XR650R for the TransSiberian Hwy?

Me and my buddy are planning to do the TransSiberian Hwy in 2006 starting from Vladivostok.

We pretty much set our minds on the 650R, but we have not purchased them yet.

We love the power, light weight and the amount of aftermarket goodies. It is a modern, impressive bike but we realize it is meant to be used mainly off road. The price difference when compared to the 650L or KLR is not an issue for us.

We will be traveling predominantly on paved roads with substantial distance covered on gravel roads, but probably no really challenging off-roading.

My main concern at this point is the maintenance, especially the frequent oil changes and valve adjustments recommended by Honda (every 600 miles). I can imagine that that is for people riding all day in the mud in 2nd gear. But even if we do the valves/oil every 2000 miles (is that realistic?), it is still a handful.

But as I’ve said, we are quite impressed by the 650R and would love to use them.

We plan the usual mods: uncorking, DS kit, lower them a bit, Baja seats, Clarke 4.3, probably a bigger front disc etc. Not planning the e-starter, though. After fully loaded the weight advantage over the 650L will be diminished, but still the extra power! That is our current thinking. I posted this topic on the Horizons Unlimited and ADV Rider forums and a couple of guys suggested the 650L as a better road bike. I am wondering if they just did not make the proper 650R mods for tarmac.

Does the 650R have any fatal flaws for riding long distance on pavement as far as anybody knows? What tires would you recommend? Any info or opinion appreciated.


Buy the bikes and break them in before doing the ride. Put 5 or 600 miles on them. After that point, the valves will easily stay in adjustment for 2k miles.

I think you've already been there, but check out my pages at www.xr650r.us, they will show you every weak point and attention needing piece on the bike.

Good luck!


Its not very time consuming and once you have adjusted them a few times under normal conditions you'll be so good at it that you could adjust them on the side of the road...in the snow...parked on a hill...naked...with only your tools and a flashlight....in 15 mins at the longest!

Maybe you ought to practice that way to prepare for those conditions! :cry:

You'll do fine


Thanks guys for the input.

Does anybody make panniers for the 650R?

What kind of tires for lots of pavement riding?




After having riden to Ushuaia and back one of the most important things is a good seat. Make sure that you will like riding on the board seat of the 650R. I ride a 650R a ton and that seat is not the most comforatbe in the world. That and you will also want to invest in some sort of wind shield. It can get pretty tiring if you have to sit up against the wind for hours on end.

My two cents worth would be for you to go on a KLR. I am a HUGE 650R fan, but I do not think it is the right bike for what you are planning on doing. They also make hundreds of after market goodies for the KLR that specialize in touring.

Anyhow...shoot me a message if you need any tips on the KLR. You really learn a lot about a bike after 20,000 miles in six months.

Talk to you later and by the way..I am jealous of your trip. It is on my to do list. One of these days I will have the time again.

Thanks guys!

It is planning in progress, still trying to decide what bike to use. My buddy who is going with me has a Suziki DRZ400 and the V-strom 1000, so those are also a consideration. Thanks Sunny for the KLR suggestion. How is the reliability and power? We were also considering the 650L, the KTM, BMW650...

We are looking into the 650R because it is simple and powerful. But the amount of mods required to make the U.S. sold bikes ready for DS may prove to be too much.

BTW - Does anybody know who makes hard luggage for the 650R? What other DS accesories for the bike, i.e. a touring seat etc.? I know that Clarke.com manufactures tanks, the DS kits by BajaDesigns.com.



I don't have the Hard bags for mine...have TourMaster soft.

You might try Happy Trails or Jessie. I made the racks for my panniers and you may have to do the same.

One thing you will run into is the amount of weight you can carry. For a trip like this you will probably have to modify the suspension because, if I remember correctly, the book says the XR will carry 200lbs..including rider.

Baja Designs has a seat that is pretty good, although I haven't done more than 300 miles in one day on mine, it has been pretty comfortable.

I love the 650R and ride it on the road to trails. With the stock saddle, my ass gets sore after 30 minutes of road riding. I am not sure power should be the most important factor in your considerations. Your trek sounds like it's made for the KLR. It is supposed to be more comfy on road or gravel than the XRL while the XRL is better in the dirt. If you spend 8 hrs a day in the saddle, how fast would you trade 10hp for comfort? Just my 2 cents.

Personally I would recommend getting a XR650L over a 650R

for this trip. I would also suggest the L over a KLR.

I've rode all 3 a lot. I put a windscreen on mine and my 650L took me from San Francisco to Colorado and back on both dirt and highway.

I also ran a better highway sprocket and the thing cruzed at 75 the

whole way.

Now I've got a 650R too, but will always pull out the L for the long


The R is just more of a dirt bike than the others, but the L can do

anything you throw at it. They're bullet proof, come set up great from

the factory, make good power, and as the biggest plus it has the E start!!!!

Also, you may want to check out Ortlieb soft bags as a saddle bag

alternative. You can make brackets for them out of conduit for cheap.

They lightweight and waterproof.

My 2 cents.

Sounds like a hell of good time. Enjoy.

My two cents worth would be for you to go on a KLR. I am a HUGE 650R fan, but I do not think it is the right bike for what you are planning on doing. They also make hundreds of after market goodies for the KLR that specialize in touring.

I would tend to agree. The KLR's are totally suited to this right out of the box, or with few mods. They are dirt cheap, very reliable and go over 400 km on a tank of gas!

They don't have the off-road ability or performance of the 650R but for that type of trip they are ideal. :cry:

Thanks guys for the input.

I have come to realize that 650R, allbeit a beautiful bike, is probably not the right tool for the job. The Hwy is mostly paved, will need to go with something like KLR, 650L or maybe even more road friendly ...

As a matter of fact, my buddy who is going along owns the V-Strom 1000 and DRZ400, so those are also a consideration.

Will keep u posted what the bike for summer '05 is.

Thanks for the help!


KLR650 for your needs...gravel roads and pavement...dont need a 650R for that...that is where the KLR650 is in its element.

You could get a KTM 950. They're popular in Paris to Dakar.

Unless you dont want to spend $22,000 on the bike alone...

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