How Much Off-Road is practical with a 650L?

Ok, it may be time to swap my beloved XR 2.5 with an electric start dual sport. Other than KTM and Kawazuki, I feek I'm limited to the 650L. I'd ride 75% dirt trails in Ohio so I'm a little concerned with the weight. I just like HONDA. I'm told by my dealer to wait and the 450crf will no doubt get the e-start within the very near future. (but then I'd need lights, tires, etc.) Anyone care to comment??


I like the 650L. It basically depends on your size, the bigger you are then the more you will like it in the woods. :)

I think you would enjoy the "L" in all but the tightest woods.

it's a heavy bike no doubt, but that weight is nice to have going down the interstate at 80 mph. Tires are way more important for how the bike handles than a few extra pounds. It's a very versitle bike with a lot of nice features, and endless aftermarket parts availability. Not bad for beginner motarding, either I might add.

Well, the 650L is definately more off-road capable than most of those other "dual sports" such as the DR650 or the KLR650. Also, if you uncork it and put decent tires on it, it'll work well off-road, or so I hear from a friend of mine who has a '00 model. Have you considered the 650R? That's what I have, with a dual sport kit, and it's great! But, no majic button! I almost bought a 650L in '01, but it was sold before I could get it. A friend of mine found a good used 650R, so I got that instead. Both are really good bikes. They are heavy, but you get used to it.


I wouldn't trade mine for any other dual-sport bike. Electirc start, air-cooled simplicity. Yes it's heavy, but that can help in rocks/roots, where the bike doesn't deflect like a light,rigid bike. Remember, this bike is based on the XR600, which Scott Summers rode to a number (7?) GNCC championships. I don't think you can get any more off road than that.

I have a XR650L with many mods, although it,s a decent machine off road at 5/10 170lbs I found it a little to tall and heavy for all day rough tight single track, bought a DRZ 400S did some mods and I'm much happier. :)

Thanks for the replies. It's got me thinking for sure. I'm only 5'9 168 and there would be some tight stuff and alot of elevation changes where I ride (used to ride) That's just it, I may be changing where I ride to more open stuff, so who knows...

you know, for 75% dirt, i would go with the xr r, i am only about 165 lbs (depends how much beer the night before) and i can throw it around just fine, and just about anyone can start it. It works great for me in tight stuff and has lots of power for street, if you arent too set on electric start you should go take an R for a rip and see what you think. More power, less weight (alot, like almost 50 lbs) and they sit a little shorter. I have a buddy that is about 5'8 and he has ridden my bike. One thing about the l, they are a proven 20 year old design that absolutely will not fail you, The xr r seems to have the same reliability but obviously not the same "experience". besides, you look like a manly man kicking over a 650. just my .02 (or $20 CDN)


check out the laws where you live. the XR-R for the street may or may not be an option. Here in Iowa, there's no way you can license anything that doesn't have a VIN designated as street legal, so there's no question. I debated on an XRR and whether or not I could live without electric start, but the legal thing was a deal breaker. You will find that tires are the biggest "compromise" and limiting factor, an XRL with full knobies would walk away from a CR250 with street tires in the woods. Having two sets of wheels is nice but expensive.

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