR650L I have read they made some very important suspension changes in 2002. So make sure it is 2002 or newer. Don't ask me what the changes are I just read this on a reviews page in the last week and they did not go into it.

  • snaggleXR650

Posted September 16, 2006 - 07:12 PM

#6

Old Man Time, others...

I've been reading up on the 610 quite a bit. No, it's nothing like the 450 and 510 (which are racing motors). The 610 motor has been around for a while, so it's nothing new. There are some minor issues with the bike, but most are easily fixed/worked around. The most major issue is the crank/counterbalancer nut not being torqued from the factory. If it gets loose it will shear a woodruff key and turn the relatively smooth 610 into a paint mixer. BigDogAdventures on advrider.com has more than 6k miles on his '06 TE610 with no complaints at all. Other owners speak highly of them too. Biggest problem is aftermarket support is weak, and there are few dealerships.

Speaking of paint mixers, the KTM 625 SXC is known to be a paint mixer from the factory. Furthermore, if you can find one (they are rare and not sold in the US after '04) they are usually asking more than $5k for them.

For $5k, I'd rather put that towards a new bike like the Husky with a nice 6 speed tranny (easily cruise at 75-80mph), screw type valve adjustments, E-start etc...

I don't know why I'm looking at these other bikes. My street legal '00 XR650R is about the perfect bike for my needs other than lack of E-start (my right knee is going bad). I think I just want something different, and I'm getting pissed at Honda for being slackers. I'm afraid that the reliable big bore dirt bike days are about over, in terms of the Jap bikes anyway.

  • Old_Man_Time

Posted September 16, 2006 - 08:20 PM

#7

Old Man Time, others...
I don't know why I'm looking at these other bikes. My street legal '00 XR650R is about the perfect bike for my needs other than lack of E-start (my right knee is going bad). I think I just want something different, and I'm getting pissed at Honda for being slackers. I'm afraid that the reliable big bore dirt bike days are about over, in terms of the Jap bikes anyway.


Man snaggle if I could get my XR650R plated I wouldn't consider any of the bikes I mentioned. My XR650R has an electric starter (Baja Designs) which works great plus I have the stage one cam and the Edelbrock. But Washington won't let me plate it. As far as I am concerned it is perfect except no plate.

Yes, the 625SXC is a shaker but it calms down after you get several thousand miles on it which would not take me long at all. Parts are as easy to get for it as for a LC4 640 cause they are fundamentally the same bike.

  • Kfactor

Posted September 16, 2006 - 08:30 PM

#8

I ride alot and when I say alot. I mean I ride from the TJ border to Cabo on my XR650R. I pre-run for the Baja 500 & 1000 full length and have never had an issue with my bike that was not my fault. I have a friend that bought a L 650 and it was as dirt as it could get. New plastic tank, forks by fineline and the list goes on. It still was not even close to the same. It is just a all around different bike. I would call the guys at Baja Designs. They are very up to date on what will fly and what wont being that the make conversions. If you do your home work you will get a XR650R street legal. If not a brand new one look for a good used one. I got the one I have now for $3300 and it still had the factory tires and chain on it all street legal the guy did not want to invest the $ to get the suspension done. Good luck

  • oilplug

Posted September 16, 2006 - 09:08 PM

#9

I suppose in the desert or on open ground the performance difference might matter but be honest with yourself: how good a rider are you?
I'm willing to bet that 90% of the riders on this board couldn't go faster on the 650R then the 650L because their abilities as a rider lag behind the advantages built into the R model. I can admit it. Johnney Campbell would kick my :thumbsup: on an CRF 150 because he has talent. I learned racing sportbikes that I could go faster on my 600 then on a 1000 with 40-50 more hp because the missing quantity is rider talent.

I run my XR 650L with the stock can, (slight re-jetting as it comes way too lean) running single track, powerlines and logging trails and logging roads. I went for a 3 hour ride today and was at max throttle less then 5% of the time. This included some nasty hill climbs. I don't need more hp.

Maybe Johnny Campbell needs an extra 10hp but you probably don't. To me it's laughable that guys worry about a pipe. Why?????The thing is a fat pig no matter what you do, so if you want lighter buy a 400. A good pipe might pick up maybe 5hp, piss off every hiker you come across and we wonder why the eco-weenies are out to shut us out of the back country. Take your money by tires, gas, insurance and ride the thing.

It's as silly as the Harley guys. People we're talking about an air-cooled single cylinder motorcyle!!! :lame: Lastly aren't you running on the street? Even off-road you have to hold back somewhat due to ATV riders, logging trucks, hikers what have you. There's only so fast you can go safely anywhere.

Your a big guy the L would fit you, no problems with the DMV or cops, seems like a no-brainer to me.

  • justicedone

Posted September 16, 2006 - 09:52 PM

#10

I think that with the DMV situation a modded L is a very good investment. Buy one stock and do the work yourself. That way you know whats really been done, and do it right.

Unless your trying to hit huge doubles and go 110mph in the desert, the L will keep you very happy and never get harrased by the Cops. I know its not as extreme a bike as an R...duh. But with some skill, and some ballz, you can take a set-up L just about anywhere and ride it all day. Then cruise the beach and never kick start the beast.

If you get an L, or an R and wanna ride in south San Diego along the border @ 905, give me a buzz will hit some trails.
:thumbsup:
*ps* I have some pics in my garage from bone stock to modded.

Visit the ThumperTalk Store for the lowest prices on motorcycle / ATV parts and accessories - Guaranteed
  • LotsOfBikes

Posted September 17, 2006 - 04:16 PM

#11

Hey guys, these bike have some major things in common, and parts that are interchangeable:

Handlebars.. Brake pads and calipers front and rear.. Rims.. Tires.. Brake fluid..
Oil filter. Chain. Clutch levers. Gasoline.

But the the 650R has only 1 footpeg :thumbsup:

I'm just biased towards the L

  • frankstr

Posted September 17, 2006 - 06:04 PM

#12

Not another R and L thing........ :thumbsup:

I ride the R and it's a great bike and it's just for off road for me.
I can't ride street bikes no more due to my health....
I'm just glad I can still ride offroad bikes...

If I wanted a trail and street bike, would be cool, I'd probably get the L...for that purpose..OR build another R with a dual sport kit...
But I would still want my R..

I would think the maintance would be about the same for either bike...

All in all there both great bikes...It's the rider and what you use it for ..

:lame: :p

  • cleonard

Posted September 17, 2006 - 07:44 PM

#13

I suppose in the desert or on open ground the performance difference might matter but be honest with yourself: how good a rider are you?
I'm willing to bet that 90% of the riders on this board couldn't go faster on the 650R then the 650L because their abilities as a rider lag behind the advantages built into the R model.


I'm not so sure about that. I sure don't think that I'm in that 10%, but I believe that the 650R is better. I have some experience on both the 650R and the 650L. The suspension is better on the 650R. I sure felt more sure on the 650R. Better in the big whoops, and better at landings after short flights.

Engine wise the 650R has more power potential. However, the 650L isn't too bad. It's a big bore too and lifting the front ween over obstacles is no problem.

To add another bike to the mix, I like my plated XR600. It's quite similiar to the 650L, but weighs something like 45 pounds less. You can find good ones for $1500 to $2000. Just don't get one older than 91.

One word of advise, run real dirt tires is you plan on riding in the dirt. I used to run DOT tires, and none of the ones that I ran were as good as non-DOT dirt tires.

One good feature of the 650L is longevity. They routinely go over 50,000 miles.

  • Boston Mangler

Posted September 17, 2006 - 07:50 PM

#14

The suspension is better on the 650R.


Can the L suspension be modified to get it closer to the performance level of the R? I dont mind putting some $ into the suspension to kick it up a notch if i am getting piece of mind from no DMV hassles and a motor that will go 50k! :lame:

One good feature of the 650L is longevity. They routinely go over 50,000 miles.


WOW! :thumbsup: Most cool to know! Thanks!

Also, is anyone running a SCOTTS steering stabilizer with the XL650? From the pics it appears that the speedo would interfere. Any input?

Thanks

  • oilplug

Posted September 17, 2006 - 08:46 PM

#15

My point was why buy performance you probably can't tap into.

Anybody know the price difference between R and L's off the showroom floor. Lots of used XRL's out there for reasonable $.

  • Boston Mangler

Posted September 18, 2006 - 04:43 AM

#16

My point was why buy performance you probably can't tap into.


Yes, you have a good point. One reason the XR appealed to me a little more was the amazing amount of aftermarket stuff available. There is a good amount of stuff available for the L, but the aftermarket support for the R is amazing! But you are right. Since this is my first bike in almost 7 years, I wont be at full tilt, looking for more, for quite some time! :lame:

Anybody know the price difference between R and L's off the showroom floor. Lots of used XRL's out there for reasonable $.


Yes, i have been to every dealer in SD and both bikes are going for right around MSRP +/- a few hundred dollars. Only a $500 difference between the 2. I figure, buy the L model, have the piece of mind of the legality on the street and use the $1000 i save between the cost of the bike difference and the cost of a dual sport kit for the R and put that $1000 into the L (larger tank and suspension) and i will be happy as can be! :thumbsup:

07 XR650R MSRP $6349
Dry Weight = 277lbs

07 XR650L MSRP $5849
Dry Weight = 324lbs

  • BWB63

Posted September 18, 2006 - 06:11 AM

#17

In the end remember they are NOT the same bike! Two whole worlds apart and ride totaly different. You are not just giving up power, or a little weight. If you don't try both and you can move in the dirt latter you will be trying to sell an "L" (good luck) and starting over looking for a real dirt bike that you can ride on the street. This story has gone on for quite some time.......that's why so many have had both.

  • motometal

Posted August 04, 2007 - 08:43 AM

#18

Both great bikes, but to me the difference is somewhat exaggerated. Let's face it, they are both heavy bikes and old technology, compared to modern dual sports that have come out in the last year or two. I own an "L", and have ridden an "R" (with the standard uncorking). Was expecting way more out of the R, I must say compared to my modified L it didn't have that much more power.

As far as the comment on "good luck selling the L", maybe things are different there, around here they are a hot item. I have at least two people in line that are interested when and if I decide to sell it.

And yah, the electric start is nice to have.

  • BWB63

Posted August 04, 2007 - 09:54 AM

#19

A 22% increase in horsepower is huge, The average $ to hp is about $300 once a bike is uncorked and gets to be $500 for each hp after you are done with bolt on stuff. These bike sell for close to the same price off the floor here. The "L" is not a little heavier it is a lot heavier and the center of gravity is way different then a real dirt bike. XR650R full of fuel is about 308 pound and a XL650L is 356 pounds. There are stock XR650R's on the MX track clearing 60 foot table tops with ease (with a 180 pound rider) and I have taken a Stock XR650R over 70' and have video. XL650L can't handle a 30 foot table top, not even with all the pro riders when we were trying it. Yes, we got over the forty footer but, wow, way to scary. Some of us even cleared the 55' table top but, saying the bike handled it, no. To even think that the "L" is anything like the XR650R is to admit you don't ride either even close to their limit.

I would say your XR650R was not uncork or jetted right or you were not pushing the limits of the bike in the dirt. Or your mod'ed XR650L is more then just bolt on stuff. Remember torque is close to the same on these bikes. As will be shown latter you can get the same (or close) horsepower out of a XR650L as an XR650R.

For your riding style/tastes of dirt riding an "L" sounds fine but, to tell the world that they are close to the same is a major miss judgment.

We have put, years and dollars into all the XR's from 1982 model on and the XR650R is the biggest improvement on the XR line. It is not a real XR but, the first CRF to be made. Not, very good compared to what the CRF450R is now. The CRF just wasn't a name yet. It is now eight years old and at the end of its useful race life.

Besides the 'E' button (not very new on the 600cc engine, NX) and a few brake, and very little suspension change through the years, the XL650L is a very, very old design.

These bikes have different rake and tail, different center of gravity, one steel frame with more flex and Aluminum without flex, one has the old no rebound control forks the other true cartridge forks, different shocks, air cooled vs. water cooled

When it comes to power on the XL650L the big hold back is the major mild cam, the 8:1 compression ratio and the junk CV carburetor. Once you fix these you are pushing the same hp as a XR650R and with the right bolt on's you are 45~47 and if you go 675cc you could get up to 50hp. You are looking @ just around $1400 without the labor; (not overbore) with labor you might be double that. 10~12hp gain for $1800 to $2400 is well worth it. Making it one of the best hp gains for the dollar out there, the DRZ400S being another for the dollar per hp. The XR650R is close to 45hp uncorked and with bolt on stuff 47~49hp, HRC kit 52~53hp, tricked out 680cc 58~60hp. All these numbers are rear wheel horsepower numbers (Dyno) not the advertised Braking horsepower that the manufactures give.

Now once you get these bikes out in the dirt the big difference will show that they are worlds apart. Yes, for the average weekend warrior going trial riding, the ones that just sit on the bike and go, might not see a big difference but, once you get guys that can pull the piggies ear it’s not even close. Not, a little. If you strip down the "L" to an electric started XR600R and have riders that will push it, then it might get better but, still not "close to the same bike". If you put the money into suspension you are now getting to be much closer. Putt around the sand dunes on a "L" sure, fly across them....no way, cruse the fire roads on a "L" sure and with a lot less monkey butt if both are just sitting there but, flat track the corners and do crazy speeds as you wind through the mountains....never at the same speed as the "R". Race the Score Baja Races couldn't even be thought of anymore, it would be a nice sight seeing ride. Race the desert, drop off into a 4 foot deep wash and pop out the other side, run the whoops at 70mph, jump the bike more then a foot off the ground (from the bottom of the tires, not the air you 'feel' you got)
the XR650R didn't win all those Score and BITD races being close to the same as the "L"

Once again these are just facts being talked around the riders camp fire not, meant to hurt some of your feelings or to run down your way or choice of riding or what your ride. Facts that can be verified not just what I feel is right for me
http://xr650r.borynack.com/

Posted Image

  • bikeslut

Posted August 04, 2007 - 11:27 AM

#20

A 22% increase in horsepower is huge, The average $ to hp is about $300 once a bike is uncorked and gets to be $500 for each hp after you are done with bolt on stuff. These bike sell for close to the same price off the floor here. The "L" is not a little heavier it is a lot heavier and the center of gravity is way different then a real dirt bike. XR650R full of fuel is about 308 pound and a XL650L is 356 pounds. There are stock XR650R's on the MX track clearing 60 foot table tops with ease (with a 180 pound rider) and I have taken a Stock XR650R over 70' and have video. XL650L can't handle a 30 foot table top, not even with all the pro riders when we were trying it. Yes, we got over the forty footer but, wow, way to scary. Some of us even cleared the 55' table top but, saying the bike handled it, no. To even think that the "L" is anything like the XR650R is to admit you don't ride either even close to their limit.

I would say your XR650R was not uncork or jetted right or you were not pushing the limits of the bike in the dirt. Or your mod'ed XR650L is more then just bolt on stuff. Remember torque is close to the same on these bikes. As will be shown latter you can get the same (or close) horsepower out of a XR650L as an XR650R.

For your riding style/tastes of dirt riding an "L" sounds fine but, to tell the world that they are close to the same is a major miss judgment.

We have put, years and dollars into all the XR's from 1982 model on and the XR650R is the biggest improvement on the XR line. It is not a real XR but, the first CRF to be made. Not, very good compared to what the CRF450R is now. The CRF just wasn't a name yet. It is now eight years old and at the end of its useful race life.

Besides the 'E' button (not very new on the 600cc engine, NX) and a few brake, and very little suspension change through the years, the XL650L is a very, very old design.

These bikes have different rake and tail, different center of gravity, one steel frame with more flex and Aluminum without flex, one has the old no rebound control forks the other true cartridge forks, different shocks, air cooled vs. water cooled

When it comes to power on the XL650L the big hold back is the major mild cam, the 8:1 compression ratio and the junk CV carburetor. Once you fix these you are pushing the same hp as a XR650R and with the right bolt on's you are 45~47 and if you go 675cc you could get up to 50hp. You are looking @ just around $1400 without the labor; (not overbore) with labor you might be double that. 10~12hp gain for $1800 to $2400 is well worth it. Making it one of the best hp gains for the dollar out there, the DRZ400S being another for the dollar per hp. The XR650R is close to 45hp uncorked and with bolt on stuff 47~49hp, HRC kit 52~53hp, tricked out 680cc 58~60hp. All these numbers are rear wheel horsepower numbers (Dyno) not the advertised Braking horsepower that the manufactures give.

Now once you get these bikes out in the dirt the big difference will show that they are worlds apart. Yes, for the average weekend warrior going trial riding, the ones that just sit on the bike and go, might not see a big difference but, once you get guys that can pull the piggies ear it’s not even close. Not, a little. If you strip down the "L" to an electric started XR600R and have riders that will push it, then it might get better but, still not "close to the same bike". If you put the money into suspension you are now getting to be much closer. Put around the sand dunes on a "L" sure, fly across then....no way, cruse the fire roads on a "L" sure and with a lot less monkey but, if both are just sitting there but, flat track the corners and do crazy speeds as you wind through the mountains....never at the same speed as the "R". Race the Score Baja Races couldn't even be thought of anymore, it would be a nice sight seeing ride. Race the desert, drop off into a 4 foot deep wash and pop out the other side, run the whoops at 70mph, jump the bike more then a foot off the ground (from the bottom of the tires, not the air you 'feel' you got)
the XR650R didn't win all those Score and BITD races being close to the same as the "L"

Once again these are just facts being talked around the riders camp fire not, meant to hurt some of your feelings or to run down your way or choice of riding or what your ride. Facts that can be verified not just what I feel is right for me
http://xr650r.borynack.com/

Posted Image


well you seem like you've done your homework!:thumbsup:

i would agree to your statement... an L is good for a lot of people... just not racer, or fast people. To the people that are fast on an L, you will be faster on an R... that whole street legality thing is the hang up for a lot of people; and less people are willing to take a $5000 gamble that they can get a plate and keep it...





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