Recommendations for Exhaust and Tires on the XR650R

Looks like I might be stuck w/ the BRP, seeing that I could not sell it. I am going to try a full exhaust system, possibly a White Bros. R4 or a Big Gun. Also, I'm looking into regearing to a 13 in front. I am also looking for some good tires for the rocky desert and some soft washes. What do you guys recommend for me. I'm going to try to dial in this bike so it rides better - maybe I'll look into a steering damper and some Renthals or Pro tapers. What do you guys recommend?? :)

i had the big gun on my brp... it was allright then i got a pro circuit t-4... its alot better, i also recommend the 739AT rear and 756 upfront, good for desert racing.

Looking to put T4 on my BRP, not the full system, just muffler. How did improve things for you?? Top? Low end? Noise?

Are these Dunlops? :)

The 739AT and 756 are Dunlop tires.

Shanedog, what are the problems you are experiencing with the bike? :)

I noticed you have a lowering link, did you also lower the fork tubes when the link was installed? I'm pretty short but didn't need a lowering link since the suspension is a bit soft. But after I do some suspension work I may need one.

I use a GPR stabilizer and its nice. The 650 is a stable bike without a stabilizer but you can definately tell the difference with one installed. Specialy in the sand or loose stuff.

As far as the dunlop 739AT tire goes I have one but took it off cause it did not do well in the sand. It is an awsome tire for rocky desert riding and it does not wear out quickly.

In the exhaust shootout, the White Bros E series (with 10 disks) got the best reviews for the 650R..

I'm happy with the Maxxis IT's in the desert, but my next tires will be the Kenda Carlsbad for the front and the Kenda Millville for the rear. I've been hearing some EXCELLENT reports about these tires being used in the deserts of SoCal, AZ, NV and in Baja.

(In previewing what I just wrote I guess there realy isn't much point to my post other than just curious on differences and what you look for in the two different terrains of tires and if I can take the recommendations from this site and apply them to woods/rocky as well.)

I don't ride desert b/c I'm from the southern states so I ride woods...what charcteristics do you look for in desert tires?

I'm assuming, high speed, hard, hot terrain so I'm thinking;

resistant to wear? (b/c of speeds and heat)

durable sidewalls? (b/c of higher speeds and it needs to handle unexpected obsticles)

All of this sound like things a woods rider could use as well except maybe as hard a compound.

as far as tread design, my uneducated thinking about sand thinks that a good grip is needed similar to mud b/c sand acts like a fluid when loose along with mud?

so how far off is my thinking?

Just Curious


what charcteristics do you look for in desert tires?

Choosing tires has always been a tough thing for me because there's such a wide variety of terrain to ride in the desert. Some of the terrain is hard, some very rocky, some very sandy, etc, and things change again when you get into the mountains when coming from the high deserts. One of the most important things I consider when buying a tire is to get a tire with plenty of plys that also has a fairly stiff sidewall. The downside of a stiff sidewall besides installation is that you can't hang it out there in the turns as well as with a softer sidewall, but if you get a puncture, then you can usually make it back to camp without destroying the tire where as a softer sidewall tire would distegrate in a much shorter time if it was punctured. If you're into the high speed stuff, then you need a tire that can also better handle the high temperatures because tires get pretty darm hot after numerous miles of 90+ MPH. An intermediate terrain tire is the best compromise for the riding I'm doing, but some tires today are directional so you can flip it around to better suit different terrain needs. Lots of sharp tall edges are great for soft loam or mud where as knobs that have a larger contact patch are better for harder terrain, but you have to get the right compound to match the knob type/pattern.

I usually find out what other people are using with good results in the areas I plan to ride, then talk to the tire manufacturers and talk to more people for more opinions, etc. If there's been enough good input on a particular tire, then I usually try one out and buy a bunch if I find I really like it. That's what happened to me with the Maxxis IT's. I bought a half dozen because I really like them, but I can't wait to try out the Kenda Millville/Carlbsbad combo that Rob Barnum really likes just to see how it compares. I really like the Dunlop tires too, but they are costly and some just wear out so quickly compared to some of the other brands I've been trying.

Old Man Time,

Basically 50% of my riding is on hard packed, rocky desert. The other 50% is on soft washes w/ whoops and other obstacles to main complaint is that my front wheel is unstable in the soft stuff and seems to "plow" in the corners. I've noticed that upper RPM drops of quickly in the upper rpm, them when I shift, the bike bogs. So, Here is what I plan to do.

1) Purchase new tires - The stock ones suck!

2) put a 13t countershaft sprocket on

3) Get a nice full system exhaust that will give me a better powerband - preferably something w/ a little pull up top...I was looking at a White Bros. R4

If this stuff helps the BRP handle better, I'm going to do the following:

1)Get my suspension dialed in for my weight - about 220 Lbs.

stiffer springs, revalved if needed -

2)Scotts steering damper

3)Aftermarket bars - Pro tapers or Renthals

4)IMS Footpegs

I just don't want to dump too much money in the bike if I'm not going to be happy w/ it. I'm sure w/ all of these components the bike will handle way better than it currently does, basically stock. What do you guys think?


Shane, I have everything you need. tires, suspension (rob Barnum's), springs, pegs, bars, GPR (don't have scotts), triple clamps bla bla bla.... :)

Shane, there's got to be someone here on TT that has a bike setup just like you intend to. Maybe you can hook up with them to see how their bike handles before you spend anymore money incase its not exactly what you're looking for. I'd hook you up with my brother-in-law in that area, but that nut just sold his XR650R along with some other bikes due to female influence :) We used to ride in the RedRock area when I visted him and would ride to the Parump area, etc, checking out mines, etc.

I just installed a new set of dunlops, 756 front, 739 AT rear. Also installed a WB R-4 pipe with the stock header. We went riding this past weekend just after a rain and it was awesome!!!! Between the traction and the pipe, I was on cloud nine..... until I looped it out. Man that pipe work good. The 756 turns so good. I had an 01 with the same tires and it had a powerbomb with an FMF power core IV and it did not seem to have as much bottom end but a little more on top. I am guessing that is the header but 93mph vs 95 mph is close enough for now.


Hey what kind of terrain are you riding in? I am probably going to get the Maxxis M6001 Intermediate Terrain for all around desert w/ hard packed/rocky conditions mixed w/ sand washes. I've heard good things about the Maxxis IT's but don't know if people were talking about the 6001....It seems that almost everyone is using the 756 on the front....maybe i'll look into that.


I have a Pirelli MT-16 in the rear and the wear and traction are great in all terrain. I have a 756 front. It's awesome in the trails and sand. However, on a hardpacked dirt road with turns it gets hairy. The knobs are soft and flexible.

I'm looking at the Kenda (Trackmaster II) for my next cheap tire.

I must say, the Kenda (Carlsbad) is not for you riders out there in the desert of Cali!! :) You might be OK with one on the front but don't put it on the back. For all that sand the Kenda (Southwick) was designed for the soft/sandy conditions, but not the (Carlsbad) That tire breaks loose in the dirt and sand and just spins with all of the power from the 650's. There is no way I'd run it, I'm shocked that I'm seeing Positive reviews on the (Carlsbad) on any terrain other then HARDPACK.

Rob Barnum loves the Carlsbad as a front tire for SoCal, Baja, etc. If you've read my posts, I've never made mention of using the Carlsbad for the rear and only recommended the Millville as a rear tire, which is an updated version of the Unadilla. Rob loves the Millville and Carlsbad combo and won the Code/Record 275 on these tires, so they can't be all that bad for this territory. The deserts out here in SoCal aren't all soft and sandy as you may think and the terrain varies quite a bit depending on many factors.

SHANEDOGG, that sounds like the same terrain I ride in out here in the Mojave desert. I know the front 756 is a soft terrain tire, but man does it work well. It doesn't wear as bad as you might think either.

know the front 756 is a soft terrain tire, but man does it work well.

It sure does :)

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now