XR650R Report

If some of you remember a few months ago I posted about coming over from the "Smoker" side. So a quick rehash.

Up until aquiring my 2001 XR650R I rode nothing but Smokers offroad. I have quite a bit of seat time onroad with inline 4s but have always stuck to the dingers offroad.

Since taking possesion of my XR I have had the opportunity to get to know my girl intimately. I first tore her down to the frame to see what I was dealing with. I was immediately impressed with how stout the frame is. Removal of the swingarm took a little innovation (with the special lock nuts on the right side) but working with robotics everyday (ABB, FANUC, ADEPT) I actually had a spanner in my toolbox that did the trick.

The next thing I did was ship the shock off to Factory Connection (I know a little pricey but they are in NH and it took exactly 7 days for the entire process) for a rebuild and a spring of the correct weight. I had only ridden her for about 30 offroad miles and could tell that the suspension (especially the rear) was a weee bit soft.

While the shock was out getting revamped I tore into the motor and could not find a single thing amiss. Save for a little section of the kick starter mechanism that obviously was not deburred correctly from the factory (part of what I do for a living.....ya know). Also the rider I picked this bike up from told me that it did not have 100 hours on it (and those were relatively easy) and I tend to believe him. Everything was in spec save for the exhaust side that was slightly under tolerance.

Since then I have added the required street hardware...except the DOT tires......which makes no sense to me......considering trucks can run Boggers and I do not think they are exactly "safe" for the highway.

I have taken her on many shakedown runs and absolutely love this motorcycle. From gnarly single track to highway (65+ for 30 miles to meet my wife for lunch) and this bike performs like it should. My R1 is a better street bike and my CR250R was a better MotoCrosser.......but neither one of them could blend the two into so much fun.....So for all those asking the ????? Get yourself an XR650R....tag it..........and ride it..........you will not regret it.. :)

Only thing that is really on my wish list for this bike is a quick change Motard kit and possibly some higher bars. I am 6'5" and the Renthals that came on the bike (Jimmy Button bend) are just a little to low for me. I have added a Moose Hi (seat foam) seat and this opened up the riding position a great deal. I am currently working on some in house fixes to the most common complaints about this bike (right side foot peg being one of them) and will post more when the time is right. Gotta love having access to miles of billet and over 50 CNC machines including some designated for nothing but prototype products.

So in closing I will say that I wish I would of made the jump sooner. My "Smokers" (especially my KX500) will always hold special places in my memory. But I can honestly say that nothing compares to this bike. Some may be faster, some may be lighter, but none will ever represent a purity in motorcycling that this simple offroad motorcycle does!! :p

So any thoughts as to what I should address next. I have heard rumors that the clutches tend to fail on my model year XRs. Is there any truth or substantiated claims to this? If so I would like to take care of it while there is still snow on the ground........ :)

Must read:The Pig Pen

Must read:The Pig Pen
Yep.......already been there....done that. Great source of info on this bike. But one mans trash is another mans treasure (and just about everything I have read on that site can be considered gospel). But.........The more info I can gather the more reliable I can make my XR. There is no other site on the net (and what a dangerous and bea-U-tiful thing it is) that has as much knowledge in a central location than the one you mention. Just trying to start a conversation that doesn't start with ........."Which bike should I buy?"

There's plenty of folks who have abused their old style clutch bushed bikes and they're still fine, but there have been some instances of failure. For the small price of the newer updated bushing and the ease of putting it in, I'd recommend doing it. I'd also recommend buying the updated countershaft seal since it's also inexpensive, but I'd just keep it as a spare for a just incase situation, unless yours looks like an obvious problem.

I switched from smokers in 1986, I've had 3 XR600Rs a XR650L 1 NX650 and now a 2002 XR650R street legal and geared up cruises 75 on the slab and pulls strong to just over 100 great in the desert, for years nothing changed but the 650R is a nice change lots of improvements and still can be had a reasonable price and minor mods bring the beast to life.

Whats a "smoker"?

Is that what some call street bikes?

I belive he is refering to a 2 stroke motorcycle.

possibly some higher bars. I am 6'5" and the Renthals that came on the bike (Jimmy Button bend) are just a little to low for me. :)

I was under the impression that Jimmy Button's were about as tall a bend as you could get?

Let me know if you discover otherwise. I am 6'6" and have the same issue.

I'm also 6'6" and use the Protaper KX high bend. It's about the tallest with the least amount of pull-back. I still think I could use a little higher bar for a better more comfortable standing position. The Button bend is tall but has allot of pull-back. But this is personal preference and you just need to experiment to find what works for you and your riding style.

BRP makes a very nice top triple clamp that allows you to both move the bars forward and up. They work with Honda and Johnny Campbell and know the XR650 very well and also are very nice guys.

Also, Guts Racing makes a nice seat foam and cover that raises the seat about an inch. It does help with the seat to footpeg relationship, although again I think I could use a little more and might experiment with adding another inch.

These bikes are just not made for tall guys!

I had to run with the Scotts triple clamp that moved the bars forward and up with Protapers. You can even get bar spacers. Just changeing the bars can only do so much. I run CR-Hi bends then added 20mm spacers on my DRZ. I have the same set up on the XR but no spacers because it fits me better than the DRZ.

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