HELP PLEASE! Want multi-purpose bike XR 650 vs...

Would like to get back into off road riding...also could use a bike to commute to work on (40 mile highway, one way)Have a car...Large, newer Ford gas. Really have heard wonderful things about the XR. Not sure that even at 60 MPH and multipurpose tires, the XR 650 would serve well on the commute...swap tires/rims and use on the weekends for off road fun. Would prefer to just have one bike...two would be, used Suzuki Zatana/or Bandit for 3-4K plus a recent or new XR650 for off road...Is it just not appropriate to put that kind of wear on the XR with that commute distance? Perhaps swap car for better gas milage car and just get XR...stay away from street riding even though I have experience with it...Thanks for the insight, Joe


Where do you live? If your thinking of 101, 880, 580, 680 then I would have to say NO. I've taken my bike on those freeways and only ride in the slow lane. Even with the bike geared up it has a tough time with everyone driving 75mph past you. I just don't feel safe. After all the bay area roads suck. If I were to ride to work in the bay area on a bike I would want something bigger. Don't get me wrong the XR is perfict for what your talking about but not on the bay area freeways.

One bike, two personalities: XR650L.

Do the recommended hop-ups, add a 4.3 tank, different tires and you are SET. Add an extra set of rims and tires with a larger rear sprocket for dirt and now you talkin'. It sure is a lot cheaper than TWO bikes.

this is JMHO:

if your finances are such that commuting in your taurus is a financial strain, then maybe now is not the time for you to get back into the sport.

also, no real off-road capable dual sport is cut out for a one way 40 mile commute. again, JMHO.


I was just in San Fran last thurs - sun. You definately need a motorcycle just to get through all the traffic!, what a mess, awesome city though.

I talked to a guy briefly that rides his 650R from LongBeach to South Irvine every day. Probably around 35 miles one way. He said he has had no problems.

I agree with the other posts, for long term it would be better to get a street oriented bike.

I ride the roads also, and would have to suggest that you don't depend on a dual-sport bike to get you "to and from" work everyday 40 miles one way. I think that's pushing the limits, depending on the traffic conditions you can get messed up out there. Drivers are crazy these days, and a 40 mile commute in stop and go traffic just doesn't seem reasonable or smart. Skip it and stay with your car. Get a bike to ride the stree local to your home and play in the dirt when possible. It's alot easier to get crushed on the street then it is to hurt yourself in the dirt. Make your future use of an XR your toy, not a dedicated commuter vehical.


plus those rain storms would suck on a bike, let alone a dirtbike in stop and go on the freeway ....theres got to be a good deal on an older xr w/plate for the occasional cruise to work :)

XR 650R is NO freeway bike, even when dual sported. 40 miles on the freeway won't hurt the bike, but believe me, it's not comfortable for that far on the road at 70+ mph.

Also your Ford Taurus will get better mileage anyway, if the 650R is uncorked. The 650R only get's around 20-25 mpg when uncorked. The 650L is a much better choice for the type of commute your talking about.

If anyone disagrees with this, please let me know, because I would love to find a good way to make my 650R a good alternative to driving to work. So far it's not happening.

Even though my bike kicks ass for weekend around town use, and of course off-roading it can't be compared to the "L".

Definitely get the XR650L. Also, find back streets/roads and enjoy. I spent a year (6000+ miles) riding mine to work and on trails/woods. I had Kenda Trakmasters and they were a little loud on the road, but worked ok. You might want to try the K270's. They're not too bad off-road, but pretty good on the street. Also, do the uncorking mods. I regularly rode my bike 45 miles to work in the morning, then about 20 miles on the way home (Yeah, I took the long way to work just about every time). Then I got a street bike and don't ride the XR to work any more, but that's a different story.

I've got the L. Ride 22 miles one way daily in south San Diego. I leave at 6:00 and come home around 4:30. I don't have to put up with traffic and REGULARLY hit 70mph for long stretches (Coronado Strand, I-5, I-905, I-805). Occasionally, I lane-split for short stretches. Not bad, but I don't enjoy it. I'm a big feller at 220/6' and rear end gets a little sore by the end of the trip....not BAD, just a little. This is only 44 miles a day. I have other vehicles/bikes to ride, but choose the shiny new red one in the garage. It LOOKS cool, honks out serious wheelies, and gets reasonable mileage. I still have the stock tank and after a week of riding, am ready to find a Clarke or IMS. I go about 80 miles before the reserve cuts in. That ain't far enough for you if you're going as many miles as you mentioned. You WILL need a bigger tank. I personally like the factory tires, as I can take a dirt road any old time, but with 80 miles a day....I'd get more streetable tires.

Yes, its a hoot to ride, but you WILL be driving your car occasionally. Riding a bike in any kind of traffic or at freeway speeds requires ALL your skills. Driving the cage to work requires half yur brain and a good cup of coffee. Think about these things before you invest in a "toy".

Good luck!


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