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DR or XRL for Phoenix heat

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I'm about to buy a dual sport to explore the trails in AZ. I've read every thing I can find here & ADV. I have had Honda's in the past, my all time fav was an '80 XL500, my last DS was a street legal XRR a few years back. It was fast, but miserable on the hwy & I want e start. I like to wheelie, slide some on fire roads & crawl through technical trails, I'm old enough that I won't be attempting double jumps etc. I'll have to do as much as an hour between trails at 70mph + at times. I'm 230lbs with a 32" inseam. I have a Goldwing for street trips. Either bike would get a larger tank, a better carb, exhaust,etc. The DR would need a better seat & suspension work right away but the two I've sat on fit me well other than the handle bars being way too low. I will be riding in rocky areas & I will drop the bike from time to time.

I've never ridden a DR, but did make a few blocks on the XRL.

I posted a simular message on the XR side just for comparison, which bike & why?

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Can't really compare them as I've only used the DR. I weight about 225 and have a 34" inseam so that is similar. From my perspective, the spring replacement is really the top thing to do. It made a huge difference in how the bike suspension works. I've ridden mostly on the road. The bike has no problem reaching 65 or 70 and doesn't seem to be working hard at all. Seems absolutely stable on the road. I initially went the dynojet route but never managed to get the stock carb setup like I wanted. Now have an FCR-MX carb on the bike and even though I don't have it setup correctly yet, it is obviously a better carb then stock. Much smoother and seems to have more power at low rpm.

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I'm about to buy a dual sport to explore the trails in AZ. I've read every thing I can find here & ADV. I have had Honda's in the past, my all time fav was an '80 XL500, my last DS was a street legal XRR a few years back. It was fast, but miserable on the hwy & I want e start. I like to wheelie, slide some on fire roads & crawl through technical trails, I'm old enough that I won't be attempting double jumps etc. I'll have to do as much as an hour between trails at 70mph + at times. I'm 230lbs with a 32" inseam. I have a Goldwing for street trips. Either bike would get a larger tank, a better carb, exhaust,etc. The DR would need a better seat & suspension work right away but the two I've sat on fit me well other than the handle bars being way too low. I will be riding in rocky areas & I will drop the bike from time to time.

I've never ridden a DR, but did make a few blocks on the XRL.

I posted a simular message on the XR side just for comparison, which bike & why?

I have had two XR650Ls and currently have an 06 DR650. Since I have owned both of the models that you are considering here is my take. I live in AZ too but my dirt bike of choice was an 06 CRF250X. Great bike for the dirt but it sucked on the street. I dual sported it but I ended up selling it. The XR is a good bike in the dirt with some aftermarket help but it is not too comfy on the street. The problem is that you have to gear the bike for the dirt if you plan on doing technical stuff and that gearing has the bike screaming on the street. The DR is hands down a better bike on the street than the XR, but the XR in stock trim is better in the dirt. In your case I would bet that the DR would be a better fit for you with some suspension work and some mods to make it a little more dirt worthy. You could do a compromise with the gearing and I think that you would be happy. I would find someone who has a DR and take it for a little ride to see how the bike compares to the XRs that you owned.

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The DR is great on the street and fire roads, but in tight technical stuff I find it too heavy and bulky. Even with a front re-spring I still had a tough time with it. I know it can be made to tackle technical trails better, but I think there would be too much of a trade off on faster street riding which I like it more for.

Just curious, have you looked into a DRZ400 at all? I like it a lot better in technical stuff and it can handle 70mph street cruises relatively well too. Just another possible option.

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The DR & XR 400's both crossed my mind. I rode a DRZ a few years ago before I bought the XRR & if I didn't have to get out on the hwy I might get one, but the 400 was not very happy cruising 70 plus with me on it.

I'm re thinking an XRR, I did enjoy the power & AZ is conversion friendly.

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I rode a nicely done up XRR and I can tell you it has around twice the power of the DR in stock form. Dynojet + airbox mod gives you a good boost down low but practically nothing up high aside from throttle response. So if you ride one and find it doesnt' have enough power onroad then it never will. Its not a wheelie machine like the XRR but it does have the torque to pull you everywhere just as easily. I'm still using the stock gearing of 15/41 and I can go offroad and blast up hills from a standstill in 2nd with a bit of clutch if I choose to, and then it winds right out to 100kph so theres still plenty of grunt it just doesn't use it as fast or as aggressively as the XRR. And because of that gearing is not really an issue for me. I can get it down so low I can count the thumps and it'll still pull away with some light clutch assistance no matter where I am, even bogged down in sand and mud. When you throw it around the track it feels no heavier than the XRR at all but once you get airborne... oh dear. Suspension sucks no 2 ways about it, I am running it stock but I honestly can't imagine it being too much better with springs and emulators

edit: Havn't ridden the XRL but I just don't see the point, if you want a more road biased bike the DR is the winner, if you want a more offroad biased bike you go the XRR. So where does the L fit in? other than having a honda badge i'm at a loss as to why anyone would buy it

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I live in Prescott and now have a DR, but i have also had an XRL. The DR is better for me, much better on the street and since most of my off road is jeep trails and fire roads, the DR is good enough off road. I don't jump it or ride it in the mud but have done 280 miles in one day with the stock steet. The lower seat height is great and the bike has run perfect for 4,000 miles. For me the XR was too tall and very unstable on the road; the DR also seems easier to work on.

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I have had an 06 DR650SE since July 07 and I love it for Arizona riding.

I looked hard at the XRL before I got my bike but it seemed too tall and felt ungainly. I ended up getting a slightly used DR650 that had the lowering already done and a nice heavy duty bash plate. I think that's a great setup, since the lowered bike is easy to get on and off of and feels much easier to handle, but when I whack into some rocks because of the reduced ground clearance it doesn't hurt anything with the bash plate in place.

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I'm in Phoenix as well, I also looked hard at both bikes before I bought my used DR. Money was really not the factor. The XR was just way too tall. I'm 5'11" and it seemed that when stopped I could just barely "toe-it" upright. I was very uncomfortable. I suppose if you were only riding in the dirt that wouldn't be such a concern, but these are "Duel Sport" bikes. Mine gets as many miles on the slab as in the dirt. So far, I am very happy with the DR. I have owned heavier and taller Duel Sporters in the past. When You sit on the right one you will know it!!

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Haven't been logged on for awhile and have been bikeless for a few months and low and behold all this talk about Duals is what I'm looking at now. So, let's hear all the opinions on which is more recommended for me. I'm in Tucson Az. Suzuki DR650 or Kawasaki KLR650 ("08") on both. Money isn't issue as they're both fairly close and I've sat on both and can 1 leg either one stock. I'm 5'7' 31"inseam and a fairly good rider. I will say most of the miles will be on tar but i will be off road but nothing to technical. I will put some luggage on it for extended adv tours. These are the 2 that I'm most interested in. Thanks guys, Ron

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Suzuki DR650 or Kawasaki KLR650 ("08")

If you will be taking a passenger with you at any time get the KLR. If not the DR is lighter and easier to handle off-road and just as good on-road. The DR is a bike you can make fit your needs with a little aftermarket help.

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I have always liked honda's better than any other bikes ( I still do in fact) but I currently own a dr650 and I am completely happy with it. I bought it used and it already has all the mods (keintech , jetting , spring etc) It is great on the road and does just fine off road , I had to get used to the weight but it handles nicely and once I adjusted to the bike on trails and sandy hills it doesn't seem big or bulky at all. I am 6' and 215 so it's a pretty good sized bike.

I like the height of the Honda better

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Thanks, I rode a KLR & it was not made to do what I want to do. Any of my choices except the XRR will need suspension work. The XRL & DR would more than likely need a carb swap to make me happy & probably a pipe.

I'm leaning toward a lightly used DR & spending the savings on the goodies, but a better deal on an XRL might sway me. All that is if I don't start really dreaming about the XRR power wheelies :thumbsup:

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