XR650L – how to

Yes, I talked shit on XR650L’s in the past, but I have an idea and it’s the only bike that works. I’m planning on shipping it out west to leave out there, to do trips over the next few years.

Heres the way I thought about it:

  • Ultra low compression motor will never break
  • Can do a week of highway or a week off-road no prob
  • Super inexpensive bike
  • Honda never changed a nut or bolt since 1993
  • Buy one under $4K that didn’t appear abused, all stock … and under 10k mileage
  • Just spend a little more to get one that’s solid with low miles and it should run forever if maintained

With a couple quick mods the bike can be not that lame or embarrassing to ride:

  • De-smog and de-snorkel
  • Uni filter / DG v2 pipe with 1″ v2 silencer, end cap drilled out to 3/8″
  • Without the 1″ silencer the DG pipe was insane loud.
  • Dave carb mod. 160/58/2.5
  • FritzCo wide front sprocket so countershaft doesn’t get beat up
  • Dual sport dad I bought it from had done Eibach front and rear suspension / xr600r gearing / bars / pegs etc
  • Only decent looking bigger tank is IMS clear tank. Going to get that one.

What I don’t like:

  • The years that have black color on top of the seat
  • Keeping the turn signals
  • Stock tail light
  • Low bars, gotta go tall bars
  • Non-knobby tires

What I do like:

  • More fun to ride than I thought. Plenty of power after de-smog
  • More capable in woods than I thought
  • With all dumb shit removed looks like a normal dirt bike just bigger
  • Good gas mileage, motor barely needs service ever, ultra reliable
  • Sits on the highway at 70-75mph comfy all day no sweat

6 responses to “XR650L – how to”

  1. Mike Ashleigh says:

    All dirtbikes are still fun, even if they make you look like a clueless middle aged dude.

    Curious to see what it weighs after you take all the dumb stuff off. I was kinda surprised how much weight my KLX retained when I took off all the dumb stuff and replaced things with upgrades that just happened to be lighter.

  2. bradley camarote says:

    so does this mean you are finally going to do the pine barrens 500?

  3. Adam Jordan says:

    Looks dumb.

  4. Cory D says:

    Cool. I picked up an ’86 XL600R last year. More or less the same bike, very little changed on these over the decades. Stators are a known weak point, I changed mine for a Rickystator which improved starting and should avoid an unplanned failure. The wide countershaft sprocket is a must. Mine was not terrible but showed some wear, the wide sprocket tightened it right up.

    I’m not sure swingarm or fork differences from the 80s to 90s, but for the 80s XLs switching to an XR swingarm and rear shock gives more travel. XL wheel needs to be machined narrowed on the brake side to fit the XR swingarm, for street riding you want the cush drive wheel to save your countershaft. There are many options to increase travel in the front, various model and year XR forks. There was a change in axle diameter that can be resolved by changing bearings or the wheel. I’m still sourcing parts for the XR suspension swap.

  5. Kool Jerc says:

    How much did you lower it?

    We all know you can’t throw those stubby legs over that tall horse.

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