Newbie XR650L questions...

I bought a used 2004 XR650L. It has 2400 miles on it but it looks like it has about 100 miles on it. I've put 500 miles on it in the last few weeks. :thumbsup:

I am so excited about the bike I am having a tough time sitting here typing instead of riding. :devil:

Sorry about the newbie questions but I want to keep my bike in top shape. Note: I am looking on ebay for a manual.

I drive it 80% dirt trails in 1st & 2nd gear and 20% street in all gears.

What is the oil & filter change interval?

What other maintenance things should I be aware of? Air cleaner?

Also: Does it hurt the bike to rev it for short periods in 1st gear?

For example: When I am on tight trails I stay in 1st gear... when I come to a bump I rev it and when I come to hill climbs I rev it. The revs get up there but I don't keep it reved for long periods.

Sometimes I try to shift to 2nd but then the bike bogs out so I end up going back to 1st.

My instinct says that if it's bogging in 2nd it should be ok to rev it in 1st. Is this correct?

When reving at certain RPM's it sounds like the engine is knocking or the valves are floating? It's not very loud but it definetly is not the same sound as when the engine is in other RPM ranges.

Is it normal for the right side of the engine case to get hot enough to fell it through leather boots? I've only noticed it a couple of times... but it gets hot enough in my right boot that I have to stop and let the bike and my ankle cool off.

Since the bike is air cooled how do I know if it's too hot?

Thank you for your time and sorry for so many questions.

Ron Dunn Jr

First of all, get a smog block off kit available from, which will get rid of all the emissions garbage, and then apply the power-up kit for that model, I'm not sure of the details because I have an XR650R not the XR650L. You can do a search in this site or simply post a question about how to "uncork/jet" the bike. Doing these things will give the bike tons of power and should never bog out on a hill in 2nd gear. You should be able to pull ANY hill 3rd gear, even at super low rpms. Bogging should not happen with a big bore single such as the 650.

Revving the bike will not hurt it at all, it's a Honda, they don't break.

The air cooled XRL of yours runs a lot hotter than it should because it's jetted way too lean for emissions. The power-up kit will include richer jetting and the bike will run cooler. I do not know much about the temps that air-cooled bikes run, because my XR650R is liquid-cooled and never runs very hot.

There are a lot of guys in here who ride the XR650L version, and they know about giving it more power, the temps it should run, and so on. Good luck man!

LL XR650sm.jpg

Thanks for the reply smashinz2002. I just sent email to BD asking about the smog & jet kit.

I am taking the bike in to the shop right now for a bigger rear sprocket. I already went to a smaller front one but with the addition of a much larger rear tire I ended up loosing low range so I figure a bigger rear sprocket will help.

Thanks again!

Ron Dunn Jr

Steer clear of the jet kit! There is no good kit for this bike.

You want to use Keihin jets.

Drill the slide, shim the needle, remove the snorkel, use a good air-filter, grind the tab, rejet.

The set-up:


You drill the holes in the slide that are off-center to 5/32 of an inch. There are 3 holes, one in the middle for the needle and 2 off to the side- drill the 2 not in the center.

THE NEEDLE: When you pull the slide, the needle is held into the bottom of the slide by a little yellow widget that you press down on and turn a little with a screwdriver or an 8mm socket. When you remove that, the needle comes right out. Notice that the needle sits in a small recessed section, a little well. Find a small washer that meets the following


1) is about 20-30 thousands of an inch thick.

2) fits fairly snugly over the needle at the thickest part at the top.

3) has the same outside diameter as the top of the needle.

You just put the needle through the washer like you would a washer on a bolt so that the needle will be raised up out of the slide by the thickness of the washer. Some have found washers like this in a kit at radio shack. I found one that I had to make a little smaller on the outside diameter in my "supplies".

If you do this, remove the snorkel, and grind off the tab on the bowl that keeps you from spinning the low-speed mixture screw around, and put in a good air filter, you'll wonder how you managed to ride the bike without these mods. If the mixture screw is out more than 2-3/4 turns, you need to go up on the pilot jet.

The suggestion to replace the screws on the carb with allen heads is an excellent one as well. I replaced the 4 bowl screws, the 4 screws in the top, and the 2 that hold on the throttle cover.

The slide gets raised when vacuum is applied at the bottom of the slide, and the holes are how the air leaves the area above the slide. Hence, the bigger the holes the more faster the air can leave.

I'm running stock exhaust, K&N filter, and run a 55 pilot and 158 main (both keihin jets from Baja Designs), and this setup is rich enough to run with the baffle out. Note that there is a 55S short pilot jet, and the 55 regular pilot jet will work but you have to trim the slosh baffle in the bowl a little, as it can move a little and partially cover the pilot jet.


Wow. What a great bunch of info. :thumbsup:

I just finished with the de-smog kit 30 minutes ago... I also removed the exhaust baffle because I hated the "whistle" sound it made, I put a 14T front & 50T rear sprocket on along with a much bigger back tire.

I also removed the top of the air cleaner box as it looked restrictive.

I ordered a fancy air cleaner but it won't be here until next week.

I haven't ridden the bike yet so I have no idea what the changes have done.

I can't do all the carb work you recommend at this time.

Do you have any other suggestions given what I've already done?

I think the power is fine so I don't need more or faster today. All I want is reliability & to make sure I am not hurting the engine with my mods and or driving style.

Thanks again,

Ron Dunn Jr

You really need to get the jets in there- its lean stock, the exhaust, airbox, and filter changes will make it too lean to be safe, in my opinion.


You can order owners manuals at

Thanks for the manual link.

I found the XR650L manual for $16.00.

Thanks again,

Ron Dunn Jr

I have a 2001 XR650L with following mods: stock 15/45 sprockets .... Baja Designs de-smog kit, unifilter, opened airbox, Dynajet Carb. Kit, drilled slide, I'm 240#, bike never bogs, runs smooth as silk from idle to redline, I personally am very happy with the DynaJet kit

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