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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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Old 7 May 2010
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Location: Northern Cali
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Hey ALL! New XR650L Bike MODS! tell me what you think!!

Hey guys so im new to THE HUBB and im pumped about my new 2003 XR650L. The guy i got it from said it's had some troubles but hes completely redone the whole bike and i just wanted to get some opinions on the modifications he made.

I LOVE to play in dirt but i will be doing some long distance riding and i just wanted to know if the mods are geared towards that kind of riding or if he's done something that would inhibit its ability to go long distances without overheating ect. i know he mentioned something about the valve dropping out and i read that this was a common problem and he said he took it to Al bakers XR's only to rework the entire motor.

i know a thing or two about cycle parts but not to the extent that this list goes and would be very grateful if anyone could explain what some of these things are and what they do to the bikes performance.

this is the list that i copied from his ad.

Awesome bike with about 10000 miles on the odometer. Engine had a complete top end rebuild approximately 4000 miles ago. The rebuild included a higher compression piston (10:1 versus the stock 9:1), a complete 4 angle valve job with new guides installed and a full port and polish of the head. All machine work to include the porting and polishing was performed by Al Baker’s XR’s Only. The CDI box was also replaced about 2500 miles ago.

A Supertrapp IDS muffler is installed, the carb re-jetted and a K&N filter installed. A 14-tooth sprocket is installed which is 1 tooth less than stock is yielding lots of usable, fun torque.

The bike has a set of 1.5 inch lowering link installed as well as a Scott’s steering dampener along with a set of Eibach fork springs. The front triples are dropped by 1.5 inch to match the lowering link. The kickstand was cut down by about 1.25 inch to compensate for the lowering. With the drive-train and suspension mods, the bike is a perfect commuter and is AWESOME around town. I have the stock link which I will give to the new owner in case he/she wants to restore the bike to its original (tall!) ride height.

A Corbin seat is installed as well as an IMS 4 gallon tank. Both the stock seat and stock tank will be included with the bike as well as the stock muffler, OEM shop manual, a new set of OEM brake pads, an extra clutch cable, brake lever and clutch lever.

As far as storage goes, A Pro-Moto billet rack along with a Givi hard case are installed. I will be including a Shoei Hornet helmet I purchased a couple of years ago as I no longer need a dual sport helmet. I special-ordered the helmet from Japan in a custom color scheme, it is approved by Japanese safety regulatory agencies but not the DOT.
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Last edited by XRlover; 7 May 2010 at 01:29.
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Old 7 May 2010
Mickey D's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: California
Posts: 514
Great Deal!

That's a great bike and sounds like it's set up beautifully! I owned a '94 and have owned three other XR's (XR600, XR400, XR250) and XL600's.

Al Baker died many years ago. When he ran XR's Only himself years ago it had a great rep, he built a lot of Baja racers from XR600's. The new guys (maybe family?) that took over had some problems early on. Now? I'm not really sure. Hopefully they are doing good work ... you'll find out soon enough I guess!

What caused the Top End to fail?
Could be your bike was run low on oil? (XR-L's don't like that) ... or perhaps bumped off the rev limiter one too many times? They DO run hot. Quality synthetic oil is a must, IMO.

The Valve job and high comp. piston should be a very nice improvement. Jetting the XR-L is tricky. If your guy got it right then kudos to him.

Only "possible" down side with High comp. piston might be that you will need to run higher octane fuel. Pinging is a characteristic of the XR motor on low Octane gas. So if you go to Mexico (where I ruined a top end on crap barrel gas) then try to get the good stuff, which is now nearly everywhere in Mexico, even Baja.

The CDI box is odd, should not have failed. No idea on this. Honda electrics are normally very good. Very expensive part, should never fail again.

Super Trapp is OK if not too loud, this, with jetting and air box really wake the bike up. Good stuff. Lower gearing is great off road and around town but you may want to go back to stock sprocket for any longer road rides. (easy to change front sprocket)

Lowering links are great if you're too short for the bike. It is VERY tall in stock form. If you are tall perhaps put it back to stock height, especially if you want to do serious off road. If not, leave it low, it will actually handle better on the street in lowered form. I like the heavier Eibach springs.

The Corbin and IMS are excellent, as is the Scott's damper. The Scott's is a $500 extra alone! Man, this bike has it all! Somebody knew what they were doing and weren't afraid to spend money. Pro Moto Billet rack? Shoei helmet? aRE you kidding? All excellent stuff.

The XR-L will last pretty well if you take care of it. Keep valves adjusted,
Do a plug check to make certain its not running too lean. (HOT!) keep
fresh synthetic oil, clean air filter (watch that K&N, it does NOT filter out dirt worth a shit ... I prefer a Twin-Air) If doing street only, then K&N is fine.

What sort of riding do you intend to do?

Weak areas of XR650L:
1. Runs a bit hot
2. Can use a bit of oil if run hard ... critical to keep level UP to FULL.
(learn how to check it correctly ... must be HOT to get accurate reading)
3. Rear sub frame and battery box are weak and will bend if overloaded.
Need to be reinforced for RTW travel. Do not overload.

Strong areas on XR-L:
1. Very good go anywhere off road dual sport. Strong and reliable.
2. Good basic suspension, strong motor, reasonable weight.
3. Mostly good build quality, will last well if cared for.
4. Good handler off road.
5. Comfortable

That's about it.

Go to Thumper Talk Honda XR forum to learn a ton about this bike from other owners. They are mostly dirt riders, not travelers.
Have fun!
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Old 9 May 2010
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Location: Northern Cali
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wow man that was one hell of a reply. thanks a lot i really appreciate the input. yea seems like the guy knew what he was doing. turns out this bike was stolen so it has a salvage title. maybe he got it for cheap so he rebuilt it. im definitely going to be doing more riding around town but i would love to ride it up north or down south along the west coast one of these days. i just want to make sure that this thing isn't going to die on me or if all the work he did to it made3 the bike worse somehow because it might not have been done properly.but the guy has all the servicing paperwork and got me in touch with the shop that did all the work on the bike as well as the receipts from al bakers xr's only. i figure at worse i would be saving tons of money on the extra he put on the bike alone because if i bought a newer one i would most definitely add these extras.

i couldnt pass up the deal and i had to outbid a guy and pay an extra $400 on top of what he wanted in the first place because e was going to sell it to someone else. luckily CASH IS KING heheh.

im 6'1" 190lb and i think i might try out the lowering kit but with the corbin seat it almost looked like there was too much toward angle towards the tank on the seat. and with the shortening of the fork makes me a bit nervous but we'll see how it goes.
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