XR650L - What was it designed for?

Could have done a lot of things. For what I want to do, the XR650L is the best bike in the world.

If what I want to do becomes something different, I'll ride whatever is best for that.

And once again, anyone that wants to argue with that, well, I can't stop you from steppin' on your own unit, now can I?


Nobody is going to make me believe my XR650L sucks by any means. I've had many bikes and done lot of off-roading and done track days on my sportbikes. I know the benefits of the XRL (and I favor it riding around town to my Yamaha R1 even). But I had a first hand experience yesterday that opened my eyes to it's shortcomings.

I generally love to fly down some of the Blue Ridge mountain forrest roads here in NC and explore with my GPS anywhere I can get it, but going to the local MX track yesterday they have a nice tight back woods trail I got to take some laps on and though I was doing ok with other than a couple of ruts that nearly took me and some berms that I just couldn't handle (thought it was just inexperience with high berms)... THEN I got on a friend's Kawasaki KDX220 which is a pure trail bike. WOW. double WOW even. I FLEW through the trails like it was nothing. It soaked up ruts like the weren't there, and throttle steered like it was nothing. Absolutely a different experience totally. By the end of a few laps my friend's RM125 broke down and he wanted his KDX back... Needless to say I left cause I didn't want the XR back on the trails again. Could it handle the trails? Of course.. Could it rail through them? sure, if it wasn't ultra tight and rutty in parts.... Is it a better tight trail bike? no way in hell..... Would I ever give it up as a steed in my garage? Absolutely not. I still find nothing better to explore in the mountains with...

.... And I might as well mention that I RODE it the 80 miles to the track and 80 miles home afterwards. That says something at least

I will be the first to say that *weight* is the #1 enemy.

If I ever bothered to get springs to match my weight, it'd be better going fast, but with a 350 lb bike you're only going to go *so* fast before something ugly happens, so I just leave it soft to soak up the rocks (helps on the hillclimbs, too!).

Now that I'm in an area with at least *some* riding spots available, I'm thinking of adding a gas-gas 300 to the stable in a coupla years.


I've had 650L. rode from SF to mammoth.cleared the doubles, table tops every lap, rode home. have a 650R d/s. would never go back to L. L does every thing I've done on my R. way bigger smile on my face when riding the R!!! The L is still a very good bike. but when you can have a 650R why ride an L. I'm not stuck on any one bike,i love all bikes,if i had lots of money i' owen one of every thing

Hey LesPaul, I'm just wondering if even a 650R would be any good on those high berms. Still a pretty stiff bike, and heavy compared to any 250.

Maybe your suspension on your L is set pretty stiff? Could have been a setup problem?

Still lovin' the L...

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