Honda XR650L – CARmag.co.za

31 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Honda XR650L – CARmag.co.za
Honda XR 650L

Honda XR650L

If you’ve had the privilege of visiting friends or family on a farm when you were growing up (or maybe living on a farm), a couple of things might have stuck in your head. If you were interested in any form of motorised transport, your eyes might have been glued to the scrambler motorcycle that was probably parked next to the bakkie or tractors. Even today, few farms get along without the use of a motorcycle, either a standard two-wheeler or a quad bike.

During our test period with Honda’s XR650L, these memories came flooding back.

Start it up

First of all, even if you are over 1,85 metres tall, the XR is a tricky bike to get on, since the seat has a high seating position. But, once you’ve swung your leg over and sat down, the suspension compresses and you immediately feel more in control.

Our test bike came equipped with an aftermarket Yoshimura exhaust pipe (R4 999), and this contributed to these sort of bikes’ informal thumper designation. Exhaust gases pop and bang, and each little twist of the throttle is accompanied by even louder and quicker bangs.

Once on the road, you realise that this is a bike with minimalistic features. There is no rev counter nor fuel gauge, but fortunately a speedometer and the necessary warning lights.

The wide handlebars make it easy to point the XR in a new direction, especially through traffic, but this isn’t its natural environment.

On gravel

It was on gravel where the bike really proved itself. You can kick up gravel with a simple twist of the throttle, and getting the rear wheel to slide is almost easier done than said.

In a straight line the combination of short gear ratios, and the 50 N.m of torque, make this the easiest motorcycle that we have experienced until now to do a wheelie from walking pace. See the pictures above, where CAR’s technical editor, Nicol Louw. illustrated this, all in the name of research for this riding impression.

On tarmac, but especially on gravel on small jumps, the suspension did a superb job in absorbing any impact. It resulted in a comfortable ride and we soon started to gain unhealthy aspirations every time we saw an incline on which we could possibly get the front wheel in the air.

With fuel prices at a record high, I’m amazed not more people are considering motorcycles as a primary or secondary mode of transport. If you live in a city, the XR650L shouldn’t be the first motorcycle to consider, but for transport on a farm, game reserve or in the countryside, it will make the perfect companion.

Honda XR 650L

Specifications

Model: Honda XR650L

Engine: single-cylinder petrol, four-stroke, air-cooled

Displacement . 644 cm 3

Power: 29 kW at 6 000 r/min

Torque: 50 N.m at 5 000 r/min

Gearbox: five-speed

Fuel capacity: 13 litres

Honda XR 650L
Honda XR 650L
Honda XR 650L


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