650L too much for dirt newbie?

15 replies to this topic
  • auron

Posted February 09, 2007 - 10:13 AM


I've got lots of experience on street bike, lots of track time and I feel very comfortable doing whatever I want on pavement. Dirt, all I've done is flattrack a XR100 and little time on a CR125. I know I want a Honda and i know I want a dual-sport so the 650l is just about my only choice off the showroom floor. I'm willing to take my time and respect the machine for sure but is it too much for me?

  • DualSport650

Posted February 09, 2007 - 10:21 AM


You'll be alright.

They're pretty tame in stock form, but you can mod them to really "gitty up!" :ride:

They're not light, but you'll have a blast dualsporting it and hitting the occasional trail, etc.

All good. Get some! :censored:

PS: Speaking of getting some... Get some GOOD TIRES with knobs if you're riding dirt!

  • rebelventurer

Posted February 09, 2007 - 11:50 AM


As long as you respect the bike you will be fine, then again the only times I have laid mine over I was going really slow :censored: But definately get some knobbies, the stock tires arent very good even on road. Oh, welcome to TT.

  • goblin127

Posted February 09, 2007 - 03:53 PM


sounds like you have plenty of experience. Long legs are a plus on this bike. Welcome and go for it.

  • XR650L_Dave

Posted February 09, 2007 - 03:54 PM


Its got a very mellow power curve that will get you out of trouble with a minimum of fuss.

It'll go wherever you point it, no matter how nasty, tough, and tight.

Just be sure you can get *back*.

Its tall, and its heavy, so focus on not stopping.

The 'dave mods' aid the rideability and throttle response, making it easier to ride and more trustworthy without making the power delivery any less mellow.


  • flubber

Posted February 09, 2007 - 06:31 PM


I too think you'll be just fine. As long as you respect the bike and have a little bit of common sense you will be ok. Oh yeah, how tall are you???

  • xrltim

Posted February 09, 2007 - 06:33 PM


If you are a big person (6' 180lbs. or more) you'll be in heaven. The bike is a little top heavy so like someone else said, going slow may get you in trouble. Get some good tires and pay attention to the inflation. If I were you I'd keep the bike stock (besides removing smog and richening up the carb) It is real mellow but will get off the line faster than most cars, it is a 650 after all. Welcome to the club, you'll have a great time.

  • auron

Posted February 12, 2007 - 07:19 AM


I'm 5'10, 160 lbs. I used to do some pretty intense leg workouts so my legs are stronger than normal. I was reading some reviews on the bike and the only major complaint was needing a lot of "muscle" to get around on the trails.

I just sat on one and with a lowing link I'll be able to flat foot it. Seems really cool but what is this talk of 35mpg?! Give me a break my superhawk got that. Tell me I can do better than that!

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  • Motosprtman

Posted February 12, 2007 - 11:12 AM


even in stock trim it is geared lower than you superhawk, lower gearing of course = more RPM = more fuel consumption. You will be fine as I think you have the common sense riding experience to get you thru. It is heavy, It is tall (and I am 73" in 220 lbs), trick is to not try and over-ride the bike off road and dumpin it. It is a heavy beast to heft back upright, but if you take your time in tighter stuff and don't try to fly, it's fun. On more open trails and fire roads - woo-hoo :-)

  • sgifford

Posted February 12, 2007 - 07:02 PM


I get almost 50mpg on my 650L with shorter than stock gearing (14/45) on the highway.

I'm 6'6" and ride my L everywhere off-road. I mean everywhere! The guys on the light-weight off-road bikes are always in shock at where I take the big beast. It has a great torquey engine, and the suspension is pretty good for trail riding.

Having said all this, and at the risk of ticking off my fellow Honda owners (I love Hondas. I own 4 of them), given your height might want to check out the Suzuki DRZ400. Also a very capable dual-sport, but not as tall or heavy as the L.

  • paul246

Posted February 13, 2007 - 02:55 PM


I bought a new XR650L last fall, this was my first foray into off-road riding as well. I chose the Honda over the others mainly for its simplicity (air-cooled). So far I'm a happy camper except for the fact that the engine runs so lean, it makes starting in really cold weather difficult. Once the warranty is up I'll perform some of the mods described here.

The gas mileage was disappointing at first, but has really improved as the engine breaks in. I'm now getting around 42 mpg in mixed riding, hopefully it will continue to improve.

I'm 5'10", weigh 180 pounds and have a 30" inseam. When stopped I'm pretty well balancing on my toes...no big deal really. If I shift sideways just a bit on the seat I can get one foot right down, if required.

I find the 650L to be a really fun ride overall, just love pulling off the highway, through the ditch and across the fields just for the heck of it. :censored:

  • frog13

Posted February 13, 2007 - 07:55 PM


Hey this is frog13,

I want a dependable no hassels dual sport---I am commuting 50 miles round trip to work and will use bike to ride with novice son on trails open areas.

Two bikes considered: 650L & klx250---what do-ya think?

Do you have to remove smog stuff on 650L for it to run cooler--or what?.


  • Motosprtman

Posted February 14, 2007 - 06:45 AM


for your commute I suggest going with the 650L, it will also be ok off road just heavier and taller I think than the Kawi 250. The smog stuff does not really lean the bike out it - as much as the jetting does. I started out slow uncorking my 2005 XR650L, first the smog removal and the installation of the IMS smog plug kit, then a Unifilter, dynojet carb kit, and airbox opened up and finally a White Brothers E2 pipe. The bike is louder than I would like it to be but not obnoxiously so, runs crisp, lke it should have. EZ cold starts and idle, impressive throttle response, broad powerband pullls like a locomotive. Lofts the front end at a twist of the grip. I also installed Dunlop 606 tires - great off road - sing lke crazy on pavement, wear ok so far. Baja designs skid plate also installed and acerbis fork and front brake guards. XR's only coutersprocket cover (billet aluminum vice plastic!) and I have a IMS 4 gallon red tank and graphics from XR's only to install to further my range. Also have yet to install my XR's only rack, but I have a tail-light on order from foustrokes.com to replace the stock one, I think it will look alot more sanno with the XR type tailight vs the stock one. Overall the XR650L is a very versatile bike, greta on the street and very off road capable in mild trail riding to fire roads / logging roads. It is NOT a MX bike nor was it ever intended to be. But as one post said on here "quite possibly the best bike ever made".

  • frog13

Posted February 14, 2007 - 10:29 AM


Hey motosportman;

Thanks for all of the reply----most anybody has written on my "topic"

Is there a carb. out there I can purchase that has adjustment screw(s) on it already----like the OLD carbs??????.


I think the choice has been made-------LONG LIVE THE"L"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  • Motosprtman

Posted February 14, 2007 - 11:35 AM


There are expensive aftermarket carbs available for the XR650L, but unless you really mod the bike etc, you don't need one. The stock one performs just fine as is and is ez to work on. Get a Dyno jet kit and install the needle, new spring and the main jet (160 for the stock pipe 165 for an sftermarket one) use a 55 pilot from the Honda dealer, go out 2 1/4 turns from bottom on your air fuel screw. You wll have to trim off the adjustment stop tab on the carb via a dremel tool. pop off the snorkle intake on top of the airbox and install a Uni air filter. Block off the smog junk with an IMS kit (contains instructions on how to do it) and then start-ride-smile :-) change the oil often - keep the air filter clean and your grandson will be riding it one day...

You have made a wise choice.

  • sjcordova

Posted September 15, 2007 - 04:12 AM


I'm 6'3" And 250, When I First Got The Bike This Summer It Was Intimidating To Say The Least. Of Course I Had Not Ridden For 25 Years. I Have Since Put 2000 Miles On My "l" And It Feels Less Top Heavy And I Feel We Are Becoming One On The Road. The "l" Is Still Beasty On The Wooded Trails,but With More And More Riding There I'm Sure It Will Become Less Top Heavy There As Well. I Looked At Many Different Duallys,dz,husky, Klr. I Feel That I Made The Right Decision On My Purchase. Even At My Height I Prefer The Corbin Seat Vs The Stock. Not As Cushy But It Feels Like You Become Part Of The Bike And Not Just Sitting On The Bike. I Also Just Added A Cee Baily Windshield, It Sure Helps To Keep The Wind Off Of Your Chest Which Helps Reduce The Fatigue On Your Arms, Especially At Higher Speeds

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