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Old 16 Nov 2002
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Location: Longmont, CO. 80501
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XR650R: Is it a worthy long distancer?

I have been looking closely at buying a new used XR650R for long distance mixed terrain. That's right, the new water cooled R bike that wins major 2000 mile baja type races "right out of the box" so the sloagan goes. I love long distancing and mixing in as much off road pounding, fully loaded, air time dirt trail riding as I can, but is this really the bike that will stand long punnishing trips with more airtime than BMW 650? I don't know that I want to spend the money on a KTM or BMW and KLR650 is a major tuna boat off road, is it not, when compared to the huge suspension travel and big daddy fork tubes of the XR650R? I have serious concerns about it being too Hot of a bike for all day everyday for a month type riding. I have concerns about a light weight engine like this going very far in a long distance use pattern. Heavy Iron can be less suseptible to vibration related failures can it not. I know the big tanks from IMS are available, the street leagal kit, but nobody sells a rear rack for mounting bags. The aluminum sub-frame looks a little fatigue prone and skimpy. I could have a cromoly one made, since I may need to make racks anyway. It needs a lot of mods to be global. Could it be any "worse" than my current bike an XR250L. Its got 30,000 miles on it and never had a single problem with it, just normal maintenance. I ride it very hard too. I wind it out quite a bit and my brother can't believe how well it keeps up with his KLR 650 with common power mods, and sometimes downright blows it away on the rough terrain. I don't know about global size rides, but so far I think I'm having more fun especially on the trail. I picture the XR650R blowing the lid off the fun meter for the same reasons, but lots to do for outfitting it right. The narrow seat is not a real big concern, but nothing else is currently available anyway except covers of sorts. Anyone have any feedback? Besides the KTM where's a dirt biker's enduro? Put new suspension on the KLR 650? I don't know, anyone?
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Old 16 Nov 2002
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Posts: 456
It seems that you thought this through, know the disadvantages of the bike and either don’t mind them or know how to fix them. So I’d say, go for it. I think it’s very important to be very familiar with your bike and know how to ride it and handle its problems and you seem to know the XR well.

Aside form that it’s a great bike. I have no experience with newer models but if they’re anything like the 90s models they would be awesome machines. The XR650R is an aggressive bike so it will be less comfortable on long rides than other the BMW or the KLR but it’s bearable and for the shear fun factor when going Offroad I would sacrifice some comfort. But that’s just me.


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Old 28 Jan 2003
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Location: toronto, ontario, canada
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The XR650R has a good yahoogroups.com site. It is not the XR650L. It is a great bike but only the 'day' dual sporters seem to find it desireable. Others never discover it - XRRs do not come with full street lights nor is the stator wound for enough wattage to heat anything or light much. The stator can be fixed for $30 with many good solutions well explained at yahoogroups.com. Fair light kits are available from Baja Designs. I have ridden my 2000 for 15000km of fast slop through British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario - I tour in September and October regardless of weather. Phenomenal suspension can be dialed for my 90kg dressed and 35kg gear -
I could probly get a stiffer rear spring. It is a fair bike for RTW dual sporting but highways at 120km/h+ seem painful for the bike though it will do 150. Changing sprockets is the best advice to attain 180 or really grind through any forest or bamboo thicket. I feel most do not want to ride such a narrow seat especially if they never stand. IMS has a 7 gallon tank - mine measures 33 litres for 600km+. I have read of rear racks but only one(?) luggage rack system - the rear subframe is slight but aluminum. I use soft bags as they improve my crashing discomfort without creasing my skin and muscles. The XRR has more torque / mass than most any bike used within these pages. It will go far more places than most bikes. The KLR appears better out of the crate as it presolved many of the XRRs short sights but the KLR is gutless and suspensionless (empty) for enduro. The XRR gets looks though - most think I just left the farm. The XRR was my choice regardless of cost - I can replace it twice or purchase a fair GS. Really.
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