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 Honda - XL S (Japan SL - S)
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Honda D2-492-33-14
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 250
Model : XL S (Japan SL - S)
Production : 1972 - 1974
Category : (On-Off) Dual Purpose


XR650L - 1992

Off-road excellence

Honda belatedly produced a road-going version of its successful XR600R dirt bike. The XR650L was worth the wait. Combining the 600R chassis with the single-cylinder engine from Honda's more road-oriented NX650 Dominator brought new standards of off-road ability to the big trail-bike division.

Developed on the Dirt

Built solely for the American market, the 650L was developed in the States on rough terrain. From the outset, Honda aimed to create a dual-purpose machine that came close to matching the performance of the off-road only XR-R. Numerous road-going parts were added, and the chassis was strengthened to cope. But essentially the 650L really was a Dominator heart in a dirt-bike body.

Strengthened for the Street

Its engine was almost identical to the NX650's air-cooled 644cc single, with four-valve combustion chamber, slightly modified cam timing and electric starter. The steel frame was the same as the dirt bike's, apart from a little extra gusseting to handle the roadster's extra 50 lb. Suspension was a slightly stiffened version of the Rs, with sophisticated 43mm cartridge forks and multi-adjustable Pro-Link rear shock. The Honda was very tall and slim, its long-travel suspension and responsive engine making for a great city bike. But it was on the rough that the XR-L showed its ability. The thumping motor meant there was always instant acceleration on tap. The Honda's single-mindedness and high-speed vibration made it unsuited to long road journeys, but for off-road use the XR650L was in a class of it'> own.


Engine: 644cc (100x82mm) air-cooled single-cylinder

Power Rating: 42 hp @ 6000 rpm

Valves: sohc 4-valve

Fuel System: 40mm Keihin carburetor

Transmission: 5-speed, chain final drive

Suspension: telescopic forks (front); vertical monoshock (rear)

Brakes: single disc brakes (front & rear)

Wheels: 21 inch wire (front); 18 inch (rear)

Weight: 324 lb

Maximum Speed: 95 mph

Apart from added lights and a few other road details, the XR650L was pure dirt bike.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at info@moto-collection.org for conditions and copyright.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

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