2018 Honda XR650L Review of Specs / Features || Dual-Sport Motorcycle / Bike

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– Buyer’s Guide / Review | 2018 Honda Dual Sport Motorcycle: XR650L (XR650LJ) –

2018 Honda XR650L Review / Specs | Dual-Sport Motorcycle / Adventure Bike / Enduro

Ole faithful is back again for 2018 – the XR650L! For the XR650L, Honda basically combined the off-road chassis of the XR600 with the electric-start engine of the NX650, creating one of the most capable dual-sport bikes on the market when it was introduced.

  • Key 2018 XR650L Specs / Info:
    • 2018 XR650L Horsepower: 40 HP
    • 2018 XR650L Torque: 47.2 ft/lb TQ
    • 2018 XR650L Price / MSRP: $6,899
    • 2018 XR650L Release Date: TBA
    • 2018 XR650L Colors: Red
    • 2018 XR650L Model ID: XR650LJ

We’ll start off first with the #1 question on everyone’s mind the second a new model year rolls around for the XR650L and that is “2018 XR650L VS 2017 XR650L Changes? Did they make any changes this year?”. The answer to that question is yes and no… No they didn’t make any noticeable changes to the bike as far as engine, frame, suspension etc goes but they did make an aesthetic change. A small one at that… But it’s still a change haha. The change for 2018 comes in way of tweaks to the graphics on the fuel tank.

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Does the XR650L have the latest and greatest technology on the market? Nope. Is it the fastest dual-sport motorcycle you can buy? Nope. For adventure both on and off the pavement, the durable, basically bulletproof, powerful,  XR650L has earned a reputation as one of the best true dual-sport motorcycles on the planet. If you’re looking for one motorcycle that can do it all, Honda’s time-tested XR650L is that machine. Few motorcycles offer truly broadband dual-sport performance, but the legendary XR650L is equally at home on the road and in the dirt. Whether your travels include dirt roads, single-track trails, highways or byways, the XR650L opens the door to riding adventure like few motorcycles ever have.  Off-road it has the power, suspension and durability a dirt rider demands. On-road its light overall weight, electric starter and excellent fuel economy make it the perfect commuter, even for long trips. Its bulletproof 644cc overhead cam engine produces huge torque and power. Air-cooling keeps things simple and reduces maintenance chores. And the engine’s gear-driven counterbalancer reduces tiring vibrations. With strong engine performance, comfortable ergonomics and long-travel suspension that easily handles two-up riding, the XR650L has garnered a loyal following of riders who have traveled to many destinations thanks to the bike’s amazing versatility. Baja tough, the XR650L has the versatility to take you anywhere you want to go on a motorcycle without the hassle of having to trailer a dirtbike.

2018 XR650L accessories from Honda? That’ll be a big fat no. Well. Technically Honda does make a motorcycle cover for it so that does count as an “accessory”. The upside though is that the aftermarket support when it comes to accessories / parts for the XR650L is beyond huge! Since the XR has been relatively unchanged for decades you have quite the extensive list of goodies to choose from.

2018 Honda XR650L Review / Specs - Dual Sport Motorcycle / Bike - XR 650 L

2018 XR650L Overview of Features & Specs

  • 21-Inch Front Wheel
    The 21-inch front wheel gives you a wide choice of tire selection for different riding conditions.
  • Disc Brakes
    Front- and rear-disc brakes provide superior stopping power. Both front and rear disc rotors are drilled for lightness and better wet-weather performance.
  • Long-Travel Front Suspension
    With a full 11.6 inches of travel, the air-adjustable 43mm fork also offers 16-position compression damping adjustability, letting you fine-tune it to deal with the bumps of off-road riding.
  • Street-Legal Features
    The XR650L is fully equipped for the street: horn, turn signals, license-plate light, mirrors, speedometer and more. There’s even a grab strap and footpegs for a passenger.
  • Electric Starter
    Turn the key and push the button—that’s all it takes to get your XR650L going. The electric starter takes all the drama out of restarting off-road, or getting underway on a cold morning or after the bike’s been sitting all week.
  • Four-Stroke Engine
    Four-stroke, single-cylinder engine offers good fuel efficiency and a wide powerband. The XR650L’s proven powerplant requires very little maintenance.
  • Steel Frame
    The XR650L’s steel frame is built to handle the rigors of off-road travel. In addition, the frame’s backbone doubles as the engine’s oil tank, saving weight and space.
  • Dry-Sump Lubrication
    Dry-sump design keeps the engine compact and eliminates the oil pan for superior ground clearance and damage resistance. With the engine oil in the frame, the frame itself acts like a giant oil cooler.
  • Pro-Link® Rear Suspension
    Honda’s Pro-Link® rear suspension system offers compliant and comfortable ride quality with a high level of wheel control. Initial rates are soft for supple action over small bumps and ripples, while increasingly stiffer rates resist bottoming and maintain rear-wheel control over rougher surfaces.
  • Sealed Battery
    No maintenance hassles here, even in case of an off-road tip over. The sealed battery has plenty of cranking power for the electric starter, and is well protected from the vibrations of off-road riding.
  • Passenger Ready
    With a passenger grab strap, folding passenger pegs, a long MX-style seat and plenty of Honda power, the XR650L lets you carry a passenger with ease.
  • 18-Inch Rear Wheel
    18-inch rear wheel gives you a better overall ride and more sidewall protection against flats, and still offers a wide choice of on- or off-road tires.

XR650L Engine / Drivetrain

  • Bulletproof 644cc SOHC four-stroke engine produces power and torque ideally suited for both on- and off-road riding.
  • Radial Four-Valve Combustion Chamber (RFVC) allows excellent combustion efficiency and high power output.
  • 42.5mm constant-velocity (CV) carburetor offers crisp throttle response, excellent driveability and maximum power.
  • Reliable electric starter system allows easy push-button starting.
  • Gear-driven counterbalancer minimizes bothersome and tiring vibration.
  • Free-flowing, 2-into-1 exhaust system with quiet, USDA-qualified spark arrester/muffler.
  • Maintenance-free automatic cam chain tensioner and solid-state CD ignition with electronic advance keep you out of the shop and on the road.
  • Dry-sump engine maximizes power by minimizing crankshaft windage and engine temperature.
  • Durable five-speed transmission offers a gear for every on- or off-road situation.
  • Heavy-duty, multi-plate clutch.
  • Heavy-duty, low-maintenance #520 O-ring–sealed drive chain.

XR650L Chassis / Suspension

  • Semi-double-cradle steel frame is lightweight, strong and offers precise handling manners.
  • 43mm XR™-spec Showa cartridge fork features 16-position compression damping adjustability and superb off-road performance.
  • Pro-Link® Rear Suspension (see Technology Section).
  • Lightweight, strong and durable aluminum box-section swingarm with quick-detach rear wheel.
  • Front and rear disc brakes offer superb stopping power.
  • Lightweight yet super-strong wheels.
  • Frame-mounted passenger footrests allow two-up riding capability.
  • Aggressive, dual-purpose front and rear tires offer excellent performance both on and off road.
  • 18-inch rear wheel for greater tire selection.
  • Lightweight rims and hubs feature straight-pull spokes.

Additional XR650L Features

  • Honda Racing–inspired colors and graphics.
  • Combination headlight/number plate and dual airflow shrouds direct cool air to the engine.
  • Enduro-style headlight features high/low beams.
  • Motocross-style seat is comfortable and allows maximum rider movement.
  • Large, durable fenders keep debris off the rider.
  • Lightweight tubular engine guard.
  • Wide-section, folding, cleated footpegs are comfortable and self-cleaning.
  • High-output 12-volt electrical system.
  • Flex-mounted turn signals resist breakage.
  • Compact speedometer features tripmeter/odometer, a Neutral light as well as high-beam, turn-signal and sidestand indicators.
  • Easy-to-use choke allows for simple cold-weather starts.
  • Push-to-cancel turn-signal switch.
  • High-quality controls include comfortable grips and brush guards.
  • Transferable one-year limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.

2019 Honda XR650L Changes / Upgrades… It’s no secret that the 2018 and prior XR650L has been unchanged for decades. If you were pulling the strings at Honda and decided what happened to the next model year of the XR650L – what changes would you make sure happened on its redesign?

2018 XR650L Specifications
Model XR650L (XR650LJ)
Type 644cc air-cooled, dry-sump, single-cylinder four-stroke
Valve Train SOHC; four valve RFVC
Bore x Stroke 100.0mm x 82.0mm
Compression Ratio 8.3:1
Induction 42.5mm diaphragm-type CV carburetor
Ignition CD w/ electronic advance
Starter Electric
Transmission Five-speed
Clutch Multiplate wet
Final Drive #520 O-ring sealed chain; 15T/45T
Front 43mm air-adjustable leading-axle Showa cartridge telescopic fork w/ 16-position compression damping adjustability; 11.6 in. travel
Rear Pro-Link Showa single shock w/ spring preload, 20-position compression damping and 20-position rebound damping adjustability; 11.0 in. travel
Front Single 256mm disc w/ twin-piston caliper
Rear Single 220mm disc w/ single-piston caliper
Front 3.00-21
Rear 4.60-18
Rake (Caster Angle) 27°
Trail 102mm (4.0 in.)
Seat Height 37.0 in.
Ground Clearance 13.0 in.
Wheelbase 57.3 in.
Fuel Capacity 2.8 gal., incl. 0.6-gal. reserve
Color Red
Curb Weight* 346 lbs.

* Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride. Meets current CARB and EPA off-road emissions standards.

2018 XR650L Specifications
Publication Order Numbers: Specification
Service Manual: 61MY656
Owner’s Manual: 31MGW640
Engine: Specification, Units: mm (in)
Cylinder arrangement: Single cylinder, 15 ° inclined from vertical
Bore and stroke: 100 x 82 mm (3.9 x 3.2 in)
Displacement: 644 cm³ (39.3 cu-in)
Cylinder compression at rpm: 637 kPa (6.5 kg/cm², 92 psi) at 400 rpm
Standard: 0.020 – 0.050 (0.0008 – 0.0020)
Service Limit: 0.12 (0.005)
Intake: 0.10 ± 0.02 (0.004)
Exhaust: 0.12 ± 0.02 (0.005 ± 0.001)
Recommended engine oil/classification/viscosity: Pro Honda GN4 4-stroke oil/API: SG or higher, JASO T 903 standard: MA/SAE 1
Oil capacity after draining/engine oil filter change: 1.9 liter (2.0 US qt, 1.7 Imp, qt)
Final Drive: Specification
C/S sprocket: 15
Rear sprocket: 45
Drive chain size (x) links: 520 x 110
Drive chain slack: 18.5 (0.73)
Fuel System: Specification
Type/throttle bore: CV single carburetor/42.5 mm (1.67in)
Carburtetor/throttle body ID #: 49 State type: VE85C/CA type: VE86B
Float level: 18.5 (0.73)
Main jet: # 152
Slow jet: # 50
Pilot screw initial opening: 2 turns out
Idle speed (+/- 100 rpm): 1,300 ± 100 rpm
Throttle grip/lever free play: 2 – 6 mm (1/12 – 1/4 in)
Suspension: Specification
Recommended fork fluid: Pro Honda Suspension Fluid SS-7
Fork fluid capacity/and level: 564 cm³ (19.1 US oz)/145 mm (5.7 in)
Tires: Specification
Front  Size: 3.00-21 51S
Cold tire pressure: 150 kPa (1.50 kg/cm², 22 psi)
Rear  Size: 4.60-18 63S
Cold tire pressure: 150 kPa (1.50 kg/cm², 22 psi)
Battery/Charging System: Specification
Charging system type: Triple phase output alternator
BatteryCapacity/Model: 12 V – 8 Ah
Normal: 0.9 A x 5 – 10h
Quick: 4.0 A/1.0 h
Regulated voltage at rpm: 14.7 – 15.5 V/13 A at 5,000 rpm
Alternator charging coil resistance: 0.2 – 1.2 ?
Lighting Equipment: Specification
Hi: 12 V – 60/55 W
Brake/tail light: 12 V – 3/32 CP
Front turn signal/running light bulb: 12 V – 32 CP x 2
Rear turn signal light bulb: 12 V – 32 CP x 2
Ignition System: Specification
Ignition system type: DC-CDI unit
Ignition timing (F mark): 8°BTDC/1,300 ± 100 rpm
Standard – NGK: DPR8EA-9
Spark plug gap: 0.8 – 0.9 mm (0.031 – 0.035 in)
Torque value: Specification, Unit: N.m (kgf.m, lbf.ft)
Front axle bolt/nut: 85 (8.7, 63)
Front axle holder/pinchbolt/nut: 12 (1.2, 9)
Rear axle nut: 88 (9.0, 65)
Cylinder head cover bolt: 8 mm: 23 (2.3, 17)/6 mm: 12 (1.2, 9)
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3 Comments on this post

  1. Bring back or copy the baddest 650 ever made. The xr650r. Electric starter and street legal.. absolutely dominate the 650 adv market.

    JP benoit /
    • i totally agree. I would buy one for sure if it come out. Do what is needed to meet the emission standard becoz we will mod it back to life again anyway. It is totally stupid and unfair to meet street bike emission standard when a dual sport spend half its time offroad.

      Andrew Cooler Can / (in reply to JP benoit)
  2. I want EFI and newer suspension . . . I don’t even want more HP, I would welcome very much better mpg if possible.
    I don’t even care if she gains a couple of pounds with the newer tech.
    C’mon HONDA ! It’s 2018 ! Get on with the times !

    MikeD /

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