dr650 or xr650L

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Off Limits, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. Off Limits

    Off Limits Banned

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    i already have a wr450, but cant get a licence plate for it. looking for something to ride maybe in baja or the local mountains around los angeles. i want something to go on an adventure with, carry camping gear and things like that. any suggestions?
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  2. ADV8

    ADV8 Taumarunui..Darwin..

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    Both stock,i would pick the XR first based on those area's.
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  3. kuyaoli

    kuyaoli Been here awhile

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    I would go for the DR after you got a few farkles, like a better seat, skid plate, rear rack and so on then the DR is a great bike for what you are planing to do. The XR is more the bike if you prefer to go trailing and more off road.
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  4. fritzcoinc

    fritzcoinc Enjoying my last V8

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    Both would be good. The XRL has a slightly better suspension but is at its max with a rider weight of 220 or more. Sounds like you want a "Jeep" for camping getting around in general. The DR, XRL, or KLR would all be fine for this.

    Whats the problem with plating the WR450?
    You might search around this site, plently of folk have done it.
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  5. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

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    Because it's Commiefornia, that's why. Won't happen here, and if it does by some accident at the local DMV office; then they'll pull the plate back when it gets caught by the Sac-o-tomatoes computers when they plug the VIN into their system at registration renewal time.




    Sean, how tall are you?

    The reason I ask is the XRL is really tall for a dual sport. Height is not a big deal for a 225# motocross bike, but it is a real issue on a 350# (wet) dually. The suspension is probably slightly better on the XRL, but it's really a push.

    I've had both and I think the DR is a better bike overall. The XRL runs really hot, whereas the DR has an oil cooler. Heat is an engine's enemy and limits whatever performance mods you want to do.

    Another big limiting factor for what you want to do is the subframes. The XRL has a famously weak subframe and is known to crack and break with minimal weights on it. My XRL with only occasional light loads is showing signs of stress, which makes me nervous.
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  6. Off Limits

    Off Limits Banned

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    im 5'11" and about 230 pounds. i know either bike is going to be a downgrade in offroad performance compared to my wr. sounds like the dr is a stronger bike overall, with the oil cooler and the subframe. i could always get some springs installed and have race tech set it up for my weight as i know i would be hard on it offroad.
    i love this forum and can't stop reading about everything.
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  7. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

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    DR owners speak very highly of Cogent and the job they do in rebuilding and improving the stock shock. Gold valves and springs in the forks and they claim the handling is improved greatly. I never did any of that when I had my DR, so I can't say.

    On my XRL the stock bike handled horribly. The forks were incredibly flaccid and it carried its weight poorly. I bought a lowering link and found the forks have no preload spacers :huh. I made some 22mm spacers and replaced the oil with heavier ATF. Those mods made a big difference and it now handles acceptably.

    So those things are all cost analysis factors.

    However, the XRL is still really tall and carries its weight high, which has an adverse effect on its handling. The seat height is now measured at about 37", and that's lowered. :yikes

    Oh, and another thing that bugs me badly about the XRL is the pegs. They are too high. Totally a 1970's riding position; bars low, pegs high. I raised the bars, but the pegs are fixed. It works okay for sitting, but I can't stand up when riding through dirt obsticles. I don't remember having that problem with the DR.
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  8. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

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    I have a DR650 and have taken it to Baja twice. Did OK, but tough in the more technical stuff. OK in sand, believe it or not. But if you're over loaded, then can be tough.

    Have you ever been to Baja? Did you know your WR450 is totally fine to ride in all of Mexico? I also have a WR250F, no problemo in Mexico on the highway. As long as your lights work, you are golden there. DO bring your registration, even if you truck in your WR. Nowadays, they often ask for it when you enter Mexico. (this is new)

    I have also owned a XR650L. Bought one new in 1994. Good Baja bike but won't come close to your WR450. Put an Acerbis big tank on your WR and your are set.

    Overall, I much prefer the DR650. Why?

    Handles better both ON and OFF road. With suspension work, it can be as good as XR-L. (As mentioned, Cogent has a great rep)

    Smoother motor on highway, but XR-L is not bad.

    The DR650 has a much stronger sub frame. No idiotic battery box hanging off the side. I've been on Baja rides and more than once I've seen the XR-L sub frame bend, and in one case, the whole battery box BROKE OFF.
    Took us a day to get it back on and re-wired.

    The XR-L can run a bit hot with that radial valve head. Never, ever let oil level get low. Change oil often. Here, the DR wins. Runs cooler, oil stays fresh longer (oil cooler). Both bikes crash well for big, heavy dual sports.

    I feel the DR is bit more versatile than the XR-L, but BOTH are good bikes.
    Being you are 5'11", the L will fit you better. But you can raise up the DR a bit, or just leave it. VERY reliable bikes.

    [​IMG]
    DR650 in Baja, 2007 (leave the hard bags at home!)
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  9. XRsteve

    XRsteve Been here awhile

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    I'm just going to point out that the reason DRs use a oil cooler is because they are a wet sump engine. The XR keeps most of the oil in the frame, which does help keep it cooler.
    The best way to decide which bike you want it it to find one of each and test ride them. If you're riding a stock bike keep in mind that both benefit with some easy mods.
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  10. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

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    Actually, Suzuki could have made the DR motor without a cooler but saw the obvious benefit to adding an oil cooler. The oil cooler combined with the SACHS oil cooling system, derived from the GSXR's, give the DR a double advantage over the older XR engine, and many other air cooled singles.

    As good as the Honda design was in the early 80's (possibly best in the world), when it was first created, it's just a bit behind the DR, which was totally up graded in 1996 with the race proven SACHS system which keeps cylinder head temps down. This along with the Nicasil bore and hard coated rings, brings the DR into the 21st century. (more or less!)

    The XR Oil in Frame idea is good (derived from old British bikes) but other XR's have used an oil cooler in addition to this. The XR400 has an oil cooler mounted below the headlight. IMHO, ALL Honda XR's, especially the XR-L, should have an oil cooler from the factory. I have seen several riders/racers adapt coolers to this bike and to the old XR600 Baja racers as well. BIG advantage. Oil in frame does cool the oil, but not as efficiently as cooler. Adding bigger sumps was another trick Honda used to win in Baja. It worked. The HOT frame can over heat fuel and cause steering head lube to run out of the lower race onto the fender, but overall the system worked.

    The DR frame gets hot too (proximity to motor) and lube can flow from lower head bearing also, the the XR, more so. YMMV. The XR frame gets unbelievably HOT.
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  11. Echo1

    Echo1 Been here awhile

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    I think the DR would be better for you than the XRL. Several years ago I decided I wanted a 650 dual sport and started looking for an XRL. The first two I looked at both had rebuilt top ends with less than 15k miles on them. That was enough for me to remove them from consideration. The XRL also doesn't have a cush drive and I believe the DR does.

    I think your best bet is to buy a used DR with all the usual mods - bigger tank, seat, bash plate, and rear rack. Otherwise you'll be spending another ~$800 to get those farkles. Another option is to look at a used KLR. At 5'11" 230lbs, the KLR may be more comfortable for you. I'm 6' 180lbs and got a KLR because it was more comfortable and it comes with a big tank, rear rack, bash plate, some wind protection, and liquid cooling which I think is better for desert riding here in southern NM - evidence the 2 XRLs I looked at.
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  12. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    First of all, I have nothing against the XRL, in fact, I've never ridden one. I have owned and ridden an '01 KLR650, and while it is not a bad bike, it can be a handfull fully loaded in sand and rocks. It will also need an aftermarket bash plate, believe it or not, the stock one is plastic. You will also need to modify the rear sub frame mounting, fix the balancer shaft chain adjuster, also known as a "doohickey", and I highly recommend the Dual Star centerstand. A flat tire in the middle of nowhere on a bike that big and heavy without a centerstand is your worst nightmare.


    My personal choice would be a DR650, with a desert tank, Corbin seat, Dual Star centerstand, and a rear rack. Choice of rack would depend on if I intended to install panniers or not. You might also want to swap out the bars for some that are a little taller, the stock DR650 bars put a little to much weight on my arms. While liquid cooling can be a good thing, it can also be a nightmare if it fails, which is the main reason I prefer the DR over the KLR. The lack of a centerstand would rule out the XRL for me. I'm also talking about the '07 and older KLR, I don't know anything about the new one. Jerry.
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  13. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

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    Actually I will have to respectfully disagree here. The XRL does not crash all that well. If you look closely at the headlight assembly, the only thing that holds it together is the two small mounting screws cast into the plastic speedo housing. A totally asinine design.:baldy

    My son was riding my XRL and crashed it, and because (I suspect) the bike is so heavy with the weight held up high, it flipped. And, when it did, it took out the headlight assembly.

    The frame for the headlight is flimsy in the extreme and poorly designed.:puke1:puke1

    If you plan on adventuring with the XRL, I'd replace that headlight assembly to save your speedo.:deal

    Oh, and another knock on the Honda. The gap between first and second gear is annoying. Why Honda did that is a mystery to everyone. It didn't used to be that way, but when Honda redesigned the engine in the early 90's they changed the gear ratios and put a big gap between those two gears. You can split the case and insert the second gear from the NX650 to eliminate it, but....................:krusty
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  14. djchan

    djchan Long timer

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    I've ridden both but owned neither. The XRL is minimally (plusher suspension, but much taller) better offroad but the DR is a lot better onroad. For mixed riding, I'd take the DR any day. Oddly, the XRL holds it's value better so used DR's are usually a much better buy.
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  15. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    I am currently riding an XT225, but at 6' 220 pounds, it is a bit too small for me, though I do enjoy it's light weight and manueverability. I ride it about 90% on dirt, the rest of it is getting it to the dirt. I rarely ever ride more than 200 miles from home, but love to go exploring way back into the desert or mountains, usually alone (not a good idea I know).


    I have sold my XR400, and was looking for a 400 class dual sport, but the only one available, the Suzuki DRZ400s, does not have a centerstand available for it. So I've decided to go for a 650. Both the XR650L and the DR650S have centerstands available for them (I'm not considering a KLR650, I used to own one, and even the older model was to street oriented for the kind of riding I do).


    I found a nice '06 XR650L in great condition, low miles, rarely ever off road, for a great price. I realize this bike is based on old technology, that is part of it's appeal to me. Though I live in the AZ desert, I do not ride in the desert in the summer, so I don't think overheating would be a problem. But I am concerned about the weak rear subframe I keep hearing about. Is it really that bad? Considering my weight, I don't want something to collapse on me. I don't ride hard, and don't do any jumps or anything, mostly just long distance trail riding. Anybody have any more information on this subframe thing? Jerry.
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  16. Bbasso

    Bbasso my name is Rob

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    So everyone here has pointed out some 'things' with the XRL... ok
    oil cooler = easy to add, affordable.
    suspension = easy to upgrade, affordable.
    subframe = easy to strengthen, affordable.

    overall a winner,,, even if the design is from the 80's.

    Remember, most owners mod their bike to their liking. After a while, you'll find some good and bad or things you want to change in any bike.

    Besure you're comfortable on the bike before buying, the best made/setup bike will suck if you don't feel right on it.
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  17. RED CAT

    RED CAT Bumpy Backroader

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    Owned 2 new XRLs, a 99 and an 06. Have ridden friends DR650s. More off road definitly go XRL. More on road DR. Way better boingers front and back on the Honda. The whole bike is nicer to work on than the DR. More attention to detail on the XRL as is usual for Honda. If you want it to run cooler, for $50 you can buy an Acerbis Fast Front Low Fender which allows much more cool air to the head. Worked for me. Best all round though goes to the DR. More comfort, lower and a little more power. Cheaper too. Both great bikes for the price compared to the more updated competition. KTM etc.
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  18. EmilianoXR650L

    EmilianoXR650L Been here awhile

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    thanks for your coments !!!!! i am thinking on drz and now i am with so clear ideas !!!!!!
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  19. Off Limits

    Off Limits Banned

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  20. Off Limits

    Off Limits Banned

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