Should I target a XR650L or XR600R??? Need input

I am still saving my money for the bike I have been wanting for a while - a big bore XR. I was originally leaning toward a 1992 - 1999 XR600 (I am steering clear of liquid cooling), and I was going to set it up for dual sport to hit some of the trails from my garage. I have read a lot on the XR600's, and they seem bulletproof.

But I have been intrigued by what seems to be a lot of XR650L's for sale lately. There is a reallly sharp one on ebay now, and the price seems decent, and it has a lot of aftermarket stuff on it.

I understand there is about a 50 pound difference between the 650L and 600R (the L is heavier). Where does this weight come from? What are the differences in the bikes? Is the suspension different? Fork tube size, wheel travel, etc.?? Does the rear rubber mounted hub make for a smoother ride on the road? Can this rubber mount be installed on a XR600?

I am estimating I'll be doing 50% riding on road(which will include fireroad riding)and 50% off road, including single track riding (my favorite type of riding, which I savor with my KTM 300 EXC).

Does anyone have any experience on both bikes? Pros/cons? I have had a few guys tell me they absolutely love their 650L's, but they are heavier than the allready heavy 600 R. But I have seen some great dual sported XR600's, so I'm caught on the fence. Even though the 600/650 is heavy, I don't want the 400, as I know it won't handle freeway speeds. I want torque and power. Any and all input is appreciated.

50 pounds! That is the biggest difference. That is a TON of weight on the trails, to much actually.

The weight comes from the metal tank, starter, battery, extra pegs, etc. Suspension wise, the XR600 at 50# lighter will be superior. The XRLs have always limited the suspension travel from Honda and usually are not cartridge forks either.

I have touched a few XRLs, but man they are a PIG! THey should be street only. Dont expect to jump that or drive fast over gravel roads.

Really what you want is get a XR600. Then buy an Edelbrock pumper carb for it, remove the airbox lid, install a LED taillight and Baja Designs DSK. The bike will be so much better than a 650L! Also plan on speding the money on a SRC fork brace for either bike as it is needed to eliminate the fork flex.

I'm w/ you no liquid, no extra 50 lbs.I raced X-country mountian bikes in Traverse City in 98. Pretty cool terrain. You'll like a 600.


I dual sported my 98' XR600 and loved it. If you go with a XR650L you can cut off a lot of the extra weight but you will always have a battery and starter. The electric start is a nice feature for the street or dirt but you pay a price for it. How important is it to you?

I was on the fence too...was very close to buying the 650L but I'm glad i didn't, cuz of the weight. Then I found a screaming deal on sweet 400, but I didn't do that either, wanted more grunt. If you are used to riding singletrack on a 300EXC the 600R is still gonna feel like a hog on even semi-technical terrain (I got used to it, but hey you've already got a bike for that) but you'll have a big grin on your face when the terrain opens up and you give her a twist. I know I do :):D

I should add that most of the weight on the 600 is on the front wheel and this is especially noticed on wet trails. Add another 50#s and things would get dangerous

A friend of mine have 650L and he is very unhappy with it. Don't buy it!

what's the deal with the rubber mounted/cush drive hub? Is this only on certain years? I keep hearing that the "L" models have this, but mine just has the sprocket bolted directly to the hub, which appears to be one piece. The stock front sprocket did have a funky rubber ring vulcanized to it. Hmmmmm...

The 650 L had cartridge forks, from '93 on up. If I had the energy, I would take a picture of mine, complete with huge sticker stating "cartridge system" on the front forks.

I think the suspension travel is pretty similar to the "R" model. Hence the tall seat height.

Let's check our facts before posting please.

The L model is a bit heavy for serious off roading. Many owners either don't do a lot of serious off roading or have another bike for that purpose. If you are going to spend much time on the street you will love's a very light street bike. Although the XR engine is bulletproof and starts ok, it sure is nice to know that if you kill it in traffic (time to flip to reserve fuel, etc.), starting the bike is just a button push away! Most "L" owners love their bike...even though there's "lots to love" if you know what I mean!

Mike - The "L" is a great bike, even on the single line trails. If you are looking for a bike to ride on the road and in the woods it is hard to beat. Big XR's can be tricky to start and if you are in traffic that electric foot is worth the extra girth. I ride with a few boys up here that go real fast on XRL's.

My riding buddy has an 02 XR650L, and my totally stock detuned DRZ400S will kill the honda in a drag race. In the woods it is no contest! The 650L is a dinosaur from the 80's.

I ride an XRL650 on road and on trails, and I would recommend it for anyone. I'm 6'4'' 225 lbs. I've never had aproblem with the weight, but I also don't try to ride the thing like my CR. Anyone who's accustomed to a track bike isn't going to like the XRL, because it doesn't like being slammed around. That said, I have to agree that it's a dinosaur, but then again, so is my 1992 CR500. I, personally, love the XRL and would buy another one in a heartbeat.

I have a '94 XR600, FMF pipe(it looks like the chrome megaphone Pro Circuit pipe) and K&N filter. I rode it back to back with a friend's 97 650L which had a White Bros Pipe. I would much rather buy a 600 and add a dual sport kit than get the 650L. You can really feel the difference. I would rather kick start the 600 and have a bike that feels 70 lbs lighter and 100% more dirt capable.

Get the xr650L, you'll love it. The frame and suspension are xr600 spec. It is heavier because it sports electric start, passenger pegs, etc. Stock, it is too lean. Rejet, pull the snorkel, and you will be eating DRZ 400's and xr600's for breakfast in a drag race. This bike is a torque monster. The DRZ feels like a sewing machine in comparison. The L can do trails and fire roads just fine. It is a bit heavy for serious dirt riding, but so is the 600. It's a true dual purpose bike. For 50-50 riding, it's perfect. If you spent all your time in the dirt, you'd want a smaller, lighter bike. I have a KTM for that.


what jetting are you using for xr650l. what altitude are you at and what temp?

I'm at sea level. I run a 52 pilot and 158 main. I don't mean to knock the 600, it's a great bike, but the L is no slouch when it comes to hauling *ss. My bike dyno'd at 37.5 horsepower, and only the xr650r is significantly stronger. And the L makes torque that the DRZ 400 can only dream about. The L is not for serious dirt work, but neither is any other electric start dual sport bike.

10x for the info. I forget to ask also is your bike stock? Air filter, exhaust? What gearing are you using. I have a friend with 650l and he dave problems with the bike. He is using K&N air filter and I think he have to rejet...

Except for jetting, snorkel removal, and a one tooth lower front sprocket my bike is stock. I run a K&N also. Your friend should rejet even without the K&N. The L is ridiculously lean, to meet EPA regs. Tell him to put on a 14 tooth countershaft sprocket, and rejet. He won't believe the difference. My bike will pull a block long wheelie just hitting the gas. It's a very quick "dinosaur".

Theres not a DRZ400 alive that can stay close to my XR650L, after removing the exhaust baffle, smog pump and snorkel the bike flys. I love it on heavy trail, and it does fine on single track enduro, but it won't win a trophy in an Enduro. I ride it more than my ATK250, cause it is street legal and I can ride to the trails. I am looking to add a serious competition Enduro bike, but will keep the XR650L for what it does best. You can ride it all day too. Try that on a WR or DRZ...

37.5 hp? My DRZ has that much or more. With 250 more cc's you'd think that you'd get a little more power out of that BRP! With the exception of top speed I'm inclined to think that your L would get smoked by my S. What does that thing top out at anyway? I'm geared down to where my top speed is about 90mph, but I've had it up to 105mph with the stock gearing.

Oh boy.... what kind of can of worms have I opened! :):D

If you are talking about the BRP it's can of worms you don't want to open. The BRP and the 650L are two different animals.

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