I read an interesting article in Forbes recently.  They came right out and said that “Honda Is Ignoring The One Motorcycle Segment With The Greatest Potential.”

That’s certainly an interesting statement.  What could they mean by it?  It didn’t take long to get to the crux of their argument.  Forbes pointed out that Honda was doing well with its renewed Africa Twin model.  But they say that Honda is ignoring the middleweight segment where they could potentially excel again.

Forbes points the finger

Their literary index finger points right at Big Red’s XR650L dual-sport and damns Honda for not updating the machine.  To quote the article:

Along with the new Africa Twin announcement, Honda also sneaked in news of next XR650L, which remains completely unchanged going into 2020 and hasn’t seen any real update since 1993.

Yes, you read that right. The Honda XR650L hasn’t changed in 27 years and still uses an engine that’s been around since ‘88 and a chassis from ‘85. Unsurprisingly, the XR650L holds the title for the longest-running production motorcycle in history. And when you think about all the new middleweight adventure motorcycles launched in the past year or so — the BMW F850GS, Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE, KTM 790 Adventure, Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled — not to mention the rise in interest in lighter enduro motorcycles, Honda’s stubbornness on updating the XR650L seems insane.

Has Honda blundered by not “updating” its venerable XR650?  If they updated the engine, suspension, and “accessories” to be more like the current middleweight bikes mentioned above, would you be more interested in buying one?

Obviously, if Honda were to update the XR650, they would have to spend a significant amount of money and that, of course, would likely increase the bike’s price, perhaps substantially.  How much it would increase the price is anyone’s guess.  The current retail price is $6,999.

So if Honda brought in the “revised” XR650 for $8,500 would you be a potential buyer?  What would be the “must-have”  changes for you to become a buyer?  How much would you be willing to spend for those updates?  Let us know in the comments below.


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