When researching which dual sport motorcycle I should buy, the Honda XR650R was dismissed by many as too tall, not enough range, not street legal, and no electric start. However, it’s got the most power, least weight, and best suspension of any big Japanese enduro bike! Do the shortfalls outweigh the fact that this bike won the Baja 1000 a bazillion times? Find out in this brutally honest review!

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+AFX FX 39 Dual Sport Helmet $110
+Fox Titan CLONE Body Armor $40
+Decade Armored Gauntlet Gloves
+Over-the-knee Articulating Shin Guards $25
+Oneal MX Boots $120

+Helmet Camera – Sony as100v
+Sena SMH10 In-helmet Bluetooth Communicators
+In-helmet Motovlogging Mic
+RAM Phone Holder

+18w LED Flood/Spot Light Bar $15
+Trailtech X2 Universal Halogen Headlight $100
+LED Flush-mount Blinkers $10
+Dual Sport Kit

+Seat Concepts Comfort Seat $160
+Sheepskin Seat Cover $50
+Progrip 714 Grips $15
+Cramp Buster Throttle Assist $10
+Trackside Heated Grips

+Green Chile Modular Luggage System (use coupon code everide)
+Nomad Rider Tank Bag
+Nomad Rider Venture Bag
+Tusk Rear Fender Tool Bag
+Tusk Front Fender Tool Bag with Tire Spoons
+Tactical MOLLE Backpack

+JB Weld Steel Stik
+Slime Tire Inflator
+12v Adapter
+First Aid Kit
+Ride On Tire Sealant & Balancer

+Dual Fuel Camp Stove
+Anker USB Solar Charger
+Anker USB Battery
+SOG Multitool
+Gerber LMF 2 Survival Knife
+Sawyer Mini Filtration System $16

+Kenda K760 Trakmaster 20% Road – 80% Dirt Dual Sport Tire
+Kenda K270 50% Road – 50% Dirt Dual Sport Tire
+Shinko 705 80% Road – 20% Dirt Dual Sport Tire

+Trackside Handguards
+Devol Skidplate

+IRC Heavy Duty Tubes
+Spare Metric Bolts http://everide/org/buy/tusksparebolts
+Tusk Brake Lever
+Tusk Clutch Lever

+ADVAddicts Apparel
+Desert Riding Cooling Vest
+Battle Born Pants
+Battle Born Jacket
+ARC Padded Shorts


John Hocking says:

I rode from 15 1/2 until my early 30s, both on and off-rode. Then a friend was killed, and I had enough close calls and quit, for nearly 30 years. But the bike bug is hard to shake. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but thought a thumper dual-sport would be a good place to start. I test rode an XR 650 ‘L’. It was fine, but there just wasn’t much thrill, and I don’t commute, or ride to get from A to B; I ride for fun and thrill. I’d read about, and seen videos of the ‘R’, and then saw one for sale about a hundred miles away. I rode over but I guess because of my age, and no helmet, the seller was reluctant to let me ride it. Finally he said if I could start it, with no instruction, I could. One of the bikes in my past was a Yamaha XT 500 thumper. The trick is to get the piston in the right spot, and if it’s cold, just a touch of choke (and an enthusiastic kick). It took several minutes, but it started and off we (the bike and I) went. I knew within about 60 seconds that this was it. It had so much torque it was very easy to ride. On that test ride I went over some speed bumps in a residential subdivision as fast as 60 and hardly noticed them. Fast? The ‘L’ was a tractor in comparison. I’d have bet titles in races with the Suzuki DR 400 or any 650 thumper, including BMWs. I’d guess the only dual-sport single that would rival it would be a KTM 690 Enduro R.

But the XR ‘R’ wasn’t built as a dual-sport. It was an off-road only machine designed for racing in the dessert – 62 hp compared to the other 650 singles which are all in the 30s (except the KTM). It weighed about 50 pounds less than the XR ‘L’, DR (650) and well over a hundred less than the KLR. Water cooled, aluminum frame, better suspension, and much more – just a great motorcycle. Honda discontinued them for a simple reason. They didn’t sell well. Dirt bikes that would go 100 mph, out-the-door, filled a niche market and after 8 years that market was stuffed full. And to match the engine, a bunch of stuff was needed. Mine had over $5000 in aftermarket parts added when I bought it. It was too fast for tight trails (at least with me on it). It was at it’s best in the open with room to run, and I did love riding rough, dirt/gravel forest fire roads. There was a fine line between thrill and terror that I loved to approach, and occasionally, cross. But I found myself riding more and more on the street. It kept up fine on rides with guys on liter plus street bikes at speeds as fast as 90, and on, “slow to 25,” twistys, but became more and more uncomfortable after about a hundred miles. I wish I still had it, but had promised my wife, one bike at a time. I bought a KTM 990 SMT, which I also loved. That was a perfect street bike. She doesn’t know one motorcycle from another, but unfortunately, can count. I now ride a KTM 1190 Adventure. That’s the most versatile, fun, fast, euphorigasm producing bike I’ve ever ridden, let alone owned. But I miss that Honda. Theoretically, the KTM will blast down the fire roads, too, but there’s a big difference between 300 and 500 pounds. (But why do we wish we still had every bike we’ve ever owned. Heck, I wish I still had the Yamaha DT 400 I was riding 40 years ago.)

Think I’ll go for a ride.

Clint Ventriglia-Hill says:

So i’m planning a trip on a dual sport around The United States but i’m very unsure of what model to purchase. I’m looking for something i can really count on but i still wanna have fun man. I know you have said you where unimpressed with the Honda xr650l yet I’ve heard the term “Bulletproof” thrown around many a times when researching this bike. Specifically, why does it lack a wow factor. Why is the DRZ 400 so much better in your opinion. Any advice would be immensely helpful and very much appreciated…

danodbdb says:

Best xr650r review I’ve seen. Thanks.

Adam Batchelder says:

15 years ago this world have been largely true, however know there are ktm 690s for bigger bikes ktm 500,450,and 350 for small bikse while the Japanese still make well nothing to compete today

Slowly but Surely says:

Horrible video

John Mark Dobbs says:

The second drag was much more honest imo. You surprised em with the first one. Great review though

nebulaunfolding says:

So easy to kick start the R. Much easier than a KTM 550 EXC. I ride 40 miles 5 days a week 80+ mph. I agree Honda should bring back the R, fuel injected but with no electric start, electric start just adds unnecessary weight to the purpose built Baja racing machine.

zeke Owww says:

will a xrr need a top end rebuild at some time in its life ,or can it go forever like a klr with proper maintenance ? nice video

Boro Biker says:

And I almost bought a used one last summer, it was a mechanics bike. You can never own enough bikes. But, my wife isn’t buying that philosophy……

Tomás Jarsun says:

When I was about 14-15 yo, my dad had a XR600R and he had to kick it for me and my brother to ride it. Every time he would make us try first but, even when he could do it in one kick, neither I or my brother were strong enough to properly kick it, until one day I managed to start it! I was so fucking happy because that meant my dad would let me go further away (so if I fall or something I was able to start it and come back). But that was the last time I rode the bike, he sold it and bought a new Yamaha TTR 230 with electric starter. Nice bike but can not compare it to the 600’s power and torque.

Jay Tabain says:

Love your vids mate. Just bought a Sony X3000 because of you. 😉 Also great video on the XR, rode ours from Europe to Southeast Asia and I can only second every single word you said – once build for purpose, there’s nowhere it can’t go!

Cheers (and hope you get well soon).

Josh Hodare says:

I need me a big red pig…

Drew Hills says:

How much more power does the R have compared to the L?

Lamar L says:

Boring 650L? When researching my first dual-sport bike in 2000, I read a review for the KLR that ended with, “It’s heavy and slow, but reliable. You have to ask yourself, ‘Would you date a woman like that’?” Given my then-wife was heavy, slow, and UNreliable, the KLR seemed like a step in the right direction. I still have and love my properly-farkled KLR. The wife is long gone.

Stephen says:

They need to stop building these damn adventure harleys.

Jackrabbit says:

Own a DRZ400S bored to 440…rekluse clutch, kick start, great bike….also have a Honda xr650r…street legal kit, desert tank,……great bike….I ride the xr likely 4:1 over the DRZ. Although I love the DRZ too. Both are great bikes….but you can’t beat the tractor like lug of an XR650R.

Matty Wollaston says:

Fantastic review mate, and dammmmmn is that some bitchin place tp ride. I have an 05 650R and love the crap out of it. my only negative, is I wish the bugger came out with thermo fans for the rad, Does anyone have a link to 4″ fans as I haven’t been able to find any. Thanks in advance and keep livin the dream on the best bike ever, The mighty XR Thumper.

steve88 says:

your wrong its a fucking gr8 bike ,for men / hooligans .the onley one worth having .kick start is gr8 reliable don’t need extra weight with electric bits (starter battery ).don’t let this twat put you off its a proper Machen .


love honda 650xr i try many bikes no one like 650 xr

shannon james says:

That’s the one I thought you would wind up with . Thanks

Tristen Brady says:

is this southern Utah?

Barry Istuk says:

Kicking over my DR 650RS keeps me young you pussy.

mrvwbug44 says:

We might see something similar with the rumor mill strongly indicating that multiple 450cc modern dual sports are in the pipeline

Jamey Garrant says:

Keep in mind that the North American XR650R is severely detuned compared to the rest of the XR650Rs in the world. Once you uncork and get it up to par as the others…that drag race would be night and day.

DRZcoffeegirl Ride says:

I have a 15 min break… what else should I do ……. Well of course watch everide!!!

Unknown Unknown says:

I love my XR650R. It’s so awesome that my friend just bought one too. Here in Michigan they go for $2000-$3000 already street legal. The kickstart is just a nostalgic reminder that people who ride any other bike are sissies. I think Honda discontinued them because there just aren’t enough guys out there with the cojones to ride one.

Butch Duncan says:

I watched a lot of videos on here and I have ridden a DRZ 400 for a summer on and off road. I mulled over the 650L and I could not stop thinking how kool it would be to get a 650R and make it street legal and tare up the street and the trails here in Washington State. I had one found and it sold out from under me!! So I found a super clean one from LA out of Palm Springs EBAY and it is a cream puff. Had it shipped up to Seattle and setting it up and loving every minute. It is a beast of a bike! Flat out fast and fun!! So thank you so much for your review on this video sold me!! Around Seattle out! P.S. Im 55+ this year. You only live once BRP!!!!

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