XR650L vs. DR650SE?

I've got an '85 XR350R and a '93 XR250R that have both been dual sported and licensed. I would like to get a more steet capable dual sport with E-start for maybe 50-50 street-dirt riding and I've narrowed it down to the XR650L and the DR650SE. For the Suzuki I would be looking at a '96+ model. I'm leaning towards the DR because I'm only 5'6" and the seat height is more easily adjusted lower and because it seems that the DR has more power either stock or with similar mods and is smoother on the road.

I've read the Big Bore Shootout 650 dual sport article on 4-Strokes.com and followed these forums for awhile. I know that there are more after-market parts available for the XR than the DR but aside for a plastic tank, tires, and an air filter w/new jetting, I would probably keep the bike stock, including the exhaust.

UW153 has already given me some good info comparing these 2 bikes. Does anyone else have any more info to add to influence my decision? I would actually prefer a lighter bike and an XR400 w/e-start might be fine but I think the e-start kit is rather expensive and I'm not sure how street capable a modified 400 would be anyway. Likewise the DRZ 400s doesn't seem as good on the road as its big brother.

Comments? Suggestions? Personal experiences? Thanks.

HW :)

I'd say you have a problem being only 5'6". I'm thinking the DR650 sits lower to the ground then the xr650l. I'm 6'0" and the height is ok. You'd better go to the dealership and sit on each! In my Internet surfing, I have seen a website that sells a 1 inch and 2 inch lowering kit, as a possible option for you.

Good Luck.


Ride the DRZ400, it's a great dual sport bike and easy to lower.

It all depends on what you want out of a bike. Ride height, reliability, aftermarket, performance, etc. I met up with a TT rider last Sunday and he's got 4K + all off road miles on his DR400 with a dual sport conversion kit. That's impressive for any bike (and rider). Most dualies rarely see dirt. If you want power, go with the 650. I almost went with a 98 XR400R, but like they say, there's no replacement for displacement.

As for the choice between Suzuki or Honda? Go with the genuine article. Air-cooled, race proven, and bullet proof. For me, the L handles great off road. Of course I'm a bit biased with my opinions, but then again I've been riding (Honda) Thumpers since 82.

I'd take a look at the DRZ400 E or S, I had a XR650L with many mods and thought it was great, but then I rode a friends DRZ and made the switch and have not regretted it. the DRZ is lighter better suspended and with a few mod,s makes exellent power.

The DR650SE is a pig offroad. It's suspension bottoms way too easily!!

I have a 1995 XR650L and it is my favorite motorcycle. Even though it is super heavy (nearly 400lbs with it's full 6 gallon after-market tank) is has the suspension to handle it. It handles better that many believe it can. When I was a novice, I raced it in a national desert race (October 1996)

The only modification that you'll need to do on the XR650L is to buy the $20 kit that allows you to remove all of the smog equipment, and remove the airbox snorkel. Replace the papaer filter with a standard XR600R foam filter. A good pair of knobbies are a good idea too. I run the IRC VE32 front amd the VE-33 rear; non DOT, but last very long, pretty good offroad.

I can't touch the ground on my XR650L with both feet. Unless I ahve all of my gear on and a loaded back-pack - or just my wife (or girlfriend :) ). The tip of one foot is really all I need. I've gotten used to it.

I've had the bike since new, May 1996. It now has 42,000 miles. It's worst recorded gas mileage was 39 MPG with my 230 lb Dad riding it in a 30+mph head-wind for 50 miles, pinned wide-open in fourth gear at 75mph. It normally gets a bit over 50 mpg commuting.

The XR4000 is a terrible road bike. It'll only get about 25mpg maximum on the highway. It's small displacement and gearing make it not very good on a 80mph freeway - actually scary.

DR650 is far more street than the XR650L - and wieghs about the same. Both will get better gas mileage than any other dirtbike that has been dual-sported. Both are very quiet. The DR has a great rack on the back.

XRL650. Heavy, yes, but I find it very capable off-road. Once you get used to the big motor, the DRZ-400 just can't satisfy.

Thanks for all the input guys. At this point I'm leaning toward a DR, due to the ride height and because I'm looking for a 50/50 dirt/street bike, not a majority dirt machine. I'm going to try to ride a couple more of each.



In my experience the XR is much more reliable and way better for all around. THe DR tends to be fragile, there is also not near the aftermarket stuff for the DR as there is a ton of things for the XR. Lots of companies make a lowering link for changing the ride height.

My two cents


I'm a bit new here. I was griping to Dual_Dog the other day about the height of my new L. He said "Sit on mine!" He's a few inches shorter (no offense) and his bike is "lowered" via a shorter spring and softer setting (I think?). His bike was SOOOO stinkin' comfy and my knees were BENT with feet flat. Really nice! Think about it!

I LOVE my L. I didn't get the Suzi based on the cool factor and durability opinions from others! Good luck either way!


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now