XR650R or XR650L ??

What are the major differances? The honda website seems to show no real differance. The specs seem the same to me.

This same question has been asked alot. A search would yield you much information.


XR650L is air cooled, electric start, great gas mileage (50mpg+), street legal. weak engine with smog equipment, 190 watt stator/alternator, heavy, heavy, 328 lbs dry.

XR650R has two fragile radiators, no electric start, not street legal, engine is weak in stock form, heavier than the XR600, bad gas mileage (<20mpg), weak footpegs.

Other than a few common characteristics, they are two totally different motorcycles that share almost no parts in common.

Famous Quote by BWB63: The XR650L is even better

Buy the "R", throw some hard earned cash into her and you will be happy, that is if you like to haul ass......I do............... :)

One ends in "R", one ends in "L" :)

XR650R only gets around 20 mpg. :) That doens't make any sence.

The "R" gets 40mpg during conservative road riding. It is powerful, lighter, water cooled, aluminium frame.....higher tech.

Bottom line: If you like going fast off road or riding challenging terrain, get the "R". If you like exploring off road and might spend more time on road, get the "L".

XR650R only gets around 20 mpg. :) That doens't make any sence.

It just depends on how its geared, how its ridden, etc, but that's true for all bikes. My MPG varies widely on my 650r's depending on what I'm doing. If I'm riding agressively on certain desert trails where the going is fairly slow (mostly 2nd gear stuff and using 13/48 gearing) and I'm constantly switching from full braking to full wide open throttle from one corner to the next, then my MPG will likely be in the low 20's. If I'm running taller gearing (14/48 or 15/48) and I'm taking things much easier at higher speeds, I can easily get in excess of 100 miles without hitting reserve from my IMS 3.2 fuel tank. I haven't checked my fuel economy in a good while, but know I can get 40+ MPG without too much trouble when simply cruising. Later this year I hope to be doing more highway cruising and will check my fuel economy to see just how good it gets for me. I'm guessing I can exceed 50 MPG on the highway if I'm taking things easy, but I do know that my fuel economy varies widely based on how agressive I am with my wrist, gearing, riding conditions, etc.

This same question has been asked alot. A search would yield you much information.

My apologizes. I should have searched. I found several threads asking the same question.

I'm at 48 mpg hiway with 15/45 and a 120/100 rear cruises nice at 80 mph.

With the L you get 50 extra pounds, I had one for 3 years

With the R you get 20 extra HP (uncorked)

If you live in California the L is the only way to go. If you are out of the country of Cali, then get an R and make it street legal. I love my L but even running 13/45 gears, and all the mods (except the high comp piston) it lacks a little power. It will still eat up the Sport bikes on the tight roads, but the R would do better.

If you're a conservative rider like me, who enjoys trail rides, singletrack, and dirt roads, get an L. I bought one, and can take the paved road to my offroad riding spot, do some offroading, and come back home. Unless you're planning on racing, you don't need an R. I like to ride trails, and the L has all the power and handling I need. And in reality, those characteristics are suited to MOST riders.

But everybody has a different perspective - my perspective is that the L does everything I need, it looks cool, has a bigger headlight, and I'm not limited by the bike in any way. It's great!!

The L is air cooled - true to form of the original XR motorcycles. In that respect, the R is really the black sheep in the family, but it still shares a lot of the characteristics of the other bikes - the sound (somewhat), the look, a lot of the parts (other than the engine).

Try not to be bothered by negative comments like "weak rad" - don't let that deter you from getting an XR. They're great bikes - not faultless - no machine is - but probably the best, most reliable machines out there (sorry KTM).

My apologizes. I found several threads asking the same question.

Several dozen threads I would imagine!

These bikes really don't compete with each other. Knowing your requirements should help with the decision. The stock "R" is not street legal in North America...the "L" is... and is better for road work. The former is a pure off road bike with much higher performance...off road. The latter is dual purpose bike with some measure of off-road capability. For even better road capability and performance...consider the 600RR. Off road performance will suffer though, however it doesn't compete with the other two either!

There are 100's of street legal XR650R's in California and they are still getting them plated even to this date. I have a 2003 680cc XR650R that has a plate. There are lot's of different ways to look at the laws that say that you can and can't.

I found the "weak rad" comment very humorous. Having owned a lot of water cooled dirt bikes over the last 20+ years, I can't say that I've ever had a raditor failure.

My personal opinion is go for the R (I guess I own one hey :).) The main selling point is basically power. Even without spending the earth (ie, in basic uncorked form), it really is quite a power full bike, more so if you throw money at it. But it's gas mileage is relatively poor (35 MPG in my experience on the hwy), and there's no electirc start. Probably depends on what you want. My particular application is chasing (and passing) sports bikes on twisty roads (on road tyres) and being humilated by my dirt bike mates on single track. Suits me to a tee :)

Not just California. But off the showroom they are not legal... you have to make them street legal. Just like you have to uncork them to make them run right! 650R's are "off-highway" models in North America. I made a CR500 "street legal" once too...that's not the point.

Ironically, the full power version of the R is sold in dual sport trim in other markets...making for a stronger running dualsport bike then the box stock domestic "pure dirt" model.

There are 100's of street legal XR650R's in California and they are still getting them plated even to this date. .

I have both, ,loved my 650 L until getting the R, now the L just sits in the garage waiting for a friend to ride it. No comparison in the grin factor, none. In VA, the R can be made street legal easily.

how bad is the L on the highway? I live 150 miles from dirt but i am sick of the drz/truck combo and i don't want a twin because of the weight. I dont need more than 70 mph, but straight line stability is kind of important. I was thinking carb/pipe for power, a little windshield for the blast and maybe a scotts stabilizer. Should i just hold my nose and get a klr?

I find I get blown around at 60mph a bit on my stock L if there is a stiff wind, so you might want the stabilizer. But I thought that the stabilizer was more for high speed vibration and damping some of the up and down movement from the front end. I didn't think that it'd help with wind gusts. But if it does, go for it.

But I don't have a problem with keeping the bike on a straight line at 60mph if there's no wind. (maybe that's what you wanted to know?)

If you are happy plonking, and don't want to mess with your bike, get the L. If you want to fly, and don't mind fiddling to make it happen, get a plated R.

And have fun, whichever you choose!


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