My only personal experience with the L was when my dad bought one in the early 1990s. He found it too heavy, too slow and too hard to start and sold it in less than a year (and got a CR500
). I was about 12 at the time and on a YZ80 so I never really rode it. I did wait around a bunch while he tried to get it started. His was bone stock and in pristine condition. Maybe it could be made better with easy modifications, but stock it wasn't all that impressive.
A CRF230L might suit you well too - its quite a bit more compact and lighter-feeling (might not actually be lighter) than the XR (I've ridden various XR250Rs) though not quite as much power and the suspension isn't as good - still lots more of both than the NX though.