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Old 01-29-2014, 01:52 PM   #1
Fishnbiker OP
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Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Campbell River, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
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DR 650 vs XR 650

My old 95 Tiger is showing too many bruises & broken bones from rough riding. I plan to put it into semi retirement on paved roads while I'm out thrashing a newer ride in the bush. Type of uses can be seen at ...

http://fishnbiker.smugmug.com/Motorc...orcycle-Travel

I have found a '13 DR650 & a '09 XR 650, both under 2,000 miles, very clean no options added.

Anyone out there able to give me insight into which might be better all round? My riding is usually rough gravel 75% with paved roads linking them. Other than 200 mile day trips I usually load up with luggage for a 8~12 day camping trip on a 2,000 mile ride.

I know either will need a bash plate, luggage racks, larger tank, & shortening the height a bit. What I'm asking about is species differences in cost of upgrades, maintenance/repair issues. It's a big step down in size for me, so either should feel like a lightweight & huge loss of power, (40~50 vs 100) so will have to make up with lots of farkles.

My other option is to buy a (known to me) 650 Vstrom, partly farkled, & heavier, but similar to the Tiger at half the cost of the singles.

Thanks
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:04 PM   #2
smjoel
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650L Vs. DR 650

I am thinking about the same two bikes. I like the DR motor best. I've ridden several examples of both in various states of tune. Suzuki motor just runs better has way better power to me. Honda Chassis/size fits me better. I also like worldwide parts availability for Honda 650L. I always see them wherever I go.
I'm going with the Honda because it fits me better and I can tweak motor a bit It will just be entirely bulletproof. I have a DRZ400 built by Eddie Sisneros that will smoke both of them, but I don't want to destroy it and I want air cooled simplicity for far-away missions. I have a V-strom 1000 also but as far as off-road.....
Good Luck man!
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:26 PM   #3
joexr
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It's a close comparison. The XR's got better suspension if you can manage the seat height and it CAN be lowered. I guess it basically comes down to personal preference and feel. A LOT of aftermarket for both.
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:34 PM   #4
TrophyHunter
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Don't think you can go wrong with either bike. The DR has an oil cooler which helps but I know that can be added to the "L" also. Plenty of long travel examples for both. The Honda is taller of course. Aftermarket support for both.

I'm most familiar with the DR and have made several mods to suit me.

DR Travel posts and a guy who I tithe 10% of my pay to

Good luck in the hunt and no wrong choice here.
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:26 PM   #5
hambone650rider
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My vote the DR. Either will work for you,but scratch the vstrom to similar to your tiger. Try one of the other two. Big singles just get to the heart of riding!!!
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:32 PM   #6
bobnoxious67
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Ford vs. Chevy
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:59 PM   #7
gunnerbuck
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Hi Ken,

I have ridden and studied both... I am not overly tall but I found the riding position on the Honda to be quite cramped... In stock form it is not a very comfortable bike for the long haul.. Also the subframe on the Honda is none too strong to begin with and then they go and hang the battery box off of it.. The Honda is a better pure dirt bike than the DR but for FS roads and 2 track trails the Suzuki will do just fine...

I would take the DR over the Honda just on the basis of riding comfort and ease to outfit for travel... The DR also can easily be lowered if you find the stock seat height too tall.. If you go for the DR make sure it is equipped with a counter shaft sprocket seal retainer as the seal exiting the pocket has been a chronic problem on more than a few of these bikes... The retainer is cheap insurance and easy to install...

Good luck with whatever bike you choose...
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:27 PM   #8
acesandeights
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishnbiker View Post
...
I have found a '13 DR650 & a '09 XR 650, both under 2,000 miles, very clean no options added.

Anyone out there able to give me insight into which might be better all round? My riding is usually rough gravel 75% with paved roads linking them. Other than 200 mile day trips I usually load up with luggage for a 8~12 day camping trip on a 2,000 mile ride.

I know either will need a bash plate, luggage racks, larger tank, & shortening the height a bit. What I'm asking about is species differences in cost of upgrades, maintenance/repair issues. It's a big step down in size for me, so either should feel like a lightweight & huge loss of power, (40~50 vs 100) so will have to make up with lots of farkles.

My other option is to buy a (known to me) 650 Vstrom, partly farkled, & heavier, but similar to the Tiger at half the cost of the singles.

Thanks
I considered the XRL, and several other bikes. I chose the DR650.

The DR650 in stock form is lower than the XR650L, but weighs slightly more. Both bikes will need a bash plate, but I don't think you need racks or larger tank. You will get ~150 mile range with the DR, so a 200 mile day just means you stop for gas once. You can get the Acerbis 5.3 or 6.? tank and have a 200+ range. Soft luggage doesn't require the extra weight and size of racks. It's my understanding the DR has a more sturdy sub-frame (for soft luggage).

Cost of upgrades...soft luggage is the same for either bike. Maintenance of the DR is easy, oil changes. You'll need to lube your chain from time to time and replace tires as needed. Save for the time spent refueling, the rest is ride time.
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:45 PM   #9
Honkey Cat
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Having both i can tell you the xr is better off road, the dr better on road so figure where most of your riding will be
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:09 PM   #10
Kommando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishnbiker View Post
My old 95 Tiger is showing too many bruises & broken bones from rough riding. I plan to put it into semi retirement on paved roads while I'm out thrashing a newer ride in the bush. Type of uses can be seen at ...

http://fishnbiker.smugmug.com/Motorc...orcycle-Travel

I have found a '13 DR650 & a '09 XR 650, both under 2,000 miles, very clean no options added.

Anyone out there able to give me insight into which might be better all round? My riding is usually rough gravel 75% with paved roads linking them. Other than 200 mile day trips I usually load up with luggage for a 8~12 day camping trip on a 2,000 mile ride.

I know either will need a bash plate, luggage racks, larger tank, & shortening the height a bit. What I'm asking about is species differences in cost of upgrades, maintenance/repair issues. It's a big step down in size for me, so either should feel like a lightweight & huge loss of power, (40~50 vs 100) so will have to make up with lots of farkles.

My other option is to buy a (known to me) 650 Vstrom, partly farkled, & heavier, but similar to the Tiger at half the cost of the singles.

Thanks
The air-cooled XRL has more stock suspension travel, an 18" stock rear wheel for better knobby selection, higher stock clearance, cushier stock seat, approx. 20lb lighter curb weight in stock trim, and better stock suspension.

The air/oil-cooled DR has it everywhere else, IMO. It has a big oil cooler, as well as a jet that sprays oil on the piston skirt. It also has improved oil passages and isn't prone to oil starvation or burning. The gear-driven counter-balancer makes the motor run really smooth for a thumper. The valves are screw/locknut. The 5spd tranny is a well-spaced wide-ratio. The subframe is pretty strong. The weight is carried fairly low, and can be shaved quite a bit from up high with common replacements that often work better (muff, battery, mirrors, bars, tank, taillight, fender-delete, etc.). The seat height is easily adjusted and not towering. The aftermarket addresses the bike's common issues pretty well too.
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:17 PM   #11
joexr
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The XRL has a gear driven counter-balancer and screw adjusted valves also.
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:53 PM   #12
tlmaffucci
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobnoxious67 View Post
Ford vs. Chevy
More like Honda vs. Suzuki, haha.

I just say that because I wouldn't touch an American made car with a 100 foot pole. You just can't beat Japanese reliability.
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:54 PM   #13
das ist gut
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You CAN improve the DR suspension to make it more dirt worthy while still keeping the roominess in the cockpit and that better highway ride.
I have installed a LTM Fork and Ohlins Rear Shock with correct springing all around, and the thing literally flys over the rough stuff with ease.
Plus the cost to do it really is not that much at all.
As modified, it really has become one of my favorite machines ever!

Really, as others have said, it kinda "depends"

Best thing to do, is to find some NEW Riding Buddies, and go out and ride them both within the environment you are seeking
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:20 PM   #14
Fishnbiker OP
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Location: Campbell River, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Oddometer: 298
Quote:
I have ridden and studied both ..... Also the subframe on the Honda is none too strong to begin with and then they go and hang the battery box off of it.

Please, do tell more. Upgrades?

Quote:
Having both, I can tell you the XR is better off road, the DR better on road so figure where most of your riding will be.

I had a chance to ride both today, a box stock XR with less than 3,000 kms & a fully farkled DR, much like the set-up I'm thinking about. Chopped up some ice puddles & slithered in the melted ones for 100km of Vancouver Island backroads. January riding in Canada, only in British Columbia.

Results:

XR suspension more to my liking
XR stock seat better than his Sargent
DR better height ... need a new lower dog bone on the XR
XR front fender holds off mud spray better
DR lowered foot pegs better than stock XR, easy to change
Both need to have my luggage seriously re-thought
Both need similar type & amount of upgrades
DR alternator can be upgraded to 250 watts, the XR ~260 watts, needed for heated grips, vest, & boots in our northern climate.

Otherwise both seem like a good choice for me. Comes down to which offer is accepted & parts pricing.

I was looking also at a Vstrom 650, but now feel it's too close to the Tiger in concept & might be better as a replacement, not a second ride. Not getting rid of the Tiger, nope, nope nope.

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Felix, 95 Tiger - Dirty Cat,
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:50 PM   #15
sonic reducer
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as far as lack of power the DR is VERY detuned stock and a bit of compression, pipe, pumper carb and they rip. I'm sure the XR is the same way. the stock DR pipe is one of the first things that should go, very heavy. the basic mods are well documented.
I've had a DR in the past and would probably lean towards trying out the XR this time around due to the suspension and slightly lighter weight. a buddy just got a 2005 with around 8k for $3200US.
how tall are you? with a 32" inseam I could just barely get one toe on the ground with the XRL.
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