New Rider (650L)

New rider here - HI! I'll try to keep my question quick but will add that I like the forum alot and hope to contribute significantly in the future!

I have a 2004 650L that I bought new having never ridden a motorcycle in my life and am having a blast learning along power lines in the NC country. That said, I dropped/flipped my bike once or twice in its first 60 miles while learning and while it looks fine cosmetically the clutch lever in particular is now noticeably loose and it does not seem that I can tighten it down. Any ideas what I bent/loosened? Should I just buy a replacement lever? Many thanks and, again, I'm glad I found this board!


ohhh yeah :-) --- I also broke one of the mirrors and was looking online at the low profile dualstar mirrors as a possible repalcement; any comments on these mirrors?


HEH !!!!!!

I feel ya !!

I'm also in North Carolina, with my new XR650L..

But I'm near the coast !

Bout' yourself? :)

When ordering a replacement lever, get yourself a set of barkbusters too, especially you being a new dirt rider and all. Cause make no mistake, you will go down again. :D This will save your levers from then on. :) Check out,,, or any number of other parts places for the lever and hand guards. Flipped her ahe. :D Once you become profecient at off road riding, you will love it. :D

If you're not fallin', you're not really ridin' and you're definitely not learnin' much. Battle scars are badges of honor to be worn proudly. Parts & pieces aren't cheap, though, so we try to keep it to a minimum.

Don't buy a new lever unless it's bent, broken or you're going to upgrade to a new type. The lever perch tabs have been spread apart by the lever being forced down or up during the crash(es). Simply remove the existing lever and use some channel locks are similar type wrench with a cloth on the jaws to protect the work to squeeze the tabs back together. Don't worry if you squeeze them a bit too close. Put lever in and gently spread the perch tabs apart and then reinstall the lever. There should be a about a 1/32'-1/16" of play when tightned up again. Works for me.

Good luck.

I actually live in Virginia Beach but spend most of my weekends in Denton, NC where I keep my bike right now. Once I get my M endorsement I will probably ferry it back and forth to the Beach and use it for a commuter as well. I'm really enjoying learning how to ride and can't believe I waited this long (34) before getting on a bike!


Thanks much regarding the advice about the lever perch tabs - exactly what I was looking for!! I'll do that this weekend and also take the advice from the previous post and buy some barkbusters too!

IRT to flipping the bike - yep - I was trying some new trail and went down a BIG, STEEP ( to me at least ) slippery hill of rock and mud. It was fun going down but coming back up I started to lose momentum and did not want to stop in the middle of the hill so I twisted the throttle, hard, - too hard since the front came right up and the bike out from underneath me before I could blink - BIG LESSON for a newbie!

thanks all!


Sounds like you applied the right tactic, "when in doubt, gas it," just maybe a little bit too much. Its hard to hold onto a machine that weighs almost twice as the rider :)

Dual-Stars are OK, but they do give a little visibility limitation. You won't break any more mirrors though.

From the sounds of if you better get some new dirt tires before you hurt yourself playing in the dirt. (606's, MT21's etc are a good start for your first set of new tires)


Roger on the dirt tires; thanks! One question - how do the dirt tires ride on the road? I'm an avid 4-wheeler and understand they may not wear near as well but how about performance - will it be hampered significantly? thanks!

If you want it to preform off-road you have to go with knobbies.I think its safer to have the bike controlable in the dirt and put up with accellerated wear on the street,than going for maximum mileage out of the stock street tires.Knobbies work fine on the street,I've only run Non-DoT motocross tires on my last three XRL's and do about 50/50 dirt street.The stock tires are dangerous off-road. :)

I have the $13 folding mirrors and love them! The key is to run the ball&sockets almost dry (no lube) so there's enough friction to keep the mirrors from rotating back in the wind. If you lube them, when you get them tight enough to stay put the socket cracks.


If you want it to preform off-road you have to go with knobbies...Knobbies work fine on the street,...The stock tires are dangerous off-road. :jawdrop

I have to agree with MotoChris 100%. I've been riding with a D-606 in the back and the stock TW-301 in the front for a while now. The last time I went off-roading this past Saturday the frickin' front end washed out on me more than I care to remember. This means dropping it. I don't know about you guys, but 350+ lbs. is brutal to be dealing with when its horziontal and on uneven terrain.

Long story short, the next day I swapped out the front tire out and am now running a Pirelli MT-18 Heavy Duty 80/100-21. Nice spikes on this meat. Looking forward to the next off-road ride with these (DOT) knobs.

I would have to agree with the tires. I have been flirting with disaster with running the stock TW on the front. I have a GP-110 on the back, but even this is not the greatest off-road tire. Today, I was riding a trail at a pretty good clip and I almost lost it. It was at this point I said to myself, I gots to get some 606's. :)

When will you guys learn? Stock dual-sprot tires suck off-road.When riding in the dirt you need to make instant decisions on front wheel placement.As speed increases any rock,rut,ditch or debris could spell disaster(hurt).Being able to steer is priceless.Dot front tires are a waste unless you do a lot of hi-way miles.Mx front tires eaily last 1000-1500 miles.Rear tire condition also matters.Not on acceleration as much ,but on decel.Trying to stop with a worn tire the rear just slides,but with a decent knob it will actually stop.Broken bones/bike parts are a litle more expensive than a fresh set of knobs every once in a while and as a bonus you wont belive how well your"street" bike handels!I'll stop rambling now........ :)

Stock dual-sprot tires suck off-road...Dot front tires are a waste unless you do a lot of hi-way miles. Broken bones/bike parts are a litle more expensive than a fresh set of knobs every once in a while and as a bonus you wont belive how well your"street" bike handels!I'll stop rambling now........ :)


I'm sure you've seen the Pirellis before. This MT-18 I've got has "cleats" for knobs. The D-606 hooks up really well also. And my buddy's MT-21's have some beefy blocks for good traction, too. They might as well just leave off the DOT label.

I flirted with disaster last weekend and it was a [@#$%&*!]. I learned my lesson, $75 bucks later for new pegs...

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