Suzuki DR650 vs Honda XR650L

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Suzuki DR650 vs Honda XR650L

Post by 4Strokes » Tue May 24, 2016 7:27 am

Topic: Suzuki DR650 vs. Honda XR650L
Author: maxrates
Posted: 11/30/2002 6:49:55 PM

I am planning to upgrade to a dual purpose bike. I had my eye on a XR650L but I just found a good deal on a (2000 Suzuki DR650). How do the two compare in quality? What do you think? Doug, XR250, Houston, TX

Reply by sizzler on 11/30/2002 7:16:07 PM
Stay away from the XR650L if you ride a lot of dirt. Keep the XR and install a dual-sport kit.

Reply by twiliter on 11/30/2002 7:56:55 PM
Hi Max, If it's between the DR and the XR, I think it depends on how much off road you will do. The DR is more suited for street riding, and the XRL is built on the XR600R platform (proven winner off road). I have a 2002 model XRL, and it's heavy, but it's also got electric start which is a nice feature. It weighs 100 pounds more than a CRF 450, so it's not going to perform like an MXer, but I've ridden it on some very tough trails, and it gets the job done fine. The only thing about the extra weight is the fatigue, it takes a while to get used to. The dual sport kit on an XR250 is a good idea, I had an '81 XL250S, and it was much better on tight trails, not as bulky. Good luck with your decision. twiliter

Reply by sizzler on 12/01/2002 3:32:36 PM
You modified your initial question, eh? I don't consider switching from your XR250 to either of the bikes you listed as an "upgrade." The DR650 and XR650L are both extremely heavy beasts with limited ability on the dirt. If you plan on riding primarily on the street with the occasional off-road jaunt (meaning a flat dirt road) then either of those bikes are fine. I'm a firm believer in Honda quality however. Hondas are proven and reliable performers with strong company backing. Suzuki is going through a tough time right now, as is Kawasaki. That is one of the reasons those two companies have made a slight merger in the off-road market.

Reply by maxrates on 12/01/2002 6:44:51 PM
Thanks for the response. I guess I am considering it an upgrade because they are "bigger" and with more bells and turn signals and elect start. I mostly (95%) ride on dirt roads. I like to explore the east Texas woods. But I want to be able to get on the public back roads and be street legal. I have considered "dual sporting" my XR250. But maybe the money will be better spent on a bike that is dual sport from the factory like the XR-L. I am a little worried about the extra weight? My 250 is very nimble.

Reply by Old guy on 12/01/2002 7:09:05 PM
Think KIA vs Toyota...
2001 XR400
2000 XR100

Reply by MTFYR on 12/01/2002 7:10:52 PM
Hello Max-the-II, Max if you are going to go with a big bike 600+ then I highly recomend the XR650R. It is lighter then the XL and is water cooled, etc, etc. You can dual sport this bike very easily. There are kits from Baja Designs and I think Drekar. Anyway this will cost you between 250-500 buckaroos to do the the 650R. Since you ride mostly dirt then get a dirtbike and make it street, you will be much happier. The only thing you don't get is the electric start. Thats my 2 cents Max. I hoped it helped. You can go KTM if you have the dough. The new 525ex is nice, I'll get in trouble for that one. MTFYR 01' XR650R

Reply by sizzler on 12/01/2002 7:20:01 PM
You're absolutely right about the weight issue. The claimed dry weight of the XR650L is 324 Lbs. THAT'S BIG! While the dry weight of the XR250 is 240 lbs. Still not light compared to motocrossers, but it means a huge difference in terms of handling compared with the 650L. Another consideration -- and the compromise I made -- is to buy an XR400 and equip it with a dual-sport kit. The weight of the 400 is not much more than the 250 (257 lbs.). The XR400 allows you to have much more power on the road, yet still allows you good off-road ability. If you ride 90% on the dirt you should not be looking at factory made dual-sports at all. Good luck on your decision.

Reply by bajajoaquin on 12/02/2002 12:35:29 PM
If you really want a factory dual-sport, the best one for off-road capability is the DRZ400. However, the best way to get a really dirt-worthy dual-sport is to find the dirt bike you want and convert it. At 90% dirt, that's probably the best way to go.

Reply by xr250rguy on 12/02/2002 12:43:23 PM
I agree with baja, buy a dirt bike and put enough stuff on it to make it street legal. Most of the "dual sport" bikes out there are made to handle equally on dirt and street. They start out with good intentions, but due to the compromise between the two terrains, the bikes end up not being real good at either. They are too heavy in the dirt and too squirly on the pavement. just my $.02

Reply by hondabro on 12/03/2002 03:25:31 AM
Go the XR400 with the dual sport kit.You'll be able to hammer on the road and dirt.And just remember God made shit and Suzuki made it move. Paul

Reply by maxrates on 12/03/2002 5:54:28 PM
Is there a big difference in the XR250 and XR400?

Reply by sizzler on 12/03/2002 6:03:09 PM
In terms of power, yes. Most people on this forum like the 250 for its more nimble handling and lighter weight. The loss of power, compared to the 400, will only be apparent on the road or in more open riding conditions (maybe some hill climbs too).

Reply by 250R on 12/04/2002 11:58:19 AM
just my 2 cents. i am considering a dual sport also. i have looked at the 650r and 650l. i would convert the 650r to street legal. 650l is toooo much of a street bike. metal gas tank.. battery.. too much bs.

Reply by litebike on 12/05/2002 12:13:12 AM
Remember, the XR650R is only 20 pounds more than the XR400! In Texas Think about that XR650R.... they don't call it the king of the desert for nothing!

Reply by sizzler on 12/05/2002 12:00:34 PM
The 650R might be only 20 pounds heavier, but it sure feels like a lot more.

Reply by litebike on 12/05/2002 2:26:22 PM
Yeah,It's probably due in part to the liquid cooling on theXR650r. The two radiators are high on the bike and the coolant that fills them is about 8lbs. per gallon.

Reply by SVandal on 12/06/2002 01:16:04 AM
East texas isnt the desert, about 50 miles west of DFW is were it starts and doesnt end till the pacific.

Reply by b1bendt on 12/06/2002 08:27:24 AM
Maxrates, I ride with my brother in laws quite a bit and both ride DR650's. Both are regeared to crawl along at slower speeds well but still are streetable. These bikes are heavy. After riding my XR400 and getting on those cushy beasts I really appreciate my dual sported XR. Tires need to be replaced on the DR as they slip slide in the rocks and dirt. Both of those 650's are good for their intended purpose to ride 90% street 10% on the dirt but not serious dirt. My 0.02 worth. Ride on, Bob

Reply by twiliter on 12/06/2002 09:24:50 AM
Sizzler, "The DR650 and XR650L are both extremely heavy beasts with limited ability on the dirt. If you plan on riding primarily on the street with the occasional off-road jaunt (meaning a flat dirt road) then either of those bikes are fine."

Extremely heavy beasts? The weight issue only shows itself in a competition situation, i.e. an MX track or a trials course. As far as "flat dirt roads", I have taken my XRL on 4WD trails in the Sierra Nevada, on some very steep and loose hillclimbs, and through creeks and over rocky sections with no trouble at all. The difference between the XRL and a smaller lighter dual sported XR is that I rode over 100 miles to get to these places, and that's where the weight is a benefit. There's a big difference riding an XR250/400 on the road and the XRL, the smaller bikes are not as stable or powerful on the highway, and they are also less comfortable on the street. An XRL can be made to do almost anything an XR250/400 will off road (depending on the rider). The 'limits' that you refer to are mostly riding skill issues. The XRL is based (as I previously stated) on the XR600R, and is only 47.1 lbs. heavier than a dirt only XR650R (according to Honda, dry weights). Once you add the dual sport kit to the XRR, that narrows the gap somewhat, and the XRL can also be lightened up with some good aftermarket parts. The reason I chose the XRL over the XRR is the quality of Honda's lighting and instrumentation over the available dual sport conversions, and the electric start. The benefits for me outweighed the cost of having a slightly heavier bike, which I won't use in competition anyway. Besides, it looks silly kicking the stuffing out of a 'lightweight' dirt bike in the Safeway parking lot. ;) twiliter

Reply by sizzler on 12/06/2002 11:09:20 AM
ONLY 47.1 lbs. heavier? ha ha ha ha ha ha

Reply by Old guy on 12/06/2002 2:23:57 PM
"The XRL is based (as I previously stated) on the XR600R, and is only 47.1 lbs. heavier than a dirt only XR650R (according to Honda, dry weights). Once you add the dual sport kit to the XR-R, that narrows the gap somewhat," The Dakar, or BD kit adds at about 6-7 lbs.

Reply by ryanw on 12/06/2002 2:28:53 PM
Originally posted by twiliter
An XRL can be made to do almost anything an XR250/400 will off road (depending on the rider).
You kidding?
Well equipped 1991 XR250L
Well abused 1984 XR250R
2002 KawasakI Super Sherpa (wifes bike)

Reply by twiliter on 12/06/2002 7:19:38 PM

Reply by hondabro on 12/07/2002 03:45:31 AM
Keep on waitin buddy.

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