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HELP ! Can't Make-up Mind over WR25oR or XR650L??


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I've read most of the posts here as well as elsewhere and even spoke to a dealer the last time I was at a shop - but I still can't decide what is a better bike for me - help please! 👍

I hope to use the bike for fun and maybe a few times a week to commute to work on the freeway for no more than 15 or 20 max miles. Speeds on Route 680 can be from a crawl to running flat out about 70 mph.

I like the newness and lighter weight of the WR250R, but am concerned that it is small for running on the highway at 70mph with a 190lb rider - meaning running the engine too hard and maybe too little left over for emergencies.

I have wanted a XRL since the 80's, but I am now concerned that they have grown over weight (325lbs+), I hear they run hot, and may even run poorly (hesitation, backfire etc) unless you drill holes in the carb and make other trial and error mods that don't appeal to me. I simply want to buy a bike and enjoy it, not mod it to make it work right.

The Honda/Yamaha dealer did not have much positive to say about the Yamaha, only that it was too costly and the little motor would running too hard on the highway or offroad park. This sort of bummed me out.

He seemed to prefer the XR650L - but since he only had a used 650 and no WR, he may have been trying to get me to buy the used 650.

Help please, the wife says yes, you can buy a bike, but I'm stuck.

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There are guys riding the R² on the highway at that speed who are your size. I have yet to hear anyone mention 'running the engine too hard.' This thing lives in the upper rev limit. The bike will also ride much tighter trails because of the weight and size difference, not to mention the fuel economy it gets! Too costly?!! Are they on glue? The bike also has an incredible service life that beats any other bike out there. Less servicing = more riding. The valve set isn't even due until after 20k. That little motor is one tough little motor and it loves to rev. You have to remember it's concept is out of an R1 sportbike; it's up at 11,600 rpm.

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Thanks SheWolf, I also thought the dealers comment on price was shocking. Thinking back, he also had the Kawa 250S in stock in addition to the used XR650L, and was pushing the Kawa as a better bike stating all sorts of reviews between the Yamaha and Kawa - though I could not recall the Kawa be better from what I had read - less costly yes.

I know neither the WR or the XRL is a tour bike and will be a "pleasure" to run on the street, but I'm not looking for a comfy street bike. I want more of a dirt bike I can ride on the street - like I did as a kid, only it was not a street legal dirt bike then 👍

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My first choice is always Yamaha, in 2006 there was not many mid size dual sport bike options, I ended up going with a new DRZ400s, I'm really glad the WR was not around at the time as that would have had been a tough decision! I keep hoping Yamaha will make a larger dual sport bike again!

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The Kawasaki 250 isn't in the same league in terms of power or suspension as the WR250R (according to comparison tests I've read.) The WR pulled me (200 pounds) down the freeway just fine at an actual 70 (the speedo exagerates a lot) when it was stock. It didn't have a lot of power left at that speed, and top speed is around an actual 85. But the engine is very happy at high revs...pretty quiet and very smooth. It can do it all day every day.

If off road is important to you, I'd pick the WR over the heavier XR. The WR has enough power to have fun, without being so heavy that it's always trying to kill you.

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Basically, my opinion is that if you want a street bike that looks like a dirt bike, get the XR-650L, one HUGE and rather heavy bike.

For a big guy, it's just fine.

The WR-250R would be a much better choice for mixing street riding with some real dirt riding.

Less weight and less physical size does wonders for how it feels off-road.

Won't have the outright power of the 650, but that's obvious.

Both bikes would need to be "uncorked" to rid them of the silly EPA restrictions imposed on them, and both bikes have websites and message board communities (like this one) that will tell you how to do that.

I know that with the WR-250R (I own a 2008 model), the bike simply won't have the power it should have until you do some basic-but-important mods (remove airbox flapper; aftermarket exhaust; fuel injection programmer; lower gearing; better dirt tires).

Once you do this stuff, I think the WR-250R is a great bike for doing both street and dirt riding (and I mean doing more than just riding down a graded dirt road that you could drive a car down). 👍

On the street, the WR is a little terror.

I've got the above mods with much-lower-than-stock 12/47 (sprocket teeth) gearing, and this bike is proving to be a lot of fun for ripping around the street.

This season it's my only street bike, and while I was at first concerned I'd be bored with it out on the roads, it turns out I'm having a blast wringing it's little thumpitty neck (in a loving kind of way because it seems to like it). 🤣

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I have a WR250x, and weigh in at around 180lbs. That said, I have no problem hanging with and passing freeway traffic. I run 14/48 gearing, so just a bit lower than stock (11%) and I have no problem hanging out at an actual (GPS verified) 70-75mph, with enough left to pass if required.

As has been said, no matter what dual sport you get, expect to spend some time and money on mods, because these things are all kinds of plugged up stock.

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I like the newness and lighter weight of the WR250R, but am concerned that it is small for running on the highway at 70mph with a 190lb rider - meaning running the engine too hard and maybe too little left over for emergencies.

I'm 190 lbs. and regularly ride my WRR to Pittsburgh and Columbus on the freeway. The only issue is battling the wind. A small windscreen fixes that.

The Honda/Yamaha dealer did not have much positive to say about the Yamaha, only that it was too costly and the little motor would running too hard on the highway or offroad park. This sort of bummed me out.

He seemed to prefer the XR650L - but since he only had a used 650 and no WR, he may have been trying to get me to buy the used 650.

You dealer only cares about his bottom line. You think he's going to give you an honest opinion?

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I purchased a 2008 WR250R last Dec. Remember its a 250, not very heavy for the road, certainly not a cruiser its a dual sport. It will easily keep up with any highway traffic at 70mph. It by no means will launch the rider off the seat. As for the trail, it is about the same weight as my 1998 XR400R yet it handles much quicker on the single track. On FS roads its great. .In fact the front end almost seems to light (still running the stock tires on the front & rear) so I have to lean over the front tire on occassion. The only mods I have done to it added a skid plate and radiator guard. I must say though, if Yamaha comes out with a 450 dual I would definetly be on the fence about upgrading to it. All in all Yamaha has made a homerun with this bike.

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I got so frustrated trying to figure out if I wanted a KLX250, DR/XR/KLR650, or a DRZ400 back in 07 that I said screw it and bought a Buell Ulysses.

Loved that bike but it took me to places that made me want a true dual sport.

"Hmm I wonder what's down that little trail? If it ends suddenly, I may not get out on the Buell."

Also the Uly loved to wheelie at low speeds and I was becoming a hooligan. I behave pretty well on my ZX10R but the Uly made me silly.

Anyways a few months into the Uly, I stumbled across the WR250R and knew I wanted one. The monster thread at ADV solidified my decision and for a while I couldn't find one around and knew I was going to lose money on the Uly.

One day for kicks I called a dealer who had one listed on Cycle Trader (usually this lead to, "a what? no, we have the F." And me asking, do you have the one with turn signals? the dual sport that you advertised.

I showed up and they actually had the right bike- traded the buell and a little money for it and have never regretted it. (Pretty big loss of $, had the buell just over a year.)

I'd still like to have a uly but I'd probably lose my license on it and can't afford 3 bikes right now. Still love my 10r too.

I rode something like 70 miles on higway into nasty wind the other day.

Guy on KLR650 and girl on a sportbike were even saying how windy it was (she broke a nail holding on too tight.)

WR handled it fine and I haven't even re-geared the bike since putting the D606 tires on it.

I'm probably closer to 170lbs geared up but still.

Big tank is kind of a must though. Fuel economy at highway speeds (70 plus,) into the wind the other day was about 45mpg.

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I used to have an XR650L in San Diego. It was good for open road and open desert, but for tighter stuff, it was heavy and had to be manhandled a lot. It would wear me out in no time even with adding 5 teeth to the rear sprocket, which made it better for tight trails. My little WRR is just fine for everything except for long interstate rides. The XR was faster on the road though. You can get either for about the same price, either new or used.

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Really try and get some test rides. There are a lot of differences between the WR250R and the XR650L. Look through the adventure threads and you will see that the WR250R/X is being used for a lot of different treks and comes through with flying colors. A lot of these as bone stock. You don't have to modify it, if you are OK with a 250 and a dual sport.

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I currently own an R2 and had a XR650L about 8 years ago...loved them both. However, they are like comparing apples and oranges. Go with the R2 if you intend to ride primarily off-road and with the XR if you think you'll be doing mostly road. The R2 is relatively light, but the XR is a beast.

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I currently own an R2 and had a XR650L about 8 years ago...loved them both. However, they are like comparing apples and oranges. Go with the R2 if you intend to ride primarily off-road and with the XR if you think you'll be doing mostly road. The R2 is relatively light, but the XR is a beast.

Please explain: Is it a "beast" in terms of being a tall, heavy bike, or a "beast" in terms of mucho unstopable power that rips up the street and throws you back on the seat??

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