Should I target a XR650L or XR600R??? Need input

41 replies to this topic
  • icedog800

Posted November 14, 2002 - 04:03 PM


hahaha 37.5 ponies hoped up. hahah The drz 400 makes 43 horsepower stock. Those big hondas are boats compared to the drz at 250lbs the kicker. If u guys want a nice big bore honda get a 650R. My buddie has one and it hauls ass. Its got all the mods and is dualsported. Now it grunts like a mule.

  • tp3dxf

Posted November 14, 2002 - 05:57 PM


I ride with a guy who has a 93XR650L he opened up the exhaust geared it down and rides the snot out of it. I envy his electric starter at times. Like when not making it up some hill or after riding for 5 hours and having to kick start my bike. I have a 95 XR600 which is dual sported via a Baja Designs Kit and has a pipe, rejetted carb, and suspension work. I also own a 01 WR426. My XR600 keeps us with the 650 no problem. Except for my ability. My buddy will pretty much smoke me on twisty pavement and open fire roads. Not because his bike is any faster, after all were only talking about 50cc's here and his bike is about 60Lbs heavier then mine. It is just that this is where he excels as a rider. The bike he rides matches his skills. I can dust him on the more technical stuff. Singletrack, double track, or even really fast rough open stuff. Both are very capable dual sports in the right hands. The XR650L suffers from being heavy but much of the weight can be removed with some basic mods. On the other hand the XR600 was designed as a offroad machine. It will roll down the highway at 80mph if you so desire but it is made to be ridden in the dirt. Which ever way you go you will have a really good bike. Not a racer like the WR426 or some of the other bikes out there. You will have one that is reliable and fun to ride. You as a rider need to decide what it is you are trying to accomplish with your dual sport. More offroad technical stuff would lead me to the XR600. More open riding and road would lead me to the XR650L. Either way were talking about 600 cc+ four stroke bikes. These are some of the heaviest machines in the offroad world and some of the lightest on the street. They will never be KTM light or Goldwing heavy. Dual Sports are very unique bikes but they will always be a compromise between dirt bike agile and street smart. Your on the right track.

  • Skid_Jackson

Posted November 14, 2002 - 06:27 PM


Hey Enduromahiac be careful when giving jetting advice across international boarders. Sabin is in bulgaria, My guess is his friend has a european spec bike. I know there are differences in the drz specs depending on the country. No epa in bulgaria so his stock jetting might be different. Just something to think about.

  • enduromaniac

Posted November 14, 2002 - 08:20 PM


Actually, according to Cycle World, the DRZ puts out 33 horsepower. And much less torque than a 650L. I have ridden a couple. It was one of the bikes that I was shopping for before I bought my L. It does handle better for serious dirt riding, and it's lighter. But the engine is gutless compared to an xr650L. To each his own.

  • enduromaniac

Posted November 14, 2002 - 10:07 PM

#25 you consider jetting a bike properly, "hopping" it up? The xr650L is sold as a street legal bike. It has to meet all kinds of EPA mandated pollution and noise criteria that offroad-only bikes do not. Hopping it up would mean a WhiteBros cam and high compression piston. or maybe a Thumper racing 675 kit. Then it pushes out around 50 horses. But rejetting, and allowing the motor to breathe, is how it would run if it was sold as an offroad bike. No doubt a DRZ would beat an EPA strangled, stock xr650L. Just hope that you don't run into one that's set up properly.

  • GP1K

Posted November 15, 2002 - 07:31 AM


I've owned both. I had a 95 XRL, it was great bike and lots of fun, as long as you didn't take it on any real trails. It was just too big and heavy. Definitely intended for more of the street side of dual sport.

I have an 02 DRZ400S, and while not as comfy on the road, it is far superior on the trail. It's not as torquey as the XRL, but has more top end.

I'm not a brand-fanatic guy. I've owned em all. I buy whatever bike from whatever brand I feel best fits my needs. I've had more Hondas than anything else, but I have two Suzukis right now, and I think the DRZ is the $hit for a truly dirt-worty dual sport.

All that said, if I was in the market for a big-bore dual sport for a little more road use and a little less trail use, I'd be looking at the KTM LC4, or the Husqy 610. The unfortunate reality is the XRL hasn't changed in what, 10 years? More? It's outdated technology. Suspension and engine design has come a long way in 10 years, and bikes like the DRZ are shining examples. The XRL just can't hang with the newer, better suspended, lighter bikes on the trail.

It really boils down to what you want the bike for. Street use and gravel road type stuff, the XRL is great. Real trail riding, forget it. If you really want to stay red, get an XR400 and a dual sport kit. If you want the best trail-worthy dual sport, visit your nearest Suzuki dealer. :)

  • enduromaniac

Posted November 15, 2002 - 10:27 AM


I agree with you...basically. If you're talking tight trails. For casual trail riding, the xr650L is fine. The fact that the L has been unchanged for 10 years, yet, is still popular, might also be the fact that Honda got it right the first time. Cartridge forks with 19 settings, remote reservoir shock with 21 settings, and almost infinitely adjustable, was a revelation on dual purpose bikes when the L was introduced. For it's purpose, it does quite well. With almost a ten year advantage in introduction, I would think the DRZ would have better suspension. I don't argue it's a better dirt bike. But, no way is it more powerful than a properly set up xr650L. And with a 250cc advantage, it probably isn't a fair comparison anyway. I'm not a brand fanatic either. I've owned plenty of Suzukis. They're great bikes.

  • rogergayla21

Posted November 15, 2002 - 10:44 AM


Never ridden a DRZ for extended time on the trail, but took my XRL on a 120 mile trip two weekends, most single track off road. It performed excellent. I was worried about the weight, but it never really became a factor. The most impressive part was how the amazing torque save my a$$ more than once. If you have the money and want a new tech grart bike, buy the DRZ. If you want to go economy, buy a modified older XRL and have a blast. And money left to keep Mama happy.

  • enduromaniac

Posted November 16, 2002 - 02:28 AM


Oh yeah..and to the guys who say the xr650L is a dinosaur, and belongs on pavement, don't tell Russell Fischer. He's the british guy, that 2 years ago, completed the Trans Am trail on his xr650L. 4200 off road miles, from Mississippi to Oregon. Through washed out mud roads of Oklahoma, to gnarly tight track in Colorado, and the open deserts of Nevada and New Mexico. His only mechanical problem being a couple of flat tires. Try that on one of your high tech modern marvels. Then maybe you'll see why the L has it's fans.

  • rogergayla21

Posted November 16, 2002 - 04:55 AM


Amen Brother

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

Posted November 16, 2002 - 05:03 AM


As a guy who is new to on-off road riding, but not new to motorcyling but do happen to have both a XL and an R. The XL is 87 so it is pre electric start the R is a 95.. I rode trials for a lot of years, when I first got the XL I put it in the woods and tried riding it like a trials bike.. It doesn't turn, and it is a little heavy to hop the front end around like a trials bike, but I was surprised at were it would go and how well it did handle. I ride most of the time standing, knees bent letting the bike work back and forth between my legs. I was surprised by how predictable it was. the big draw back I found were the brakes and week front end. The 600R I have only had a chance to ride a couple of weekends. power is better, only by a slight margin, brakes much better, it did seem to do the hill climbs with a little less effort. On the road I couldn't tell one bike from the other. The speedo and lights are much better on the XL than on the R which would be one think to consider if you plan to use it to commute or ride at night, gas mileage seems better on the XL.. There is a strong desire to ride a wheelie with the R at every chance so this may not be a fair comment. The seat is good on both. The XL seems to be a little easier to ride standing up, The R may need bar risers.. I would look for a good deal on whatever bike you find, it would be what would swing me in either direction. Your riding skill will have far more with what you can do on it than on which bike you do it on, if you are already a skillfull off road rider you may easliy over come the weight differences and other draw backs and it should all really boil down to,, which are you more likely to do more of road or off road each bike has charactoristics that make one more suitable than the other..

  • GP1K

Posted November 16, 2002 - 09:12 AM


Plasticweld brought up a good point. Rider skill/experience. I'm a long time street/sport bike guy, somewhat new to offroad. A skilled rider can rider can ride pretty much anything, and compensate for any "deficiency" in equipment. By that I'm not trying to say the Honda is deficient. What I mean is a big, heavy bike can go damn near anywhere a smaller, lighter bike can. It just won't be as easy. A smaller lighter bike is more confidence inspiring and easier to learn on than a heavy one. And the other reality is that at some point, ridden agressively, a heavy bike is going to overtax it's suspension, unless some serious suspension uprades have been done.

I'd bet if you were to ask the powers that be at Honda, they would tell you the XRL was never meant to be serious trail bike. Ask Suzuki, and you'd get a different answer. The DRZ "S" model is basically a dirt bike with lights, mirrors and a magic button. The XRL isn't. Doesn't make it a bad bike, just a different tool for a different job. Truth be known, in a perfect world I'd have something like an XRL (or more like the KTM or Husqy I mentioned in my previous post) for riding on the street and backroad exploring. My DRZ, in it's current form, isn't so good for long days in the saddle just cruising around. But it sure kicks ass off road!

  • enduromaniac

Posted November 16, 2002 - 10:31 AM


In the late eighties, Honda marketed the NX 650. It was a street bike with dirt pretensions. It did not go over well, and sales were putrid. When Honda introduced the xr650L, it did get serious. Honda has always marketed it as a dirt bike with turn signals. If you read Motorcycle Online's comments about it...Honda intended it as a serious dirt bike, and "made very few compromises for street-ability". I concur. Again, it isn't for serious tight tracks, but it is more than capable as a basic trail bike. Compared to it's real market competition, the KLR 650, and the Suzuki DR 650, it's a Husaberg :)

  • stonewall

Posted November 16, 2002 - 10:56 AM


Hey DR_BUSA doesn't a DRZ-S weigh around 320lbs. full of gas and ready to ride? It's not exactly a lightweight either. The XRL is one of the few bikes heavier than the S.
I'm not knocking the S. It is a real good bike and Suzuki did a good job on it. If the manufacturers didn't have to deal with the lawyers and the EPA, all the factory dualsports would be a lot lighter and more powerful. Then I wouldn't have to build my own.

  • motometal

Posted November 20, 2002 - 05:36 PM


I ride my XRL to the local riding area to see whos there. Last time I went, I learned that it does the jumps on the mx track quite nicely (all but the largest ones anyway). Medium sized doubles to small triples-no problem! And that's with the original fork oil from 1993! Too much fun to honk the horn while in the air... She dances quite nicely for a fat girl, thank you, and that's with crappy dual sport tires on a sandy track...

  • RunAnywhere

Posted November 21, 2002 - 04:01 PM


Man, that's alot to read...

My two cents: A little over a year ago, I bought a completely stock 93 L. I started riding with a guy on a cr450f who acted surprised at the way I kept up with him. Then I started riding with a guy who rode a drz400. He was a bit more compotent than me at first(I just got back on a bike after 9 years) but I quckly started taking lead. It didn't take long for me to start modifying my bike. As I got better, I needed something that could keep up. Now I ride with the f, two drzs, an xr 400 and an atk 350. I've done all the mods on my list below--and even a few more--and still find myself looking for another mod that will make my L the bike I need to keep up with my ability and my riding buddies' more agile bikes.

Having said that, let me boldly state that there is NO drz that will come close to making out the little letters on my license plate at the end--or the first 100 yards--of a 1/4 mile drag.

So what's my complaint with my L? Nothing. It's a top notch, power mad animal that's absolutly bullet proof. The problem is that I picked a bike that is not compatable with my riding or the riding of those I sling dirt with. After all the time and money I've spent on my L, I can turn much faster times in single track on my buddies much less powerful drz.

I'm looking closley at the wr450. All bikes are made well and are great for certain applications. The trick is finding the one that's right for you.

Good Luck

  • eyeofth3b3hold3r

Posted July 31, 2008 - 05:16 PM


i think you said it best runanywhere! its all about what you are looking for in a bike! for me it was something bullet proof, something i could learn about, and most importantly easy on the $$'s. i would be hard press to find a $1400 DRZ400 that i would be able to put 8,000 miles on with zero failures or problems. my also big concern was parts, the other day i stupidly lost my little axle nut and chain adjuster. my friend drove me to the nearest shop we were about 6 hours from home, and luckily the guy had the part, it was a used part but he said it came off of an old crashed out xr250 he had, fit my bike perfect(i'm not sure if he was right about what it came off of, but it did fit perfect!). but i do not think i could have picked out a better bike for the money i have spent. also what kind of mileage can you expect to turn on the drz odometer? i just turned 19,000 on my xrl....

  • martinfan30

Posted July 31, 2008 - 06:44 PM


This thread is only six years old...


  • clintp

Posted July 31, 2008 - 07:04 PM


"Bring out your dead"

But I'm not dead yet!!!

You'll be dead soon enough...

Posted Image

  • martinfan30

Posted July 31, 2008 - 07:05 PM


"Bring out your dead"

But I'm not dead yet!!!

You'll be dead soon enough...

Posted Image

A classic reference!!!

Love that scene.:ride:

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