XR650R vs 650L vs KTM 625 SXC

57 replies to this topic
  • ZacT

Posted April 14, 2003 - 03:40 PM


Hey guys, for a dual sport whats the main differences between getting a xr650L or the 650R and converting it to a dual sport? I'm allso considering the new KTM 625 SXC, but I'm a little worried about the vibration and long distance road worthyness of the ktm. But from what I've read its got the xr beat off road, and I like the fact that it only weighs 291 lbs. anyone been on both these bikes? how do they compare on and off road? I want somthing thats good offroad but capable of getting across canada on the highway. what are your suggestions?

  • Dutch

Posted April 14, 2003 - 04:51 PM


I'll jump in - the 650L is a street legal electric start, air cooled, 20 year old design, (but a good one), and a very capable off road motorcycle but the focus is the street. The 650R is not street legal from the factory, kick only start, water cooled, 4 year old design that is faster, better chassis, much more dirt focused bike than the "L".
The KTM will put your butt and hands to sleep in 20 minutes
and I wouldn't even consider that one.
One other thing you may want to think about if you are planning a big ride on this, the availability of aftermarket components to set the bike up for your needs. The Hondas have so much more than any other brand. Plus the number of dealers and easy to get parts in the booneys. Hard to beat Hondas at that also.
So what model to choose? My opinion is the "L" would be a great choice set up the right way, (uncorked, correct springs for the rider, aluminum rack for the back, big tank).
The 650R is the right choice if your riding buddys are on 650l's and you want to spank them :)

  • Grimmer

Posted April 15, 2003 - 02:29 AM


:) I will agree with Dutch on your best bet being a XR650L. The L has a great conterbalanced engine and is smooth on the road. Don't be fooled though, with the right tires (MT21's) and a aftermarket exhuast (FMF PowerCore4) this bike is very capable in the dirt. My riding buddy has one with these mods and does a great job hanging with me. Dutch is right though, the XR650R will spank a L's ass everytime when off the road. I can't speak to the abilities ogf the KTM, I've never ridden one.

  • jstevens

Posted April 15, 2003 - 07:35 AM


OK, an "L" guys turn to chime in on this action. :)

The other two guys, have hit the nail on the head. I can't add to much more to what they've already told you. But I'll try and elaborate a little more for ya.

In my opinion if your 5-11 or taller, then the "L" is for you. If your 130-160 pounds, then then the "L" isn't for you because you won't be able to pick up the 327 lbs, when you drop it. As far as speed, the "L" reportedly can do 105mph. I can't imagine you'd need anything faster then that. Upgrade wise, all you need to do is jetting and exhaust. Both together will set you back around $300.00 bucks, which isn't to bad of a deal. After that you'll be able to hang with and possibly take those "650r's" out there if you can get the jump on them. :D
Don't get caught up in the speed of one bike over the other. More then half of the time it's the skills of the rider not the bike.
I don't know about the KTM, that seems to be the "Hot" new "Cool" bike to get these days.
As you can imagine, you won't get to much "luv" or love here in the TT BRP house when it comes to the Oranges . /bike/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smashpc.gif

Lastly if you are talking about DUAL-SPORTING on both the dirt and the road. And for any length of time over 1 hour your going to be upgrading your seat or the foam in it. That true no matter what make or model you go with.

good luck let us know what you decide.

  • Ed_Buratti

Posted April 16, 2003 - 01:18 AM


Get the L. I have one and have no problem at all on trails. Also, It's a nice bike on the road. Mine has stock gearing, Exhaust tip, and the Baja Designs carb mod. With stock gearing, top speed is 97 on the road. The R is probably a better bike off-road, but you won't like it anywhere near as much as the L on the road.

  • 1350cfm

Posted April 16, 2003 - 11:02 AM


I'll have a BOP "Big Orange Pig" 625SXC on Friday, I'll give a report. My brother has a 2003 XR400. Let ya know how it compares to that

  • Burren_Rider

Posted April 16, 2003 - 02:26 PM


My advice would be to make sure you take the KTM for a lengthy test ride before you consider it any further. The vibration can be a killer if you are sensitive to it and you will find yourself hating the bike, especially on the road where it is more noticeable. I know this because I bought a KTM Adventure (not sure what they are called in America, but the one with the big tanks) and traded it on an XR650R within a month, because it vibrated so much. The XR is lighter, faster, smoother and easier to live with if you are used to maintaining Japanese bikes. It might not suit everyone but it is flexible, it can be ridden just about anywhere you point it, and will hold up to all kinds of abuse with just a bit of maintenance here and there. Mine has got approximately 10,000km on it with 5 of those being done in one week in Outback Australia. The bike has not faulted once in that time, so I guess it is pretty hard not to like it.

In Australia the 650R is complianced so can be street registered straight up. Given this, I wouldn't consider the L model because the R is just too fast, with better suspension to boot. It might be a different story if I had to bugger around with government agencies to get it registered though.

  • ZacT

Posted April 16, 2003 - 02:37 PM


great, I'd love to get all the reviews I can on the 625 sxc. I really want that bike to be the one for me, but I'm still not sure. again my main concern is, can you ride this bike for a day on the highway if you had to?

  • jstevens

Posted April 16, 2003 - 03:41 PM



It sounds like you already have your mind made up. In that case get the KTM625! Your missing the point, you can't ride any of these bikes for a DAY stright on the Highway it will kill you. They simply aren't made for that. If you want to do that type of riding then you need to look for a different class of motorcycle try cruiser, touring bike or a gold wing :D

If your mind is set on it, and it's seem to me yours is then get the bike you want. But when you have problems with the thing don't come back crying to us. :D

Like a buddie of mine told me, Honda is on top for a reason. They make great bikes and engines that are very dependable and run forever. My buddie has a 1982 xr500 that's over 20 years old and still starts on the very first kick, handles well in the dirt, mud and whaterver else you throw at it. Will your KTM live up to those Honda standards? It would be great if it does, Again go ahead and get the bike and we will see, just make sure you let us know how it works our for ya. :)

  • 1350cfm

Posted April 17, 2003 - 09:36 AM


2 hours and counting till the 625 comes home!!! :)

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

Posted April 17, 2003 - 10:19 AM


Here is one for you and it only has 14 miles on it. :)


  • sunnymex

Posted April 17, 2003 - 10:23 AM


Hey ZacT,

What percentage of your riding do you do on highway and off?? This will probably make a big diference in what you should buy. There are a lot of bikes that are desegined as dual sport bikes but designed around diferent priorities. For example, Honda has the XR-L which I would see as a more off road worthy dirt bike than street bike and then Kawasaki has the KLR 650 which is more designed for highway use, but still off-road capable. I would see the XRL as 60/40 off road while the KLR is more like 70/30 on road. Figure out what you will be doing primarily and then how hard and technical you want your off road riding to be.

I really do not know much about the KTM, but I would say that if you want something that will get you to your off-road riding areas so then once you get there you can just rip it up, then I would go for the 650R turned street legal. Much more fun of a bike then the L.

Anyhow, figure our what you want to do then go from there. Let us know if you still need help deciding. The good thing is that you have decided to buy a bike, that is the most important step. :D :)

  • 1350cfm

Posted April 17, 2003 - 04:13 PM


Well I got the 625 home tonight and made a few passes down the street. All I can say is this bike hauls A$$. We are going riding in the morning. I will give you guys a ride report.

  • ZacT

Posted April 20, 2003 - 04:46 PM


hey 1350cfm were still waiting for the ride report... I'm startin to think either your to busy out enjoyin the bike, or you don't like at as much as you expected and don't want to admit it. I think as much as I wanted the ktm at first, I'm starting to think more about the xr. how does the xrR compare to the ktm on the road i wonder? I expect to be doing about 50/50 dirt street, or thats what I want to bike to be made for, but I'll probably be on the road more like 60%. I want to have my fun offroad, but I don't want to be disapointed with the bike when I have to go for a distance on the highway. I think the KLR is way to much street for me. I only weigh 160 and want somthing managable offroad.

any other opinions, suggestions on my decison would be greatly appreciated.

  • ZacT

Posted April 20, 2003 - 09:02 PM


I also wanta ask if anyone has a good estamate off the top of their head what the total cost would be to get the xr R set up with dual sport kit, DOT tires uncorked and jetted and then insurance and registration? I think I'd prefer the R over the L but I'm wondering about how much extra it'll cost. also how much worse off is the R on the road compared to the L? I'm seeing the R as being much better off road, but what exactly makes the L a better onroad machine? other than tires, e-start extra weight and its legal from the dealership.

  • 1350cfm

Posted April 21, 2003 - 02:28 AM


OK, With 70 miles on the digital odometer this mornin' I can tell you the bike has incredible power. It isn't totally broken in yet so I am still going kinda easy on it. I have ridden it on fresh trails we hade through some woods at a friends cabin in Eastern Ohio. The trails were tight singletrack on top of heavy leaves and very soft topsoil. The bike was quite a handful in these conditions. The leaves made it very slippery and the HUGE power of the bike dug ruts. Our trails dumped out to some power lines where the KTM could strut it's stuff. It will wheelie over any obstacle even in 4th gear with a slight twist of the throttle. It would easily climb any hill I pointed it at. That was Fridays ride which was my first ride on this bike. I rode my brothers XR400 and found it "slightly" easier on these tracks. It has an inch or so lower seat. Saturdays ride was back at home in mostly open fields an blazing trails through the woods. Out in the open fields this thing is AWSOME!! It doesn't matter what gear your in... Just roll on the throttle and GO!!! I'm now starting to get more comferatable on the bike. Powersliding it through turns and ZIG-ZAGGIN' through the woods with no problems. Got home and washed it again. Saturday was fun. Sunday I tried to blaze a trail to my brothers house which is about 5 miles away. No luck getting past a sub-division so I turned around and ran some train tracks back towards home. I spotted some old sandstone quarries and headed down. Rode some INCREDIBLE singletrack with steep hills, rocks logs, switch backs and ridges along the Black River with 100ft drop offs. These trails were VERY NARROW! No way a quad could have run them. It took me only a couple minutes to build enough confidence to keep my feet on the pegs and ride the trails like a "trials course". I HAD A BLAST! Is the 625 the same as a Gas Gas 280 trials bike? No way.. I was however very happy with the low end thumper torque and the bike didn't feel like a 291lb monster in the woods. The electric start saved my A$$ in a couple of spots. Once I stalled on a VERY TIGHT switchback where I wouldn't been able to get a foot down because the the bank was eroded away to the river. It was an easy 50ft drop. I hit the button and away I went without taking a foot off the pegs.I haven't noticed a problem with "bar buzz" but most of my riding wasn't wide open kinda stuff. I will keep you posted when we hit some longer trails. I am very happy with the bike so far. The quality of the bike is FIRST CLASS! If it has any flaws I haven't found them yet. :)

  • backwoods73

Posted February 09, 2015 - 12:04 PM


Hey guys, is an 03 ktm625 sxc w/ca plate amd 1000 miles worth $4000 ?

  • Chuckster

Posted February 09, 2015 - 12:37 PM


I was thinking the same thing. Looked at a couple local ads. I rode an sxc this weekend, I have an xr600. The ktm is nice, good looking, decent suspension. Being honest with myself, the suspension on my xr600 with xr400 forks I worked over is just as good, the engine is much, much smoother. I'm not sure I can tolerate the 640/625 ktm for long distances. Dirt, yes, probably. The vibes come on Above a certain rpm. They are bad enough if you stand up, come thru your boots, hands. If you are light on it, very loose grip,feet no weight, it was almost tolerable. Almost. I couldn't do big miles on it. Ergos, power and handling are good. They have their own problems tho, read about bearing failures, water pump issues, and the difficulty, expense of getting a bigger gas tank, fan kit, new seat needed for that tank, it adds up. I've seen a few now with very low miles. I suspect you either love it and can deal with the vibes or you can't and park it coz you really wish you could?

Reminded me power wise of my old te610. Great power, much smoother.

  • eddie20

Posted February 09, 2015 - 07:06 PM


I just purchased my first "L" 2014 with 2100 miles on it; rode the bike Friday, Saturday and Sunday. What a bike did about 130 miles total, technical single track (kinda tough in the rocks but capable), pavement (GREAT), dirt roads fire and rough rutted roads (EXCELLENT). I have had many many motorcycles over the last 40 years and I think I found my best bike ever! Feels like a light dirt bike, comfortable seat, great suspension and plenty of power. I had so much fun my Harley is on Craigs List as it will just sit with the XR650L in my garage-ten times the fun.

  • backwoods73

Posted February 10, 2015 - 12:05 PM


So my delema is ktm 625 sxc plated or xr650l ???? Would be about 69.2% street and 30.8% dirt/woods. With occasional trips of 200-250 miles. Looking for power, comfort and RELIABILITY .please chime in if you have experience with these bikes, thanks and keep the shiny side up.

Related Content


1993 XR600R rebuild by ove

Dirt Bike   Make / Model Specific   Honda   XR600/650
  • Hot  41 replies

Can anyone identify this xr600 piston? by ms_mtn24

Dirt Bike   Make / Model Specific   Honda   XR600/650
  • 4 replies

XR650L super moto wheels by greggkklee

Dirt Bike   Make / Model Specific   Honda   XR600/650
  • Hot  28 replies

FCR40 Tuning Woes- XR600R by aTuWitty

Dirt Bike   Make / Model Specific   Honda   XR600/650
  • Hot  37 replies

Which thumper motor for a street tracker? by woz

Dirt Bike   General Dirt Bike Forums   General Dirt Bike Discussion
  • * * * * -
  • Hot  29 replies

Join Our Community!

Even if you don't want to post, registered members get access to tools that make finding & following the good stuff easier.

If you enjoyed reading about "" here in the ThumperTalk archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join ThumperTalk today!

The views and opinions expressed on this page are strictly those of the author, and have not been reviewed or approved by ThumperTalk.