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XR650L - What was it designed for?

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I've read almost every post I can find on this forum, and others, about the Honda XR650L. One phrase comes up quite frequently, that the XRL is "perfect for what it was designed for".

What, in your opinion, does that mean? Give examples, please?

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Low cost (to make and to buy), low up keep, street bike that can do double duty as a trail bike. Simple bike. Hasn't changed for more then 12 years. It was not made to race or hit high rpm's. It was not made to be a serious off road bike. Some chose to make it do serious duty off rode but, then it's no longer a low cost bike.

Suspension was not made to do much.

It's was/is made to be a catch all bike. Jack of all trades, master of none.

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XR650L comes with electric start and is street legal out of the box, classified as Dual Sport , it's better off road than a KLR650 and DR650, not as good on road as the KLR and DR, it weighs more than the XR600R and XR650R and has less power, the R models are race versions and have to be converted to be street legal. It's probably the best selling DS ever.

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Here's an example or two; would the XRL be good for this?

1) Trailer the bike from Dallas to Moab. Unload, ride the streets/highways in and around Moab, then head off into the mountains and desert around Moab to explore the Jeep trails.

2) Trailer the bike from Dallas to Durango, Colo. Unload, ride the beautiful, twisty mountain roads that run through Southwest Colorado. Get off the pavement onto Jeep Trails that run across the Rockies through high mountain passes. Drop down into northern New Mexico to explore, then return to Durango days later.

3) Riding the commute on city streets, maybe a little touch of highway. Riding out of Dallas for short trips of a few hundred miles. Gravel/dirt roads leading across ranches, rides along the beach in South Texas, exploring the Texas Hill Country on little two-lane roads.

So, would you equate the XRL to the Jeep Wrangler? A Go-Anywhere/Do-Anything bike for exploring whatever terrain you find. Kind of rugged for the street, but makes up for it in the dirt?

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As long as you go into it knowing that a dual sport bike is compromise between comfort, range and capabilities, it really doesn't matter which of the Japanese 650's you get. I'd go with the Honda for reliability, the aftermarket and the (better) dirt readiness.

You'll still need to "adapt" any DS bike to your type of riding. Tires are a huge factor of how well a bike will perform on a given surface. Seats also need to be considered. Monkey-butt is a real problem but can be somewhat alleviated with a cushier aftermarket seat. Range is also fairly limited for 2 of the 3 650's. An aftermarket tank can remedy this easily. The upright riding position can get tiring when riding high speeds for any length of time on pavement. An add-on windscreen can reduce rider fatigue greatly.

So having said that, be prepared to spend more than just the purchase price to tailor whichever bike you choose to make it the "right" DS bike for you.

I haven't stopped modding my '98 XRL and I've had it for 2 years now. It's been a fun work in progress. I also understand the riding characteristics of this 350 lb. +machine and it's limitations. Even so this hasn't stopped me from riding it just about anywhere I've got the nerve or enough medical insurance to attempt.

Good luck and choose wisely.

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With a good enough rider, the 650L can do just about anything, and do nearly 100% of the things that you can do on an XR400

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Here's an example or two; would the XRL be good for this?

1) Trailer the bike from Dallas to Moab. Unload, ride the streets/highways in and around Moab, then head off into the mountains and desert around Moab to explore the Jeep trails.

2) Trailer the bike from Dallas to Durango, Colo. Unload, ride the beautiful, twisty mountain roads that run through Southwest Colorado. Get off the pavement onto Jeep Trails that run across the Rockies through high mountain passes. Drop down into northern New Mexico to explore, then return to Durango days later.

3) Riding the commute on city streets, maybe a little touch of highway. Riding out of Dallas for short trips of a few hundred miles. Gravel/dirt roads leading across ranches, rides along the beach in South Texas, exploring the Texas Hill Country on little two-lane roads.

So, would you equate the XRL to the Jeep Wrangler? A Go-Anywhere/Do-Anything bike for exploring whatever terrain you find. Kind of rugged for the street, but makes up for it in the dirt?

absolutley :D

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What dual dog and lotsa bikes just said. The tools are there you just have to do the fine tune.

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wasn't the xr650L based on the xr600 which won everything from GNCC Harescrambles to the BAJA 1000?

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wasn't the xr650L based on the xr600 which won everything from GNCC Harescrambles to the BAJA 1000?

Yes. The XR650L is essentially a NX650 Motor stuffed into an XR600 frame, brought ot you by Scott Summers.

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Amazing that BWB still gets it wrong.

It is a serious off-road bike, and I have minimal $$ into mods.

I will agree its slower, but that doesn't mean not serious.

Dave

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Amazing that BWB still gets it wrong.

It is a serious off-road bike, and I have minimal $$ into mods.

I will agree its slower, but that doesn't mean not serious.

Dave

He just means it's not a serious dirt bike because it puts a big smile on your face :D

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Amazing that BWB still gets it wrong.

It is a serious off-road bike, and I have minimal $$ into mods.

I will agree its slower, but that doesn't mean not serious.

Dave

:D:D

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With a good enough rider, the 650L can do just about anything, and do nearly 100% of the things that you can do on an XR400

Negative Ghostrider.......... :D

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the xr 650l is a dual sport beast. it is made to last through the harshest conditions with virtually no matinance. it is a bike that is good on the street and good on the trail as long as it isnt a highly agressive trail or u are being an ass goin 90mph down a 2 track.

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It's good for going from A to B by the least direct route.

It's good for going on secondary highways and backroads, then finding a spot in a small town to kick your boots off, have a drink and eat a sandwich at a local diner.

It's good for going and closing the gate after all the cows are in the pasture.

It's good for following your kid when he's on his first motorbike so he feels secure, and so his dad feels like his buddy too.

It's good for guys that need to get out of the house and blow off some stress by hitting a trail.

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It's good for going from A to B by the least direct route.

It's good for going on secondary highways and backroads, then finding a spot in a small town to kick your boots off, have a drink and eat a sandwich at a local diner.

It's good for going and closing the gate after all the cows are in the pasture.

It's good for following your kid when he's on his first motorbike so he feels secure, and so his dad feels like his buddy too.

It's good for guys that need to get out of the house and blow off some stress by hitting a trail.

That's the best description of the XRL I've heard. :D

Now I just need to get one so I can do all those things, and more!

Many, many thanks.

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OK, sounds like the XRL challenge is on!

As long as its not a speed or jumping contest, lets hear what an XR400 or XR650R will do that the XRL won't.

I love a challenge...

Dave

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