XR600R vs. XR650L

40

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#1
I'm looking at getting a dual-sport bike soon. I really like the XR650L, especially it being air-cooled and proven reliability. However, I would prefer something more capable off-road, like an XR600R or an XR650R and adding a street-legal kit of some kind.

My question is how different will these bikes handle on-road? I plan to ride this bike on the street quite a bit (over 50% of the time). Does the extra weight of the 650L make it a better choice for the road? Or are the 600R and 650R stable enough? Are there any other major differences??
 

JPIVEY

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#2
I know nothing about the R or L, however, chances are, over time you will make changes to your bike to fit your needs, like suspension, IMS tank for added miles of riding, HID lighting and so on and so on, so it really would make that much difference if you went either

There really isn't that much difference in the two once you take the body parts off.
 

James

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#3
If you are riding on the road over 50% the time, then the extra weight is to your benefit. The lighter you get, the easier it is to be blown around by the trucks and even cars sometimes on the interstates/highways.

If most of your riding is in town or two lane back roads....then it doesn't matter much.

I got the 650l because I decided that anything primarily ridden on the street will never be a 'serious' off road bike (unless you tow a trailer of swap out parts) and I'd rather have a BIT more weight, electric start, better lights, and no DMV hassles.
 
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#4
I have the xr600, for less than a week now, but from my on road experience so far its wonderful. Theres two kawasaki street bikes that are 280 and 300 dry weight so its close to the same and those are intended for street use only. I'd say get the xr600 so you can customize things without wasting parts. HID lights are awesome but expensive as hel*.
 
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#5
huge difference between the two bikes.
R has an aluminum frame
L steel frame
R water cooled
L air cooled
R 10.1 compression
L 8.3 compression
R weighing in at around 278 (low center of gravity)
L 328 (center of gravity is up high)
R kick start
L the button
R narrow seat
L wide seat and bigger in general
R needs DOT kit app. $500.00 US
L done
R is not as reliable as the 600R
L is plenty reliable
R off road hub
L dual sport hub (helps with road shock)
R 50+ HP, lots of torque
L 32 HP, like a diesel SUV

i could go on and on but the real deal is if you want the ultimate XR on/off bike it would have to be a 600R with a DOT kit.
650L can be taken to most places on its own but its not a XC or MX bike. old out dated proven reliability is key here when talking XR600 and 650L. the magic button sure is nice when your tired of holding on to the BRP. (Big Red Pig - any big bore XR)

i ride a 00'650L if taken care of will run forever ! 7,000 miles still on the stock chain and sprockets. its riden 50/50, got the bike so i didnt have to trailer it all the time and i didnt want to do any maintenance yet still be able to ride.

hope this helps , now go get one !

Red

"dirt biking good clean fun"
 

TexKDX

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#6
The 600R (aka BWP, big white pig) is 45 pounds lighter than the 650L (aka Lug) AFTER the basic weight reduction is done on the Lug.

The 600 has way better suspension than the 650, valving and spring-wise, for trail work.

The 600 has a regular slide carb, the 650L a CV carb. Much better response out of the slide carb.

Basically, on the 600 you give up e-start, factory street legal, and a cush drive hub. If you want a real dirt bike that works incredibly well on 200-300 mile pavement stretches mixed in for whatever reason, the 600 is the way to go.

The 650R, aka Big Red Pig (BRP), is a whole different animal. It has 20 more pounds of weight to carry around than the BWP 600R and radiators that can be damaged and end your day.

I was on the fence between a 650R and a 600R. A nice 600R dropped into my lap, and I am very happy with it. I've ridden a very well prepped 650R and do like the bike. If I were desert racing I'd go with the 650R because it has HP and reliability, wheras a baja-ready pumped up 600 is a bit of a time bomb.

The Lug is a good bike for sure, but has really soft suspension, is heavy, tall, and underpowered in stock form. The 600 is a lot closer to what I want right out of the box. check your local laws for making one street legal. In the last 3 states I've lived in, turn signals were not needed nor a 15 minute lit brake light (needing a battery).

Leo.
 

James

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#7
The 650L doesn't have a "cush drive" The rear sprocket bolts directly to the hub and the front sprocket right on the shaft. Metal on metal. Just like the 600 R....parts are interchangeable.

The 650L and 600R suspension is exactly the same EXCEPT that the 650L has HEAVIER/STIFFER springs so two people can ride on it. Unless you like your suspension squishy, I think the 650L suspension is better.

The slide carb and the CV carb have the same response once jetted properly(I have a 600R carb on mine now). The difference is that the 600R has a lighter flywheel weight, higher compression, and other minor differences that allow it to rev quicker.

I do agree that the XRL is heavy, tall, and underpowered....especially when compared to a CR250. ;)
 

TexKDX

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#8
Can't agree on the CV carb issue AT ALL. Plus, the CV carb can be a real bitch to jet once you start messing with the exhaust and intanke on the L, then throw in altitiude. The orafice effecting the slide rate and the spring has to be monkeyed with on the Lug carb. It uses funky little hard to get main jets. It is a total bitch to get to the needle, and the stocker is non-adjustable. The fuel screw is limited in its travel. It is an EPA carb and a POS.

Gimme the slide carb any day. It uses regular PWK main and pilot jets and is much easier to change the needle position on.

There may be a something to what you said about the springs, due to its 50+ pounds of extra weight, but the internal dampenng is different on the L and R. My R with different springs is pretty well dampened. The 650Ls need some work. The chrome tube and slider is the same on the front though.

Good point on the rear hub - thought they had the cush drive, like the rest of the street legal DS bikes. So much for that being a subject of debate as far as tranny wear on "converted" bikes. Honda is doing it on a stocker - huh.
 

James

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#9
I have to mail order jets either way so they aren't any harder to get for me. I agree that there is a bit more hassle in getting the CV carb jetted correctly, but once done, there is no benefit to the slide carb. If you are getting the correct mixture across the RPM range with both carbs, then how is one better than the other strictly related to performance? The fuel screw is only limited as long as you don't file off the limiter. Would I prefer that it came with the slide carb because it is somewhat easier to jet....yes. Is the performance gain worth the money spent on a different carb (in my opinion)...NO....they perform the same on an "unplugged" 650L if they are jetted correctly. This may be an issue if you are going into the motor to change cams, compression, bore size, etc. etc., but you'd most likely have to go to a bigger carb on either bike if you were doing all of that. Once you get the CV carb jetted, you generally don't need to touch it anymore. The slide carb is a bit more sensitive to altitude and temps.

I can't prove the damping is the same on the 600r and 650L, but I can't see them making it softer for a heavier bike. Economically, it makes sense to use the same components for both bikes. I would bet that everything is the same except the springs, which I know are stiffer. If they did change the damping on the L, then it is most likely stiffer also. If anything, the extra weight may make it seem like the 650L suspension is set up softer.

I hear quite a bit about the countershaft splines being stripped on the Ls...it could still be a subject of debate...and there may be something to cush drive for road riding, but the L doesn't give you that over the Rs.
 

TexKDX

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#10
we can agree to disagree on the cv vs. slide carb. having an extra butterfly in there does not help, nor does having to wait for the slide to react to the change in pressure caused by the moving of said butterfly.

The DRZ street vs dirt bike has the same issue. having ridden modded versions of both, the CV carb is definately different in throttle response.

Keep in mind I'm a trials rider, and I have a totally different feel for throttle control than most throttle jockeys out there. I can definately feel the difference between a manual and slide and vacuum slide. The far extreme from the CV is a slide with pumper, something that helps counterract too much throtttle opening on a slide carb by giving the little bit of fuel at that critical time when pressure drops when the slide is lifted.

CV carbs I agree have the opportunity to deliver a more precise mixture in some cases, however given the intended application here I'll take the slide carb thank you very much.
 

James

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#11
We probably agree more than we disagree. :confused:

That said, the intended application being 50% street riding and moderate trail riding for the other 50% (I assume) would lead me to believe that the difference between these two carbs, *if properly jetted*, is a MINOR issue. In my case, there is no difference. I have the 600R carb on mine but it didn't become a 600R. I do plan on just putting the 600R engine in it one day and that should fix it.

The butterfly throttle is nearly identical to the butterfly choke flap that occupies your 600r/650r carb so I think that is a moot point. Also, the Honda CV carb is manually actuated for approx. the 1st third of its travel....so while I can understand the concern or misconception about the so-called "wait", I have never had a problem with it on or off road once the carb was setup properly. I admit that I have not done 0-60s or 45mph roll-on time trials and that this just comes from 2 years of seat time on this particular bike as well as some serious carb swapping about two months ago.

I can't speak about the DRZs as I haven't ridden those enough to know nor do I know exactly how their CV carb works. Are you talking about the two different carbs on the same bike or DRZ-S vs DRZ-E? I am strictly comparing two different carbs on the same bike. If you are comparing E to S and even modded versions of each....you are correct, the E should walk all over the S.

But I will agree that I wouldn't want a CV carb on the motocross track and I can see why you wouldn't want it on your trials bike.

You're welcome :thumb:
 

James

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#12
To more spicifically answer 40s question:

If I had my choice of just these three, with no hassles registering and licensing it:

50% in town and non-interstate riding, and planned to do any SERIOUS (Tight, Rocky, hill climbs, damaging falls) off road riding, I would go with the 600R.

Faster, open terrain, good deal of interstate/high speed street riding, 650R.

Living in NC stuck with NCDMV and probably can't have dual sported bike anyway - 650L
 

motometal

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#13
I was told once that the clutch on the L has a cush drive built into it (which isn't fitted on the other models).&nbsp; Since I haven't ever had it apart, I can't confirm this.

Regarding the countershaft spline problem, I bet in almost every case you will find that someone has fit a cheap aftermarket countershaft sprocket, which (due to poor or no heat treatment) quickly starts to loosen up and wear out on the spline, then it proceeds to wear the countershaft itself.&nbsp; My bike had this problem, but I caught it in time, but had to reverse the sprocket and shim it up to engage the inboard section of spline that isn't worn.

On the stock L carb, needle adjustability isn't that bad-just shim it up!&nbsp; That being said, I think there is another problem with the needle.&nbsp; I suspect the diameter needs to be a bit smaller to allow richer mixture at low throttle openings.&nbsp; There seems to be a lean spot between idle (fuel screw) and half throttle (needle clip/level).&nbsp; Richening up the fuel screw won't cure the problem.

Has anyone experimented with the cam mechanism that forces the slide open?

With a flat top piston, DG rcm exhaust, and all the usual uncorkings and jetting, my bike runs pretty good but still has a bog if you goose the throttle at low rpms.&nbsp; I suspect a different diameter needle may help, but a pumper carb is probably the REAL solution.&nbsp; Otherwise, at higher RPMs and/or conservative throttle openings, throttle response is quite startling, considering we are talking about the Buick Electra equivalent of the dirt bike world (4" bore!) fitted with a CV carb!


Regarding the suspension, it's pretty crude but can be made to work fairly well, the weak spot on mine is whoops or stutter bumps-that's where modern suspension technology has a real edge.&nbsp; With stock springs and minor adjustments, the L can handle some pretty big jumps.&nbsp; Mine now has a lowering link, which works great for street or racing on paved courses.&nbsp; The $100 was a bit steep, but to me it was worth it (mine is the '93 model which had an even taller seat ht. than the other year models').&nbsp; I haven't tried any large jumps since the link was installed because now the front of the bike has been lowered and it would bottom out on the fender.&nbsp; Stock, the rear spring is very stiff and the forks are soft.


Sorry the thread got off track here, lots of good specific discussion.

I'm sure other owners of the L can relate that it's a big, heavy, tall, underpowered pig, but for some reason with 4 bikes in the garage I have feelings for this bike unlike the others.&nbsp; It's just a great bike!&nbsp; Not an ideal bike for any one purpose, but way more flexible than most.&nbsp; People complain about the small fuel tank, because they are having so much fun they don't want to stop riding!
 
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#14
RedWingDS said:
huge difference between the two bikes.
R has an aluminum frame
L steel frame
R water cooled
L air cooled
R 10.1 compression
L 8.3 compression
R weighing in at around 278 (low center of gravity)
L 328 (center of gravity is up high)
R kick start
L the button
R narrow seat
L wide seat and bigger in general
R needs DOT kit app. $500.00 US
L done
R is not as reliable as the 600R
L is plenty reliable
R off road hub
L dual sport hub (helps with road shock)
R 50+ HP, lots of torque
L 32 HP, like a diesel SUV

i could go on and on but the real deal is if you want the ultimate XR on/off bike it would have to be a 600R with a DOT kit.
650L can be taken to most places on its own but its not a XC or MX bike. old out dated proven reliability is key here when talking XR600 and 650L. the magic button sure is nice when your tired of holding on to the BRP. (Big Red Pig - any big bore XR)

i ride a 00'650L if taken care of will run forever ! 7,000 miles still on the stock chain and sprockets. its riden 50/50, got the bike so i didnt have to trailer it all the time and i didnt want to do any maintenance yet still be able to ride.

hope this helps , now go get one !

Red

"dirt biking good clean fun"
 
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#15
How much horsepower would an 84 XL600R put out stock. It has a hot cam kit and supertrapp muffler in addition to a new top end.