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  #1  
Old 28 Mar 2004
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XR400, NX650, XR600, XR650R, or XR650L?

Hi

I'm in the UK and looking to go around Africa for around 18 months on a bike. I'm pretty sure I want a Honda of some description or another. I know this is a sweeping Question, but out of the five aforementioned models, which would you take? I'm looking to go through countries like Congo and Sudan, so I'll need something with good off-road capabilities, although I'm not going to be thrashing it at full whack through the bush or anything.

The XR650R sounds good, although I don't like the idea of a liquid cooled bike.

I like the idea of the XR400, although the smaller engine would probably mean I'd be thrashing it more than one of the bigger bikes, plus it's water cooled.

I've not heard much of the XR650L - would this maybe be the perfect solution?

The NX650 sounds good, although it's not as powerful as the XR650R, right?

And I really don't know much about the XR600; should I consider it?

I've got about £3000 max to spend.

I would be really grateful for any advice - I'm buying the bike specifically for this trip.

Cheers

Dan
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  #2  
Old 29 Mar 2004
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XR600: long in the tooth but still a good bike. Aircooled, kickstart only. Early models may have had a drum rear brake?

XR400: Scaled down version of the above. I think that many aftermarket XR600 parts can be persuaded to fit the 400 also. 250 version also available, latest models fitted with e/start.

NX650 Dominator: primarily a road bike, low front mudguard, twin heavy silencers, brittle plastic, 13ltr tank, may be slightly larger on some later models? All are e/start although early models came with a kickstart also. Been around since about 1989.

XR650L: Basically an upgraded XR600 fitted with the NX650 engine, inc. the e/start. Don't know if they retained the kickstart though? Pick of the bunch? Only available as a Grey Import but not that hard to find, sometimes advertised on this site for sale. AS mentioned in a reply to a previous posting of yours, check out Chris Scott's site re: Africa & XR650L.

XR650R: Aluminium framed, water cooled, kickstart only semi-competition bike. Shares few, if any, parts (aftermarket or otherwise)with the air cooled models mentioned above. Aftermarket parts are available, big tanks etc, as they've been entered in the Paris Dakar in the last couple of years. Most recent & powerful of the lot. Make good road bikes from all accounts. Not particularly light despite the aluminium frame.

The only way for you to understand the differences & to decide what's best for you is to find a dealer who stocks as many of the above as possible.

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  #3  
Old 30 Mar 2004
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Hi

Thanks for your info. I'm torn between the XR650R and the NX650. I'm looking to spend about £3000 and I think I'd be lucky to find a low mileage XR650L for that price. That would be the ideal choice.

The XR650R sounds great, but the water cooling, more highly strung engine, weaker chassis(?), and lack of available pannier racks all make it less suitable than the NX650 for a long on & off road trip through Africa and the Middle East.

The NX650 sounds adequate for the task - I'm not planning to do any serious off-roading. A low mileage Dominator sounds like the best choice, unless of course I find an XR650L.

Cheers

Dan
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  #4  
Old 30 Mar 2004
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Forget the XR650R - it's NOT an overland bike at all.

Forget the NX650 - it's a road bike.

Go for the XR650L - basically a proper off road NX650. Simple, reliable & easy to work on. For £3,000 to £3,500 you could buy one that's had overland type work done to it.

You need to remember that if you buy any STOCK bike, you'll need to spend a fair bit equipping it. Big tanks don't come cheap!

Was there not a recent reply to one of your posts offering an already prepped 650L for sale? If you've missed it, it's worth your time looking again.

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  #5  
Old 1 Apr 2004
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Hi Steve, thanks for you continued help.. I tried that link for an 650L but it was just some pictures. I'd have reservations on buying a bike with such high mileage though - I don't want to rebore the thing in deepest Africa. Would the Dominator really not handle some off road? In the mid 90's it was hailed as one of the best on and off road bikes around, why has this changed?

I've found a nice KTM explorer near me with welded pannier racks and aluminium boxes, but I'd have grave concerns taking one of these items to Africa. I've heard all sorts of horror stories on broken con rods, fuel pumps.. the list goes on.

Can you think of any non-Honda bike which are up to the job? I can't find a 650L for much less than 4k without mod's.

Cheers


Dan
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  #6  
Old 1 Apr 2004
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I've a NX650 and taken it to Singapore from the UK. Had about 36000 miles on it when I left and has about 49000 on it now and I'm planning another big trip for it. I think if I were bikeless and I was going to ride through some serious excuses for roads in the mud I would go for a XR650L. If not then Dommie is good and cheap to start with. Depends on how much real offroading you will do. Note I said 'If I were bikeless'... in other words I would have any issues taking my Dommie off anywhere. Seemed to be ok bouncing around in the sand in Pakistan and boggy fields in Norfolk

One other thing I would say is that if I was going into some muddy places I would change that front mud guard. Mine became jammed in Cambodia and locked the front wheel up.. nearly fell off. Ended up taking the thing off.. could ride along ok but got very messy

ps. can buy Acerbis tanks for Dommie's. Get's your tank to 23 litres.. WELL WORTH it!

[This message has been edited by Spud (edited 01 April 2004).]
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Old 1 Apr 2004
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Was just about to mention the front mudguard when I realised Spud had already done so.

I'd also ditch the two silencers on the NX650, replacing them with a quiet-ish aftermarket pipe in ally or stainless & losing a few kg in the process. They're mild steel as standard & tend to rust out. Laser do a Pro-Duro tailpipe that's quite good.

You may also want to upgrade the fork internals & possibly re-valve/rebuild/replace the rear shock, depending on the roads you intend travelling & the weight carried.

I'd go for a bigger tank. You'll probably have to ditch the front fairing at best & maybe the headlight at worst. You may be able to get an XR600 aftermarket tank to fit with a bit of persuasion?

After that, it's racks & panniers. I'm not sure if the subframe needs strengthening ob the Dommie but I don't think it's built as an off road overland bike?

Other options include XT/TT600, KLR650 & the DR650. Once again though, you'll be faced with a range of models, each with their own pro's & cons.

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Old 2 Apr 2004
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as you note, the link was just some piccies. as for re-bores, that's already in hand. having heard of oil starvation problems and not wanting to sell a pup - I take pride in my bikes! - I stripped the top-end and checked the bore. it was still in tolerance, but I decided to get it re-bored anyhow. all the parts are now back and I'll be re-assembling the engine on Easter sunday/monday. you're welcome to come take a look while its in pieces if you can get to Bristol.
as the other posts indicate, its really not so old and anyway its just been fully checked. plus it has a kick-start just in case you ever need it. it'll work out a lot cheaper and easier than starting from scratch! the boxes cost 500, the rack 500, the large tank for a dommie would be 200, exhaust 200, GPS 200 ...
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  #9  
Old 2 Apr 2004
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Hi

So what sort of price would you be asking for that bike? How big is that tank?? Has it ever had any major emergency repair work done?

I'm a fair way from Bristol, but it's not an impossible distance... I can't make it at that Easter weekend unfortunately.

Cheers

Dan

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  #10  
Old 2 Apr 2004
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NB - Acerbis tank (23 litres) fits as a direct replacement to the original tank. No need to ditch anything I think I paid 186 pounds for a brand new one.

if you want to see what a Dommie looks like with the 23 litre tank you can see 'Satisfied Customers' on Ernie's website: http://www.overland-solutions.com

There's a few in there under 'Honda' then 'Dominator'

-it's Dave Broughton No2 (No1 was my first trip where I used a normal standard tank)

[This message has been edited by Spud (edited 02 April 2004).]
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Old 3 Apr 2004
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One other thing about the Acerbis tank, if you wanna make it bigger, fill it up with hot water and blow hard into the petrol cap - but make sure the tank is on the bike frame.

You can get another good 5 litres capacity by doing this, but dont go overboard. But then again you can build/develop crash bars that can carry fuel cans - another cheap alternative (if you are going to get crash bars for your travel, which I think is an only option).

And the dommie does have a really poor front mud guard, and if you are going to ride serious mud its not hard to get an aftermarket front mud guard. For my riding, I try and avoid thick mud, always causes me grief. Normal mud does not give me too much grief, but I found that you gotta make sure you keep the speed up. But I think that this is the cause for all mud riding.

And you do not need to strengthing the Dommies sub frame for travel, you can rest the panniers on the rear foot pegs. I know of no off the shelf pannier rack system, so as far as I know you need to get a pannier rack made up - this is what I have done on my dommie, works great guns.

Any queries on further set up, email me...photos to be on my web site soon

www.loston.com

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Old 5 Apr 2004
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I'm about to reply to an ad for a '94 650L. Would this be worth getting? It's quoted as being 'low mileage' whatever that turns out to be.

Also, Rich are you selling a bike? I did'nt quite understand from your posts... if you are, I'd be interested in how much you want for it..

Cheers

Dan
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Old 5 Apr 2004
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"I'm about to reply to an ad for a '94 650L. Would this be worth getting? It's quoted as being 'low mileage' whatever that turns out to be."

Post the rest of the ad details. Is it a standard bike or overland prepared? If standard & planning to prep it for an overland trip, bear in mind the costs of those parts. I'd be conservative & assume that you'll have to buy new & that any savings made on used parts are a bonus.

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  #14  
Old 5 Apr 2004
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Right you are:

XR650L HONDA - 1994 L reg. Electric start & key ignition. top class dualsport bike in standard trim - white tank with red and blue logos, white plastics, red logo'd seat and factory fitted rear pegs. Excellent condition, low miles, quiet and reliable motor. long MOT, blue brushgaurds and fork gaitors, enduro tyres. very nice, clean bike always well maintained. serviced and ready to go. £1950 ovno - Lancs area. Phone or text 077 890 31 860 for more details/email address. No timewasters please.

Would the '94 model take the same pannier racks etc as a '01 model?

I figure it's a good buy if the mileage really is low (i.e. under 10k miles??)

Cheers

Dan
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  #15  
Old 5 Apr 2004
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Right you are:

XR650L HONDA - 1994 L reg. Electric start & key ignition. top class dualsport bike in standard trim - white tank with red and blue logos, white plastics, red logo'd seat and factory fitted rear pegs. Excellent condition, low miles, quiet and reliable motor. long MOT, blue brushgaurds and fork gaitors, enduro tyres. very nice, clean bike always well maintained. serviced and ready to go. £1950 ovno - Lancs area. Phone or text 077 890 31 860 for more details/email address. No timewasters please.

Would the '94 model take the same pannier racks etc as a '01 model?

I figure it's a good buy if the mileage really is low (i.e. under 10k miles??)

Cheers

Dan
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