Honda XR650R Specs and Review 2022

Honda XR650R: Dirt bikes have seen a huge improvement since their inception, with many of them coming from legends like that of the Honda XR650R. 

The most acclaimed dirt bike is comparable to the Honda NR and other off-road tops. 

Honda XR650R

There are many nicknames for it like Dominator as well as Big Red Pig, all created from the wins it took in the Baja 1000 event.

The XR650R is referred to in Dirt Bike Magazine as “the gold standard of Baja bikes,” the world-class Honda XR650R is an undisputed supreme desert bike due to its powerful liquid-cooled engine, durable aluminum frame, racing-ready suspension, and off-road capabilities.

Because of the perseverance and dedication of Bruce Ogilvie and the racing community’s help, fans, as well as everyday commuters, can benefit from the strengths of the Honda XR650R. 

This article will highlight its distinct features from its predecessor the Honda XR650L and provide you with a guideline for your first build. 

The article will also provide some suggestions for making this race car street legal.

Honda XR650R Specs and Review

Honda XR650R – The Big Red Pig

It is the Honda XR650R is the 17th of 19 XR series of motorcycles produced by the Japanese manufacturer. 

It was made from 2000 until 2007 and, just like the XR600, it has dominated its share of the Baja track. It is often referred to as an upgraded variant of XR600 the XR650R won numerous race tracks, including desert races and GNCC races run by Johnny Campbell and Scott Summers. 

The idea was born through Bruce Ogilvie, a visionary who was looking for a dream bike that was more powerful than the previous XR600R. 

He was looking for it to be able to stand up to the tough circumstances of Mexico. Mexican peninsula.

Kawasaki’s KX500 was the most powerful of the Mexican 1000 for nine years consecutive years prior to the launch of the two-wheeler. 

In 1999, however, at the Baja 1000, the XR650R ended Kawasaki’s winning streak, with Johnny Campbell as the record driver. 

However, Kawasaki pulled the plug on its Baja racing program in 1999 which meant that both giants didn’t race. 

It could have been a fascinating neck-and-neck race in the desert, had the XR650R actually been able to compete against the champion of old.

Apart from its unparalleled Baja record, In addition, it was also the Honda XR650R was popular for its durability and potential. 

Moving from liquid cooling to air was a clever decision by Ogilvie and his crew and allowed the monster bike to withstand the heat better and make it bulletproof. 

The bike had the necessary displacement to withstand desert races. In addition, the XR650R’s bore-stroke ratio of 100 millimeters 82.6 mm 82.6 millimeters removed the requirement to modify the bike or install an accessory kit for power-up.

Honda XR650R Specs & Features (vs. Honda XR650L)Engine

The engine is driven by a liquid-cooled four-stroke single-cylinder OHV motor with the 42-mm piston valve of the Keihin carburetor. 

Its small, light engine (weighs just 88 pounds) with a cylinder lining of Nikasil and dry-sump oiling system together with an integrated oil tank create an engine with a higher-revving capacity. 

The engine’s unique design and two aluminum radiators offer optimal cooling and the best performance.

Engine Honda XR650L 1993+
(North America)
Honda XR650R 2000-2007
(North America, Europe, Australia)
Type Air-cooled 4-stroke Liquid-cooled 4-stroke
Cylinder Arrangement Single cylinder Single cylinder
Carburetion System Carburetor, 1x 42.5 mm (CV) Keihin Carburetor, 1x 42 mm (Piston-valve type)
Valve Train Chain-driven SOHC, 4 valves Chain-driven SOHC, 4 valves
Bore x Stroke Ratio 100 x 82 mm 100 x 82.6 mm
Compression Ratio 8.3:1 10.0:1
Displacement 644 cm³ (39.3 in³) 649 cm³ (39.5 in³)
Lubrication  Dry sump Forced pressure and dry-sump
Oil System Oil Pump Type: Trochoid/double rotor
Air Filtration Oiled Polyurethane foam


The drivetrain for both models is identical but with a different reduction.

Driveline Honda XR650L 1993+
(North America)
Honda XR650R 2000-2007
(North America, Europe, Australia)
Clutch Wet, multi-plate, cable-operated Wet, multi-plate, cable-operated
Transmission 5-speed constant mesh 5-speed constant mesh
Final Drive Chain Chain
Primary Reduction 2.029 1.651
Final Reduction 3.000 3.429 (ED, DK types)
2.733 (U type)


The XR650R’s horsepower is 61.2 and the maximum speed is 98 mph.

Honda XR650L 1993+
(North America)
Honda XR650R 2000-2007
(North America, Europe, Australia)
Maximum Power 41.5 hp (30.5 kW) / 6000 RPM 61.2 hp (45 kW) / 6,750 RPM
Maximum Torque 51 Nm (5.2 kgm) / 5000 RPM 64 Nm (6.5 kgm) / 5500 RPM
0 to 100 km/h (0-60 mph) 5.83 sec 5.83 sec
Top Speed 158 km/h (98 mph) 158 km/h (98 mph)
Ignition Solid-state CDI Solid-state CDI
Alternator Three-Phase AC, 186W at 5000 RPM N/A

Tires & Brakes

The front and rear piston calipers offer outstanding stopping power. In addition, there is minimal to no difference in the tires of the XR650L or XR650R. 

The standard tires are made up of 80percent road and 20 percent dirt. Therefore, if you’re looking to go all-out replacing your front tire with 140 or 2.5 rear rims would be an ideal idea.

 Frame Honda XR650L 1993+
(North America)
Honda XR650R 2000-2007
(North America, Europe, Australia)
Front Tire 3.00-21 51S 3.00-21 51P / 80/100-21
Rear Tire 4.60-18 63S 4.50-18 70P / 110/100-18
Front Brake Single disc, 240 mm, 2-piston caliper Single disc, 240 mm, 2-piston caliper
Rear Brake Single disc, 240 mm, 1-piston caliper Single disc, 240 mm, 1-piston caliper


A few minor changes occurred to the suspension which resulted in a smaller journey in the front, and a long journey to the rear. 

The mainframe and the sub-frame that was removable were constructed from aluminum of the new generation that combined stability, balance, and strength. The roller bearings that were tapered ensured accurate control and durability. 

Kayaba cartridge forks have a minimal protrusion under the axle, which gave the XR greater ability to maneuver in rough terrain.

Frame Honda XR650L 1993+
(North America)
Honda XR650R 2000-2007
(North America, Europe, Australia)
Type Semi double-cradle (steel) Semi double-cradle (aluminum)
Front Suspension, Travel Air-assisted telescopic fork Showa 43 mm (adjustable compression damping), 295 mm / 11.6 in 46-mm Kayaba telescopic fork (adjustable compression & rebound damping), 285 mm / 11.2 in
Rear Suspension, Travel Swingarm Pro-link with mono-shock Showa (fully adjustable), 280 mm / 11 in Swingarm Pro-link with mono-shock Kayaba (fully adjustable), 307 mm / 12.1 in
Fuel Capacity 10.5 L / 2.77 US gal (reserve – 2.3 L) 10.0 L / 2.64 US gal (reserve – 4.5 L)
Trail 97 mm / 3.8 in 108 mm / 4.3 in
Fuel Economy 4.52 L / 100 km (52 mpg) 4.9 L / 100 km (48 mpg)


The two variations aren’t significant, except for their overall dimensions, clearance for ground as well as dry weight. 

The XR560R is a bit lighter than the L model because of its aluminum body The XR650R’s weight is 133 kilograms (293 pounds).

Dimensions Honda XR650L 1993+
(North America)
Honda XR650R 2000-2007
(North America, Europe, Australia)
Length 2,185 mm / 86 in 2,255 mm / 88.8 in
Width 855 mm / 33.7 in 825 mm / 32.5 in
Height 1,245 mm / 49 in 1,245 mm / 49 in
Seat Height 950 mm / 37.4 in 939 mm / 37 in
Ground Clearance 330 mm / 13 in 305 mm / 12 in
Wheelbase 1,455 mm / 57.3 in 1,485 mm / 58.5 in (ED, DK types)
1,490 mm / 58.7 in (U type)
Dry Weight 146.5 kg / 322 lbs 133 kg / 293 lbs
Curb Weight 157 kg / 346 lbs 142 kg / 313 lbs (ED, DK types)
144 kg / 317 lbs (U type)


The Honda XR650R uses an aluminum frame and plastic body material that has the Honda Racing style of graphics. 

You can purchase a Dowco Guardian Outdoor and Indoor Waterproof motorcycle cover (view at Amazon) to shield it from weather and other elements.

Other features that are unique on the HondaXR650R model include sturdy, large fenders with a curved taillight and headlight that resembles an Enduro along with dogleg levers, brush guards that fold into footpegs, and a certified spark arrester that delivers the most power.

The XR650R Supermotard Project

The reliability of the Honda XR650R sometimes is a concern. Because nothing is broken, there is no replacement (except for chains and tires). 

However, racing teams sometimes create initiatives on the Big Red Pig for on-track and border-crossing excursions. 

The key to making a convincing basis for an XR650R Supermoto conversion is the power of the bike and suspension. 

These two elements drive experienced mechanics and enthusiasts to search for ways to find an XR650R in a state of disrepair to restore it to its original beauty.

The XR650R Supermotard Project

In short, taking off-the-road gear, installing some standard gearing, and then customizing the reverse cone FMF Megaphone pipe, as well as doing suspension work can increase the agility of your XR650R more responsive.

Build Project Tips

  • The tires – Standard IRC rubbers are just 20% dirt-prepped. Therefore, upgrading it to 140 or 2.5-inch rear rims will bring about an enormous change in your riding experience, and will make it better suited for single-track rides. 
  • The stock tires aren’t enough when you are using your XR650R for a commuter.
  • Exhaust The factory muffler is lightweight and not bad. It is possible to purchase a reverse cone megaphone (not manufactured commercially). 
  • If you decide to take to the task, the dimensions are available for free within the Honda HRC book that comes with each HRC kit.
  • Valves Remove the entire head, and then visually examine the bike, valves, cylinder head castings springs, as well as other components of the valve train for damaged or broken components. 
  • Check the pressure of everything, perform a fresh re-valve on the fork and shock, or choose a replacement. Most racers opt for Hot Cams Stage 2 Cam. If you want to alternate between regular road-racing and off-roading activities, Hot Cams 1010-2 Camshaft (view on Amazon) will perform the work for you. 
  • Installing it can not only offer you greater flexibility but will also boost power output for race-specific applications.
  • Airbox Modification Modifying the airbox won’t cause a significant power boost. It’ll let the air filter breath from the low-pressure area behind the cyclist’s leg, dispersing dirt onto the air filter in a uniform manner and preventing it from filling up in one spot. 
  • The most popular model is the cutout on the side of the cover. You can buy an XR-only with a side cover (UFO replica) that comes with a vent kit already in place. However, if you’re looking to purchase the OEM side cover you better take the DIY route. 
  • A Dremel and LED pencil torch and Prestik place the mesh frames on and then cut the sides cover.
  • Parts for racers, there are parts that perform at a high level available through dealers in parts. The need for XR650R components will be contingent on whether you are planning to use it to the track or off-road. 
  • If you are on track be sure to remove the high output headlights and stator. Also, you can adjust the ratio between 13/51 to 14/48, which should be ideal for turns that are tight. If you want to jump, consider investing in an adjustable damper for your steering.

There are a lot of aspects to consider when you are rebuilding. Seats have to be made a replacement of the chassis/bearings may have to be completed and forks might require adjustment. 

The rear shock may need to be extended by 6 millimeters in order to fit large riders. An LED kit with dual sports, a 70-watt LED headlight, 7/8-inch bars, and the Trail Tech Voyager GPS are essential accessories for the race-ready XR650R.

Honda XR650L vs. Honda XR650R

In the 1980s, the model was designed and developed and first released in 1992 as a 1993 XR model The Honda XR650L model was created in the 80s and is a street-legal, factory-built electric-start model of the XR600R that was targeted to market share in the North American market. 

The XR650L has a tube-shaped steel frame, air-cooled SOHC engine, a metal tank, and a larger flywheel than the predecessor. 

As with other Honda motorcycles in the XR range, this one is bulletproof, features an extremely durable engine, and has an engine displacement that was first introduced in the NX650 Dominator in 1988.

In comparison to the XR650R, it has more similarities to the XR600R. The electric start system and street legal kit make it a bit heavier (add to that a fuel tank that is full) and its carburetor has one of the CV units that can be found on many street bikes. 

Honda continues to make the XR650L model to this day which makes it one of the longest-running, unchanged models in the history of motorcycling.

However, however, the XR650R isn’t directly a spin-off from its predecessor. It is a dual-sport bicycle designed for desert endurance races and high-speed runs. 

It had the frame of aluminum, a liquid-cooled SOHC engine, a tank made of plastic with a five-speed gearbox, and was not equipped with street-legal components. 

The only thing it shared in common with XR600R was the kick-starter system, as well as the fact that it was easy to work on and is easy to modify. 

Its cooling system that is liquid puts it above the XR650L and makes it more Baja-ready however, your welding buddy might be concerned about not having an aluminum setup in case you’re required to weld on the frame. 

The XR650R’s smog parts and plates to restrict the flow of air from the factory clog it significantly. However, removing any unnecessary components when you rebuild it can provide the possibility of a significant quantity of throttle and power.

How to Make the Honda XR650R Street-Legal

A significant part of making your XR650R street legal bike is acquiring the addition of a few parts and accessories that are fairly simple. 

Here are the most popular items you’ll need to put on the dirt bike you have:

  • Brake Lights and Tailight– In many states, only one bike brake light or taillight is mandatory.
  • motorcycle tires indication of DOT approval is the DOT-like letters on the sidewall of a tire. Depending on what you plan to do with this bike could choose knobs with less abrasiveness or vice versa.
  • the headlight that is DOT legal based upon the model, year of manufacture, and type of dirtbike you may require an upgraded stator in order to provide power to your turn indicators, headlights taillights, brake lights, and more.
  • You can pick from LED, halogen, or HID designs. Make sure that the headlight must have both low and high beam functions.
  • Horne’s most common sound requirements are that horns must be heard from 200 feet or more and may differ from state to state (some states have an electronic horn). The new stator you choose to purchase should be able to power the horn as well as all the lighting that your bike requires. In other cases, you might need to install a small battery for your motorcycle for this purpose.
  • License Plate BracketThere is many kits for fenders that come with an alternative fender that has a license plate holder as well as a license plate lamp.
  • the muffler can assist your two-wheeler in meeting noise restrictions, and passing an emissions test.
  • A Rearview mirror is required to give the driver a view of 200 feet from the rear. It’s usually located on the left.
  • Reflectors HTML0 Reflectors Some states require this on the rear, front, or both ends of dirt bikes. These are additional security features for drivers in dim or dark conditions. Make sure you know the state-specific requirements for the size and mount.
  • Turn SignalsCheck out specific state laws when mounting the rear and front turn signal. There are guidelines on how far off the ground and the distance between where the turn signals must be placed. Furthermore, the turn signals require a self-closing feature.

Certain states require that you meet FMVSS (or Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (such as the add-ons mentioned above). 

Some states might require additional equipment tests or inspections to declare the XR650R as a street-legal motorbike.

Additional Requirements

The difficult part is completing the paperwork or the approval from the local motor vehicle office. Here are some additional requirements that apply to specific states:

  • The tax is due on personal property.
  • Insurance proof, which will incur some additional charges (more than if you ride your dirt bicycle on a roadway that is public)
  • In the state of Colorado has dirt bikes owners fill out various forms, including one:) Certificate of Equipment Compliance for Motorbikes (this form and the accompanying checklist should be approved by a certified VIN Inspector) 2.) Colorado Certified VIN Inspection form 3.) the proof that the vehicle is owned by you (Manufacturers statement of origin, MSO, notarized bill of Sales, or Dealer’s Invoice) four) evidence of insurance.
  • In California, the off-highway motorbike with a displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or more, bought between December 31, 2003, and the present and is not qualified for dual-use or on-highway certification unless and until the maker first registered the vehicle with the ARB to be in compliance with the California emissions standards for vehicles on highways. Valid M-1 registration and a GPS for the speedometer and odometer are also required.

Honda XR650R

About Honda

In 1946, Soichiro Honda established his company, Honda Motor Company Ltd. The company is the creator of Honda XR650R and other XR series models. 

The Japanese company has been manufacturing well-engineered motorcycles since 1959. At present, Honda is recognized as one of the leaders in the world in the field of energy solutions robots, AI as well as mobility. 

They have continued to maintain this legacy by innovating the development of a variety of high-quality vehicles and multi-purpose engines, sporting models with a dynamic look as well as the power equipment.

Conclusion – Honda XR650R

Even though the XR650R only had seven years of production It is among the top open, competitive class, Enduro motorcycles available. 

It is a great motorcycle to ride. Honda XR650R packs a vibrant past and inspires adventurous riders to approach beautiful days in a different way. 

You will surely agree that nothing is better than riding one of the most iconic motorcycles ever made. 

Is the XR650R a good bike?

My XR650R is more than 20lbs heavier than my 94XR250L… I enjoy riding it on single-track tight ass trails and technical stuff. You can cruise along in either the 1st or second easy as long as your balance is good. I have never been on tracks with a 250 MX’er or 450 MX’er.

How much does a XR650R cost?

What is the price of a Honda XR650R? A Honda XR650R can be purchased from $4,000 to $8,000.

Is Honda XR650R street legal?

Although the XR650R was not street-legal in 2002, a Tusk Dual-Sport kit is legal today in most states.

Is Honda XR650L street legal?


They are fully equipped for street use, including turn signals, license plate lights, mirrors, and speedometer. A grab strap and footpegs are available for passengers.

What year did Honda XR get electric start?

I believe they got an e-start in 92. The XR600/650L, while a better dirt bike than the XR600/650L, is equally as good a road bike. I have ridden many XR600s, and they were great. 1993 seems to be when started on the big XR–L on this site.

What replaced the Honda XR?

We have phased out the faithful SDRs and the grumpy XR from 2016 and replaced them with the amazing Kawasaki KLX300 and Yamaha WRF450.

How many miles does a XR650L get?

It can travel just under 21,000 km. (13,000 miles). Some blogs talk about people riding their xr650l for over 80,000km. The bike is great and runs smoothly. However, there must be an end.

Does Honda still make XR650R?

Although the Honda XR650R’s last year of production was in 2007, the Japanese manufacturer had announced the plan back in 2004. Other XR series models are still in production. The XR650L is a good example. It is still available with the 1992 specifications.

How do you start a Honda xr650l?

Then, next time you want to ride, start it like this:
  1. turn on the key.
  2. fully choke it.
  3. turn on the petcock.
  4. immediately hit the starter till it cranks without using the throttle till it is settled into a smooth, high idle.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the meaning of XR? Honda? 

XR stands for cross-country racer.

2. Are the Honda XR650R streets legal?

 The XR650R’s street legality isn’t as high however you can register it as one. Be sure to check the state-specific rules. It is also important to have a valid bicycle pass inspected in the roadway.

3. What year did Honda stop making XR? 

The last year of production for the Honda XR650R was in 2007 however, the Japanese manufacturer made the announcement in 2004. However, there are various XR series models that are still on the market to this day. An excellent example is the XR650L which is being sold in 1992 specs.

4. What does the Honda XR650R price?

You can find an XR650R Honda from $4,000 to $8,000. On Craigslist the majority of them have Warp 9 Supermoto tires, the latest technology, FMF power exhausts, as well as an official street license plate. Some auction sites might be more expensive however, they’ve gone through complete rebuilds. They also have street-legal clear titles in their original state.

5. What are the disadvantages from what is the negatives of the Honda XR650R? 

Electric start XR650R The most significant thing people are dissatisfied with is the fact that the XR650R comes with the absence of an electronic starter. 

Other issues with the standard configuration of the bike are one:) using only one cam, two) not having Honda’s trademark double-rocker arm design 3) sensors for the throttle’s position and roller bearings only the second-best Yamaha dirt bike 4.) the torque curve is flat and the that the gears sit too closely 5) the bike is heavier than other bikes and therefore not suitable for motocross. Of course, these issues can be fixed during the supermoto conversion.

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