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XR650L vs XR650R for Dualsport

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 1:48 pm
by 4Strokes
Topic: Honda XR650L vs. XR650R for street dual sport
Author: true
Posted: 06/28/2003 08:52:53 AM

I need a street legal dual sport. I've already made up my mind on a xr650 series....I know the L comes legal from the factory, but for close to $500 I can get the 650R legalized. What I'm wondering is the disadvantages of making the 650R legal?? I know it is the lighter bike, water cooled, larger aftermarket tank available, slightly larger displacement,etc. As far as I can tell, the seat is probably not as comfortable and there is no electric start. The weight savings is really I missing something?

Also, can either bike ride a passenger? None of my local dealers have any of these...chicago suburbs. Thanks.

Reply by dave_cl on 06/28/2003 09:01:37 AM
The 650L has buddy pegs. I think the only concern with street-ifying the R is making sure that it will be legal in the state you're in. Some states, I think it might not be legal to make an off-road vehicle street legal. Check carefully with your states DMV/MVA AND check carefully with your insurance company. Anything happens and then you find out you weren't really covered... So I'd say just do some due diligence, if everything checks out, do up the R model. I picked up a 650L for 2 reasons: 1) If it was legal to make an R street-legal in CT I'd be very suprised, and 2) I'm a lazy bastard. Oh yeah, 3) I like air-cooled because most of the stuff I do is very tight and twisty (so why the 650? dunno...)

Reply by Red650Lman on 06/28/2003 09:02:22 AM
The critical measurement is your inseam. The Xr650L sits alot taller and has passenger footpegs and a hold on strap. Tiny stock tank is the only serious drawback I found.

Reply by chip on 06/29/2003 06:35:52 AM
I've owned several 650l models and currently own a street legal 650r,in WI. Your choice should be easy. If you plan on riding most of the time on dirt get the 650r model. Its by far the superior bike for offroad,in my opinion. If you plan on mostly highway miles the 650l model should be just fine. As far as the electric start I've never been very happy with having to worry about the battery, starter etc. with no kick start back up. When you get 30 miles out in the brush its not always easy trying to find a place to push start a 650, if the electric start fails. After switching from the 650l to the 650r I can't believe the difference. The R model is so much more "fun" to ride. I know it can be a hassle to get a street title,in some states, for the R model. But, it's worth the effort. Honda has made the 650l model for nearly 10 years, its getting a little out dated compared with new CRF,s and the 650R models.

Reply by true on 06/29/2003 3:19:41 PM
I will be riding about 80% street, and 20% I supposed the 650L makes more sense, but being a gearhead, of course I would like to have the lighter, higher performing bike. Comfort considered, a street legal 650R as easy a ride as 650L. Can you ride 50 miles on either? This will be my first bike. I'm 6'3", 190. Thanks for all responses. Thanks a lot for Admin pointing out the Dual Sport Requirements Per State area in the Tech section. Very helpful.

Reply by XR4DEZ on 06/30/2003 11:41:30 AM
The XR650R is the best bike ever made!!!!

Reply by Sweepgerbil on 06/30/2003 11:41:36 AM
I have a XR650R and it's great. I regularly do about 100 mile round trips on the road and to be honest that is enough. My backside aches after about an hours solid riding. I would not have another dirtbike though, the torque and grunt it has does not fail to put a smile on my face! The only thing I might do is to buy a road bike for long journeys, a CBR600RR is my favourite.

Reply by TimBRP on 07/02/2003 09:44:13 AM
I would go with the 650R. It's easy to make street legal and it's a hell of a lot better to modify. You don't want to get into a CV carb like the 650l has. Also the 650l sits taller and is 50 pounds heavier. Good luck pickin her up. Only advantage is electric start and theres your weight. If you have weeman leg than get the l but if you like doing it in the dirt and getting there via the road sometimes get the R.

Reply by mlb1 on 07/06/2003 12:05:21 PM
Real headlight, real sized taillight, electric horn, better gearing for the street, useable street tires, real battery with actual recharging built in, buddy pegs, magic button. There is "more" to the difference than some here say. That 50lbs isn't all ballast. The driveline is much "snatchier" on the XRR, no "cush drive" or something? On and off throttle is very abrupt and direct, harder to be smooth, more stress on driveline parts. I'm a big guy and never had trouble starting the beast, but it WAS a workout, especially after being dumped. Magic button with a back up kicker (can be added) would be sweet. I had a 96 XR600 that I put the Baja Designs street kit on. It was a blast but it sure wasn't a perfect dual sport, though certainly the most dirt competent :) My riding was more 90/10 street/dirt (have to drive hours to get to dirt riding places) and if I had it to do again I'd get the L.

Reply by gggaustintx on 10/28/2003 6:35:57 PM
I have owned four different L model xr's.83',87',94',04' All have been very reliable and never had any starter problems.One thing anyone has failed to mention is the "R" model has no ignition system so theft is alot easier,that sold me . Run knobbies and yeah expect some high speed wobbles or low tire pressure. I own a 04' Model now and am loving it. I have never needed to race baja but race to work as a daily commuter it works great.Wheelies anyone !! It's easily mastered on this bike. Hit the trails and although a bit heavy it works and runs like a champ. Change the oil/lube the chain often and this bike will give you years of fun. I think the "L" model is the only way to go and if your the 80 % on and 20 % off then get the "L" model and hold on, its a blast to ride and cruise on. Honda truly is the best. P.S. ( I got mine for 5k Brand new )

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XR650R vs XR650L head to head

Posted: Mon May 23, 2016 8:40 am
by 4Strokes
Topic: XR650R Vs XR650L head to head
Author: deanodirt
Posted: 12/19/2003 10:54:43 PM

People I am in Australia and am looking at buying either the XR650R and the XR650L I have read a fair bit about it on this site but before i buy I would like to know how they go head to head in a straight line and up hills and which bike is better when uncorking. in australia we can register both bikes legally

Please advise it will be 80% road 20% track but I like heaps of grunt I had a KX 500 a while a go and I want something I can register.

Reply by brutus61 on 12/20/2003 08:51:04 AM
The R is faster the L has E start. All depends on what you want. I have an L for the E start and comes street legal. L has a more comfortable seat and buddy pegs (took them off).

Reply by kubiak on 12/20/2003 7:06:46 PM
the r had tons more power especially when uncorked.i had a kx 500 to and a uncorked xr 650r is pretty close to it in power.

Reply by starmoto on 12/20/2003 9:30:30 PM
are you sure the R is "faster" than the L? I belive the L has taller internal gearing for extended highway use which would make it faster.

Reply by kubiak on 12/21/2003 3:51:51 PM
if both were bone stock im not sure.i heard the r will do 105 stock.but not sure what the l will do stock.probably close to 100 but the r will get there way faster too.anyone else have a opinion on these two bikes?

Reply by deanodirt on 12/22/2003 03:59:22 AM
Thanks for the replies so far. I think the main thing I'm after is acceleration I will only be doing at top 140km per hour not sure in miles we work in Km per hour in AUS I was more looking at if there is not much difference after they are both uncorked.

Reply by 250R on 12/22/2003 08:43:41 AM
if registration is not a problem. you have to go with the r. i am kinda thinking the same thing but am leaning more towards the l for registration purposes.

Reply by brutus61 on 12/22/2003 09:29:17 AM
I meant quicker.

Reply by moredesert on 12/22/2003 10:57:59 PM
The XR650R has more horse power (faster) than the XR650L. The rest is sprockets or gearing. The XR650R will out last the "L" because it's water cooled. The XR650R has a stronger frame and handles better in the dirt. The XR650R is about 50lbs lighter. I've run my bike geared up with a 15/47 tooth sprocket and maxed out 99.1 mph on the dirt in Baja. There was too much wheel spin to go any faster. One thing I need to mention is the gas milage stinks on the "R". I owned an XR600 for years and loved the bike. The XR650L is a close match to the lighter XR600.

Reply by PJINSB on 01/22/2004 02:35:13 AM
Get the R. I have an L and I have spent all my energy trying to lose weght. I'm not saying that the L isn't the best bike in the world... I'm just saying that the R has "speedy" advantages!

Reply by XR4DEZ on 01/22/2004 10:08:36 AM
If you want a 650, buy the R and don't consider anything else.

Reply by dan360 on 01/23/2004 12:01:28 AM

Reply by XR4DEZ on 01/23/2004 12:12:43 AM
Dan, get back to work. you gonna ride with us in the morning? Dip 9am, wet sand.

Reply by GGGJR on 09/10/2005 1:48:26 PM
Hey Deano, If your 80/20,Get the "L" and be done with it. The "L" has plenty of grunt and acceleration and it has a key.The best thing about the "L" ,"Turn the key,hit the starter & Go . The "R" you need to lock it,this limits you alot,what are you going to do ride with a chain and padlock around your neck ? Or watch it like a hawk ?, or you could trailer it,thats no fun . What about the extra cash to get it "legalized" and the install hassles,paperwork. The knobbies are really squirrley for that much street riding and wear quickly,then you will want tires like the L has. Have you ever kick started an "R" ?, Well I have and you better be wearing boots. I have weighed out the pro's & cons 4 times since 83' and like you I am not into Baja Racing or serious air kinda stuff,mine is a daily rider to work or to the trails it's at home, so thats why I chose the "L" ,I like to ride 70/30 & You can tell I love my 04 "L" , its middle name should be versatility. Once you do a few simple mods it will be even better. I hope Honda water cools the "L". GET THE "L" DUDE !!!! and ride on !! Be done with it !!!

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XR650R vs XR650L

Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:27 pm
by 4Strokes
Topic: XR650R vs XR650L
Author: VoX
Posted: 07/06/2005 6:03:08 PM

Hey, My brother and I are interested in buying dirt bikes. We've ridden dirt bikes throughout our lives quite a bit, but are interested in buying our own and traveling throughout Mexico and South America.

I own a CBR600F3, and have always loved Honda for there dependability and performance. We were looking at either the XR650L or XR650R. Would getting a street legal one be good for traveling between riding areas etc? We could also buy a street legal kit for the XR650R. Is there much of a difference between the "L" and "R." We aren't hardcore riders, I like to jump my bike etc. but no serious air or tricks. I just want a tough bike that would be dependable, plenty of power, and would be reliable to use to travel to other countries. Thanks for any help and suggestions!

Reply by XR4DEZ on 07/06/2005 10:03:40 PM
The "R" is much better off-road and dependable beyond belief, plus it's 50lbs. lighter.

Reply by rkuckkahn on 07/07/2005 07:19:03 AM
I struggled with the same decision. Honda was an easy choice, the 650 was easy too. They have plenty of power when you uncork either one. History on both is great too. There's lots of info in the forum, tech section, and other web sites on what and exactly how to uncork which is a must in my opinion.

I went for the L for several reasons. While the R is certainly very dependable I didn't want another system (water cooling) to deal with. Radiators are exposed to the elements like rocks, catching a snag, dents, and the results like leaks. At the same time I've never heard that this was a common problem; but it is plumbing and I hate working on plumbing. I also checked very carefully into the ability to make the R street legal in my state. It was not possible to make it street legal because the title (new or used) did not "define" (list) it as a street legal bike. So that really did it for me. I wanted an optional ride to work and around town. Check that issue out in your state before you do anything. I too thought that the conversion kit could bring it up to street legal standards but no way according to our DOT people. Funny thing is I have a friend who bought an R in another state (street legal) brought it here and since it was already licensed got tags no problem, go figure. I wasn't in a position to buy it in another state, there were none readily available.

Anyway I have the L and love it. Starts up as quick as I hit the electric start (a feature not present on the R), runs like a clock, maintains temperature, and it's history is hard to argue with. It is a very durable, dependable ride. It's a fairly low compression motor which in my opinion means long life, yet has lots of power, more than my 190 pounds needs short of ripping me off the seat, seriously. If you've ridden an uncorked version you'll know. I looked into the 450 a bit but that bike is a serious, hot rod, high compression engine and requires much more attention to the mechanical side of the bike, probably more oil changes than I'd care to do, although I do that with the L every 1300 miles just to play it safe. Not an easy decision but that's what went into making mine.

Reply by Zeniac on 07/10/2005 6:39:40 PM
Scott recommends the XR650L over the R and states the L is a "All simple, long proven technology, it adds up to a great all-terrain tourer that's cheaper and less temperamental than a KTM and a better traveler than a XR650R" and that "the R's extra poke offered no particular advantage once loaded up." The lower compression of the L also allows the motor to run okay on lower quality fuel. (L at 8.5:1 and R at 10:1). As a Baja Racer the R is the machine you want but for adventure traveling in third world countries the L may be a better choice. Mi dos centavos

Reply by DanDog on 08/12/2005 2:51:48 PM
"Turn the key hit the starter and go" Thats a bigie right there!

Reply by Dishmee on 08/13/2005 4:12:43 PM
You guy's brought up a lot of good points I never thought about. Glad I got the L. I'm done reading I'm going riding. Turn the key hit the starter and go!

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