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-   -   How reliable is the xr650r (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/honda-tech/how-reliable-is-the-xr650r-8939)

NothingMan 2 Apr 2006 16:46

How reliable is the xr650r
i was just wondering how reliable the xr650r and if the engine would last a 80,000km rtw trip?

gbarnard 3 Apr 2006 00:25

Not sure whether it would last or not it would depend how you ride, I know you can thrash this bike in racing enviroment for a long time without problems. but that said if you had problems you can get them fixed in a lot of places. Also the engine is not likely to suddenly fail either.

Cheers Geoff

RichLees 4 Apr 2006 14:19

I used one all over Oz and Africa: only 30,000km, but no drama at all. Tim's had 50,000+km on it by the time he got back to UK and, again, its still sweet as a nut. they're built for racing so chugging along "overland-stylie" is like running them in! they're not the most comfortable choice, but they're more frugal than most peole expect - 20kpl is easy.

FYI, we were changing oil every 4-6,000km rather than the crazy 600km in the manual. actually, Tim didn't change his for 20,000km and the oil was still fine when he took it out.

its the same as any other bike, but its a Honda so its amazingly reliable

*Touring Ted* 20 Apr 2006 12:13

As long as you maintain it, it will do you no harm ! As posted, good oil at decent intervals is all thats needed and keep your tappets adjusted (although they seldomly fall out)

With 80 000 k's you may want to take some engine spares though. Also, if yours is pre-2002, you want to find out if the clutch bush has been changed as its prone to siezing.

winmac 11 May 2006 03:50

My buddy has 70K on his BRP, stock engine un-corked still has tons of power, Change you oils thease things will run for ever.

RichLees 11 May 2006 08:47

personally, I'd have a spare spark plug, but no other engine spares with me. firstly cos its so reliable, second cos you have space for spares and tools to work on the engine, third cos once you start with spares, you can never stop!

far better to have a few spares back in the UK eg have a complete chain and sprocket set sat ready to go. or a savvy mate who can get stuff shipped double pronto without incurring big import duties.

all I'd carry ... front and rear inner tubes (with heavy duty fitted), spare air filter and oil (0.5l), front sprocket and its retaining plate + assorted bolts and a few zip ties. you'll probably only get a crappy chain, but you won't get a front sprocket!

on sprockets, 14/48(?) standard is 1) too low and 2) wears fast. 15/45 gives good gearing and odd teeth wear more slowly as the stretching links have to wear both faces. an alternative strategy is to go "even" and slip the chain round by one tooth when/before you can replace it. sadly, neither sprocket is reversible to get extra live, but don't leave home with that silly alloy sprocket ... it lasts very well till it starts to wear and, then, its like butter

getalexfr 14 May 2006 05:07

RichLees -I was interested to read your post on spares. Where would you buy those items you mentioned (particularly the sprocket)? A regular honda parts dealer?

If you don't mind I'd also like your opinion on something.. I'm a brit in california hunting for a honda to do a trip south, to Buenos Aires, and a honda dealer today told me the xr650L would be more suitable than the xr650R for long distance travel... What are the pros and cons please?


Stephano 14 May 2006 08:28


Originally Posted by getalexfr
RichLees -I was interested to read your post on spares. Where would you buy those items you mentioned (particularly the sprocket)?

For the UK, B & C in Lincolnshire are mail order suppliers of sprockets and chains (especially Renthal). I used just one Renthal chain on my XR400 in the desert up till it was stolen and it was still in good condition.

Get a Scott metal oil filter (just near you in California) and you won't ever have to carry (or buy) a spare oil filter again. Highly recommended.

If you're carrying a spare filter, Uni filters are excellent for XRs and very durable. I alternated 2 for 6-7 years on my bike and they were still in great condition. I think Grant also recommends them for BMWs.

Carrying a plug is wise but don't forget the removal socket too.

RichLees 14 May 2006 19:37

Honda sell the XRR with 14T front sprocket in some countries and 15T in others. a good dealer should be able to trace the 15T sprocket for you - get a couple! I can probably find the part number for you if you're stumped. I got my sprockets from Dave Silver in the UK - top service and 20% off if you can wait a few weeks. personally, I'd use Renthal bars, but not sprockets. Honda stuff is expensive and worth it ie its usually excellent quality. similarly, I'd get a spare Honda filter as it comes pre-oiled in a sensible size bag.

XRL v XRR. if you search the Honda forum you'll find loads of commentary on the pros and cons. neither bike is "right", but I'm not sure any bike is "right". I've done trips through Africa on both the XRL and XRR. both are reliable and both are more than adequate off-road. neither is really comfortable for hundreds of kilometres, but, given enough effort, both can carry 40-50 litres of fuel and 15 litres of water across sand and rougn terrain.

I've not been to south america so I don't know about the roads or distances between fuel stops. if I was mostly sticking to the road/gravel, the XRL with 22 litre tank is straightforward. if I was going to do the Baja, the XRR with 28 litre IMS, would be my starting point. or maybe that F650GS project bike that I haven't started yet ...

getalexfr 17 May 2006 22:11

thanks guys! will look into all those parts

Iggy1 18 May 2006 13:31

I have 87,000 kms on mine and so far engine is still strong. I hope it stays that way.

I was wondering if anyone tried to put the 650R engine in a full frame such as the L model or an older XL or maybe the older 600R frame. I really like the power of this motor but it is limited as to what you can carry. I have looked at just about every mod but they are very expensive. Anyone out there try this, Thanks

*Touring Ted* 21 May 2006 12:26

As rich says, stay away from Renthal Alloy sprockets. The XR makes allot of torque and the lack of a cush drive makes toast of soft metal sprockets.

There are a few companys who make Steel sprockets but Id always stick with Honda on the front as your guaranteed a good spline cut. I bought a cheap front when i was desperate and the freeplay in the splines was a joke (causes extra wear on the output shaft)

I was very happy with the Acerbis tank although i havnt tried the IMS tank. First thing i did was buy good 10mm steel braided fuel line, inline filter and alloy pipe fittings as the cheap junk they come with is only fit for the bin. The tank is very good quality though and took a few drops with ease.

Constantly check the kickstart and the footpeg bolts as these rattle loose very quickly and the soft alloy threads are easily damaged if you dont keep on top of this.

keep the valve clearances in good order too. Its a very simple job so no excuses :thumbup1:

When I got mine, i pretty much stripped it down, cleaned and regreased her and applied copper slip to all non moving frame and engine bolts. Honda are very fruggle when it comes to greasing the headstop so a check and regease is in order there too.

skidder 30 May 2006 02:51

Yup. I have foot peg issues now, it all started when I crashed and snapped the right foot peg off. It's come loose a couple of times since. I reckon the kick start hitting it doesn't help. Has anyone succesfully strengthend thiers? The front bolt would go right through so a longer bolt with a nut would help I guess.

RichLees 30 May 2006 17:18

there's plenty of metal so you can go large - ie take it out to the next size. I had to cos someone (other than ham-fisted me) wrecked the thread

kmet 13 Jun 2006 06:36

this guy has a fix for the foot peg if needed

Iggy it would be a huge project to do a frame swap. if carrying more luggage is the goal build a new steel sub frame. look for pic's of dakar models of this, they mod' them to carry rear tanks,

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