XR650R vs CR500

How do the two compare in the power compartment? How about handling? Which would win in a drag race, as was as hillclimbs (assuming riders were equal skill)? And how do the two compare as a 'whole'? Thanks! :)

I have a 2001 XR650R with the Power-up :). My Step-Son has a 2001 CR500R.

Both bikes are really fast! We have raced many times. In a straight-line drag, I win. We're pretty even until I get into 4th and 5th gear. The problem is, I end up going about 80 mph to beat him. I think his bike handles better in the turns. The CR500 also has instant power. It comes on hard and fast. They are both a blast to ride! :D

2001 XR650R/Power-up.

I think a properly set-up cr500 would walk away from a xr650 at everything bar pure top end.

cr500 is much lighter and has more hp

My old 600 will run with the CR500. A lot of guys around here my age have CR500s and my 600 will run right with them. The main reason is because the 600 tends to hook up while the CR500 is spinning it's wheels. When we get down to the desert (Bend, OR) the 500s can't match the top speed of the 600, and hold it. I have ridden the 650 and it whoops on the 600 in raw HP. Of course the 500 is lighter and easier to maneuver in turns, but the 600 and 650 seem to be more stable at speed.

I have both an '00 XR650R with power-up kit, and also a '99 CR500 which is completely stock. First of all, both bikes are damn fast. However, the CR500 weighs a WHOLE lot less than the XR, and also pumps out about 12 more hp than the XR with the power up kit. This equals more acceleration for the CR500, IF you can take full advantage of it, which is not easy to do. The 2-stroke CR doesn't hook up well off road, and spins the wheel alot.

If you drag race both bikes on pavement, all other things being equal, the CR500 will easily outpull the XR up to about 75mph. At this point, the XR650 will eventually catch up, and overtake the CR, and continue to it's top speed of about 100mph. The CR will sign off around 90 or so, and believe me, a CR500 is NOT nice at high speeds like that, it vibrates and buzzes you to death, and in general, 2-strokes don't enjoy sustained high speed revving like that.

CR500 was made for MX, which means in your face hard core acceleration and brutal power hit. The XR650 is best for wide open spaces at sustained high speeds over 60, it simply handles superb over rough ground at high speed, and the CR does not. The CR is MUCH better at low speed handling over rough ground, but still not as good handling as a CR250, in fact not even close.

Still, my favorite bike for a cheap thrill is my CR500, the power hit is just totally bad ass, and the bike is easy to handle for anyone because it's so light. MY XR is mainly for dual sport, mountain off roading in the rockies, desert riding, and things like that. It's still fast enough to scare the crap out of a beginner rider though!

Smashin'z! Well said. 99% of my riding these days is desert. I agree with your review of both bikes' attributes. I prefer my XR for most of my riding, which tends to be WFO across the dezz. But when I do ride the CR WOW! It's like sitting on half an XR! Man, she duzz buzz when she is tapped out though, and her head gets a little shakey in the sand wash when she's wound out tight. Not Linda Blairish though, thank God! :) I know I'm supposed to sell my 500 but I just can't seem to call the advertisers. She looks too cool in my soon to be "Race Garage" :D What the hell, I'll wait until the CR450X comes out then I may purge some iron...Could be the best of both worlds.

Thanks for all the replies. There was one more question I wanted to ask though. How does the suspention compare between to two bikes, and which one is easier to jump...assuming you were crazy enough to jump these bikes. Would the 650 be out of the question due to its weight? Reason is i'm trying to pick between the two bikes.

The 650 and 500 would be a good drag race on flat ground and the 500 should win if it can get traction, after say 60 to 70 the 650 would most likely go by a stock 500. If they were to race up a large sanddune the 500 would smoke the 650. But the 650 can climb big hills with little effort, i climb long sandly or loose technical hills on my 650 easier than my 01 CR250, no fancy clutchwork needed on the 650. The 500 would turn better in tighter areas than the 650. The 650 is better all around than the 500 for hauling ass, puttin around, or jamming down trails and washes and handling all obstacles other than tight tight turns. Plus the suspension is plush but still can take a hit and it does not vibrate like a 500. This brings me to your jumping question, I do not care to jump big on the 650. I suppose it could be jumped w/ the right rider but most big jumps would have to be executed perfectly or it is going to be a hard landing. My buddy jumped his 500 very far but w/ no tricks like a 250 or 125 and I used to jump my 95 KX500 pretty far.

If I could only get 1 bike and the choices were the 650 or 500 then I would go w/ a 500 for sanddune ridin and plain hot roddin around. Nothing beats a 500 hard hitting power but unless your in an area that can use the power it is overkill. I would go w/ a 650 for power to the ground performance-not just spinning like a 500, comfort on longer rides and that big bore feel. Even though I own a 650 and love it (except when I fall and have to pick it up) I sometimes miss the 500 raw on edge horsepower.

:) You’re trying to pick between the two bikes? OK you’ve got an easy choice here. The two bikes are in a different class and just can’t be compared. The CR500 is a straight up monster MX bike. Basically it is a 498cc 2 stroke stuffed in a CR250R frame. In raw power it rules. It is lightweight and meant to be ridden hard as in MX racing. The XR650R is a powerful bike meant more for open / trail riding situations. Both bikes have excellent suspension but tuned for a different arena. Put your guy card aside for a second and think about what you are going to be doing with the bike most of the time. If you get the full power-up kit for the XR you will be pushing close to 70hp, the CR500 has 70hp from the factory. Major difference is 2 stokes need lots of engine rebuild / maintenance to keep that power. The XR is built to take the punishment and keep on running with basic maintenance (i.e. valves, plug, oil change). Bottom line, if your racing get the CR500, if you’re riding and looking to have a ton of fun get the XR650.

I think everyone has got it right. The CR500 is a very fast bike. The power comes on a lot faster and harder than the XR650R. Again, it just depends on what type of riding you like to do. I primarily ride in the open desert on long rides and that's what the XR was primarily built for.

2001 XR650R/Power-up.

The 2 strokes in a roll on drag race will walk away from the 4 strokes. From 0-75 it is close with the Xrs have taller wider gears.

Now if you want it all, get a CR500AF! hehe! Cr500 motor in a 97+ CR250 Frame.

I may stick a KX500 motor in the KDX250 one of these days. Very simple install on that bike from what I have heard.

70 hp on a xr650r. What do you have a turbo charger on that thing?? Don't get me wrong, I get the jist on the comparison. But never heard of 70 HP before.

some good opinions here, with no doubt a bit of bias towards the Xr which is not surprising considering where we are.

Stock or modified, the CR would easilly make more power than the XR. If geared equally, it would win any race, providing the traction was there. Actually, a good running CR250 would give the 650 a good run for it's money at least at the low to mid speeds.

It is correct that the CR and XR are made for different purposes, although the CR could also make a great all around woods or play bike. It is also correct that two strokes do not handle sustained high rpm running as well, such as desert riding. However, many have won races doing just that.

The whole thing about two stroke vs. four stroke maintenance has become highly exaggerated!!! A CR500 with average care and use will run years without even a thought of top end maintenance. Piston speeds are relatively low, and in stock form this is not a highly stressed engine! At the same time, in an effort to keep up with the two strokes, the current crop of four strokes are gradually becoming more maintenance intensive due to lighter parts, higher rpms, less oil capacity, etc. when compared to the "old reliable" designs we all know so well.

I can't say which bike is better for you, much fun to be had on either one!

In the March 2002 Dirt Bike Magazine, they did a test on the absolute fastest dirt bikes on the planet. They where the Honda XR650R, KTM 540 EXC, Kawasaki KX500, and the Husaberg 650.

All bikes were modified to produce the highest speeds possible. Mild porting, cams, pipes were used and the KTM was bored to a 540. The Husaberg was the most stock of the bikes.

They did top speed runs in two directions, and averaged the speeds. The results were:

Honda 111.4 MPH

KTM 109.1

Kawasaki 107.6

Husaberg 103.6

This proves the Honda XR650R IS faster than a 500 2-stroke. BOTH bikes were modified to get the most power from a mostly stock motor.

Fun. Fun. Fun. :)

:goofy:No turbo needed my friend. From the reports that I have heard/read about in many magazines over the last 3 years, I have no doubt that 70hp can be generated by this 649cc engine. Example: Johnny Campbell rode a Baja winning XR650R that was around 70hp back in 2000. Check this link http://www.off-road.com/dirtbike/apr2000/rick/ The full competition HRC Power Up Kit includes a hotter cam and high compression piston that will get you in the 60hp+ range alone.

no offense, but in my opinion magazine tests don't really prove anything, depending on who spent the most on ads that month, or which editors or bike test riders have what brand bikes at home in the garage. I know for a fact a modified two stroke 500 could exceed those speed, if you wanna talk magazine tests, the old KTM 495 air cooled back in 1984 was in a magazine on a radar run over 120! I have personally ridden several stock 500s that would pull the front wheel up at will at close to 90, but none of them had the gearing to go any faster than that. Speed is all about power to weight ratio and wind resistance. Some day they may have the technology to make a 650cc four stroke put out more than a similarly modified 500 two stroke, but we aren't there yet folks. Oh yeah, and then there's the weight...

By the way, in case you are wondering there is a 650 Honda in my garage, and no 500 two strokes within sight.

Speed is all about power to weight ratio and wind resistance.

If this is true, why is it that the 650 is faster (top speed) than the 500? There is much more to speed than power and weight. Acceleration is going to be much greater with the 500 (force = mass x acceleration so force/mass = acceleration), but top speed has more to do with the type of engine and final gearing in this case. You will have a tough time proving the 500 to be faster than the 650. :)

Top speed is not a good judge of a more powerful bike. You can gear any bike different from stock. From slow speed to top speed. Change the sprockets on the 500 and watch it pull into the 120s. You can do that with most any of the bikes there.

You need to compare the bikes on better terms than that. Do a 0-70 drag, do a 20-100mph drag etc and then the top speed. Then you have some data. Like one bike has the highest top speed but the slowest acceleration. Things like that give you a better feel for how a bike's "speed" is relative to others.

About that KTM 495

Quoted from March 2002 Dirt Bike:

"Twenty years ago, the Dirt Bike staff of the time got a KTM 495 on the dry lake with the tallest gearing imaginable. There was no GPS, no radar gun, not even a good pace vehicle. With just a stop watch, the top speed was guessed to be 123 MPH. It wasn't good science, but it made a good headline."

And furthermore...

"...motorcycle technology hadn't regressed; it's just that speed measuring technology had progressed. The 1981 numbers were revealed to be doubtful."

What do you have to say about that???


"Change the sprockets on the 500 and watch it pull into the 120s."

Again, from the Dirt Bike article:

"The Kawasaki was already at the limit of it's gearing and the Husaberg had been stripped of everything that would come off. Finally, the Honda returned with a run to end all runs. 100.5 against the wind and 125.0 with the wind."

Sorry boys, the Honda XR650R, mostly stock, with only a port clean-up, HRC cam and a pipe, was faster than a ported and piped KX500.


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