bultaco

Most effective and least problematic conversion DR650 vs XR650L

14 posts in this topic

Yes the DR650 vs XR650L struggle (post 2000 for each bike).

I have reviewed many posts...just wanted to get feedback on these respective mods and the costs, time and effort being feasible or not.

I am looking to do some adventure rides...Copper Canyon, Utah, TAT. Have ridden since the age of 10.....49 now. Mostly enduro and street bikes. Puch 50cc. mx, Bultaco Pursang 125, 250, Can Am 250, 1985 YZ 250, 1990 honda Magna, 1980 XS 1100, 1999 WR400f.

Both need:

tank

seat

carb work

risers

lowering pegs

DR650 mods:

front suspension from XR600, RM or DRZ

Stiffer rear spring

18" rear wheel for larger tire selection (perhaps a South American trip).

not to mention increasing height of seat due to above mods :>

Know for less vibes at speed and better road manners than XR, 3rd gear may be a problem, most have much higher miles before rebuild vs XR, better SACS cooling design and somewhat difficult carb, somewhat better fuel mileage as well as better with worse quality gas than the XR.

XR650L mods:

reinforcement of rear subframe via welded supports

oil cooler to keep the temps lower at speed...not to mention oil consumption.

perhaps a cush drive in the rear to add to transmission life.

Better dirt manners/height for tall guys and top heavy vs DR

Went to visit a very nice mechanic (about 5'8") who happened to have a DR of his own. He had redone the suspension as cited above and happy with the bike...meanwhile his buddy had his bike in for an overhaul of the top end at about 10,000 miles...don't hear of that happening to the DR until about 30,000 miles. Still those XR's are built tough. These guys ride Baja and Copper Canyon every year.

Both good, solid, easy to maintain, ample aftermarket and not to mention dedicated and helpful TT forum friends. :rant:

If I was going to ride a lot more street, which I enjoy less...a pre 08 KLR650 would be in my crosshairs...a Vstrom is nice for street...but for dirt!!!!!!!!! No thanks...looks great with knobbies but that is it.

As I get older, I really appreciate a less cutting edge bike...easy to maintain and reliable. The manufacturers want to sell us more complex and expensive to maintain/repair bikes...our time is limited as is our energy...we prefer to be out riding not wrenching...a 2 stroke is in the cards for woods only alright after that WR :smirk:

Thanks for reading my post.

Edited by bultaco
omission

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As I get older, I really appreciate a less cutting edge bike...easy to maintain and reliable. The manufacturers want to sell us more complex and expensive to maintain/repair bikes...our time is limited as is our energy...we prefer to be out riding not wrenching...

I have to agree with you there. The DR650 is the only bike I've had since I was a kid. Glad I did lots-o-research on it and chose it over the competitors. If I can do the basic maintenance (like adjusting the valves and getting it right the 3rd time!) anyone can.

I love riding the DR more than just about anything. Simple, fun and easy to tinker with.

rc

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Went to visit a very nice mechanic (about 5'8") who happened to have a DR of his own. He had redone the suspension as cited above and happy with the bike...meanwhile his buddy had his bike in for an overhaul of the top end at about 10,000 miles...don't hear of that happening to the DR until about 30,000 miles.

30K? Brianwheelies has over 80K! I have 48K and it runs great. I budgeted for a replacement at 30K, but wound up putting the money back in the bank. If they're decently maintained the powerplant should last a long time.

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The DR is a purpose built dual sport and the XRL is a conglomeration of dirt bike and NX parts.

In the grand scheme of it the DR is less expensive. It already has a very good oil cooler and a piston oil jet that very few air cooled thumpers have. It already has cush drive, a stronger sub frame, a larger front disc, a gallon larger fuel tank, better sorted battery and electronic storage/placement and as of right now a larger aftermarket support.

If it wasn't the fact of the OEM DR Muffler being very heavy, I would say leave it because it is a very good design and stainless steel.

I wouldn't even jack with the carb or hack on the air box, I think power is fine as stock. Just rejet if a different muffler is used.

Drop money on suspension, a larger fuel tank and luggage then hit the road.

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You don't 'need' new forks on a DR, the suspension works just once sprung correctly.

And don't think the XRL can get away with stock suspension either, no no no. Same work either way. It'll also need a seat for long distances anyway

DR carb should be jetted (big whoop) but does not need to be replaced

Ultimately I think the XRL is just a stupid bike, the XRR is the only worthwhile bigbore from honda because its not outclassed by everything else. If you want a 'slightly' better offroader, just get a DRZ

The XRL is going to be as much as then some invested into it anyway

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My buddy bought an XRL when I bought the DR. The XRL is much better off road. The suspension is amazing compared to the DR even if it has the correct springs. The XRL can lug down to lower speeds than the DR. I still like the DR more because I am a short little bastard and like to go on long trips including highway. My buddy with the XRL says she gets really squirelly on the highway going 70-75 mph.

If you are looking for a street legal dirt bike that will see very little travel on pavemant at high speeds consider the XRL. (Heavy bike for this scenario IMHO)

If you want an all around, go anywhere and do almost anything bike consider the DR.

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I have had extensive time with both bikes and prefer the DR for myself. Mine has about $2500 in it besides buying the bike new. That said if you know how to ride and I do, you can ride the XRL faster in any given situation. It has better stock suspension than my DR with aftermarket springs and Race Tech emulators, but I prefer the lower center of gravity on my DR, though I am 6'1". Power wise the stock Honda re-jetted has more power than the DR re-jetted. On pavement the Honda seat in relation to the foot pegs and bars is comfortable on longer rides than the DR. I suspect the DR is slightly more reliable with the oil cooler, but I never buy based on a slight difference that can be made up by installing an oil cooler in my garage. I use my DR for long distance traveling (sometimes 900 mile weekends) on road and dirt. There is one distinct failure to the Honda that keeps me from it, that being a big jump from first to second gear. It makes for a poor trail machine, in my opinion, and I can't fix it in my garage. I usually recommend to new riders the XRL unless they are under 5'10" (it is easier to ride a dirt bike if you can reach the ground). At least until your an expert rider.

One last comment I have spent enough time around the KLR to say that the DR is better off road or on road than a KLR except that the KLR has a larger girth for luggage etc..

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DR650 all the way. Do intake, exhaust, armor and seat mods and then ride. Don't waste your money on expensive suspension mods, this thing will never be a competition enduro. On the other hand with some practice you'll learn to plow through just about anything albeit not as fast as a lighter high strung modern bike. I've run this in mud, tight trails, sand, and everthing you can imagine in the woods while scouting on my hunts. Its also now my road bike.

This bike runs forever with little maintenance. I bought mine new November 2009, and I now have 15K on it. I put about 500 miles just this past weekend running up to the mountains and back. I'm checking the valves this week just for grins. I'll also be replacing my tires, plugs and adding some road items as I'm prepping it for a 8-9 hour trip to Daytona "Bike Week" in March.

BTW the DR is more rider height freindly as DirtMonkey8 says, us folks in the 5"8 range have problems stopping at times. It's really not tall bikes, I have two light tall racers, but tall heavy pigs like the XRL and the DRZs.

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Early next year I should hit 100,000km on the DR.

Should be this year but a TT350 has weaselled it's way into my gargre.

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I am looking to do some adventure rides...Copper Canyon, Utah, TAT. Have ridden since the age of 10.....49 now.

Both need:

tank

seat

carb work

risers

lowering pegs

DR650 mods:

front suspension from XR600, RM or DRZ

Stiffer rear spring

18" rear wheel for larger tire selection (perhaps a South American trip).

not to mention increasing height of seat due to above mods :>

Know for less vibes at speed and better road manners than XR, 3rd gear may be a problem, most have much higher miles before rebuild vs XR, better SACS cooling design and somewhat difficult carb, somewhat better fuel mileage as well as better with worse quality gas than the XR.

Sounds like you've done your research. :smirk:

As mentioned, springs will do the DR forks fine. Stock forks aren't bad especially for long trips into Mexico fully loaded. I would go with a stiffer rear spring.

Certainly no need for an 18" rear wheel. Now days in Latin America 17" tires are as common as 18", or more so. Read reports from current DR riders on the road down there.

Seat and tank for sure. Gotta do it. $$$. But my Corbin turned my DR650 into a 400 mile a day bike. I've done Copper Canyon several times, once on my DR. It was perfect.

Carb work is simple. Carb is very basic. BST 40. Tons of info about it here and elsewhere. Risers are your choice. Lowering pegs? Maybe if your over

about 6'3". Other wise the leg room is not bad. Go with a taller seat ... Corbin and others can do that if you go custom. I would buy used and live with it.

I owned a '94 XR650-L. Bought it new in '94. Did several dual sport rides and even rode it in Baja. Good Baja bike. But lots of XR-L riders have had trouble with the Hondas in rough going ... especially when carrying a load. The rear subframe and battery box are notorious for bending or breaking off. Been there, seen it.

The Honda runs HOT. DR handles better on the road. XR-L is a better desert bike (Stock for stock)

Where the DR wins is as a touring bike. Smoother, taller gearing. Decent MPG. Reliable easy good for 50 to 60K miles.

BTW, XR-L comes stock with Cush Drive ... XR-R or XR600R do NOT.

Good luck. :rant:

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I urge anyone riding a DR650 or prepping one for LD travel to check out the following Ride Reports over on ADV Rider. All are DR650 riders, most with great photos. Lots to be learned about what TO DO and what NOT TO DO, regards the care and feeding of your DR650. GREAT READING, take your time ... this is FUN!

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=556240

Jammin' Jay ... still on the road. A great report.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=582578

Still on the road also. Adam switched over from a F650 Dakar BMW to a DR650. Stunning pics. He is now in Cent. America I believe and heading further South. Has been on the road for several years.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=600065

Now back in San Francisco after about a year. Great report!

Well written!

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=549433

This is not a ride report but a great reference source to links for ALL THINGS DR650.

Excellent!

For more DR info check out my thread in Dual Sport/Adventure Forum:

http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=915234

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I have had a fully farkled DR650 for several years and just picked up a XR650L while waiting for the Yamaha T700 to arrive. I wanted to answer the DR vs XRL debate for myself. So over the winter I have been setting up the XRL and this last extremely bad weather March I managed to fork out 500 miles of dirt & gravel roads on the XRL. So far I pretty much agree with everything said above but I am enjoying the XRL more. The DR is far less expensive to set up as an adventure bike. The XRL needs that oil cooler (done) and that expensive Cush hub rear wheel from Warp 9 (not done). With my bad back I can’t pick up the DR when laying pancake flat but the XRL I can, go figure? The XRL maybe only 20 pounds lighter but it feels more like 40. Just doing tight figure 8s on the XRL in dirt is so much less stressful on the XRL.  I ride two up on the DR but wouldn’t consider it on the XRL. The DR is absolutely no fun in the woods and I will be testing XRL in the woods this summer (can’t wait). I saw a rider last summer do amazing things in woods on his XRL which is why I picked up a used one. My DR is geared higher than the XRL but I am constantly getting better mileage on my XRL. I have a 32 inch in seem and just shaving an inch and a half of foam off the seat has made the bike very rideable. Both bikes have Turbo City wind screens. You can’t lower the cramped pegs on the XRL without welding though, a big negative. With no power mods on either bike the XRL feels stronger. I get ten times more waves when riding the XRL than the DR. Nobody recognizes the DR but every farmer must have a little red Honda in the barn. I also get little kids saying nice dirt bike at gas stations on the XRL but never a comment about the DR. For me riding the XRL puts more smiles on my face and I can’t wait to ride it again even if my head feels so high I can look over SUVs. If the T700 turns out to be the dream everybody is hoping, both bikes will go though and maybe even a WR250R.

PS I test rode a KTM 690 Enduro R single track in the woods at a KTM rally and three times going down hill the bike died. I mentioned it to the KTM trail leader and he said “I wasn’t the first to mention it that day.” Doing the same trail on my DR650 the next day I had no stalling problems. 

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Posted (edited)

Power wise you could be spot on in that a stock XRL may be more powerful but with a few mods (airbox, carb and muffler) my DR feels like it's almost double in power (really).  Can't comment on the weight comparison as again I've never ridden an XRL.  The flame out issues on the KTM 690 Enduro R have been noted and is a result of the lean fuel setting by the factory to pass EPA regulations, by "adjusting" the TPS setting to a richer setting it will run significantly better and have almost zero effect on decreasing emission performance.  Honestly, does anyone really ride a stock bike?, if you do then you really are missing out. 

And last I checked the T700 isn't coming to market this year, possibly in '19, but they said that last year.

Edited by zig06

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