Newbee basics

Sorry for the ignorance but can some explain the difference between the XR650 and The XR650L and XR600. From what I have read the XR650L is 50lbs heavier and of course street legal but there has to be more than just that. Also any years I should stay away from whale shopping? Lastly are there any mods that are a must have?

The 650L is a super reliable bike setup more for the street. It's made with a steel frame where as the 650R is based on an aluminum frame. The 650L has electric start and the R does not. The L has an older style air cooled engine and the R has a more modern liquid cooled engine that produces significantly more power. The L has different suspension based on older damper rod technology which is great for the street where as the R features a more modern suspension system utilizing pistons & valve stacks. The R is setup for off road use where as the L is setup more for the street. They're both great bikes, but they're entirely different in terms of parts, design, performance, etc. If you're going to ride mostly on the street, then the L may be worth considering where as the R is better suited for off road use.

Qadsan thanks for the info; it looks like you have more bikes than some of the dealers I have been to

I have a 2002 XR650L and love it, but the one complaint that I have is first gear. I ride mostly on the road because I live in a small town and can go anywhere with in a 50 mile radius from home without a trailer (in the dirt that is) The first gear is way tall for any serious steep down hill with loose dirt over hard packed. My first gear starts to hold me back at around 22 mph. Other than that it is a great bike.

Try a 14 tooth countershaft sprocket. I changed mine on my 2004 650L and love it. You lose about 5 MPH of top speed, but 1st and 2nd are way more useable in the dirt. Make sure to buy a good quality one.


You also mentioned the XR600. The 600 and the 650L are basicly the same bike with minor differences. 600 cc engine no turn signals, kick starter not eletric, no battery etc...

What are you looking to do with the bike?


You also mentioned any years that you should stay away from. Nope. They are all about the same, but do yourself a favor and avoid the twin-carb 600's from the early to mid-80's. If you were thinking about getting one that old.

As stated above, the L and the R are two completely different bikes, one is old tech (the "L"), and one is newer, high tech (the "R").

Overall, of course, the choice is personal preference.

Thanks guys, I have decided to get the Honda over the others. I feel it is better for what I will use it for, the 2mi ride to work or 17mi to Gym, weekend trail riding (well desert). I have been looking around and many of the mid 90s have rebuilt eng or top end, I don’t see the same with the DR or KLX. Any Input? I also WAS interested in KTM or Husky but high priced replacement parts have discouraged that. Again guys THANKS FOR THE HELP....

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