Any problems with the XR650?

4 replies to this topic
  • Dramus

Posted March 14, 2003 - 12:45 AM


Hey folks. I have found a good deal on a 2002 XR650R and was wondering if there were any recurring problems or other things that might crop up in the course of ownership. Any hidden glitches or stuff a new owner should know about?

Thanks in advance

  • secretatlas

Posted March 14, 2003 - 08:07 AM


the bike is bullet proof.
i suggest replacing the radiator cap with a higher rated cap. the cap from a kawisaki kx 80 works best and is cheapest.

one thing to watch is the right foot peg comes loose every four to five rides if you ride hard. you need to check the foot peg bolts from time to time.
also the kick starter bolts come loose but i've only seen this on my own bike as well as the bikes of other desert racers. i think it's from the dead engine starts we have to do.
keep a constant eye on your spokes as well. after every ride my spookes end up looser than a six-year-old's tooth.

an intersting side note is to keep the stock skid plate. don't listen to what anybody says about putting a aftermarket on. just replace them as they break. the stock skid plate is plastic for reasons other than to lighten the bike up. it helps the bike glide over rocks whereas the aftermarket skid plates act as anchors draging the bike's engine across rocks which results in frame damage.

i have a buddy who went through two frames. he talked to henge one day at a race who told him that he was breaking frames because he was running alu aftermarket skid plates.
stick with plastic. team honda runs plastic skid plates and don't thin they get away with it because the can put the bike where they want and avoid stuff that gets the rest of, stand along the course at a desert race and you will see henge, campbell, and blais hit stuff harder than you thought possible.

there is a list of all the mods nec. to unplug and open the bike up. just search the archives on this site to find them.

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  • Rokatt88

Posted March 14, 2003 - 11:14 AM


Good Advice KC,

Interesting comments about the stock skid plate. My other Pig Buds immediatly put after market skid plates on their Pigs. I never saw the need to switch out and always thought that if the stocker was good enough for Campbell and Crew it was good enough for me. Plus, I just like the way it looks as compared to that "High Zoot" coal shovel with portholes effect! :)

  • irondude

Posted March 14, 2003 - 01:31 PM


The 650 is a blast out in the desert, down in Baja, along forest service roads, or dual sporting. The bike is a bit heavy for tight woods, single track, mud, or motorcross-

Unfortunately the stock bike in the USA is sad. It needs significant investment in both OEM and aftermarket parts to realize its truly great potential. Dont know if thats a problem or not, but it is someting to consider.

Heres my two cents worth on what yer gonna need no matter what type of riding you want to do:

1) A steering dampener (its +/- 300lbs wet)
2) A pumper carb (its a Bitch to start, stock)
3) An opened up intake manifold (power)
4) An unrestricted airbox (power)
5) A larger tank (28mpg!)
6) Fatter handlebars (worth it)
7) A different top triple clamp (for the steering dampener)

This is just the 'basic' list. Fine tuning the suspension, a new pipe, dual sport kit, and aftermarket items geared toward your type of riding would follow. Plan on putting a couple grand into the thing. Once you have the bike the way Honda should have built it, you will love it.
I respectfully disagree on the skid plate, my left side bottom frame rail has two large craters to disprove the notion the bike somehow glides over rocks with a stock plastic skid plate! Now I run the solid XR's only skidplate.

Other problems to watch for:
My stock front rim seem seperated! Now i use Excells.
Chain guide will self destruct.
Rear disc guard will self destruct.
All linkage should be re-greased.
Stock plug is to hot.
Stock hubs are (occasionally) known to crack in half.
Sub frame is prone to tweaking.
Crank failure is common in racing.
Ergonomics are a bit tight for anyone over 5'10"

OK- dont be put off. Just sitting here thinking of last years race problems....its an AWESOME trail bike for wide open areas. Just plan on putting a little ching into it. Its not a KTM. Nor does it vibrate like one.

  • Dramus

Posted March 14, 2003 - 11:59 PM


Hey guys, Thanks for the advice.

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