Dual-Sport XR600R or XR650L.... recommendations?

Sorry that this post is long, but I've got a lot to figure out... hopefully, you all have some input for me.....

I'm a asphalt guy recently converted to dirt.... well, as far as my BMW 1200GS can take me on the dirt. Actually you'd be surprised where that thing can go - 85lbs of torque can get a 500+lbs bike over quite a few obsticles.

So, I've been looking for a used dirt bike to add to the stable - but it needs to be a dual-sport, the rides we do are mainly trail riding like 90/10 drit/asphalt - that doesn't include the 1000 miles we ride to get to the dirt. But I figure I'd tow the dirt bike, so it doesn't have to be able to ride the asphalt for 1000 miles before it sees dirt (but maybe 200 miles). Mainly, I have been riding in Death Valley, passes in the Sierras, Moab - I'd like to take it to Baja.... and I would like to be able to take it to some of the OHV parks to play...

After a bunch of research online I figured an XR400R with dual-sport conversion would work nicely for me. Big enough to get down the highway when necessary, light enough to have fun in the dirt, and some torque to help get over stuff. Problem is, here in CA getting a street legal XR400 is becoming difficult - sellers are asking premium prices because they know you can't get a street legal dirt bike anymore... and to add to that, the CA DMV has started revoking plates on some conversions done after 2004... what a PITA!

So, I want to expand my search a bit beyond the XR400.... and I wanted to get some input.

What about the XR600R? If I can find one street legal - it doesn't solve my problem with CA DMV, and possible revoking the plate - but it expands my search. So, XR400R versus XR600R.... what are the pluses and minuses for each? I did some research on the XR600R, and it seems that after 1988 they haven't changes much (before that they had weird wheel sizes, dual carbs, etc) - I figure I would limit my search to late 1990s XR600Rs.

What about the XR650L? Is it the same bike as the XR600R - detuned, bored out, and made street legal? I know it's the BFP, but compared to my heavy weight BMW (500+ lbs dry) the XR650L a light weight... :cheers:

What about the electric starter on the XR650L - reliable? I liked the idea of kick-start on the XR400 and XR600, when you're 100 miles in the middle of nowhere, it's nice not to have to worry about a dead battery, or a starter....

Sorry again for the long post, and thanks for your input....

XR400 and xr600 are both good bikes! but both heavy for what they are.

650L has a very reliable starter. I'm a Honda tech and have never seen one fail.

if i where you, i would by a 2002 or newer DRZ400s + unibiker rad guards + TT store FCR carb kit + pro tapers/risers/hand guards.

i love my 650r but the only reason i got it over a DRZ was the price! electric start is GOLD!!!!!!! i believe the above is the only option for {cheap} DS in California.

good luck!

First a bit about conversions. As long as the conversion was done before 1/2004 you will be OK. Don't try and bring in a bike from out of state, it will may get denied.

A XR600 does a bit better on the highway than the XR400. It can run at 80 with the other traffic. It is not comfortable like your GS, mine vibrates quite a bit. I will go the five miles from my house to the nearest trail. It goes in the truck for anything further. One reason for this is the tires. You really want to run non DOT true dirt knobbies on the trails. My knobbies run fine on the pavement, they just wear really quickly.

You are correct about the 650L being a detuned XR600. The 600 weighs around 40 pounds less. The 600 is better in the dirt. The main 650L starter failure is a dead battery. With enough speed it can be bump started. It can take a lot of speed to bump start since it does not have a magneto style ingnition, but it can be done.

Hello,

The 400 is a great bike, but it weighs almost as much as the 600 without the power..I just traded my L for a R.. WOW! what a difference in power..But no elec start..I've seen some street legal 650 R's on ebay.. Check out the new street legal KTM 525 they have elect start and they are a great machine..(pricey though) You will have to weigh your options, and see what works best for you..

Thanks for the input....

I like all the new KTM and Huskies - especially since they come 50-state street legal. But I am looking for a bike to play with - a secondary to my BMW GS, and my first dirt bike - so I'd rather not spend $8,000 at this point. I was hoping to get a nice used bike in the $2500 range... once I figure out what I want from a dirt bike I may be in a better position to justify buying something like a KTM or Husky.

I like that the 650L is street legal, but I think the 400R and then the 600R would be more fun.... I've also thought about the DRZ400S because it's street legal - but I'd rather have a XR....

Thanks for the input....

I like all the new KTM and Huskies - especially since they come 50-state street legal. But I am looking for a bike to play with - a secondary to my BMW GS, and my first dirt bike - so I'd rather not spend $8,000 at this point. I was hoping to get a nice used bike in the $2500 range... once I figure out what I want from a dirt bike I may be in a better position to justify buying something like a KTM or Husky.

I like that the 650L is street legal, but I think the 400R and then the 600R would be more fun.... I've also thought about the DRZ400S because it's street legal - but I'd rather have a XR....

XR all the way....:cheers:

As long as your not planning on doing some big jumps, get an L. You can do a lot with them and they seem to be plentiful, very reliable, just do'nt run it out of oil. This is your best bet as far as D/S and the amount of money you want to spend. There are all kinds of motor mods you can make when your ready, granted its not an R, but an L that has the right modifications will run with one. Before the R guys get ramped up, I am saying a modified L will run with a stock R (high compression piston, HRC cam, good valves and springs, FCR, or edelbrock carb, opened up air box and full exhaust). I have seen lots of one of a kind L's that poeple have posted pic's of, and they really are an awesome bike. Good luck with your endeavor, and let us know what you end up doing. :cheers:

One feature should make you choose the L over standard XR 600 - Electric Start. Nothing worse then crashing then kicking and kicking and kicking. Just hit the button and go. The L's battery is overbuilt; I run an electric vest and never have had a problem getting it going. Lots of guys on the board like to mod their bikes and have good mechanical suggestions. I'm not overly mechanically inclined and tend to leave things stock as I want to ride my bike not work on it. What lured me towards XR's in general is their reputation for being low maintenance, bulletproof and cheap. I've had my BRP for a year now and can honestly say I'm a better rider now because I ride more then when I had my CR 250 (woods rigged) which I was constantly working on, loading in the truck, unloading, etc etc. I ride the XR in very tight woods, in the mud and muck and only really notice the extra weight on downhill sections or when I crash and have to pick it up.

My advice is pick the bike you like that allows you to get out their and ride the most. For this the XRL is tough to beat.

Man get the xr650r the the bike is an absulute blast! the xr600 dose not come close! the power is great and if you want to make it realy great you can get a piston and cam from honda [hrc kit] I did this to mine and it kills any hopped up super moto 450 yzf crf whatever.you can get a200 model at a good price they havnt changed a thing since.put on the baja kit and go.realy ride one and you never sell it I go by my dad and his buddys on harleys on the back wheel at 100mph!and you could pour ball bearings in the crankcase and it still won't break!

Sounds like you are looking for a fun, cheap, bulletproof ride. The XR400 and the XR600 are just about the most reliable dirt bikes on the planet. I have converted several XR600s to ?street legal?, and one XR400. They are both great bikes, but I like the 600 best, it just has more ass. The 650L is pretty much of a dud off-road, the 600 does everything better (except for the e-start). We have a 650R in the garage with the Baja Designs conversion kit, it is a great bike, superior to the 600 in many respects, but I stick with the 600 for its' simplicity and sledge hammer reliability. Whichever XR you choose, you can't go wrong.

I got a 650l and love the thing man and if you ever have a problem with the electric starter dont forget about push starting it(been there done that..left the light on).So many things to play around with and modify also....so inother words I recomend it:thumbsup:

I think the xl650 is good too..............and its not a DUD Off ROAD LIKE THE OTHER GUY SAID

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