XL600R vs XR650L


18 replies to this topic
  • Motosprtman

Posted October 10, 2007 - 08:22 AM

#1

Maybe answered before but since I purchased an 86 XL600R in excellent condition yesterday to add to my ever growing stable of bikes, I thought I would offer the differences I have noted between the two bikes, now this is not completey objective in that one is a new 05 XR650L with 2,800 miles on it and uncorked and the XL600R has 14,300 miles on it and is also uncorked (as far as I can tell, supertrapp exhaust and good throttle response etc.) Granted the age difference and milage alone make for a stark contrast in a fair comparison, but the XL600R was the predecessor of the XR and the last of the XL line and as such may be compared. (I don't count the NX250/650 series bikes as being in the same league as an XL). So anyway! since I ony had about an hour on each bike yesterday (boy was it fun) here are the main differences I noted, have I mentioned E-start yet?

Ease of Starting; the XR650L wins hands down due to e-start.

Power delievery (everyone wants to know this) the XL pulls harder down low, other than that they are nearly identical, the additional 50cc in the XR shows a little but it is not breath-taking. Both like to cruise at 55-60 very easily and get there effortlessy, the XL gearing is spaced just a bit closer than the XR. In a flat out drag race, I think it would be a draw.

Handling The XL is born to slide - I had two wheel controlable slides going in every turn - a real grinner! it has a an IRC knobby on the back and a cheng shin up front an odd mix but it felt pretty controlable and defintely would let you know that you had reached the break away point. (no I did not crash) Albeit the XL is 21 years old the suspension was still plush, not a MX'er by any means an neither should it be compared ot one, it felt good for a BIG thumper. The XL is easier to ride and is confidence inspiring and lacks the tall "fall over feel" of the XR650L. The XR650L suspension is even better but it feels short and tall and has a nose dive to it from a high CG, the XL lacks the Nose dive tuck in a tight turn that the XR has.

Overall: There is no clear cut winner. Both bikes have thier own personaility, the XL600R would be better off with E-start for sure, becuase unless you know the drill to start a BIG thumper, it can be a pain in the arse and is not knee friendly. The XL is lower and handles a bit better, power band is very good and it seems more dirt oriented, the XR has a weird power spread with the stock sprockets 1st is too low and 2nd too high. The XL will wheelie in 2nd on command - not always so with the XR.

I paid 1,700 bucks for the XL, it is in great shape and was purchased form the 2nd owner who had done nothing but maintain it, too big in the woods was his complaint, which it is. But it is a very fun bike to ride!

  • martinfan30

Posted October 10, 2007 - 08:26 AM

#2

nice write up, dad LOL!

is the xl a twin carb?

  • cleonard

Posted October 10, 2007 - 08:49 AM

#3

The XL should smoke the XR in a drag race if both are stock and in good condition. The XL was rated at 43hp and the XR at only a little over 30. Uncorked I'm not sure that the XR will get to 43hp without some other mods.

In the off road suspension department the XR smokes the XL. The XR has cartridge forks and the XR has 2 or so more inches of travel.

On more mellow dirt roads the XL will be superior. Like you said it was made to slide. In the gnarly single track or big whoops the XR will be the winner.

The XL is also better on the pavement.

  • Motosprtman

Posted October 10, 2007 - 10:09 AM

#4

nice write up, dad LOL!

is the xl a twin carb?


Yes son it is.

  • Motosprtman

Posted October 10, 2007 - 10:11 AM

#5

The XL should smoke the XR if both are stock and in good condition. The XL was rated at 43hp and the XR at only a little over 30. Uncorked I'm not sure that the XR will get to 43 without some other mods.

In the off road suspension department the XR smokes the XL. The XR has cartridge forks and the XR has 2 or so more inches of travel.

On more mellow dirt roads the XL will be superior. Like you said it was made to slide. In the gnarly single track or big whoops the XR will be the winner.

The XL is also better on the pavement.


Well ya know that is what I thought too, thatb the XL is alot faster - maybe so.... I dunno, supposed to be a nice weekend - so I will ride em both again and compare further. I know the XL seemed like it at first - but then when I switched rides - maybe not, I was beating an incoming rain storm - and rode maybe 20-35 minutes on each. The XL also came with an interesting box of parts, 2 spare carbs, a spare stator and a unknown CDI box. The guy I bought it from said the original owner did not re-jet the carbs for the supertrapp slip on, but it seems to run fine and does not have that cough and die syndrome that my 87 XL600 had.

  • Denn10

Posted October 10, 2007 - 10:18 AM

#6

Its not always a HP thing Nice write up TY

  • Bibleman

Posted October 10, 2007 - 06:09 PM

#7

I find it hard to believe that the XL has 43 and the XR 30. I have seen a dyno chart as low as 30 on the XR but I doubt the 43 figure is at the rear wheel on the XL. Dyno's vary and dual sports and dirt bikes are tough to get a good read sometimes due to wheel spin. I just don't think there's a 30 % plus hp advantage with the XL when comparing apples to apples. My 2 cents:prof: Then again, I was wrong once :confused:

  • martinfan30

Posted October 10, 2007 - 09:50 PM

#8

I find it hard to believe that the XL has 43 and the XR 30. I have seen a dyno chart as low as 30 on the XR but I doubt the 43 figure is at the rear wheel on the XL. Dyno's vary and dual sports and dirt bikes are tough to get a good read sometimes due to wheel spin. I just don't think there's a 30 % plus hp advantage with the XL when comparing apples to apples. My 2 cents:prof: Then again, I was wrong once :confused:


take this into consideration: 2 carbs, slightly more aggressive cam profile, a little more compression, and a cdi unit with (supposedly more advance). this may be enough!

also think about the old tt500's, they put out 40 hp in 1980!

  • Motosprtman

Posted October 11, 2007 - 05:20 AM

#9

Hey! just thought of this and maybe wrong but something to think about with the XR650L motor. It is in fact, a NX650 motor. Prior to that the GB500. The XR650L began life as a NX650 motor stuffed into an XR600 frame, that being said, it may be possible that the more street oriented charecteristics of the NX motor make the 650L feel a bit doggier as compared to the old XL600R. I don't think the XL motor is very much alike as compared to XR650L motor.

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  • zrxer

Posted October 11, 2007 - 06:18 AM

#10

OK here's a bit of my recent experiences. I have an '84 XL600R I've been monkying with. With the stock engine, only mods being jetting and 4" Supertrapp, it pulled pretty good right off idle with a strong mid and decent
top end pull. Pulled that engine and installed a '93 XR650L engine. Only mods are a 41mm Mikuni, clamp on foam filter and the same Supertrapp. Excellent off idle pull with decent midrange. Top end doesn't do much but make noise and vibrate.

Bibleman, Honda did rate the 43 HP at the crank back then. But from the dyno figures I have seen on the big bore four-stroke singles there is generally a loss of about 5-7 HP to the rear wheel. So, going by that, the XL600 engine still makes more HP than the XR650L in stock form.

Martinfan, actually the old TT500s made about 29 HP stock. A good friend of mine who used to build those things for racing was able to get 40-45 HP reliably.

  • martinfan30

Posted October 11, 2007 - 07:00 AM

#11

OK here's a bit of my recent experiences. I have an '84 XL600R I've been monkying with. With the stock engine, only mods being jetting and 4" Supertrapp, it pulled pretty good right off idle with a strong mid and decent
top end pull. Pulled that engine and installed a '93 XR650L engine. Only mods are a 41mm Mikuni, clamp on foam filter and the same Supertrapp. Excellent off idle pull with decent midrange. Top end doesn't do much but make noise and vibrate.

Bibleman, Honda did rate the 43 HP at the crank back then. But from the dyno figures I have seen on the big bore four-stroke singles there is generally a loss of about 5-7 HP to the rear wheel. So, going by that, the XL600 engine still makes more HP than the XR650L in stock form.

Martinfan, actually the old TT500s made about 29 HP stock. A good friend of mine who used to build those things for racing was able to get 40-45 HP reliably.



ok thanks for the correction! i read that somewhere it it kind of stuck in my head.:confused:

  • martinfan30

Posted October 11, 2007 - 07:01 AM

#12

Hey! just thought of this and maybe wrong but something to think about with the XR650L motor. It is in fact, a NX650 motor. Prior to that the GB500. The XR650L began life as a NX650 motor stuffed into an XR600 frame, that being said, it may be possible that the more street oriented charecteristics of the NX motor make the 650L feel a bit doggier as compared to the old XL600R. I don't think the XL motor is very much alike as compared to XR650L motor.


yep!:confused:

  • XR650L_Dave

Posted October 11, 2007 - 07:38 AM

#13

On any of these no-power-band because its-all-power-band tractors its tough to tell whats faster, slower, etc.

You have to drag race 'em, or time 'em.

Dave

  • XR650L_Dave

Posted October 11, 2007 - 07:40 AM

#14

Oh, and maybe the XL spec is gross (at the crank) and the XRL is net (at the wheel)?

Dave

  • martinfan30

Posted October 11, 2007 - 07:50 AM

#15

Oh, and maybe the XL spec is gross (at the crank) and the XRL is net (at the wheel)?

Dave


i dont know for sure either, but that makes a little sense.

  • jetfuel

Posted October 11, 2007 - 08:13 AM

#16

Those XL's had nice "wide" balancing points.. I could ride endless wheelies on mine. The engines ran great and the bike is really just limited by its old school suspension. Thanks for the write up and refreshhing my memories of it.

  • Motosprtman

Posted October 11, 2007 - 10:27 AM

#17

sure is fun! I know that - cannot wiat for the weekend so I can spend some time with it cleaning and sprucing it up, that is all it really needs!

  • Bibleman

Posted October 11, 2007 - 05:12 PM

#18

It sure would be interesting to see two side by side dyno graphs. I noticed that it's very tough to find them for these bikes. I actually had an XT500 and an XL600 too. Too far back to remember the power differences. I do remember that a friend and I used to ride our 500s (mine the XT and his a Honda XL) and the Honda definitely had a power edge, though a small one. Both were '79s if I remember correctly.
One thing I do remember though is the XT wouldn't do much more than an indicated 80mph, whereas I've gotten and indicated 100 out of my "L"

  • Nummie

Posted October 11, 2007 - 09:00 PM

#19

The XL600R was good for 103 mph back in 1983.
http://www.4strokes....da/cwxl600test/
My 1984 still is.





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