XR650L Converting to an XR600R

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XR650L Converting to an XR600R

Post by 4Strokes » Sun Jun 05, 2016 12:08 pm

Topic: converting XR650L to an XR600R
Author: rideallday
Posted: 11/11/2008 8:57:28 PM

Hello everyone. You guys have put together an awesome site, I've been a lurker for several months. I've looked through threads and posted pictures, now it's time to ask a question. This spring I decided it was time for something different. I bought a real clean low mileage '98 XR650L. Since buying it in April I have put on 2000 miles, about 50/50 street and trails. I like the bike but I don't love it, it's too heavy, so here is my idea.

What about transforming this bike into an electric start XR600R? I'm thinking of buying an XR600R wiring harness, move the battery under the seat and using the XR650L starter wires harness. Will the XR600R's wiring harness be compatible with the XR650L CDI and regulator? If I get rid of all electrical am I shedding the weight difference between the 650L and 600R? Is it even possible to get the XR650L down to the XR600R's weight plus the weight of the starter and battery?

I first thought of selling the XR650L and buying a XR600R. I came to the conclusion with the XR650L I have a title for a street legal bike, which gives me a license plate, ability to get insurance plus electric start. I'd like to retain the legality if I need to drive it on the street for a short distance, maybe connecting two trails across a highway or something. And frankly I won't miss driving it on the street, it's not the bike rather idiots and their cell phones.

Does this sound like a worthwhile project, would I be destroying the value of my XR650L? They used to race the XR600R at motocross events, right? I have vacation next June and plan on hitting trails from Colorado to New Mexico, many of them tight rocky single tracks. Would this be the bike to conquer high mountain jeep trails, tough rocky hill climbs and sandy desert washes?

I've been kicking this idea around for a while now, I'm serious but I want opinions and thoughts before I start tearing it down and buying parts, thanks in advance for any comments or questions answered.

Reply by NOV8TR on 11/11/2008 11:50:24 PM
I have consumed many hours pouring over forum threads (here and elsewhere) looking for ways to make my "L" more "R" like. I have come to the conclusion that the money and effort that would be required to shed something like 50 ~ 70 pounds and increase the power to weight ratio (would still need to increase HP about 10~15 more)would exceed the cost of a good used XR400 (if you need the air cooled configuration), or any of the more recent water cooled 450's out there. If you are serious about off road performance, the "L" isn't going to get you there! Because I live in California, I no longer have the option to "convert" something more "dirt worthy" to get between trail heads. If you live in a more "citizen friendly" state, you should consider selling the "L" and converting a CR(F/X)450. I personally would prefer to have a kick starter over the electric start for the off road chores, but I'm kinda "old school" and don't believe the weight penalty or reliability offsets the convenience. It might be possible to make a bike that works really well in both worlds, but not with anything that is available (affordable) in the current state of political correctness and ecologically lopsided mindset of our society, at least here on the west coast (they don't call it the left coast for nothing!) Good luck and keep posting here to let us know what you go with. We all enjoy watching interesting projects come to fruition!

Reply by ThumperTDC on 11/11/2008 11:58:49 PM
So instead of turning it into a XR600, why not turn it into a dirt only 650L? You could dump some serious coin into the bike and make it quite the dirt worthy machine. Do I think its a worthwhile project. that would solely be up to you. I have done a lot of work to my XR400 and some folks would say that I would have been better off getting a different bike, but I love My XR.

I am not sure why you want to use the harness from a 600? Is it to clean it up by getting rid of all the stuff you don't need? If your not worried about the stuff, why not modify your stock loom and add connections for all the stock stuff you remove that way you can plug them back in to use later or if you sell it.

If I were to do this project, I would use the stock harness and not worry about riding it on the street again. I would remove everything needed to be street legal. Turn signals and switch (I would add a new switch from a CRFX), horn, chain guard, Headlight and replace it with a stock XR or aftermarket one to shed some pounds, add a fork brace or do the inverted fork mods, add an aftermarket carb, I would also probably add a cam and oil cooler. That would be what I would start with if it were me doing this project.

Reply by rideallday on 11/12/2008 5:50:37 PM
Well I'm in total agreement our rights can be taken away at any time, California emissions and DOT laws enacted in every state, it's only a matter of when not if.

I have the 650L in hand so I want to explore the possibility if the bike can work for me. The end result I'm looking for would be identical to a street converted XR600R. One with the absolute bare minimum to get it registered. So I would need to keep the front and rear lights, horn, rear brake light switch, a small mirror and a smaller speedometer. The plan is to strip the bike down to the frame. Install a 10.25:1 piston, clutch and timing chain. Reassemble the basic bike without adding all the stuff that makes it an L.

Rather than figuring out the wire mess (time is important) just buy an XR600R harness ($72) and wire the two lights and ignition. Salvage the needed wires for the rear brake switch, horn, battery, starter and voltage regulator. Then mount a smaller battery under the seat. Add a small mechanical speedometer and hook up a light for it. It seems I need to keep the switches on the hand controls for the starter, horn and hi/low beams. It doesn't sound like I'm taking much more off than the turn signals. Maybe the 600R wiring harness is a bad idea. If I have to lose the starter and battery to get it close to 300 pounds then I might as well just get an XR650R with a Baja Designs kit and rewound stator. This is why I need your help, I don't want to throw money at a big project and find I've only dropped 20 pounds, where I could have sold the bike, bought a lighter bike then add a few things to get a plate, for the same amount of money in a few days not a few weeks.

I guess the real questions are "where can I shed 50 pounds" and "will a 300 pound XR600R perform at a level close to a tricked out XR400R with a 250 pound rider?"

The goal is 300 pounds dry weight, maybe or no way? I think the CRF450X weighs 269, the XR650R weighs 277 and the XR600R is 282, those are dry weight. I read somewhere on this forum that a USD CR250R front fork conversion will remove 25 pounds, does this sound right or was that post a little exaggerated?

Actually rmhrc630 from this forum has the bike I'm after, an electric start XR600R; I could ask him what his bike weighs. But how would he know that?

Reply by ALS650L on 11/13/2008 6:44:11 PM
I know that it is possible to put kick start on a XR650L. I guess it's a lot of work, it'd be less to put a XR600R engine in the frame.

Reply by rideallday on 11/13/2008 9:46:35 PM
Today I talked to my barber, he has an XR600R. We talked about mutual places we like to ride and he assured me that his old bike will make all the tough hills around here, with ease. I've made the decision to strip the bike completely and forget about anything street legal. It would be easier to do a tear-down on this bike and re-assemble an XR600R than try and find a nice used 600R, which I would want to tear-down and refresh and repaint anyway. I made a list of things to be removed. I would like it if you could look my list over and check my guesstimated weights of such items and see if the numbers jive with you. Starting with a stock 347 pound XR650L:

Tank breather and hoses #1
Air suction valve and hoses #3
Battery box and bracket #4
Smaller battery #1
Pipe skid replace to aluminum #1
Front fender trim #.25
Steel tank to IMS plastic tank #5
Handlebar steel to aluminum #2
Handlebar switches #3
Key switch #.5
Headlight, replace with BD #2
Horn #1
Mirrors #2
Muffler steel to aluminum #3
600R Side cover difference #.5
Speedometer to odometer #2
Sides stand steel to aluminum #2
Rear pegs #3
Taillight and rear brace remove #4
Tool pouch #4
Turn signals and brackets #6
Wiring harness and fuse box > XR600R harness #5

Total #55.25, #291.75 new weight (under the magic number). And if it is true the USD fork conversion does save weight that would be even lighter. Thanks for any replies.

Reply by rideallday on 11/13/2008 10:13:39 PM
Looking through the parts listing and comparing the XR650L and XR600R wiring harness I've found difference in the ignition and charging parts. The ignition coils are the same part number. The XR600R list has a Regulator, A.C. The XR650L list has a Rectifier, Regulate and Rectifier, Silicon. The two bikes also have different ignition modules. I guess I should use my XR650L wiring harness for at least those items. Or is there a better idea, I would like to keep the XR650L harness intact as much as possible.

Reply by ThumperTDC on 11/14/2008 12:31:29 AM
I did the inverted fork conversion on my 400 and I don't think I saved any weight. It made my bike feel top heavy but the performance is unbelievable compared to stock. Now I am not sure how heavy the 650 forks are, but I am sure it will help. A way to save some weight would be to get a plastic tank the size of your stock one. If I saw your sig right you have a desert tank which is a larger one, correct? The larger tank holds more fuel which is more weight. I think you could use a starter switch from a CRF250/450X which would save some weight.

loose the stock speedo and go with an aftermarket digital speedo like a trailtech speedo. Then you can ditch the cable and speedo drive from your front wheel. This will save more weight due to losing the stock drive cable.

Reply by rideallday on 11/15/2008 11:34:26 AM
Thanks for the replies, my bike has the 4 gallon IMS tank. I planned on a smaller tank but I was thinking a full plastic 4 gallon tank weighs more than a full 2.8 gallon metal tank. I don't know how much the metal tank weighs. Plus I wanted to be able to wax the tank when cleaning the bike. I did some more number crunching and found if I wanted to keep all the legal stuff but miniaturize things like the turn signals and do all the things to get lighter, I could shed 33.5 pound from the stock bike. A street legal bike that adds 17.5 pounds over an off-road only bike. If I could figure out a way to do a simple conversion, the same way many of you guys switch back and forth from street commuter to serious trail bike with tire and sprocket swaps. Then that what I'll do. I have time to hash out the details, I won't be ready for any wrenching until January so I have time to plan.

Reply by flatfender on 11/18/2008 12:50:00 PM
You could also backwards engineer (to coin a phrase) your projected weight removal list. The dry-weight difference between the XR600R (271.2) and XR650L (324.1) is 52.9 pounds. Add the weight of the starter, battery, wires and switch. I'm guessing they all weigh 10 pounds. So as long as the engine/trans weigh the same an electric start XR600R would weigh 281.2 pounds dry weigh. You could remove more with lightweight items, tank, muffler, handlebars, etc. It seams to me that you could build this bike and have it weigh the same as a stock XR600R if that's your goal.

Reply by guinnessX on 12/16/2008 11:41:30 AM
It can certainly be done. The 650 is the 600 with a bunch of crap tacked on. Also, the 600 ignition system is AC, lights DC, so the harness is not going to work. Not necessary anyway.

Get rid of all the normal smog crap, all the turn signals if you don't need them(or put smaller, lighter ones on) the TV set taillight, the under fender support, passenger pegs, put a real/lighter exhaust. My 02 650L weighs in at 288 (weighed by PO), and that's before the battery relocate and getting rid of the crap behind the headlight (has Baja Designs headlight). I am in the process of fitting a stock 600 fuel tank to replace the mongo clarke tank I have now. Fun bike, go to town!

Reply by cul045 on 08/21/2010 7:34:20 PM
xr650l converted on xr600r
Reply by cul045 on 09/04/2011 1:53:56 PM
hi i put a new video of the finish transformation.

honda xr650l complete transformation

Reply by gusrich7 on 11/10/2011 06:33:13 AM
Hi there, rideallday. You did this just over a year ago? I haven't checked all the posts, but how light did you get your xr650l? You know, as soon as you started mentioning about replacing steel with aluminium and a plastic tank, i thought, there you go. Then the cr450 battery? and digital odometer, is that right? Your wheels must've been Alum. already? Then there's just the frame. To get that in Al. would cost a bit; as you may know, you're then looking at a longer tube diameter and thicker walls (if it's to be a tube frame)The xr650r has an Al. frame that's actually heavier than it's steel predecessor. how totally annoying. So the weight reduction must be significant. Last but not least, you might consider a conversion to fuel-injection. I don't know, but eventually bikes must be green.

Reply by dave_cl on 11/10/2011 09:35:57 AM
The Shorai and other LiFe etc etc batteries make this even easier now! Dave

Reply by PDXthumper on 02/06/2014 7:28:00 PM
you can use the XR600 harness, cdi, stator, and a standard single phase rec/reg in the xr650l. BUT if you do any engine work the starter can't turn it over fast enough to start cold, it will usually get a warm bike to run. That problem will lead you down the 24V battery and starter option. Now if your going to go through the trouble of a piston, you might as well add the kick start, and 2nd gear mod, and don't forget to lighten the flywheel, .100 off the OD, and the big ring to the rivet heads. that will make a huge difference in how fast the motor can pick up RPM. I am currently in the process of wiring the XR600 harness to my "L". At the end of the day the best money you can spend is on the suspension to make these bikes handle off road. The weight is secondary, a battery relocation will make the bike feel a lot thinner, and Lipo battery will safe weight. I am no fan of the stock xrl forks, I don't care what brace you add to them they just are not very good to begin with, find some off an xr650r, or crf or anything else somewhat modern. These are great bikes for the plain fact that you can modify them into whatever works for you fairly easily.

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