New XR650 L or R ?

After many years without a bike (last was Yamaha IT 465) I'm looking at getting back into it. Trying to decide between the L and R. The riding would be with friends with 650 dual purpose bikes. Mostly gravel logging roads with pavement riding to get there and back. Lots of exploring and not to much technical trail riding. I realize the R would need a DSK. Both bikes would require a bigger gas tank, minimum 4 gallons? Would this be enough to get the R 150 miles?

It sounds like the L has enough power if you remove the snorkel and smog pump and rejet. If the R is uncorked is it a lot louder with the new endcap or the old one drilled out?

Is either bike comfortable for a 200-300 mile ride in a day. I'm currently riding a mountain bike 30-50 miles a day.

Do I really need the BRP or will the L meet my needs? Oh yeah I,m 6'1" and 190 lbs and the wrong side of 40.


I've heard more stories like yours (after many years without a bike...) in the last several years and I too am included in this group and also on the wrong side of 40. My last bike was an IT490 - hehe!

I don't dual sport (off road only), but I've talked to several guys who've switched from the L to the R and they've all been very happy. "Gene Lane" on the Yahoo XR650R group is one of the people that has done this and could give you some excellent first hand insight about this very topic. I did consider dual sporting my bike and read a lot of opinions, so here's what I think based on my reading. If most of your riding will be off road, then the R is the way to go. If however you'll be spending any serious time on the road, then look to the L. The L is also significantly heavier than the R and while this may help its on-road manners, the lighter weight of the R would be of benefit off road.

A Clarke 4.3 gallon tank on a XR650R will get you between 100 to 160 miles depending on how much you twist your wrist, although I've heard a few people claim to get nearly 200 miles but I've never been that lucky. IMS also makes a 4.6 gallon tank and they also make a 7 gallon system with a fuel pump and then there's Acerbis that makes a huge tank called the Sahara and while it holds a lot of fuel, its the ugliest thing I've ever seen.

Some people will tell you the R is much louder with the stock tip drilled out or while using the HRC tip and some people will say it's loud, but not too loud. It's all a matter of perpective, but I don't have any accurate sound measurements to offer you other than to say the HRC tip is significnatly louder than the stock drilled tip, which is significantly louder than the stock tip. I've been told from another XR650R owner that Morikawi offers a pipe for the XR650R that is significantly quieter than the HRC tip, but louder than the stock tip. Baja Designs & White Brothers also sell something called a Vortip that's supposed to be a bit quieter than the HRC tip and still offer more performance than the stock tip. One thing you could do is drill a series of holes into stock endcap for more performance and if you think its too loud, then fill the holes one by one with a sheet metal screws until its quiet enough for you. Another option is to simply buy the HRC tip and switch betweeen the stock and HRC tips when needed.

On longer trips, its my understanding that the L would be significantly more comfortable, especially in the seat. You can also opt for tall soft seat foam for the R model which is available from various sources and this would help out significantly for longer trips.

If you really need electric start, then the R model isn't completely out the picture as there is an aftermarket electric start kit planned for the R model, but it will cost around $1000 from what I understand. The good thing is that its a bolt on kit using mostly Honda OEM parts and it 'might' only add another 8lbs of weight if it follows the same pattern of the XR400 e-start kit that's currently available.

Good luck in your decision :)

The R is made to be a race bike. The L is made to be a dual-sport bike. It's just more comfortable if you're not racing. Just be sure to uncork it (search old posts for "uncorked").

Same boat as you guys - after a ten year hiatis jumping back in with both feet and a fat wallet! LOL Went the R route as I'm a offroader at heart but it sure is nice to ride to your trails on the road. The R and L are not even on the same planet as to weight and performance. Go with the R and DS it. Lots of trick parts to get and very comfy when done right. If you don't want to spend the bucks or time to get the R set-up right and don't really care much about performance get the L. But I think you'll find the L lacking on soft dirt roads and it will tire you out much quicker unless your on pavement all day. Coring out the stock exhuast is louder but not offensive at all. Actually I like the sound of the modified stock better than my E-Series. No matter which the BRP is a great DS.


Danco has a good point, the R has been graced with a bunch more modern technology, and DS kits are not that expensive.

My experience with exhaust tips for the R has been that the drilled out stocker is just a hair quieter than the HRC. BUT the HRC is deeper and goes in the pipe past the second baffle which allows for more flow, which I beleive stopped my overheating on slow tight trails with out going to a high pressure rad-cap or other coolant.

And Danco, stop making those of us that ride "fuzzy" XRs :) feel guilty by showing off such a pretty ride! :D

About a year ago, I had the same decision to make. In my area, the R model was also 500 dollars cheaper. I rode both, I bought the L model. The R is significantly more powerful, and significantly less comfortable (for me). I wanted a bike that could do true "double duty". The R is closer to the dirt end of the spectrum. You can dual sport it, but it was not made for dual purpose function, and it shows. I like air cooling, electric start..etc. It's not a matter of better, but which one fits your needs. I would point out, however, the R has had more reliability problems in 2 years, than the L has had in ten. It is an apples-oranges comparison anyway. True dual-purpose bikes, like the KLR and DR 650's are the L's competition, not the R.

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