Might purchase an XR650L, would like some input

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by CharlieXR4, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. CharlieXR4

    CharlieXR4 Adventurer

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    I have been riding my XR400 for about a year now, and I love it. It's as reliable as a claw hammer and is still plenty powerful enough for me to have fun and get into trouble lol. The only thing I don't enjoy about it, is riding on the street. It is really buzzy at anything above 40, and the one longer ride I did was about 75 miles, 40 or so of pavement, and the pavement part sucked. I have been looking for a larger, more road worthy bike, capable of carrying a decent amount of gear, that still has a very large bias towards dirt. It seems the KLR650, DR650 and XR650L are all in that category, with the XR650L being the most dirt oriented. I love XR's I own/have owned, and so it would make sense to get another. The questions I had were regarding the ultimate reliability of the 650Ls, some have said, it's another XR, don't even worry, and I would tend to agree. The one I am looking at is a 1992 with 20,000 miles, one owner, ridden very little in the last 10 years. The reason for the age and the miles, is the price is right. Anything I should worry about? or as long as it has been maintained well, don't worry and put another 20,000 on it?
    #1
  2. AZ TOM

    AZ TOM Long timer

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    1992? 1993 was the first year made?
    #2
  3. AustinJake

    AustinJake DR650 - Versys

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    Yes, 1993 was first year, here is mine (sold for $1700 in 2005), the OEM had blue fork gaiters, reddish orange seat cover and blue side covers.

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. kubiak

    kubiak Long timer

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    i think 93 was the first year for the xr650l.
    #4
  5. CharlieXR4

    CharlieXR4 Adventurer

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    Yep, I mis-spoke, it is a '93
    #5
  6. JWhitmore44

    JWhitmore44 pistolero

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    I had an XR400 and really liked that bike. I'm a trail rider and consider my self a "lazy" one at that :D What I mean by that is, that low end grunt the XR4 had allowed my to not have to worry as much about clutch control or making sure I was in the right gear. The suspension suited me as I'm not an mx'er and it worked just fine for me.

    The XR4 finally blew up on me. It had been abused pretty good by the previous owner and I really didn't want to put the money in for a rebuild. I parted the bike out and bought a WR450F. The WR was a great bike too, but I still thought the XR4 did better in tighter trails then the WR did. The XR4 just felt quicker as far as handling went. The WR's suspension was awesome, but I'm not sure I ever pushed it much more where I needed it.

    I started to do some more ridding where I wanted to be able to connect trails and back roads and a plate bike was needed. I couldn't convert my WR to street legal in Kansas. Like you I started to look for something that was street legal but still felt at home in the dirt and on trails. I traded the WR for an XRL and it was almost like being back on the XR4. I say almost because the seat height is quite a bit more and the XRL weighs a whole lot more :lol3 If i gear the XRL down I can ride the same trails I rode the XR4 and WR on. But I can gear up a bit and have something that will run down 2 lane highway at 70mph fairly comfortable. It's not like a street bike, it's a little twitchy and has some buzz going on, but it's not like trying to run the XR4 and 65 mph.

    The XRL is working well for the riding I do. I've been doing more dirt/gravel road riding. mainly because I can now cover 30 to 40 miles a dirt road pretty easy yet jump on the blacktop and cover 60 miles or more. I still ride trails like cow trails, quad trails, 4x4 trails, even the rocky ones don't give anymore problems than the XR4 or WR did. If I was going to ride some real nasty single track I'd swipe my sons KDX :lol3 although I'm sure I could do that on the XRL, just a lot more work. I've also rode the WR in the dunes and I'm not sure I would want to do that with the XRL. I've only done day trips on it so I don't carry much luggage. But I think a Giant Loop bag on the back wouldn't be an issue. If you are carrying much on the back it's better to add some struts to the sub frame.

    Come on over to the XRL owners thread http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=114834&page=3506 and see how many miles some of those folks are putting on their XRL's. The XRL isn't without it's issues, but they are easy to deal with. The biggest thing I would look for on a used XRL is to make sure the counter shaft splines weren't wore out. As long as the oil was changed and kept topped off the motor should be fine.
    #6
  7. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I was out riding one time and met an older guy on an xr650l who was going insanely fast through some very rough sandy stuff and wearing no gear.
    I thought the bike was too tall and heavy for that sort of crazyness till I saw hime make it look easy, and maybe it was.
    Not sure how they are on the street, but I know they can do well in the dirt!
    #7
  8. dirt hokie

    dirt hokie Long timer

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    i did just the oppostie. I had a XR 650L and traded it for a plated xr 400. I ride almost all dirt and a lot of tight rocky trails. The 650L will go anywhere any other bike will go. Its weight only shows up when you make a mistake.
    Its just not as easy to recover so a minor mistake turns into a bigger one real quick. I only changed to the 400 to save some weight and its perfect for what i ride. The only thing i miss is the e-start. The 650 was just as fun as the 400, its just that at the end of the day i am not as tired. If i had the $ i would have kept it and have both.
    #8
  9. CharlieXR4

    CharlieXR4 Adventurer

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    I plan on keeping the 400 for the tighter trails and such, so that's not a huge issue, plus, the 650l seems similarly capable, just requires a bit more work.
    #9
  10. JWhitmore44

    JWhitmore44 pistolero

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    If I was keeping the 400 I would look at something with a little more street bias. What kind of riding are you planning on doing? How much "extra" stuff are you taking? If you are not going to be on anything more than than a jeep trail, how dirt capable does the bike need to be? Not to talk you out of an XRL but a KLR would probably carry more without any modifications. It will be better suited for long blacktop rides, and the water cooling would actually be beneficial. Then there's the KTM 690, which from what I read, sounds like a nice option.
    #10
  11. CharlieXR4

    CharlieXR4 Adventurer

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    Like 85-90% dirt. I just would like the added flexibility of the Larger bike. As far as how much stuff? 40-50 lbs of camping gear for extended stay in the back country.
    #11
  12. JWhitmore44

    JWhitmore44 pistolero

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    I could see the 400 getting lonely :lol3
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  13. Wookazoid

    Wookazoid Tree Basher

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    I bought my first dual sport a little over three years ago and wanted an XR650L since I'd had a bunch of XR's, plus raced hare scrambles on an XR600R back in the 1990's. My hips were shot and I couldn't swing a leg over one, so opted for a 2008 KLR650. After getting both hips replaced, I dusted off my '04 XR250R I had laying around and tagged it so that I could have the best of both worlds. Though that sounds good in theory, what I ran into was whenever I'd ride the KLR up in the Ozarks just a few miles west of my home, I'd wish I had more of a dirt bike. I was always scared of dropping it and trashing the fairing (what dirt bike has a fairing anyway?). The XR250, though a fun and nimble dirt bike, was absolutely no fun whenever I had to tie together trails with pavement. I did back-to-back rides on each a year ago and decided that I needed to sell them and get one, do-it-all bike. Within a week, I had a 2007 XR650L. I sold both of the other bikes and have not regretted it. I don't have any reservations riding the XR anywhere. I ride it to work daily, took it to Colorado last summer riding some 900 miles and did some pretty rugged single track on it as well. Yeah, it's heavy but I'm not scared to drop it and I can even pick it up. I will admit that like my old XR600, it carries it's weight fairly well. I kept the dual sport kit off of my XR250 and was going to put it on my CRF250X that I still race, but decided I didn't need to. The XR650L does everything I need it to do.

    If you do get the XR, I highly, highly, highly recommend doing the Dave's carb mods and desnorkle it. I did both and put a Q4 on mine as well and it is an amazing performance enhancer! Good luck!

    Greg
    #13
  14. uh72pilot

    uh72pilot Adventurer

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    I purchased a 2008 XR650L last January with only 123 miles on it. It's my first dual sport... decided to pick it up because I couldn't justify the cost of my R1200GSA dream bike. Ended up getting the BMW in May, but have held onto the XR for commuting and more off-road stuff. I keep saying "I don't need two bikes", but I can't bring myself to get rid of the Honda. Everyone says it's heavy, but going from the BMW to the Honda, it seems like a mountain bike! Super light and easy to throw around. Now, I don't have much dirt bike experience, so I'm sure others would say I'm crazy... it's just my opinion.

    I think I may start putting some stuff on it this spring... a windshield for highway comfort (no crazy long rides), a bigger gas tank, and maybe some panniers... eventually some engine/exhaust work??? For now I'm going to hold on to it as a work commuter and for those weekend day rides into the mountains where I don't want to take the GSA. I also don't have any experience on any of the other Dual Sport bikes... only giving you my take on the Honda. So far I'm loving it... super fun and zippy. I say go for it!
    #14
  15. CharlieXR4

    CharlieXR4 Adventurer

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    Rode a 650L the other day, and really wasn't impressed. Maybe it was a difference in gearing, but it just felt like a heaver version of my 400. I have always lusted after the XR650R, and in reading another inmate's ride report, took some advice (always get the one you want). I'm going to look at an R today after work. Wish me luck!
    #15
  16. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    Maybe that's because your 400 is only a couple of horsepower less than a XR650L. I would be willing to bet on a good running XR400 having more horsepower than a well used XR650L. :lol3

    The XR650L's are damned comfortable though. The stock bars, to me, give it funky ergonomics. But it is only a decent handlebar bend away from a perfectly comfortable bike. Trust me on this, KTM guys always know a good seat when they park their ass on one. And they are awesome tractors if can live with the lack of peak power.

    My friend that has an XR650L is thinking DR650 just because he is tired of the anemic engine output and he doesn't do much, if any, hard single track trail riding anymore. A ride on my 640E almost had him sold on buying one from another guy. But I think he is going to end up on the DR650.
    #16
  17. hillbillyhonda

    hillbillyhonda corn fused

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    I love my 2001 650L. Definitely more fun on the dirt/gravel roads than the pavement. Not any problems running on the road as long as it's not a super long haul. The KLR might be a better choice for the road. The XR650L is a little heavy, but I'm not aggressive off-road, so it's just fine for me. Seems like the single cylinder bikes go through a cam chain in their higher miles; might be the only thing to look for.
    #17