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  #1  
Old 31 Oct 2004
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650R versus 650L for Overland?

Hoping to do the TransSiberian Hwy.
Which bike would you prefer if money is not an issue, having to choose in between the 650R vs. 650L?

My take, limited experience with above bikes:
650R lighter, more power. Needs radiator fans and street legal kit in the U.S.
650L more simple, street legal of the showroom.

Any opinions?
Thanks. Snailster
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  #2  
Old 31 Oct 2004
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I have both.
I have a 43 litre tank on the L and it'll do 900+km on a gentle throttle. I did 35,000km in 2 trips to Africa and it never missed a beat. I rode off-road much of the way and it was a gas, but pretty gutless.

I have 40 litres of fuel and 11 of water on the R and its only plus is the power. the enduro handling is lost amidst 230kg of fuel, water and luggage.

with less gear, the R has ended up being almost as heavy as the L. bugger!

trans-siberian? I don't know the terrain, but go light. if you haven't done much off-road, the L is a safer bet. both are reliable cos they are Hondas, but the R is a rally/enduro bike and expensive to modify and bloody awful to ride on the road.

I love them both, but will sell the R and keep the L - at least while I go to Turkey, Iran, Russia ... when I get back to Europe in the spring

most of all ... go out and do it and have fun doing it
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  #3  
Old 1 Nov 2004
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Hi Rich:

thanks for the great info!

Why is the 650R bloody awfull to ride on the road?

Did you perhaps use the stock gearing? I am planning to gear it for speed a bit (15 tooth front and stock, or possibly a 45 tooth rear sprocket) which should bring the top speed up to the 110 mph range. May need a steering damper at that point ($350 - ouch!) Want to lower it somewhat and use the Baja seat foam for more comfort. And of course the uncorking, 4.3 gallon Clarke tank, bigger front disc, maybe a fan etc. Are the vibrations any problem?

I am currently so infatuated with the potential of the 650R (esp. the power/speed) when compared to the 650L or the KLR, that it is a bit difficult for me to think straight and to seriously consider the 650L, which may be a mistake. I see your point that with tons of luggage the weight advantage of the 650R is lost. But still the extra power...?

Snailster
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  #4  
Old 1 Nov 2004
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Please tell me you aren't planning on riding at 110 acrosss Siberia! You mention that the power keeps you from thinking straight. If you're thinking of riding across Siberia like it's the Paris-Dakar, you're definitely not thinking straight.

I also have had both bikes.

I'll second that you won't miss the horsepower. After you spend that much time on a bike, comfort and convenience strongly outweighs horsepower.

Also remember that you'll have to put a Dual Sport kit on the R, and they are not very reliable. There's nothing to stop any passersby from kickstarting your bike and taking off with it, and there's no steering lock.

You do not need cooling fans on the R as long as you have it jetted properly and put a KX500 rad cap on it, unless you plan on riding it in really tight traffic or on ultra tight trails where you're in first gear for long periods of time.

Cheers,
Wright

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  #5  
Old 1 Nov 2004
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When are you planning to ride the Trans Siberian Highway? I'm hoping to do it next summer and am looking for a riding partner. Please contact me by email if you have any interest. Thanks.

Mike
Idaho
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  #6  
Old 2 Nov 2004
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Wright is right about the rad cap and lack of fan. our european ones have steering locks on the left of the headstock, but, as Wright says, no ignition lock.
gearing ... I'm happy with 15/47. don't piss about with alloy sprockets for long distance off road
vibration ... Martin complained of numb right hand, but I've been OK with up to 830km in a day
handling ... frame/suspension is overwhelmed by the extra mass so high up. we fitted 30%stiffer rear springs, but I ran out of time to finalise settings
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  #7  
Old 2 Nov 2004
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Dont forget that the trans siberian is sealed except the Zilow Gap and that is a dirt road travelled recently on Goldwings and hundreds of small japanese cars enroute to Novosibirsk. Off road in the north is black sticky bog mud amoungst the taiga with zillions of feisty mosquitoes.

Get the most comfortable and most reliable one that is eaiest to work on. If your bike is standard you should be able to get some parts from shops like NBS in Novosibirsk. Ride more slowly than you do at home, I doubt Russian road manners are as gentle as those in Hawaii, they were some of the more frightening I encounterred especially all those right hand drive cars driving on the right hand side. Overtaking blind is standard practice. A truck might change their mind but your bike definitely wont!

cheers

alec

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