650R street legal

hey everyone....first time user....proud owner of 97 xr4....i'm planning on buying a dual sport....have looked @ the 650l and like it a lot....i've also considered buying a 650r and installing the baja kit....is there a major difference in the performance between the two bikes....i know the r is a higher compression engine and liquid cooled....i plan on commuting to work and cruisin' the backroads....any input would be helpful....thanks....


The "L" is old tech and much more for the road. The "R" is a much better bike for off road. But if you are going to comute on the thing...

I have the "R" and did the baja quick disconnect kit, just to get to and from the trails and keep the park rangers and police from chasing me. I like the "R" and would not consider the "L. They are really two different bikes

thanks for the info....farrell

I'm mulling over the same issue. I want the performance of the R. I drove a street legal 86 XR600R for close to 10 years. Sure an L is a little more comfortable on the road and you will probably get more miles out of it, but there is a compromise there. I don't take the R on long highway rides, but for 2 to 3 hours it isn't too bad. And I love it off road. If you were going to make this a one bike owner situation the XL might be the better choice. I have a buddy that I drive with who just bought a new XL. He will use it everywhere. We do a lot of the same riding and I can't blame him for picking the XL. He uncorked it and it has more low end torque that I thought it would have. But he also has an 86 R in the garage for off road situations. But I think I am going to go with the R if I can, and street legal it. I just dig that extra power and that dirt bike feel. I have a 2002 FZ1000 for long highway hauls anyway. Just a matter of your situation and desires.

I recently purchased a mint XR650L with 600 mi, and was also looking at the R,s with Baja Kits already installed. Being that my serious dirt days are past me at 40 years of age, and the fact I plan on doing a lot of street/beach cruises I decided to go with the L model. I didnt feel like kick starting again all day. Or worrying about the life expectancy of the (albeit water cooled) R engine. Since my riding time will be near 50/50 dirt street. I was better suited to buy a L model and do the proper mods to increase engine output by 20% and still have very streetable habits, ability to cruise with passengers, not get harrased by CHP and still go anywhere I desired off road.

I think both bikes are great machines, you just have to evaluate the amount of time you will spend and where, and how truly radical you plan to get off roading.

I say find the best deal for your hard earned bacon and ride your McNuggets off....

Live Long...Ride Hard

Why would you get hasseled by the CHP on a street legal R?

i would have thought that the water cooled r would have a longer life expectency....i don't plan on riding it like my 400r in the dirt....might do an enduro or two but mainly to ride on short trips and to work every so often....

why would the life expectency be shorter on the r :)

don't worry about the service life of the 650R engine, it's a very good, reliable engine. If you don't race it all the time, it will last a very long time. I have the "R", uncorked and street legal. It is very powerful and not even in the same league as the "L" as far as performance and handling go.

If you're not used to riding such a powerful bike, I would say the "L" is a good choice for mostly street use.

When the "R" is uncorked/jetted, the power is very abrupt and snappy, it is not smooth acceleration and takes some getting used to.


'00 XR650R/uncorked/jetted/street legal

'04 KX500/fmfgnarly/vforce

When the "R" is uncorked/jetted, the power is very abrupt and snappy, it is not smooth acceleration and takes some getting used to.



When people used to ask me if the XR650R I had was fast, I told them it was like having the hand of God pushing you from behind. The BRP was too fun on the street :) . It was too big for the Minnesota woods.

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