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Old 07-11-2011, 07:49 PM   #1
Maxacceleration OP
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DR650 vs XR650L?

Pardon me and please throw up a link if this has already been hashed through.

Considering these two bikes to build up from stock.
Which has more potential?

Air cooled vs air cooled.
Curb weights? Honda 346 fueled vs Suzook 366 (fueled?).
Within an inch on wheelbase (Honda is shorter at 57").
Honda has roughly an inch more suspension travel at 11.6/11.1 vs 10.2.
The biggest difference to me is seat height with the Suzuki much lower at 34.8 vs Hondas 37.0. Thats tall.
Just reading spec sheets...
Looks like aftermarket tanks, racks etc is out there for both.
Build quality between the two?
I could go on and on.

I realize they have been around forever. I am looking at them again for their pure simplicity vs more modern techno bikes.
Backroads type use, not interstate stuff.
Had a new '86 XR600 back in the day...
I have rode tall dirt bikes forever, but a tall loaded up bike seems a chore in some situations (like throwing a leg over).

Opinions on each? The DR seem much more popular.
A Ford vs Chevy thing?
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:22 PM   #2
Trey3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxacceleration View Post
Pardon me and please throw up a link if this has already been hashed through.

Considering these two bikes to build up from stock.
Which has more potential?

Air cooled vs air cooled.
Curb weights? Honda 346 fueled vs Suzook 366 (fueled?).
Within an inch on wheelbase (Honda is shorter at 57").
Honda has roughly an inch more suspension travel at 11.6/11.1 vs 10.2.
The biggest difference to me is seat height with the Suzuki much lower at 34.8 vs Hondas 37.0. Thats tall.
Just reading spec sheets...
Looks like aftermarket tanks, racks etc is out there for both.
Build quality between the two?
I could go on and on.

I realize they have been around forever. I am looking at them again for their pure simplicity vs more modern techno bikes.
Backroads type use, not interstate stuff.
Had a new '86 XR600 back in the day...
I have rode tall dirt bikes forever, but a tall loaded up bike seems a chore in some situations (like throwing a leg over).

Opinions on each? The DR seem much more popular.
A Ford vs Chevy thing?
I also had a 80's xl600. I'm currently riding a fairly modified 06 dr650. One of my good friends has a xr650, that he has let me ride a few times. Our bikes have simular mods ( full exhaust, airbox mod, jet kit). I would say the main difference between the two is that the Dr has more power through out the whole rev range and especialy in the top end. The Dr has a two plug head, and a larger diameter header; just two things Ive noticed that may account for the difference in power. The xr on the other hand has a much better suspension out of the box. The xr feels more like a dirt bike. The dr seems to run cooler, it has larger fins on the cyclinder and head than the xr. The dr also comes with an oil cooler which the xr does not. This is just my oppinion on a few things I have noticed. The difference in power may be how the bikes are set up, but like I said we have simular mods.
My biast oppinion is that you should try out the suzuki.. Good luck in your search
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxacceleration View Post
A Ford vs Chevy thing?

This.

Buy the one that sings to you, that you like to stare at and think about, and that makes you want to ride
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:43 PM   #4
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I owned an XR650L a number of years ago. And spent a long weekend riding a DR650.

Both great bikes. Here is what I remember:

Honda - Very, very tall. I'm 6'0 tall and it was strange the first time I rode it. It felt so high. As mentioned above, it's very dirt oriented. And you can wheelie forever.

Suzuki - Much more compact feeling in the height as well as front to back. Does well on the road and smooth trails.

Either bike handles the dirt pretty well, but in my opinion the Honda felt far superior once the going got rough. In fact the harder you hammer it, the better it feels. I didn't get that same sense with the Suzuki while hitting rough sections.

I loved both bikes, so you really wouldn't go wrong either way. If I had it to do again, I would probably stick with the Honda because of it's offroad abilities. I raced motocross for years, so it's still in my blood. If I just did paved roads and dirt fireroads, then the Suzuki would be the ticket.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:52 PM   #5
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In many ways it is a Ford or Chevy thing. For me the choice came down to KLR or DR.

In functional terms both are reliable, affordable, and have loads of aftermarket support.

I ended up going with the DR based on ergos (it felt better sitting on one in the showroom), the oil/air cooled factor (no radiator, fan, or coolant to worry with), and the simpler maintenance (i.e., with ordinary tools).

Mine has almost 8,000 miles on it now, 5,000 of which were put on it last year on a trip to the CDT and back. (Yes, I rode the little sucker there and back ...)

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Old 07-11-2011, 09:51 PM   #6
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Ergos are definitely a huge factor. When I was looking for a 650 single "dual sport" bike the XR650L was simply too tall for me, period. I've ridden a couple XR650Rs and that motor will leave you with a huge stupid grin, but that's an apples/oranges comparison for sure.

I like the DR650 ergos especially for more off-road compared to say the KLR650, it has much more of a "dirt bike" feel to it.

You didn't mention what your dirt/street ratio is and that will certainly be a factor. The way I read your post I'd suggest the DR as I "believe" it will be the better scoot for you in the long run. I think Suzuki's air/oil cooling is better than the XR's air only and I think Honda's radial valve arrangement is a bit more complicated than need be.

I don't think you will go wrong with either but I guess I'd sum up your ergo points and dirt/street ratio then see how them stack up. I think the DR will be better if there is more pavement involved and the DR has a much lower seat height.

I went for the KLR simply because I was looking for even more street comfort, larger fuel tank, water cooling, stock rear rack, and better wind protection. I already have "real" dirt bikes so I didn't need to include that factor for my decision. If I wanted more dirt capability I would have chosen the DR in a heart beat.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:33 PM   #7
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The xr has more ground clearance as well. Also, I think the XR can drop a pretty good chunk of weight really easy vs the DR. Between the tank, shrouds, smog, sub frame, tail light, etc. I have taken about 20 to 25lbs off the xr. Also, and this was the selling point for me, the xr has a wider ratio transmission than the DR. The fact that there is a taller 5th gear available was icing on the cake.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:04 PM   #8
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All great points!
Yes, how much weight can be dropped, the taller 5th gear ratio... Good Honda pluses.
I feel both these bikes need a 6th gear - oh well.
I do not need to commute. This could be a bike for ADV/weekenders only.
Maybe 50/50 use? Hard to estimate.

The KLR wind protection & big tank plus water cooling are big pluses no doubt. Weight is a minus.
The air cooled bikes don't burn up really, but the oil cooler is a good add on the DR.
Looking simple!

I lean towards the DR at this time. Gotta check ergos.
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:07 AM   #9
basketcase
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Regarding the 5th gear/6th gear business, with the stock 15t counter-sprocket installed I cruised at 80 mph indicated (74 gps) all day on the DR on the slab with no problem.

After we got on the trail I did the 20 minute switch to a 14t counter-sprocket. I ran the 14t sprocket from Datil, NM until I got off the trail at the northeast side of Yellowstone. The fact is, the 14t makes the low speed 1st and 2nd gear personality of the bike much more trail friendly and will easily allow you to run 70 mph on the hard roads. I never felt like I needed a 6th gear.

Ground clearance wise I never had an issue and I was hauling around 70 lbs of junk in my trail kit. Nor did my buddy who was riding a lowered DR have a clearance problem -- and his bike was set up on the stock suspension. Unless one is going to be weaving through rocky, jagged single track the value of an additional inch of ground clearance debate is well, debatable.

I'll upload a photo of the roughest stuff we rode (rocky jeep trail) and then come back via edit and include it.

Via edit --

Here I am with the full load of crap. As the trip progressed the pile got smaller!


This photo is from northern New Mexico. As long as one stayed on the jeep track it was smooth (relatively speaking) but if one wandered off the trail it got rough! Don't worry about how I know this...


I really need to get the rest of the photos online and get my story posted before I die.
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basketcase screwed with this post 07-12-2011 at 06:19 AM Reason: Added photos
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxacceleration View Post

The air cooled bikes don't burn up really, but the oil cooler is a good add on the DR.
Actually, the Honda will burn up, sort of. The Honda does not like to be ridden at high RPMs for long periods of time or in other conditions where the engine heat will build up. If you do, you will drop a valve seat with all of the resultant damage associated. They really need an oil cooler if you even think you might ride in these types of conditions.

Also, the Honda CDI module will fail, it's just a question of when. There's tons of postings in the XRL thread about it, so unless you do the Techforlife mod yourself, carry a spare module.

Also, regarding the seat height. I measured my stock XRL and it came in at a hair over 38", not 37" as claimed. That's just plain silly to have designed the bike to be that tall with all that weight. I've only got a 31" inseam and I couldn't manage the bike until I lowered it (more than 40 years of dirt experience). Riding was fine, but stopping was another story. Stop lights were an ordeal. Parking lots, yeah, another thrill. It handled well in the dirt, but all that weight combined with that height, made it a real handful. I rode Death Valley with it, with loaded saddle bags, and it performed well. However, the sub-frame did show signs of stress and really needs re-enforcing if your doing things like that.

I could on, but............

I've owned both and honestly the DR is the better bike of the two listed.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:26 AM   #11
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Since someone mentioned you can lose 20 lbs of weight quick on the XR, and you asked about that being the case on the DR650, itís my understanding you can lose 10 lbs by switching to an aftermarket exhaust on the DR650 (15 lbs stock, 5 lbs aftermarket). Certainly there are other things, changing tail lamp, passenger foot pegs, etc. I donít know how easy or quick you can lose 20 lbs, but youíll be well over 10 lbs loss with very little effort.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:00 PM   #12
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i only rode my buddy's XR around the block, but i wouldn't do my daily commute on it.

the DR is great on the road and once i get my USD forks on it soon, should be much better in the dirt.

it's not called the swiss army knife of motorcycles for nothin.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:15 PM   #13
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:27 PM   #14
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The DR with the oil cooler and heavier weight are better suited to long distance touring with offroad capabilities a bit less than The XRL.

The XR is a better dirt performer and not suited for long hauls without the addition of a oil cooler.

No matter what you do to either bike each machine still stays true to its original purpose. The XR is more dirt oriented and the DR better for long hauls.

I personally dont feel comfortable on the DR off road in the trails as it feels heavier to me than the XRL because it is and I can easily override the capabilities of the DR while offroading. That being said both bikes need suspension help out of the box VIA springs and valving for your weight. I wasnt impressed with the brakes on the DR either.

They are both great machines for their intended purpose. My vote would be think long and hard about what you are gonna do with the bike you buy and purchase accordingly. DR more road XR more offroad. You cant go wrong with either one.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:21 PM   #15
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This.

Buy the one that sings to you, that you like to stare at and think about, and that makes you want to ride
SSSHHHHH!!! Whaddaya tryin' to do, solve half the arguments on this site??


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