swapping XL250R for XR650L

I currently ride an 85 XL250R around town, which I really enjoy. I just inherited a bunch of money and there's a 2003 XR650L in really clean shape at a local shop, and I'm wondering if anyone has any advice.

I'm finding that the XL's age is its biggest problem - my exhaust is starting to rust through and it's a real bitch to find parts for these old bikes (except the oem parts, which are expensive). Having a newer bike would completely eliminate that problem. Also, although I don't do much highway riding, the XL is completely useless for anything other than little jaunts because it's so underpowered - I'm lucky if I can get it up to 110km/h, and even there I'm pushing it harder than I'd like.

There are plenty of different trails around here (in NS, Canada), with conditions ranging from real tight with plenty of trees to semi-wide open (but mostly just trees - lots and lots of trees). I'm kind of concerned the extra weight (324lbs dry for the 650 vs 288lbs dry for the 250) is going to make the 650 a dog in the woods. I'm about 6 feet tall and weigh about 200lbs.

Anyone have an opinion on this? Should I switch or just make do with an old bike? If I could find an already-street-legal XR4 I'd buy it in a minute but I doubt I will..

Thanks for any advice,


The XRL is very capable off-road, and will conquer just about anything. It will be slower than a lighter bike, and you are not going to muscle it around- its all about control. Tight single-track trails are not a problem with it.

If you want to hang with a bunch of guys on XR400s or WRs, etc. you'll be straining to keep up, but if you tour the trails, as opposed to ride as fast as you can, you'll probably love the 650.

I think the only guy I've seen do sicker stuff on the BRP-L than me is TortureChambers, and I think if I lived where he did I'd be doing the same stuff.

The XRL needs a little work on the jetting and carb (the standard mods), will benefit greatly from new springs with the proper rate for your weight.

You'll love the XRL for the street-portion of your rides, there's no question about that.


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