Come back to ride !


I just moved to NC, and I have been in the US since 98, from italy. Over there I had a XR600R for rew years. Not much trail riding since the dumb regulations...

However I loved my bike !

Now I am 10 years older (34 now), I am not student anymore, and I wish to buy a XR650...

I would be using it for commuting to work, trail riding, going around woods and so on.. Since I would use the bike for 50% of the time on the street, I need a street-legal bike. Therefore I was looking at the 650L.... the 650R still owns my heart.

My concerns with the R are the problematic registration in NC, and the reliability of the engine which might be not as good as the L. I dont really care about few more hps.. I dont race, but when it comes to a monthly mantainance: valves, gears, chains... I get pissed off.

Especially because I am a material-scientist, therefore I know honda guys could use better alloys !

To get a better 650L I am willing to change forks and add plastic tank, better exausts and so on.. Can I do the same to the 650R, to get a more reliable engine and street friendly when I commute ?

If you see a guy with nice tie and cravat riding a XR in Raleigh-NC during monday morning... it might be me !



Having riden both bikes I would go with the L for your situation. The R is a beast when uncorked and not a comfortable ride for the streets. Lots of enigine vibration and a hard seat. The R does have parts that wear quicker than those on the L although in Honda XR tradition the R has the bullet proof engine. The R is much newer technology and does have things like a radiator that will let it work very well on pavement. In the power department the 2 bikes can't be compared. The L is around 38HP uncorked and the R is at 53HP uncorked. The L has counterbalancers in the engine among other things that make it more friendly to ride on the street. If you were going to ride in the dirt say 90% then the R would be the best choice. The L with a few mods makes a very nice off-road bike where as making a R street legal takes about $1,000 investement.

I'd look at the Suzuki DR400E. It's better than the 650L every way you can measure it, (well - perhaps the Honda would win in a free fall down a mine shaft). Just ride both bikes.

Your welcome


My neighbor has a 2003 Kawasaki KLX400SE, It's supposed to be the same as the Yamaha version I think that's the one you are talking about Dutch.

Anyways, I rode it on the street so I could open it up and get a feel for the bike. It's a tad heavy at around 300 lbs, remindes me of the pig. Although I do like the quality of the bike and how it shifted etc. I also like the digital speedo on it. On the power and performance side, I would'nt recommend it over my uncored 03 "L". The KLX400se and therefor the DRZ-400s, seems to be under powered. But for this guy who seems to want to ride on the Road first, he may want the smaller 400 4-stroke option. He did indicate he wanted to ride on the road 1st and offroad 2nd. What ever you do on the dual-sport 400's and the 650L for that matter, be sure to swap out the tires if you want to do any offroad, or mud. If you don't your just going to get no traction and most likely hurt yourself. But again on the steet side the tires on the Honda and Kawi, are nice dual-sport type tires without the agressive knobies.


thank`you !

Yes, I can afford 1K$ to make the R steet legal, but most likely I`ll buy a L asap and an old R (650 though) later.

I really do not understand the reason they do not make magnesium-titanium-aluminum based frames. They would be extremely strong, light and reliable. Anyway..

Do you have suggestions for more powerful FORKS and rear suspension ?? I`ll do 2/3 on street and 1/3 on dirt.

I love sand ! With the old XR600R I used to ride 70-80mph in the sand dunes near the Adriatic sea. I wish to do the same here in NC.

Suggestions ?



got the idea !

Therefore I need 2 sets of wheels. One for dirt and one for street.

Changing wheels is not a big deal and in half an hour it can be done. However the wheels are not "cheap" !!!



Btw, the insurance company wants 198$/year.

Compared to italy this is a good deal, however I have no idea it is the correct price in NC.

I am in the never-accident-moving-violation class (but plenty of parking violations).

How much do you pay for the L ?



Prices vary, call all of the dealerships in your area and ask for the "OUT THE DOOR" price w/tax, freight, assembly. Once they quote you the best price, take that price and call the next dealership and ask them to beat the price.

MSRP is $5,500.00 I think I got mine "out the door" for like $5,190.00. But I'm in a different state, maybe you can get a better deal on a 2003 instead of a 2004 model? It really depends on what you like.


Done !

I bought a 2002 XR650L with 2800miles for 3850. I did the title, plate, bike endorsement, insurance (154$/year) and I did my first right this evening... GREAT !!

She does not pull as my old XR600R but it is ok.

I have noticed that car drivers do not care anything about motorcycles. Amazing. I am constatly flashing at the ligghts and intersactions, because these bastards jump out without checking us. Plenty of fingers...

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