I think that one reason that the 650R has not sold well, is that it is built to good. You are not going to find 7 year old 450's that are in as good mechanical condition as when they were new. You sure do with 650s. If Honda
had made significant changes to the 650R, you can bet your paycheck that many of us would have been running down to our dealers to snap them up.
I have spent alot of saddle time riding other's 450s, and a 2003 can't hold a candle to a 2007, therefore, to keep up you have to upgrade! Other than BNG and a few subtle unannounced parts updates, a '00 650R is just as good as the '07 on the showroom floor (if it has new plastic).
My pipe dream:
I love my 650R. I ride it everywhere. I have made it street legal. I race motocross with it (Vet Pro). I've won an AMA amatuer title on it in the desert (H&H Open Am). I've ridden it in every month of the year, and let me tell you, that can be tough to do in Montana. I have been riding the same bike for six years. I want to buy a new bike from you, but you don't want to make the bike that I want. IF you were willing, this is my wish list for a new XR650RR. You made the last 650R at the bequest of Johnny Campbell and Scott Summers, so how about giving in to an actual customer's requests?
There are a few changes that I would like to see in the 650's future.
I want redesigned cases with stacked tranny gears like a CRF. Shorter motor, more compact CG. This way we can have a longer swingarm like a CRF, and have a normal shock leverage ratio. I want to see a stock spring rate of a 5.4 kg/mm, this way I can get a Titanium 5.8. I am tired of having to run the front coil spring off of a Buick to keep my #$% off the rear tire. With the redesigned cases, e-start can be integrated properly. With the lessened shock leverage, the frame could be made lighter to accomodate the lower stresses on the shock mounts. This would balance the weight gain from the e-start. Can we just have the suspension right off the 450X while we are at it?
While we are in the motor department, it will have to have EFI. It's an EPA thing. BUT... With the EFI, you have total control of the motor, so I would like you guys to keep the bore and stroke the same, but lighten up the crank and counterbalancer significantly. Then slow down the faster revving motor with the EFI and ECU. This way you can give the less intelligent among us a pink wire to cut like on a 450X so we can scare ourselves silly with a full performance setting (or put a switch in for the Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde thing).
As long as you are going all out, throw in a slipper clutch. This way if I want to motard it, I'm better prepared for asphalt thrashing. And add in a full 100W DC circuit for the charging system. Screw the AC. This way I can just plug in my HID light and not have to worry about rewinding (Honda, your setup on the 450X is BS: low wattage on both AC and DC circuits).
If it still weighs 275 without gas, I think that we, the paying customer, would be fine with that. And keep the price under $8000. If it has a MSRP of $7999 we will run like the wind to our dealers for this marvel of engineering and speed.
Just give me some updates Honda, or
a winning lottery ticket, a lot of billet aluminum chunks, and about a year of free time!
If I say Please, will that help?
Okay, done ranting.