Future of the XR650L?

I keep wondering why Honda hasn't put their version of a Yamaha Raptor 660 motor in the XRL. Or how about the BRP motor? The technology exists but where's the vision?

If Honda would take a leap forward and away from their 2 decades old design, the big-bore dual-purpose bike segment would be turned upside down and finally move into the 21st century. Look at Suzuki, they are now making a full motard 400 for '05.

Don't get me wrong, I like my trusty '98 BFP, but we (the dual-sport riders) are long overdue for a major upgrade besides the tank and seat graphics.

What do you guys think?

I think as long as Honda can sell every one they make, they'll keep making XR650Ls with nothing but BNG every year. Zero development and engineering costs, and the bikes still sell well. From their perspective, what incentive do they have?

But they could at least improve the suspension a little and give it some more power though I dont think that would cost them too much. Or do like some other people have said just make an Xr650R that comes road legal from the factory. :cry:

I hope they continue to leave them alone.... the day may come when you are busted somewhere, and need a used part... since Honda has left them unchanged, inter-changebility is this bike's strongest point... not fun to be in a South American jungle, just to discover that your new 650s broken thingamajig was changed last year, and the old parts wont interchange .... don't fail to recognize the virtues of simplicity ...

Good points.

I myself want to see a new water-cooled, motor or a detuned XR650R motor for all the legislative liberals here in CA. Also a new aluminum box frame, a pumper carb or EFI?, beefier suspension, a larger factory fuel tank, new front fairing & headlight, new rear fender design with an integral tail light assembly, and a slimmer battery box would top my list.

There is so much that they (Honda) can improve on. They set the bar once with the XR600R, & then they raised it with the XR650R, and now they did it again with the new CRF450X.

Hey, if they want to call it the CRFXR680RL, that's fine by me. It's definitely time for a change.

With the 4 strokes getting more attention due to the regs on 2 smokes and land closures creating less places to ride, I think customer demand will eventually get them to build a better mouse trap. The DRZ 400 IMO was the first of more good things to come, but H will probably be the last to do anything. Several years ago I worked at a Honda/Suzuki dealership and in a conversation with the regional Honda rep I told him that we needed a 400 size dual sport with a little shorter saddle height, he took a note, but?????.

I keep wondering why Honda hasn't put their version of a Yamaha Raptor 660 motor in the XRL. Or how about the BRP motor? The technology exists but where's the vision?

It seems odd to me that you said the Raptor motor would be an upgrade. The Raptor motor is far from new technology, it is big, heavy and slow. I believe the HP numbers are about the same for each but the 650L motor has a better power to weight ratio.

I think that Honda should keep the XR650L the same (with minor updates) but add an XR450L/XR450 to its lineup. I know that the CRF450X will be out soon but from the reliability issues I've seen with those motors I don't think it will make a great dualsport bike unless they detune it a little like they did with the TRX450R. Even then I'd still be nervous about taking it on long trips.

I myself want to see a new water-cooled, motor or a detuned XR650R motor for all the legislative liberals here in CA.

Uh, the 650R is already painfully detuned for the north American market. Just uncorking it gets you like 8hp.

A factory dual-sport 650R doesnt sound like a bad idea, but I'm more or less with those who favor the 650L's long production, simplicity(sorta) and lack of changes. It would be nice if they could make one lighter and if they cant do that, justify the weight with another cylinder like a KTM 950. I wouldnt mind a 1300cc DS.

I think as long as Honda can sell every one they make, they'll keep making XR650Ls with nothing but BNG every year. Zero development and engineering costs, and the bikes still sell well. From their perspective, what incentive do they have?

i dunno. . .maybe they should innovate for the same reason companies always innovate: to make MORE MONEY!

wouldn't a factory DSed BRP sell like hotcakes?

jeremiah

Yeah , i was waiting for Honda .And waiting. And waiting. But, LIFE is TOO short.I want /need to ride NOW. Maybe Honda will eventually build something lighter/faster,but i'm getting older.The XR650L came out in 1993 ! 13 model years and they give us the same old $hit.Come on ,they would never try that with thier cars.Even the freaking GoldWing sees more updated than that!

I took a $2000 loss to UNload my 2003 XRL to purchase my new dual-sport.Sure it's not perfect but it's better than what Honda offer's for my needs.And in a few years if some other make comes out with a lighter/faster Dual-Sport i'll be at the front of the line.

Sorry Honda , you snoze YOU LOSE !

i dunno. . .maybe they should innovate for the same reason companies always innovate: to make MORE MONEY!

wouldn't a factory DSed BRP sell like hotcakes?

jeremiah

Yeah , i was waiting for Honda .And waiting. And waiting. But, LIFE is TOO short.I want /need to ride NOW. Maybe Honda will eventually build something lighter/faster,but i'm getting older.The XR650L came out in 1993 ! 13 model years and they give us the same old $hit.Come on ,they would never try that with thier cars.Even the freaking GoldWing sees more updated than that!

I took a $2000 loss to UNload my 2003 XRL to purchase my new dual-sport.Sure it's not perfect but it's better than what Honda offer's for my needs.And in a few years if some other make comes out with a lighter/faster Dual-Sport i'll be at the front of the line.

Sorry Honda , you snoze YOU LOSE !

I'm all in favor of a DS'd BRP. That would be a huge step forward. Honda is losing some of it's customer base. How much? I don't know. But if I were an industry exec., I think I'd be taking notice.

Honda has always been known for it's innovation and leading technology. It seems ridiculous that this hasn't been applied to the ancient L. Did they overproduce these bikes and parts over the last decade so there is huge static inventory and they have to get used up first?

I know 1 bike won't ever be the best for every type of riding, but c'mon Honda. It's about time for a change.

all i got to say is honda is the last to do anything. I dont think they really care, cause they still sell stuff. They got their hands into everything. Its almost like their afraid to take a risk & make a 250,450,600,900 class DS. Not only that, but why on earth do manufacturers feel the need to make a DS with anything higher than a 33" seat? 5'8" & a 36" seat & a red light!!!! real frikken nice.

I wish the 650L had a removeable subframe, to me that is the bikes only liability.

Probably the dual sport market is the slowest selling area of motorcycles-hence you see old timers like the XR650L and the Kawasaki KLR650 basically unchanged in 10-15 years.Shoot, Yamaha, who used to be a major player in all things dual sport (1968 DT-1 250;the old XT500, XT550) doesn't even import a large dual sport into the US. Suzuki has put more effort than any of the other Japanese into this area. The DR650 was redesigned in 1996(still a long time ago by sport bike standars), and the DRZ400S speaks for itself.I guess if everyone quit buying the XR650L and the KLR650 and everyone just went out and bought a DRZ400S the message might become clear. But the XR650L seems to sell well. A local Kawasaki dealer, when asked to come down on the price of the KLR650 said basically-why should I -I sell every one I get in at MSRP.

In my state, Washington, you can't "dual sport" a dirt bike anymore, so your choices are the four mentioned above for larger DS bikes.

Jon Neet

I've been riding dual sport bikes since I was 13 (1984 XL 100S) what a power monster that thing was. Then an XL 185S, XL200R, and finally my 650L. I might have upgraded my ride in the last, oh I don't know 11 years if there were a reason so I think they would move more units if there were a new full size D/P bike. Every year I look at the new 650 and shake my head. Don't get me wrong, I love my old 650 but the bike and motor are based on what, an 88 XR 600, and the short lived NX 650.That was the last major chasis upgrade on the off road bike that spawned the L I think. :cry: Man that was slap in the middle of the mullet craze guys, and I know that there are still some mullets running around out there and that is uhhhhhhh fine :cry: but this is a new millenium. A little Incubus or Cold Play goes really well with Def Lepard or Duran Duran :cry:

Where is the 650R in all this? Has it not proven to be just as reliable and more powerful? And an aluminum chasis to boot although not necessarily lighter, it is a little slimmer at the seat and water cooling is a plus unless you wreck a lot :cry: Is'nt it a green sticker bike for California already? As far as the upcoming 450X I doubt it would be a good candidate because of the maintenence regimen, but none the less I hope something comes around the bend soon because the time has come.

I might have upgraded my ride in the last, oh I don't know 11 years if there were a reason so I think they would move more units if there were a new full size D/P bike. Every year I look at the new 650 and shake my head. Don't get me wrong, I love my old 650 but the bike and motor are based on what, an 88 XR 600, and the short lived NX 650.That was the last major chasis upgrade on the off road bike that spawned the L I think. :cry:

Where is the 650R in all this? Has it not proven to be just as reliable and more powerful? And an aluminum chasis to boot although not necessarily lighter, it is a little slimmer at the seat and water cooling is a plus unless you wreck a lot :cry: Is'nt it a green sticker bike for California already? As far as the upcoming 450X I doubt it would be a good candidate because of the maintenence regimen, but none the less I hope something comes around the bend soon because the time has come.

I see in your sig you've got an '05 CRF450R. I bet that's a blast to ride!

I share the same sentiments. My first bike ever was a new XL500R, back in 1982. Heck, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven with that big DP bike. That was the first year Honda made the switch to a mono-shock for the XL's.

I've owned 3 XL500R's, 2 XL600R's & now my last DP bike is the '98 XLR. It is definitely suffering from old age (probably me, too). Not the bike's condition, just the technology it uses. I know it takes Honda a long time to make certain changes, but 16 years counting the '88 XRR?

Somebody over there at Honda's got a gliche in their calendar when it comes to upgrades or major improvements for the stagnating L.

I guess it's comforting to know if you bought an L back in '93, you still have the same bike as everyone else 12 years later?

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