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just purchased a xr650L 1996.. great condition! seems a little underpowered though..?


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The bike runs super, but the guy i bought it from said he had just re-tuned the carb when i bought it.. it doesn't have any lag in throttle response, sounds like it is running perfect, has plenty of power to get up to 70 pretty quick.. everything seems normal except it won't rev fast enough from a roll in first gear to do a nice wheelie, if i preload the suspension and jerk the handlebar it'll pull one alright, but i figured a 650 ought to just jump right up there without all that preloading and jerking? guess the way it is geared for the highway it just won't get there without help?? and what is the fuel mileage on this bike.. for 50 miles of mixed riding yesterday, i used almost 1.5 (1.46 i think) gallons.. is that about right?

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Big-bore thumpers aren't that quick to rev. The L is tuned/bored for torque; mainly low-end. Wait until you find some hills to climb (if you haven't already)...L's (XR's in general) are tractors, especially the 400/650R/650L.

What is your current gearing? This has a lot to do with top vs low end power delivery.

That fuel mileage sounds about right. L's are thirsty. One of my first changes was a Clarke tank. I couldn't beleive how often the stocker required refilling.

Congrats on the new bike. 👍

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My XRL feels totally weak when compared to either of my Ducatis, but feels pretty good when compared to any of the KLR650s that I've ridden. It doesn't seem to be a good wheelie machine. But I have no problem lofting the front in second gear to get over an obstacle if I work at it a little bit.

I tend to get about 35 mpg - same as my other bikes. I definitely like the Clarke 4.7 gallon tank that lets me go up to 150 miles between refills.

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i assume you mean the lid off the air filter? yes, that was apparently done sometime earlier in its life.. it has some sort of yellow/orange filter and it appears to be a paper mix filter media, i am unsure of what the cloth type material it is mixed with, but it appears to have been very well taken care of, the battery box looks new inside and out, NO dust inside the battery box/air filter box whatsoever!!??? seemed to nice and clean in there to be true!? thanks for the advice and well wishes!

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My XRL feels totally weak when compared to either of my Ducatis, but feels pretty good when compared to any of the KLR650s that I've ridden. It doesn't seem to be a good wheelie machine. But I have no problem lofting the front in second gear to get over an obstacle if I work at it a little bit.

I tend to get about 35 mpg - same as my other bikes. I definitely like the Clarke 4.7 gallon tank that lets me go up to 150 miles between refills.

Went riding yesterday on my supermoto XR650R and got 45 miles per gal.

Mind you this was on the street and not the dirt but was riding a few wheelies.

17 inch wheels geared 15/44 and kept the speed around 55 to 60mph.

All stock motor with just an open exhaust can with a two inch tip.

open air box rejetted with the power up intake and stock air filter.

I bet if I kept the stock exhaust tip and leaned her out a bit from the 175 main to a 170 or 165 and dropped the needle a clip or two with 15/41 gearing I could get 50 to 55mpg.

My old Xl600 gets as good as 60 if I baby the right hand.👍

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I have the same feeling about my pig. Full throttle with stock gearing, my 240LBS a$$, a heavy steel rack and whatever I Have on it and the front wheel just picks up off the ground a little unless I give it a good tug. But, I like the taller L gearing for the slab, the longevity (I hope) of the engine, and I never have to change the antifreeze or worry about smashing the oil cooler. And the engines can be built up quite easily if that is what is desired!

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Big-bore thumpers aren't that quick to rev. The L is tuned/bored for torque; mainly low-end. Wait until you find some hills to climb (if you haven't already)...L's (XR's in general) are tractors, especially the 400/650R/650L.

What is your current gearing? This has a lot to do with top vs low end power delivery.

That fuel mileage sounds about right. L's are thirsty. One of my first changes was a Clarke tank. I couldn't beleive how often the stocker required refilling.

Congrats on the new bike. 👍

I agree. The stock XRL motor is highly detuned on purpose. They are designed to run a long time on crap third world gasoline. They are not high performance dirt racing bikes. The biggest bonus of these bikes is their ability to be converted into other purposes, like wheelie prone hooligan bikes. 🤣

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