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Honda's thumper is back

2011-03-31 08:38

SET FOR ADVENTURE: Honda’s 2011 model year XR650L is just the toy for keen weekend endure riders.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Honda
Model XR650L
Engine 644cc single
Power 29kW
Torque 50Nm
Transmission Five-speed
The Honda XR series. Back in the 1980s these single-cylinder four-stroke bikes were the definitive “thumpers”, yet in recent years the range has been severely truncated.

Only the XR650L dual-sport application remains today, but it is still a goodie.

Powered by a 644cc air-cooled, dry-sump single cylinder engine producing 29kW, the XR650L offers instantaneous thrust in practically each of its five gears – thanks to a low weight of only 157kg.

Crucially, the single-cylinder engine’s peak toque value of 50Nm coincides with a relatively low tachometer reading of only 5000rpm – ensuring strong mid-range acceleration, perfect for sand riding.

Although its billing is dual-purpose (it has electric start), XR650L’s 330mm of ground clearance and 294mm ‘s worth of front travel (courtesy of a Showa 16-position adjustable damper) is perfect for rolling over broken terrain.

Hardcore enduro riders will scoff at the L-affix to Honda’s legendary XR nameplate, but this XR650L, especially in 2011 model year guise, is a very neat large enduro bike compromise. Kalahari capable, yet not entirely utilitarian. 

Honda's XR650L costs R49 999.


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