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Old 05-09-2010, 12:08 AM   #1
dutchinterceptor
 
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What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

So it's been many, many, many years since I had my XR250R and am really missing it and thinking that a little off-road fun might be good for me as well as a little on-road too. Consequently, I'm considering an XR650L and was wondering what or if there are any downfalls to it. Yeah, I know I'm weird but I've developed a habit where anytime I check reviews for an item I always go for the worst reviews first.

So those of you that currently have one, those of you that have ridden one, and those of you that have heard from a friend of a friend of a friend's dog about one could you please let me know what you disliked the most about the bike. Even if it was as simple as not liking the shade of red I'd like to hear about it. Is one year model better than another? Is my svelte 240 lbs too much for such a delicate bike?

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Old 05-09-2010, 01:19 AM   #2
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

I Used to have one almost ten years ago. I used it for a lot of desert off road trips as well as as a commuter. I had a big fuel tank and I think a bit bigger front sprocket but beside that - all stock.

Dislikes: heavy and tall for me to maneuver in tight, sandy or rocky areas and to pick up (I'm 5.8 and was around 170lbs) , the bike is also not the best as far as endurance (of jumps/falls - I had to weld my sub-frame eventually. not a big deal though)


likes: hard to beat for doing both jobs fairly well. it can really go offroad, and you can easily ride it on the highway. If I was taller and heavier I guess I would find it easier to handle as well.

another great thing is it reliability and low maintenance. and off course the fact that it is cheap.

bottom line: I would recommend it. I'm not sure how good it is comparing to other dual sports but I guess others will usually be more off-road or more street oriented. I would reconsider it once I'll find the time to do the TAT.

side note: I recently saw some very flattering articles about the KTM 690 adventure. I didn't check how much maintenance it needs (it is not air-cooled like the XRL) and it costs a lot more but looks like it is worth checking out.

http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/179/66...vid=1207078034



p.s

I apologize if i have typo's or other errors ..
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:27 AM   #3
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

Thanks Mati! All good stuff and exactly what I was looking for.
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:40 AM   #4
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

More suspension travel than a KLR or DR650, still needs spring replacements for men-sized men. The only things really working against it are the height and Honda premium price over the competitors. For me I'd be happier with the DR because I really wouldn't use the extra travel. I'd outfit both with springs, taller bars, larger tanks and exhaust/carb tweaks. The KLR gets no love from me because I'm not really going to ride it long distances to arrive somewhere.
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Old 05-09-2010, 10:03 AM   #5
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

XRL is known for a weak subframe that will break if you carry much on the rack. I think there is an aftermarket brace that beefs it up some. A tent and sleeping pad is enough to overload it.

I sure wish KTM would build that 690 in an Adventure model like they had from 00-07. Those were some nice all around machines.
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Old 05-09-2010, 10:39 AM   #6
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

I would rank the bikes like this, pavement riding, KLR, DR, XRL, dirt riding, XRL, DR, KLR. The KLR sells better I think because of price, 6 gal. tank, and a rear rack, the others do not come with these items standard. The XR650L has quick throttle response and just feels more like a dirt bike, tallest seat height of the three and the most power.

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Old 05-09-2010, 11:21 AM   #7
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CBAT View Post
I sure wish KTM would build that 690 in an Adventure model like they had from 00-07. Those were some nice all around machines.
me too!!
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:35 PM   #8
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

hey dutch i have a XRL 2007 im only 5.5 and 200 pounds and i luv it you can buy a bigger gas tank acerbis 5.8 and ther is a ton of parts you can buy to make it fit your style so in short go buy a XR650L you wont regret it just my 02.cents HANCOCK
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:00 PM   #9
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

I don't plan on doing any rides with Charley or Ewan but would like to get in some of the dirt roads in Arkansas or even around here. From what I've found the XRL seemed to be more dirt than street and that's what I'm looking for. I figured the suspension would be an obvious upgrade especially with my tonnage. Good to know about the subframe issue.

All good stuff guys! Keep it coming!
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:17 AM   #10
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

I own a 2003 sort of.. Now its a 2003 - 2009 due to modifications and loving (Crashing).
The XR650L carburetor comes from the factory set very lean to pass emissions. Removing the octopus on the left hand side and blocking the emission ports on the head, Daves mod and removing the snorkel will fix this. The stock suspension will do fine till you start riding motorcross with it. Even for the bigger guys. Mostly the L is super easy to maintain better than the KTM's and worse than the KLR's. Oil changes at 2000 miles, its pretty straight forward. Valve adjustments are awesome easy, none of the shim and bucket thing like the KLR or New KTM Style. Most people slap on a different pipe, that is personal preference, noise is noise, though the stock L exhaust pipe makes it sound like something from the Jetsons! There is a very good amount of aftermarket parts availability. I love mine.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:22 AM   #11
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

I hear they are red, kinda tall, slender.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:43 AM   #12
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

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Originally Posted by DaveC View Post
I hear they are red, kinda tall, slender.
So are most things I wouldn't mind throwing a leg over!!!!
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:25 PM   #13
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

I really miss mine and regret selling it. With an Edelbrock carb, exhaust, and new cam, I could run with 650R's.

I rode mine pretty hard and loaded it up pretty good and never had any issues with the subframe.

It was good enough for Ivan at Lake Whitney.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70jokjTaGT4
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:39 PM   #14
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

Compared to the practical alternatives (DR650, KLR650, etc), it's a great bike. Yes, if you plan to load the subframe, you'll need to have gussets welded on... after breaking mine, it cost me about $50 to have it done, then no more problems. Other than that, the bike is bullet proof, and I abused mine to no end. If you can deal with the height (some complain, but I'm only 5'10' and had no problems, plus it can be lowered if desired), it's a far better dirt bike and every bit as good on the road, plus maintenance etc is easier and better thought out (see http://dr650.clfrycreative.com/drbolts.html). If the height is an issue, then just get a lowering link; you'll still have more ground clearance and suspension travel than the DR! There is more than a travel advantage over the DR too; both ends are fully adjustable and more firmly sprung (the DR is SOOOOFT and under-damped, with only compression adjustment at the rear), although at your weight, you'll want to re-spring either of them... the DR will need to be revalved to match though, it you want it to work right (the XRL has plenty of damping available for spring weight increases).
I did more extensive direct comparison on them here a while back:
http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthre...ghlight=XR650L

Lot's more info to sift through:
http://www.twtex.com/forums/search.php?searchid=2056675

Edit: I should point out that my subframe breaking was a result of jumping and fast, abusive riding in Baja loaded with camping gear, so regular adventure touring might not be an issue...
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Last edited by gotdurt; 05-10-2010 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:06 PM   #15
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gotdurt View Post
Edit: I should point out that my subframe breaking was a result of jumping and fast, abusive riding in Baja loaded with camping gear, so regular adventure touring might not be an issue...
Two thumbs way up!!!
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:00 PM   #16
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

The gap transmission ratio wise between 1st and 2nd gear is bigger than some would like. 1st good with stock sprockets, 2nd noticeably higher (annoying) with stock sprockets on single trail riding.

I owned one and liked it a lot after I changed the exhaust and re-jetted with Dave's mods.
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:28 PM   #17
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

I've often considered getting a medium-sized dual-sport to compliment my GS and my wife's Super Sherpa. If I do, it will be an XRL. I'm well over 6' tall and weigh ~220lbs with my gear. The Honda just works better for me than the DR/KLR.

I have to admit that a street legal XRR is also quite tempting, though.
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:20 AM   #18
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

Well when you decide give me a holler I'm just north of Longview and know all kinds of dirt roads from here to the AR and LA lines.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:54 AM   #19
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gotdurt View Post
Edit: fast, abusive riding in Baja loaded with camping gear, so regular adventure touring might not be an issue...
I thougth this was regular adventure touring.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:20 AM   #20
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Re: What's Wrong With Honda's XR650L?

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Originally Posted by CBAT View Post
I thougth this was regular adventure touring.
Not by Texas standards; roads here are abuse-proof
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