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Sei Hei Ki

XR or XL?

15 posts in this topic

Greetings? New member and poster here. And soon to be a new owner/rider of a XR650 too.

I'd like someone's opinion re. whether a XR650R or XR650L would be more appropriate for my needs, please.

Having had been a cruiser rider all my life (with the Valkyrie being my last bike), I'm intending to buy a XR650R or XR650L very shortly. Reason is, my daughter has just turned the age where she can start to learn dirt riding on a 50cc dirt bike. And I want to ride along with her in the deserts of Nevada.

Here's my question: I'll be riding the bike 90% on paved roads and 10% on dirt roads (when my daughter will be riding hers). At first thought, the XR650L seemed like the right bike for me, but I live in Nevada and it gets extremely hot here during the summer. Especially if you're stuck in bumper-to-bumper city traffic. The XR650R is liquid cooled and the XR650L is air cooled. I'm thinking that life will be more tolerable for me here, during the summer, if my bike is liquid cooled, therefore. I can always put on a light kit on the XR650R to make it street legal.

Does my thinking make sense to anyone? Or, should I not worry about the air cooled XR650L during the extremely hot summer here?

Needless, to say, I'm prejudiced towards Honda products. :cry:

Thanks for your comments in advance.

Sei Hei Ki

SeiHeiKi@aol.com

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Especially if you're stuck in bumper-to-bumper city traffic

If you are riding an L and are stuck in traffic there is a problem :cry:

I would say the L will be a good choice, but I have no chance at DS a 650R in California. If you are willing to spend the extra cash and time to DS an R go with it. I do love my L and ride it everyday rain or shine. It is an excellent bike, and after the right mods it will never overheat. I ride in desert temps all the time and I never seen it go over 280 after the mods. This is following my 10 year old on her 70 all day in first gear.

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Thanks for the helpful feedback. I always chose liquid cooled engines in cruisers for the reason that I mentioned (went to Death Valley a couple of times), so that's why I'm a little leary of 'em. Glad to know that I shouldn't expect any probs with the air cooled engine of a XR650L in extreme heat. Can I assume that I can Power-Up the XR650L also?

Thanks again.

HSK

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Let me start by saying I love my L. But, they have nothing in common after the name. The R is faster, better suspension, liquid cooled, not street legal, less comfortable on long pavement rides and more expensive. If you are riding 70% street and 30% dirt, the L all the way, and they are pretty quick and can be made faster. They DO NOT COMPARE TO THE R!! No flame fest, it's just a fact. I ride my L on single, fire roads and just did 85 miles this weekend in the thick NC mud and loved every minute of it. IF you have spent most of your time on cruisers you'll love the L; if you have allot of time on MX bikes you'll think it's a pig and it is. Just my opinion I could be wrong. :cry::cry: Either way RIDE RED!!

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The L will take you everywhere your daughter will be able to ride in comfort and ease, just don't be in a hurry to pick it up when you fall over. It is tall and relatively heavy but if you're of average build you should have no problem(the R wins in manueverabilty however).

The R might give you a hot start problem which could be annoying without an electric starter like the L (L wins in startability)

The R will be very skittish on the street. The L is like a Cadillac.

The L has buddy pegs.The R doesn't.

As a long time xr650l owner who has also ridden an XR650R on the street, let me suggest that overheating not be your deciding factor. Both bikes have famous Honda reliability and engineering. If you overheat one it's because of abusive use and/or improper tuning. (trail riding is not abuse)The xr650L motor is tried and true and comes from nx650 which has been in production since the late 80's. It is low compression and mildly tuned. Keep it well oiled and you'll have no problem in the desert. The xr650r is a race bike, high compression (2 compression releases, i'm jealous), wildly tuned (compared to a stock xr650l) keep it watered and oiled and it'll live if ridden slowly but it won't like it. (its a tie here)

For 90% street and 10% dirt (and low impact at that) go for the L.

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Can I assume that I can Power-Up the XR650L also? HSK

Yea the same mods that make it run cooler are the ones that will give it the extra kick. But like jlpskydive said it’s no R when it comes to raw power but it will go anywhere. It does shine in the twisty mountain roads, that’s where I have the most fun on it.

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I'd like someone's opinion re. whether a XR650R or XR650L would be more appropriate for my needs, please.

Here's my question: I'll be riding the bike 90% on paved roads and 10% on dirt roads (when my daughter will be riding hers). At first thought, the XR650L seemed like the right bike for me, but I live in Nevada and it gets extremely hot here during the summer.

If you're going to be riding mostly street, get the XRL. Tried and true but very old technology. Nothing wrong with that. Just doesn't have the neck snapping acceleration as the newer Thumpers. No comparison with the XRR. They don't call it the King of Baja for nothing.

I'm thinking that life will be more tolerable for me here, during the summer, if my bike is liquid cooled, therefore. I can always put on a light kit on the XR650R to make it street legal.

If we could only be so lucky here in the people's republic of california. I'd DS an XRR in a second. I wouldn't want to travel long distances on road with it because that's not what it's designed for. WOT desert blasting, even technical trail riding the XRR will smoke the XRL. The XRR is much more advanced than the XRL. Definitely not a beginners bike.

Needless, to say, I'm prejudiced towards Honda products. :cry:

Thanks for your comments in advance.

Can't ever go wrong riding red. But there are other good bikes out there aren't as heavy that can do the same things with a lot less effort. My $0.02.

Good luck & enjoy the ride. Either way you can't go wrong. :cry:

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I opted for the 650L. I plan on burning up the highways and blasting the trails.

I figure I can make this BRP go where ever I dare take it and if I need more out of it, I can then mod it to suit me. I pick mine up this w/e and have already ordered the bigger Clarke tank for longer range. I figure thats it until I get to pound on it for a while. Can't wait. :cry::cry:

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Thanks for all the great advice and opinions. It's proving to be very helpful to me.

After so many years of providing advice to new Valkyrie owners at another message board, it's nice to be at the receiving end.

Thanks again.

P.S. I'm 50, 6'5", and 220 lbs. Glad both bikes are as tall as they are too.

P.P.S. Would modifting the XR650L with a Power-Up make it a significantly peppier rabbit?

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Thanks for all the great advice and opinions.

P.P.S. Would modifting the XR650L with a Power-Up make it a significantly peppier rabbit?

Yes. Though I don't think rabbit is really the right term, more like a pig would be more accurate. The XRL is very plugged up from the factory. On the CA models you can barely tell there's an engine down there. If you do search for "uncorking, drill the slide, shim the needle, smog block off," etc., you will find the standard drill for waking up the BFP, or Big Fat Pig. That's meant in a good way 'cause I've got one, too! :cry:

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Cool. Glad to hear that.

BTW, I have a friend who knows my needs quite well, and recommended an unusual remedy. He suggested that I get a 1000cc Suzuki VStrom. He has one and swears that it can handle the kind of introductory dirt roads that my daughter will be riding on her 50cc. And then when she's not, he claims, I can feed my need for speed on pavement quite adequately.

I thought that that was an interesting outside-the-box recommendation.

Thanks again.

HSK

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after 4 months the Vstrom wont be able to keep up with her--plus you will find the world of off-roading is a blast!

get the L, and both of you have a great adventure---the best thing about dirt bikes is the way they bring family together!!

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I have the "R", which is plated and legal. But, given the type of riding you're going to do, I would suggest the "L". The "R", even though it's liquid cooled, will overheat very easily if left in stock trim with all the epa junk intact.

It requires the power-up mod and re-jetting, and then it will never overheat, plus it gains about 12hp and a lot more torque.

To own the "R" and be happy with it, one should be mechanically inclined and not mind kick starting a big-bore bike, or require a soft, mellow ride. The "R" is a race bike, and when uncorked (powered-up kit installed), it's a very powerful, high strung bike, which is not user-friendly for beginners, and for inexperienced riders, the trigger-happy throttle response can be a problem especially on pavement.

Get the "L", uncork it and re-jet it, and you'll have the bike you're looking for I think.

L.L.

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Cool. Glad to hear that.

BTW, I have a friend who knows my needs quite well, and recommended an unusual remedy. He suggested that I get a 1000cc Suzuki VStrom. He has one and swears that it can handle the kind of introductory dirt roads that my daughter will be riding on her 50cc. And then when she's not, he claims, I can feed my need for speed on pavement quite adequately.

I thought that that was an interesting outside-the-box recommendation.

Thanks again.

HSK

A V Storm for off road? You must be F-ing kidding. That might work on dirt roads, but that's it. If you think the L is heavy holy crap at that thing. Wrong animal for the wrong forest. If you are even considering that you might be in the wrong place. if you really want to go off road the L is the last stop before a street bike and that is what a V storm is!!

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Hold your ripcord, friend. I simply said that a friend of mine suggested the VStrom. He bills himself as an adventure cyclist and often posts here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/ . As you can see, there are several VStrom riders who post there too.

Like I said, the right bike all depends on what you intend to use it for.

Thanks again.

HSK

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