How can I make my XR650L more stable at high speeds?

I am a long time reader of TT. I am a new poster to TT.

I have an 07 L. It is all stock, other than the renthal handle bars. I am happy with the power at this point, although would like to jet, pipe, etc. in the future.

I find the bike to feel like a kite at 75+ or at any speed with a good gust of wind. Please, how I can make this more more stable!!??

Also, first recommended aftermarket mod? (I know it's been asked 1000's of times, but I just want a quick "Do this!")


The easy (free) answer to make your bike more stable is to increase the rake by lowering the spring's preload. A 1/4" may be all you need. Also, pay attention to your tire pressures.

If money is no object, get a steering stabilizer/damper. A full kit (damper, mount) runs somewhere around $500.

Good luck and welcome to TT.


Some report improvements in stability by switching to a less floppy front fender. It's a tall bike, though, so you're never going to be completely immune from strong crosswinds.

Couple thoughts, what's your riding experience prior to said bike? Afterall, it is a relatively light bike and will feel a little "unstable" upwards of 60 - 70 MPH. Oh, by unstable I assume you mean twitchy and wandering?

Like the other poster said, yes, you can adjust the pre-load and/or, you can also drop the forks in the triple clamps. Start small, 1/4" increments by lowering the bike on the tubes, and fine tune in 1/8" increments ... make notes, figure out where your sweet spot is.

Final suggestion, tires ... if you're running full knobbies, that's not gonna help ... depending on your riding, you may need to go to a more street biased tire.

Good luck,


I plan on getting a fork brace this winter.

Thanks for the speedy responses!

I have been reading through the other threads about different tires. I can't find anyone saying "buy this one!!". I am mostly finding "I'm going to try this one". I am mainly a street rider, although do not want to lose the option to wander (slowly and carefully) down a dirt/gravel road. I like the tread on the Avon Gripsters. Any thoughts as to what I should replace my deathwing's with?

Almost anything is going to be better than the Deathwings!

What two things helped my bike out the most. I got a arcerbis supermoto front fender. I also raised the forks 1/4 inch.

I switched to a CRF230 front fender (stiffer and more aerodynamic), added a Scott's damper, and switched to a Pirelli Scorpion Pro front tire (which works great off-road!). All of these changes made it much more stable. I eventually did a USD fork conversion and that also helped a lot. However, it will NEVER feel like a big heavy cruiser.

jonr3 stole my suggestion...I've read a few other posts that addressed trimming or using a different front fender. The stocker is big and catches a lot of wind which can translate to the front end feeling "twitchy". I had my stock L upto 96 mph (indicated) without issue on the stock front and a Mefo rear. It wasn't twitchy, but it did feel light. I did not have any adjustments made to the suspension or fender when I am referring to the bike being "stock".

One issue not mentioned is the steering head bearings. If the bearing are a little loose or need to be repacked, it will manifest itself as instability. The best overall answer is a steering dampener, but it is costly.


I'll suggest a quick, and low cost fix. Take it down a good, straight gravel road at 80mph or faster. Then cross back and forth over the loose stuff in the middle, and repeat until the motorcycle feels stable on the highway.

First $$ spent on the bike would be a larger tank.

+1 to onederer.


It's all relative:lol:

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