XR650L or CRF450R

Hello, I have been looking at a 2006 XR650L and a 2007 CRF450R for my dad and I can tell that they have a noticeable weight difference, etc. I was thinking that the CRF450R might be better for the riding my dad, and I do which is trails, old gravel roads, and wide open terrain.

Since the CRF is considerably lighter I would assume it would be easier to manuever through tight terrain, yet fast enough to keep up with my XR600R that I ride. Also both of the bikes have electric start which he would need due to a knee injury.

So, I was wondering as to what info you could give, comparing the XR650L and the CRF450R for the types of riding that we do. If nothing else, please give your opinion on the performance of either bike, whichever one you have experience with, as well as the types of riding you do.

I just went through that thread a few mins ago, it gave some info, but I am still looking for more.

We are not looking at any other bikes at this time, and on Saturday we are going to a dealer to take a look at them and have him get a feel for them, so that he can hopefully better make his choice. Just trying to get some info on people's opinions of the CRF450R vs the XR650L for the kind of riding we do, with little to no mods.

He rides my XR600 fine in the wide open, but we haven't tested it with him on it during trails. He is an experienced rider, but as i stated previously he hurt his knee, so the electric start is a definate want, otherwise ill be starting his bike for him every time.. :lol:

The xr is a tank on tight trails but it is street legal, the crf 450 is a handful from the aspect of the rapid powerdelivery and the close ratio, relatively high first gear. Gearing it down, causes a loss in top speed. Really the bikes are like apples and oranges. A better bike all around would be a 450 x, wr 450, ktm 450 exc etc etc, Wide ratio, lighter weight e start, less maintenence. Does it need to be street legal? Is he aggressive, laid back, what is the budget, who is he riding with mostly??? Does he hit the track, or pick up groceries and the occasional exploration type trail ride, where a quad trail or overgrown jeep road is the extent of the trail.

I believe the CRF we are looking at is 4700 and the XR is 4300. The reasoning for the XR is partially because it is street legal, and he was looking towards getting his motorcycle endorsement, so that he could use it as a commuter as well as be able to ride with the family, and me.

Once we get another bike, we will have whatever that one is, a 1996 XR200, a 1985 XR600, and a 1985 XR80. Right now the 80 is broken, but we are considering fixing it up, just so we have a smaller bike to putt around on.

He is semi-aggressive, yet occasionally he likes to be a laid bike rider. We do not ride track, so being jumpable is not required. A lot of our riding has been quad-trail riding, but we have been known to venture into some tight and tricky terrain.

We would like to stick with Honda, but I guess our options are somewhat open. All of our bikes have been honda for a while, because of reliability, etc. (Since we pulled the XR80 out of a backyard after 2 or so years of sitting, reconnected the frame, and it started right up with some new gas.)

As long as the bike is as reliable as XR's have been for us in the past, then it is possible that we may go with another dealer. We may even look more into the 450X, even though the price is a little higher.

XR 650l or CRF 450? That's like saying should we have Sushi or Pizza for dinner. They are both food but...

I have owned both bikes. Believe me, they are two completely different beasts. One is a early nineties design dual-sport (it hasn't changed since '92) and the other is a cutting edge motocrosser.

I would rule out the 450f for pops. Have you thought about a KTM 450exc or a Suzuki Dr 450?

The XR 650l is a very tall bike. And dated. Although I still own mine and love it... for what it is.

What about the 450X, even though it is a little more costly, it is built more for offroad / trail use, is it not?

1. a CRF450R is NOT electric start - ever

2. the CRF450R is quite maintenance intensive - very different than any XR in that regard.

3. seriously, a CRF250X can hang with a XR600 provided the 600 isn't going 100.

4. you really should opt for the CRF-X if you need to stay with Honda.

5. if street legal don't matter find a left over XR650R. that's a much better off road do it all bike like what you're looking for and requires WAY less maintenance than any CRF-X or R could ever dream of.

Have you thought about a KTM 450exc or a Suzuki Dr 450?

You meant the DRZ400, right? Along those lines - the Kawasaki KLX300 would even suit your needs save more the street-ability requirement. But then again, no CRF X or R would ever be street legal either.

Alright, well for offroad use, being mainly trails, and the price of around 4k, which other bikes would you suggest, that are as reliable as the XR's and require little maintenance?

The bike being 450cc, or close and 4 stroke...

Alright, well for offroad use, being mainly trails, and the price of around 4k, which other bikes would you suggest, that are as reliable as the XR's and require little maintenance?

The bike being 450cc, or close and 4 stroke...

XR650R (though they ended production in 2007), Kawasaki KLX300 (also ended in '07), Suzuki DRZ400 and to a lesser extent (very doubtful to get these at around $4K new) the WR450F and the CRF450X potentially being last in XR like reliability. Really though, between your two choices - the XR650L ain't a bad bike and the price is good too for new.

Alright, well thank you all for your input. I guess only time will tell, since we are headed to the dealer Saturday for a look around and to get a feel for the bikes.


I keep seeing "reliability" & "low maintenance" pop up in here. XR is second to none in my opinion for that. Bulletproof baby! The Kawasaki models mentioned here are a very, very close second though from what I've heard.

I have a buddy with a CRFX. Considerably higher maintenance, although a blast to ride. Do you like to replace valves?

I have a bad right leg too. A pumper carb and/or bump starts take the edge off if he gets something without an e-start. I always try to stop somewhere where I'm facing downhill.

I've ridden street bikes since 1986 and just got into trail riding this year(end of July)I got a XR650L and as much as I love the fact that I can commute on it as well as ride North 50 miles and hop on a trail for XXX miles is great, however, I really wish I had another smaller, more nimble bike for most of the trails. The XR650L is a real pig in the weight department and gets mighty tedious in the tight technical areas and man is it TAAAALLLLL. If you don't ride a lot of tight technical stuff it's great.

I can't speak about the CRF450R, although it is a MX'r and not a trail bike, I believe they make a CRF450X that is more geared for trail riding. I also know that the CRF450R is one maintenance intense bike as well. The XR650L needs very little maintenance, change oil every 1k miles, check valves every 4k miles, keep your foam filter clean, that's about it.

I can, and have replaced valves before, although it isn't a very hard task, it isnt something that I would like to do after every ride.

If he doesn't decide on something he likes at the dealer, then I'm just going to keep looking at used bikes on craigslist, etc. And if he happens to get something at the dealer, then lets just hope it is a little less maintenance instensive, depending on how hard he rides it...

btw, thanks again for your guys' info

nothing will ever have less maintenance then an xr they are a rock. I would say an xr, you probably wont notice an extensive difference in size/weight to the crf and you wont have to worry about breaking the radiator if the bike tips due to a weakened knee...i am certainly no expert, but had similar questions when recently looking for my bike (i went with an xr400)

Susuzki DRZ 400 is what you want. Great all around do everything bike, except motorcross.

Susuzki DRZ 400 is what you want. Great all around do everything bike, except motorcross.

I don't own one, but that's exactly what I was thinking, to me it seems like the best all arounder if you want to stay on a budget , I just missed out on one in our area, it was an 04 with 106 miles on it, for 3K and as far as I know, there are no major differences between a 2003-2009 DRZ400S

And I would not be looking at a CR450R, that's a track bike, the CR450X is better suited for trail riding, and the 650L is a tank compared to the CR, as several have said, is your dad up to a CR450R? or a CR450X?, their bad @$$ bikes,

I'm 45 and have been riding all my life, I raced Moto X from 14 to 20 yrs old, but I haven't really seriously ridden in the dirt in over 20 years, I'd go DRZ400S, but that is because I need it too be street legal, but if I could make the other two bikes street legal in Cali, it would be a CR450X, or a WR450F.

But honestly I don't think you could go wrong with a DRZ400, from what I hear, they aren't the best at any thing, but they do every thing well, a bit heavy when compared to the KTM's or Huskys, and down on power against them, as it would be against a CR450X, but street legal, bullet proof, tons of aftermarket support, and since you really don't care about jumping, the suspension should be ok for you, and no changes since 03 so if you buy a used one with low miles, and I've seen several of them in our local craigslist with less than 500 miles for under $3500 , well like I said, you can't go wrong.

I'm 48, been riding hondas since I was 10 and just sold my 650L (had a 650R in 2000 as well) and held on to my 05 WR450F. I can tell you the XR650L is called the big red pig for a reason. It's big, heavy and a water buffalo in the tough stuff and sand. It's a ton of fun on the road and the fire trails and if you slow down and pick your way, you can do anything if you are athletic.

Me, I'm 48 and have a spine fusion and have no time or patience to handle the beast XR650L. In addition I thought I could slow down and just go tour mode but I can’t resist the temptation to ride and the XRL gets me in trouble. WR450F is the bike, but I don’t "pavement it" for more than 30 miles or so.

If you are looking for a 450 trail bike I would go with the CFR-X or go to KTM. I have a CRF450R that I am trying to convet into a trail bike. First all the 450R is a beast. It will wear you out just trying to hang onto it. Second first gear is too high for tight trail riding. I have changed sprokets and added a heavier fly wheel. All of which has helped. Bottom line is you can make it work but it still is not perfect. It is built to race...Buy something that is built to trail ride if that is what you are looking for. KTM has great trail bikes...I like my Hondas also and just would not let myself buy anything else. I know which I would have.

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