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gotdurt
01-26-2007, 11:17 AM
Now that I've owned both and have put a significant amount of miles on each...

I was recently asked on an old thread that I started back (when I purchased my DR650SE) why I said that if I had to do it all over again, I'd go back to the XR650L... Keep in mind that the big DR isn't a bad bike; I do like it and as I mentioned in the thread, I don't plan to change bikes until the DR quits for good... by then maybe there will be an entirely different option.

The thread:
http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4320

I though it might be helpful to many if I posted my response here:

Nice looking setup :thumb:

You mentioned you'd have preferred the XR650L if you had to do it over again, why's that?

There are several reasons:

1) The XR is just a better dirt bike (and better all-around bike if you have the inseam).

2) The XR suspension, while not flawless itself, blows the DR away, and is more adjustable too. The DR is way under damped in both compression and rebound and can be quite a handfull when terrain gets active, and you can forget about whoops - slow down! The XR is also more controlled on the street. There's also MUCH more available to make the XR's supension better; very limited options for the DR.

3) The belly of the DR is looow... that coupled with a waaay so soft supension, means the skid plate contacts everything in it's path; a rare occurrence on the 4" higher and much firmer XR. I could also take drops as much as 6' on the XR, barely blowing through the stroke or the upseting the chassis; I can't hop a large curb on the DR without bottoming out and things getting squirelly. Granted, I do have a few more pounds on me now... ;-)

4) The DR has a noisey motor compared to the XR. Not a big deal, but it does concern me some times.

5) No matter what the "numbers" say, the XR has much more usable power, feels faster, and the motor torques off the bottom much easier (with same gearing compared). I could ride the XR at low rpms in any terrain, and always had control. I find myself frantically downshifting on the DR searching for higher rpms, which usually means it's too late. I like to have really low end torque at low rpm for technical trails. I still have the NX, which has the same motor as the XRL, and even with the exhaust and jetting on the DR, the NX will walk away from it in a drag race.

6) One word: AFTERMARKET! It was never difficult to find anything I wanted for the XR, and with countless options, and nearly always in stock. This is especially true for performance goodies.

7) The DR has things like cush drive and rubber mounted pegs; not things I want on the trail, or even on the street for that matter (call me weird).

8) The XR has an 18" rear wheel! Sheesh, why do the others bother with 17"? It's really hard to get the tires I want in the sizes it want. Not to mention, my favorite all-around 50/50 tire, the IRC GP110, has a different section shape than the 18", slightly hurting it's street performance.

9) (added) The XR had convenient features such as an air box that could be opened with the twist of 2 clips on the side pannel (especially nice on the long trail trips), where as the DR requires removal of the side panel screws, then the airbox screws. The XR valves are easier to adjust, jets can be changed without removing the carb, and when the carb needs to be removed, it's not a difficult task, unlike the **** DR carb.

10) (added) Speaking of carbs... the DR is finicky and hard to get right (still haven't), doesn't work as well, and if you lay it over, you'd better plan on hanging out for a while, they are know for this too. While the XR still has a CV carb, at least it's easy to dial-in, and I never had any problems, eaven after laying it down, or on steep hills.

11) (added) Resale... DR's can be had cheap - but you won't get much for it when you sell it, and from what I've seen, you won't get your money back out of the mod's either. The opposite with the XRL; You might pay more for it, but you'll get the most out of it when it's time to sell. I bought my XRL in new condition with 700 miles on it for $3200 in '00. I rode it HARD in the AZ desert for 3 years, 12K miles, 95% off-road. It looked tired when I sold it (but still running GREAT); There wasn't a smooth piece of plastic on it, had a bent subframe that had been welded twice and gusseted, dempled and wavey supertrap exhaust, bent rear wheel (front rim/spokes were new :) ), the rear fender was stitched together with coat hanger wire, etc, worn and torn seat cover... I sold it to the first caller for $2100. That's $1100 for 12k miles of FUN.

Now, here's the thing; most of that doesn't matter to me anymore. I used the XR for a hard-core long distance desert bike, and rarely as a commuting bike - except for a 2 mile jaunt to the office.

Nowadays, I ride only occasionally off-road, and 75% of my riding is on my 40 mile round trip metro commute to work, 20% county roads, and about 5% playing elswhere. The DR is fine for most of that, especially the commuting thanks to the low seat height, although the XR will do the county road stuff just as well, if not better. Then there's that 5% where when I do it, I'd really like to have fun... and I could always lower the XR if needed...

The Cycle Trader photo of the XRL before I sold it:
http://clfry.com/images/adventure/HONDA.JPG

The DR in a state similar to current:
http://www.clfry.com/mc/DSC_0140.jpg

maxrates
06-13-2007, 11:34 PM
how about the seat comfort for long rides..........like 3 or 4 hours?

Have you ridden either with a corbin seat ???

I think I am going back to a KLR650. Just sitting on the DR in the showroom it seems the seat would be a killer after a while.

What do you think?

thanks
Doug
06 KLX250s

gotdurt
06-14-2007, 08:45 AM
how about the seat comfort for long rides..........like 3 or 4 hours?

Have you ridden either with a corbin seat ???

I think I am going back to a KLR650. Just sitting on the DR in the showroom it seems the seat would be a killer after a while.

I find the stock DR seat to be tolerable for long days, but then I stand up a lot when I ride. The XR650L and the KLR600 (same seat as the 650) were both a little better though, especially when I changed to Ceet seat foam on the XR. The DR seat works the best off-road, IMO. I never tried a Corbin, wrong shape and width for the kind of riding I did.

DeLee
06-14-2007, 09:37 AM
If I had to do it over I would have picked up the XR over the DR.
If you get a DR the Corbin is a must for any distance pavement riding.
-Dennis

masssheltie
06-14-2007, 11:46 AM
I just looked at both at a local shop this morning before work. I found the seat on the XR VERY high, such that I could barely touch the ground with toes. Considering how short Japanese people are, who the heck is riding this thing? Andre the Giant Lookalikes? This did not give me a confident feeling while sitting atop the unit.

I could plant both feet flat on the ground with the Suzuki, which really made a big difference. I did like the styling of the XR a lot more though.

C

gotdurt
06-14-2007, 12:09 PM
I just looked at both at a local shop this morning before work. I found the seat on the XR VERY high, such that I could barely touch the ground with toes. Considering how short Japanese people are, who the heck is riding this thing? Andre the Giant Lookalikes? This did not give me a confident feeling while sitting atop the unit.

I could plant both feet flat on the ground with the Suzuki, which really made a big difference. I did like the styling of the XR a lot more though.

C
You learn to shift to one side on the XRL for one foot down, becomes second nature. I have a 32" inseam, and never had an issue on mine, mostly off-road riding. There are much bigger, more important differences between the 2 (unless you have significantly less inseam than 32"), depends on what you want to use them for. It's much easier (and cheaper) to lower the XRL than to turn the DR into a dirtbike...

1TallTXn
06-14-2007, 06:20 PM
who the heck is riding this thing? Andre the Giant Lookalikes? This did not give me a confident feeling while sitting atop the unit.

That would be me :wave:
Well, I don't own one yet, but I can flat foot it just fine (34" inseam)
Welcome aboard!

One day I'll own one

Thanks for the report/comparison gotdurt :thumb:

masssheltie
06-15-2007, 07:56 AM
Admitting that I don't know much about motorcycles, this next one might be an incredibly stupid question. Would anyone take an XR on a cross country adventure?

I'm attracted to the XR on account of it's lighter weight (at least compared to a big street bike) and it's simple design. It seems like the kind of thing you can hop aboard for a quick trip to the post office or pizza place. I'm thinking about some sort of cross country museum / national park hopping trip, and can see myself on something like an XR.

If I stick to back roads (as opposed to interstates), and keep the daily mileage down, will this work? Or am I going to get off the XR after eight hours on the road feeling like rotten hamburger meat? Is it quiet like a Japanese motorcycle, or does it sound like a cherry bomb in a coke can? Is it a smooth ride, or vibration / bump city?

Thanks for bearing with me.

Chris

gotdurt
06-15-2007, 09:20 AM
Admitting that I don't know much about motorcycles, this next one might be an incredibly stupid question. Would anyone take an XR on a cross country adventure?

I'm attracted to the XR on account of it's lighter weight (at least compared to a big street bike) and it's simple design. It seems like the kind of thing you can hop aboard for a quick trip to the post office or pizza place. I'm thinking about some sort of cross country museum / national park hopping trip, and can see myself on something like an XR.

If I stick to back roads (as opposed to interstates), and keep the daily mileage down, will this work? Or am I going to get off the XR after eight hours on the road feeling like rotten hamburger meat? Is it quiet like a Japanese motorcycle, or does it sound like a cherry bomb in a coke can? Is it a smooth ride, or vibration / bump city?

Thanks for bearing with me.

Chris

For errands around town and commuting, it's a hoot. For distance travel... hmm, the answer to that is highly subjective... I would say yes, absolutely, but others might disagree :shrug: Also depends on what you call 'keeping the mileage down'... don't expect to feel 'fresh' after 500 miles :lol2: (I've done it :giveup:). And, while the bike is capable of cruising well over the freeway speed limit, things can get tiring after extended periods of speeds over 65, especially on windy days... Riding an XR on the highway can be like riding a kite. It's no V-Strom on the Tarmac, but I, personally, would still rather ride the XRL.

With the stock exhaust, it's quiet. The motor has some mechanical noise, but no more than any other air-cooled motor, and a bit less than my DR.

As for vibes, yea, it's a single. It's well counter balanced though, so vibes are nothing like a 70's XL350, or even a newer KTM for that matter. It didn't vibrate as much as my dad's Harley...

Ghoti
06-22-2007, 08:53 AM
I just looked at both at a local shop this morning before work. I found the seat on the XR VERY high, such that I could barely touch the ground with toes. Considering how short Japanese people are, who the heck is riding this thing? Andre the Giant Lookalikes? This did not give me a confident feeling while sitting atop the unit.

I could plant both feet flat on the ground with the Suzuki, which really made a big difference. I did like the styling of the XR a lot more though.

C

I added some foam to raise the seat. I wouldn't say I was Andre's brother though.:lol2:
http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g205/sta_02/BRP/dirtbiketripofjune2406060.jpg

busarider1
06-24-2007, 02:19 AM
Thanks for the write-up. I'm contemplating which single I want to buy when I get home. Throw the KTM 640 in for good measure and you have all my choices. Definitely looking like the XR is what I'm looking for. Gasp, me actually owning a Honda!:eek2:

masssheltie
06-27-2007, 04:49 PM
I get the impression from looking at the bikes and reading the web that the Honda and KTM are dirt bikes with on-road features. The Suzuki, Kawasaki and BMW are road bikes that have dirt features.

All of them looked worthwhile, although I'm leaning toward the Kawasaki or the Suzuki (looking for more road and less dirt). The problem with the KLR is that they made major improvements for 2008, so there is a huge demand for these. Prices are pretty high.

Chris

bigboy292000
06-27-2007, 05:50 PM
When I was making a decision, the thing that made me look at DR 650 more over the KLR was that I was reading it is more street worthy than the KLR (speed, handling) albeit it has a smaller gas tank (which is just as good I guess as you will have to get off the bike every few hours to massage your behind after sitting on the stock plank).

I am not sure about the new KLR though.

Then, when I sat on the KLR I thought it was too big for me - my 1st bike, and with a 32 inch inseam I was barely flatfooting it?? I know it can be lowered but I did not want to go there...

rdcpro
01-20-2008, 01:10 PM
Admitting that I don't know much about motorcycles, this next one might be an incredibly stupid question. Would anyone take an XR on a cross country adventure?

I know this is an old thread, but had to reply. At the time this question was posted, my nephew, Justin, was just finishing a solo road trip on his XR650L from Santa Barbara, California to Dominical, Costa Rica. So, I would say yes, the XRL is a great bike for a cross country adventure. In fact, it's a great bike for crossing multiple countries!

Unfortunately, he was on his R1 and was killed by a drunk driver in Santa Barbara last September 13 (http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=247285332). I have his XRL now, and am planning a trip next summer from Seattle (where I live) to Deadhorse at the northen end of the Dalton Highway, near Prudhoe bay, AK. I figure his XRL needs to go from the equator to the arctic. I'm a wimp, though and won't do it solo.

Regards,
Mike Sharp

RDC Pro

Tx Rider
02-10-2008, 09:36 PM
Thanks for the write-up. I'm contemplating which single I want to buy when I get home. Throw the KTM 640 in for good measure and you have all my choices. Definitely looking like the XR is what I'm looking for. Gasp, me actually owning a Honda!:eek2:

Yeah that's what I was going to say, just go buy a KTM. :)

But KTM's do require a bit more leg length.

The Bruce
02-11-2008, 08:42 AM
Yeah that's what I was going to say, just go buy a KTM. :)

But KTM's do require a bit more leg length.

And a bit more green but if that's not an issue :shrug:

Wastrel
02-11-2008, 09:44 AM
Well, my DR actually sits higher than the XR now. With a 34" inseam I now have to tiptoe the bike or shift over to one side. With the stiffer suspension it actually doesn't do to bad now, no more bottoming out.