XR650 'R' vs. 'L' Comparison evaluations

I have interest in getting a DS(Dual Sport) bike. I used to own a 2000 Suzuki DR650SE which was a lot of fun as a primarily street ridden bike. I did 3 DS rides with it and learned how lacking it was for DS'ing........in it's stock configuration. It's gone now and I have the DS bug again!

I'd like to hear from folks in the "know" about 'R' and 'L' gearbox ratios.......I don't have the factory shop manuals or I'd be able to figure it out on my own. Does the 'L' have the same internal gearing as the 'R' and just a different secondary gearing(sprockets)??

Also.......is basic frame geometry and wheelbase shared between the 'R' and the 'L' or are there documentable(service manuals) differences? I DO understand that the frame on the 'R' is aluminum and re-designed....... I also read(trying to do some homework) that the 'R' has a larger rear axle than the 'L'.

Just interested in hearing about maintenance issues and preceiveable differences that might apply to Dual Sport applications. I know about the power differences and the DOT stuff.....luckily I live in AZ where folks can easily get a BRP tagged.

Thanks in advance for any info that will help in my decision making. I did get to ride a 'R'(unplugged) the other day and that bike had some 'nads' compared to my prior DR(stock) experience.

Happy 'XPLRN' :thumbsup::devil:

IF anyone has a mod'ed out / Dual Sported 'R' for sale that hasn't been "rode hard and up up wet" I'd be interested in hearing from you!! You can PM here on TT or e-mail me with what you have with at; gonexplrn@yahoo.com . I was busy last week and missed out on a "local"/in-state 'R' bike that had been tagged...........so it goes :thumbsup::devil:

I'm already in communications with a couple of people on their bikes currently. If you live in Iowa('L' bike) or Texas ('R' bike) your bike is under consideration...and thanks for the info you have provided me. :D:lol:

Any informative experiences from anyone DS'ing a XR650'R' or 'L' would be welcome! :awww:

Happy 'XPLRN' :lol: :lol:

I have the 650r and it is great in the dirt. Although I don't DS I know it would be a blast to ride on the street from just riding around the neigborhood. If getting a tag is no problem I would go with the 650r to dual sport.

What Big T said.They use the same oil filter but just about everything else is different. The 650L shares its heritage with the XR600R, not the 650R. For off road oriented dual sporting the 650R out performs the 650L. The big exception being electric start for the L,kick start for the R.

It won`t happen this year but a 650l with all the R upgrades,electric start, steet legal from the dealer is a bike I`d buy. I think Honda could have done this for about 1 percent of what they invested in bringing a bike like the Rune to market. Once again wait for next year.

As far as the dual sport bikes go, I believe the XR650L is more 'off-road' capable than the DR650S and the KLR650.

XR650L is COMPLETELY different from a XR650R, in every way

XR650R is a real dirt bike, and it shows. The R works

super good off-road and is very powerful, but it's

not as comfortable on the street as the 650L.

I have added street legal items to my 650R and have been

using it for on and off road for the last three years, and I would NOT trade it for anything as a dual sport bike! It's a beating on the street but worth it once you reach the trails! Also it's far more powerful than the L version, but just as reliable (both the L and R are bulletproof reliable bikes)

One thing I should mention is that many guys have modified their 650L's with smog block off kits, jetting kits, uncorking the intake and exhaust, and adding better tires, resulting in a very powerful bike which works great both on and off road.

Honestly I think either bike is a good choice, but keep in mind the L weighs more and is Taller!

Gearing: Not an issue, this can be altered easily by a sprocket change, and of course the gearing you use is a personal preference based on what type of riding you're doing at the time.

LL. XR650sm.jpg '00 XR650R uncorked and street legal

The XR650R is a way better bike. If electric start is really important to you, get the R and put an electric start on it. The L is a DOG compared to the R !!! The R is liquid cooled, which is also much better than the old style air cooling used by the L. Its a no brainer :thumbsup:

There aren't any measurable comparisons between the 2 except they're made by the same manufacturer.

You said you did 3 DS rides (off-road) on your Zuk 650S, and you rode mostly street. You should be thinking about what terrain you'll be riding the most for your next bike.

The BFP, or XRL, is a good dual purpose machine and you can ride on the road comfortably for "extended" periods. It can handle hard off-road riding, but needs a few modifcations and upgrades for anything more than the occasional two track or fire road.

The BRP, or XRR is a true off-road machine. All dirt and no BS. If you plan on more dirt riding, this is the bike to have. The kick starting regimen isn't hard if you know how to find TDC. The R is the way to go if you want power, suspension, and most of all, current off-road motorcycle technology. With a few mods the BRP can be a good trail bike as well as a screamin' DS sled.

My $.02.

Even if your not a screemer and looking to kill yourself the XR650R carries it's weight better. Even though it's only 47 pounds lighter (only :awww:) it feels 60! but, the way the power comes on with the XR650R I wouldn't even think of using the "L". :thumbsup: But, if I had a "L" it would be the best bike in the world because it would be mine. So, all you guy with "L's" have great bikes :devil:

Hey, I know this table top! http://www.dirtrodders.com/xr650l/

It's the one before the one I am using in my picture and videos :lol:

This is coming from a guy with a 12 year old XR600.I've ridden both and a "UNCORKED L" is no "DOG".It might be heavy but so is a BRP compared to a CRF/YZF.IT also has Estart (which the R doesn't)and is street legal from the factory.Yes the R is lighter/faster and a better "DIRT" bike but we are talking DUAL-SPORTS. :thumbsup:

The L model is going up in value in SoCal by my observation. Two weeks ago I checked 5 dealerships looking form a XR650L. Berts Mega Mall, Chaparral, Mountain Motorsports, LA Honda and Santa Monica. Gave up after that. All had 650Rs not one new 650L.No doubt the effects of the dual sport conversion ban here in California. I agree the L is no dog but its also the same bike you could have bought in 1993. Thats not my idea of performance first.

Uncorked a "L" puts out 38hp, 42hp with after market stuff. Dry weight is 324pounds. 348~356 (depends on who you read it from) ready to ride.

Uncorked "R" puts out 46hp, 48hp with some after market stuff and 58+ if you put some money into it. Dry weight 277pounds. 302 ready to ride.

I put a plate on my "R" and it weighs 324 full of fuel with the bigger gas tank and all the extras. I have owned the XR500, XR600l, XR600R, and the XR650R and have put some good amount of time on the XR650L and it had less power then my XR600R (punched out with a 11.5:1 piston and hot cam) comfort felt the same as the older XR600L. There is nothing wrong with having a "L" and I would never think less of someone that showed up on one. But, when these talks start about which is better the "R" or the "L" the "L" can be beat by just about any duel sport bike that is on the market in one or more ways. DRZ400s with a Mikuni carburetor is in the same class as a "L". A XR400 has a better weight to Horse power ratio then the "L". If your just a street & fire road rider then it doesn't matter to much what you ride....you can make it as cumfy as you need it and off you go but, once someone says off road you are talking all kinds of different types of riding and most take that at meaning a bike that can take what ever you through at it. A good rider will make the "L" look like it can do it all but, the ride will be cut short from the extra work it will take and the fun is cut down from the fight compared to the same rider on a bike setup to do the job. It's the same when I take the BRP onto the MX track, what a work out! and the fear is way up there....much differemt story on a CR250.

Other things to think about; is the CV (constant velocity) carburetor on the 650L, what a pain in the butt! This is a bad setup off road but, great for the street! Steel frame & tank, air cooled,

XR650L does not have the same cartridge forks of the XR650R has a air adjustable fork setup of the XR600 but, softer! It isn't the same bike or close to it in any way. If you get right down to it; it goes on quite awhile; like 8.3:1 compression ratio on the XR650L and 10:1 compression ratio on the XR650R, different lift and duration on the cam. If you own a XR650L it's fun but, if you haven't ran a XR650R you don't know the difference! 25% more horse power and at 46 pounds lighter how can they be in the same leage? Next are we going to compare the CRF250 and the CRF230? The XR650L does a great job for what it was made for....if you ride any dirt it does better then the Kawasaki KLR650 but, not as good on the street. Compare the XR650L to the KLR 650, now you have a good argument.....Last time this hit the board; Someone said, "close to the same weight and power" NOT EVEN CLOSE! Someone said, "can go all the same places" NOT IN THE AIR! You'd brake the frame on the "L"! There are lots of arguments of comparing the CRF450 and XR650R...The thing about comparing the CRF450 and XR650R....depend on the riding...In the right riding the XR650R smokes the CRF450! MX the CRF450 smokes the XR650R. The XR650L wouldn't even be seen when you look back on the trail, with all riders being equal! Hey I get a kick when a CRF450 can do better and I have a blast blasting by a CRF450 on the open trail or up a sand hill. Sure I have jumped a XR650L but, never got close to the half the air or distance of the XR650R and can get 40% more air and distance on a CR250. Rider makes a difference on any bike he rides....better the bike the more that rider will get out of the bike if he wants to ride at the edge! Some don't want to ride there so, they buy a bike that will be comfortable at the riding skill or limit of there balls or money. I have my XR650R setup to about it's limit in proformance and suspension and the bike is a big (pun intended) limiter at times, I can ride better and faster on my sons XR400 on the tight single track. It would have been easier if Honda wouldn't have used the XR for the XR650L; should of stayed with it being a XL650 then people wouldn't think they were the same bike setup for street and one for dirt not that it's the same as the old XL's but, they are just miss leading some with there sales techneque. Now everything is CRF......there is noway that the 230 is a CRF! you have a CRF230 and a CRF250 and there not even from the same planet!

BWB re-read my post.I said the BRP is a better dirt bike than the L. I live in california and you can no longer dual sport any thing unless it comes from the factory that way(except KTM).I saw he lives in Ariz.and the law is different there.But eventually all the other states will follow california's tough emission laws.They used to make to different types of cars,california and 49 state.They dont anymore ,thay all meet california emissons. :thumbsup:

Most of what I wrote is just a cut and paist from the last time this was brought up.....It's not at you. I need to tone it down so it's has less attitude and is less "L" bashing. It's not aimed at you or the "L" more at that Honda sells the "L" as a street "R" to sell more bikes like they do with the CRF designation. I now quite a few first time bike buyers (in the last two years)that are getting the CRF230 to join in on the fun and are real diapointed with it. They buy the new CRF250 and are happy as can be. I just beat the dead-line here getting mine plated....now there is rumblings that it's been opened back up to plate 2002 bikes and older. Which wouldn't of helped with my two newer bikes. Kalifornia :thumbsup::devil: nothing ever makes sence here.

All those pages just to say what needs to be said.. The L sucks compared to the XR650R !!! :devil: ( Unless you have an L , then you just dont know it sucks :awww: ) As far as putting it in the street, I would find a way, in another state, or whatever it took, but I would get the R !!!!

No way I would want an old air cooled bike desigend almost 20 years ago.....

The L does have its place though, I know my grandma would like the L better than the R :thumbsup: But then again, she would like a Buick better than the L :lol:

No way I would want an old air cooled bike desigend almost 20 years ago.....

Unless you haven't updated your sig, what do you think you're riding now?

Woof says the "Dog"! Glad to see you're still alive and the new bike hasn't killed you ........yet.


How are those new tires doing? Made any more friends with the local livestock lately out there in the "Wastelands?"

My only problem now is where to ride the BFP besides on the pavement. I've gotten spoiled with the "new" girl.

I have a XR650R that I made street legal in Texas. I ride it on and off road. I run Dunlop 606 tires that aren't real smooth on the road but tolerable...have done about 100 miles on pavement at one time. I have a taller Baja Designs seat that has a little extra padding over the stock so it is much more comfy. Off road it has all the power I need. It has the Acerbis 6 gal tank but that is almost too big. So far I have used no more than 4 gals on any day ride so I may switch to a little smaller tank. Also, with the 6 gal tank you have to get creative if you mount turn signals.

As far as the L, I've never ridden one so I can't compare. As for the kick start....mine starts on the 3rd or 4th kick if it is cold and the first or second if warmed up. I don't know why but mine runs the same (with no adjustments) at 500 feet in Dallas as it does at 8500 feet in New Mexico.


I do appreciate all of your responses regarding my info search on DS'ing differences of the 'R' vs. the 'L'!!

Sorry for not getting back sooner.....have been arm wrestling with my computer/ISP. Long story short the old HD(Hard Drive) threw me a 'can not boot this device' code....went and got a new 80 gig Western Digital HD.....new OS install along with all the other stuff I use....... crapped on me after less than 24 hours of usage. Ended up that the old HD was still operative and is now powering my computer till I get the new Western Digital 120 gig installed with the new OS and goodies. Hopefully I will be able to use this current/"old"/small drive as a secondary drive to access a bunch of the currently used software after the big drive is up and functioning.

BWB; you did provide quite a detailed/technical post, that was great! I didn't know about the CV carb on the 'L'....good info to know! I also was wondering about the compression ratio between the two?? Do the 'R's have to run anything better than hi-test pump gas with that high of compression ratio or did they take care of that problem with cam profile/overlap? I've heard that the 'R's aren't too bad to kick start?? Experiences there?? Sounds like the QS carb makes quite a difference with the cold/hot kicking!! :D:lol:

Anyways......has anyone ever used a 'R' for DS'ing where there is a fair amount of street riding?? Meaning like the Grand Canyon DS ride that we did a few years ago.....we did 260+ miles in one day and probably between 1/3-1/2 of those miles were on pavement. I'd like to be able to put on a 15 tooth front sprocket and knock down a 150+ miles on the asphalt IF I wanted to. I am leaning towards the 'R' however there is a nicely modified 'L' out there that I haven't gotten to call about yet due to this computer mess I've been dealing with.

Thanks again everyone for all the input!! Any other thoughts (or knowledge of 'R's or 'L's for sale) that might spring to mind will be appreciated. :awww:

Happy 'XPLRN' :thumbsup::devil:

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