Honda XR650L

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Modified XR650L

The Honda XR650L is the street legal dual sport motorcycle combining the RFVC engine from the proven NX650 Dominator dual sport with the lighter, off-road capable XR600R chassis (not road legal in the US). Because of this arrangement the XR650L was hampered by an unnecessarily tall seat height but, when compared to similar Yamaha XT600s and Kawasaki KLX650s, was a great mixture of plush, off road suspension mated to a reliable and economical air-cooled engine. It has proven to be a popular, if heavy dual-sport motorcycle, especially in North America where it has been produced virtually unchanged since 1993. In 2003 three unsupported XRLs, modified with 40-litre tanks rode across the Sahara to the famed Lost Tree in the Tenere Desert of Niger as part of the 'Desert Riders' project.

It is an air-cooled 644cc SOHC dry-sump single cylinder 4-stroke engine, producing roughly 40 horsepower, 0-60 times in the 4 sec. range, and a top speed of 105 mph with stock gearing. With an electric starter, headlight, taillight, turn signals, mirrors, smog system (commonly removed to greatly improve performance), epa/carb exhaust system and a 2.8 gallon gas tank with 0.6 gal reserve, the 650L is a hefty 324 lbs dry or 350 lbs wet. While that is light for most street bikes of similar displacement, riders of much lighter dirt bikes consider it heavy for off-road riding. With the tall seat height it can be a handful in the woods. For more information, visit the Honda website at