DR650 vs XR650L DR650 vs XR650L

When it comes to dual sport motorcycles there are two standout names; the Honda XR650L and the Suzuki DR650. These bikes have become iconic representing both adventure and dependability. In this comparison we’ll take a look, at what makes each of them unique and why they are significant in the world of motorcycles. Whether you’re a rider or just starting out understanding the differences between the XR650L and DR650 is important for any enthusiast. So lets embark, on this journey together and discover more about these machines.


CriteriaSuzuki DR650Honda XR650L
Engine Specifications– 644 cc 4-stroke single-cylinder- Air and oil-cooled– 644 cc 4-stroke single-cylinder- Air-cooled
Horsepower & TorqueApprox. 43 hp & 47 lb.-ftApprox. 40 hp & 47.2 lb.-ft
Fuel Capacity3.4 gallons2.8 gallons + 0.6-gallon reserve
Design Features– Conventional forks- 290 mm front disc brake– Conventional forks- 240 mm front and rear disc brakes- Dry sump
Ergonomics– Seat height: 34.8 inches- Weight: 366 lbs– Seat height: 37 inches
Suspension & Handling– Front: Telescopic, oil-dampened, 10.2 inches travel- Rear: Link-type– Front: Showa cartridge fork, air-adjustable- Rear: Link-assisted Showa
Reliability & Maintenance– Known for robust build- Moderate maintenance costs– Tried and tested design- Regular service intervals recommended
Common Issues– Excessive vibration- Rear brake issues- Intermittent electrical issues– Excessive vibration- Rear brake issues- Intermittent electrical issues
VerdictBalanced on-road and off-road capabilitiesSuperior handling, race-oriented experience

Historical Context and Background

The Suzuki DR650 and Honda XR650L are known names, in the world of dual sport motorcycles. These bikes have been around for quite some time. They have gone through changes over the years. The Suzuki DR650, which was introduced in 1990 quickly gained popularity because of its build and versatility. Similarly the Honda XR650L, launched in 1992 became a success with its air cooled engine and tall seat height.

Both motorcycles have proven their durability in the market over time. Their ability to handle terrains whether on or off road is a testament to their versatility. Additionally their affordability has made them a top choice among both novice. Experienced riders alike ensuring that they remain relevant, in the motorcycle community.


Engine, Performance, and Specifications 

When exploring the engine specifications and performance of the Suzuki DR650 and Honda XR650L it’s crucial to analyze their features in a manner.

Engine Specifications:

  • Displacement: Both bikes have a 644 cc 4 stroke single cylinder engine.
  •  Cooling Mechanisms: While the Honda XR650L uses an air cooled system the Suzuki DR650 benefits, from both air and oil cooling. This ensures temperature management during rides.
  •  Horsepower & Torque:The XR650L produces around 40 horsepower and 47.2 lb. ft of torque whereas the DR650 offers 43 horsepower and 47 lb. ft of torque.

On road and Off road Performance

  • Thanks to its higher horsepower the DR650 has superior on road power. However the XR650Ls design, including its travel suspension and larger tire size makes it excel in off road conditions.

 Fuel Efficiency and Tank Capacity

  • Fuel Capacity: The XR650L has a tank capacity of 2.8 gallons with a reserve of 0.6 gallons. On the hand the DR650 boasts a tank with a capacity of 3.4 gallons allowing for longer rides without refueling.
  • Design Features:One unique feature of the XR650L is its dry sump design which results in a more compact motorcycle, with improved weight distribution.

Design, Ergonomics, and Features

When comparing the Suzuki DR650 and Honda XR650L it’s important to take into account not their performance but their overall design, comfort and any extra features they offer.

Design Aesthetics

  • For both motorcycles they have chosen to use forks, which ensures durability and makes maintenance easier particularly when riding, off road.
  • Braking System:Both the XR650L and DR650 come equipped with disc brakes that provide stopping power. The Honda model has a front and rear disc, each measuring 240 mm. On the hand the DR650 has a front disc measuring 290 mm potentially offering even more stopping power.
  • Fuel Tank Capacities:When it comes to fuel tanks the XR650L has a capacity of 2.8 gallons with a 0.6 gallon reserve. In contrast the DR650 boasts a fuel tank capacity of 3.4 gallons perfect for longer rides.


  • Seat Height & Riding Position:The Honda XR650L stands taller with its seat height measuring at 37 inches accommodating riders of sizes. Meanwhile the DR650 has a seat height of 34.8 inches which might be more suitable for those with shorter statures.
  • Weight:At a weight of 366 lbs the DR650 may feel slightly heavy at speeds especially when riding on road. On the hand the lighter XR650L offers better handling both on and off road.


  • Seats: Both motorcycles feature comfortable seats that’re perfect, for long rides.
  • However when it comes to, off road riding these seats could potentially be a hindrance as they may not provide maneuverability, like more streamlined designs would.

Suspension, Handling, and Braking System

When we delve into the workings of the Suzuki DR650 and Honda XR650L it becomes clear that both motorcycles have been meticulously engineered to prioritize suspension, handling and braking.

Suspension Systems

  • When it comes to suspension systems lets take a look, at the Suzuki DR650 and the Honda XR650L. The DR650 has a suspension with a leading axle that is oil dampened and provides 10.2 inches of travel. Its rear suspension is link type, adjustable and gas/oil dampened ensuring a ride on terrains.
  • On the hand the XR650L boasts a suspension equipped with a compression dampening and air adjustable Showa cartridge fork. Its rear suspension is link assisted with Showa technology well fully adjustable to absorb any bumps along the way. With its 11.6 inches of travel and 11 inches of travel many riders argue that the Honda offers an even smoother ride especially on rough trails.

Braking Systems

  • Now lets discuss braking systems. The Suzuki DR650 features a disc brake measuring 290 mm in diameter providing stopping power when needed.
  • Meanwhile the Honda XR650L comes equipped with a disc braking system both in the front and rear each measuring 240 mm in diameter. The twin piston caliper on its brake ensures brake feel and initial bite for enhanced control.


  • When it comes to handling several factors come into play such as seat height, ground clearance and center of gravity. In this regard the XR650L shines with its 37 inch seat height and impressive 13 inch ground clearance. These features make cornering and navigating obstacles effortless, for riders.
  • The DR650 offers improved stability, on roads thanks, to its seat height of 34.8 inches and ground clearance of 10.4 inches.

Price, Value Proposition, and Verdict

When it comes to deciding what to buy especially when it comes to motorcycles it’s important to consider both the price and the value it offers. So lets take a look, at the Suzuki DR650 and Honda XR650L.

Price Comparison

  • The Suzuki DR650 comes with a price tag of $6,699 and provides a combination of performance and versatility. Its engine is air and oil cooled. It boasts a braking system making it a strong contender, within its price range.
  • On the hand the Honda XR650L is also priced at $6,699. Offers features like an air cooled engine, adjustable suspension system and tires designed for racing like performance. This gives it an edge in the market.

Value Proposition

  • If you prioritize precision control for both on road and off road adventures the DR650s hydraulic braking system along with its suspension makes it an excellent choice. It strikes a balance between these two terrains.
  • In contrast the XR650L is specifically geared towards trail riding enthusiasts. With tires and adjustable suspension it offers a racing inspired experience that ensures better grip on different surfaces while enabling smoother cornering


  • Although both motorcycles are priced similarly the decision ultimately comes down to preferences. If you are looking for a bike that delivers rounded performance in situations then the DR650 stands out as an ideal option.
  • However if you lean more towards a race oriented experience, with handling capabilities in mind then the XR650L takes the lead.After evaluating factors, like performance, design and price I find that the Honda XR650L has an edge over its competitors. However the DR650 remains a contender in terms of value, for money.

Reliability, Maintenance, and Common Issues

The Suzuki DR650 and Honda XR650L have gained a reputation, for being highly durable and long lasting, in the dual sport motorcycle category. However like any machines they do present certain challenges of their own;


  • The Suzuki DR650 is well known for its construction and has gained a reputation as a workhorse. Its durable performance can be attributed to its air and oil cooled engine design.
  • Similarly the Honda XR650L is also a contender thanks, to its tried and tested air cooled engine. This model has proven itself over the years. Remains a choice among riders.

Common Issues

  • Both bikes may experience vibration at high speeds. However this can be mitigated by using weights or opting for engine flywheels.
  • Riders have reported brake issues with both models, where the brakes may not effectively stop the bike despite slowing it down. Maintenance and timely brake pad replacements can help address this concern.
  • Intermittent electrical issues have been noted in some cases often caused by blown fuses, batteries or loose wiring connections—especially related to the ignition switch.

Maintenance and Aftermarket Parts

  • When it comes to maintenance costs both bikes fall within a range. However due to its engine design the DR650 may have an advantage in terms of affordability.
  • To ensure longevity it is advisable to adhere to service intervals for both models. Additionally aftermarket parts are widely available for these motorcycles.
  • Regarding warranties one year coverage is typically offered for both bikes as standard; extended warranties are also an option, for purchase.


The Suzuki DR650 and Honda XR650L have earned their reputation as dual sport motorcycles over the years thanks, to their reliability and impressive performance. The DR650 boasts a rounded mix of on road and off road capabilities thanks to its air and oil cooled engine.

On the hand the XR650L showcases Hondas engineering expertise with its air cooled system. While both bikes have their strengths they are united by their status in the world of motorcycling and unwavering dependability. Like any machines they may have their quirks. Their longstanding reputation speaks volumes about their quality. We encourage our readers to dive into these motorcycles share their own experiences and explore additional resources to fully grasp why they hold such esteemed positions, in the industry.

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