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2008 Honda XR650L Comparo Photo Gallery

Take three big-bore Single thumpers, the Honda XR650L, Kawasaki KLR650 and BMW Xcountry, and you get our 2008 Dual-sport Comparo. See how this bike did in our 2008 Dual-Sport Comparo.

Slideshow
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Not the greatest of carrying capacity, but a competent wrencher could stash away enough supplies in this bag for a long off-road journey.
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Deep Inside the steel, semi-double-cradle frame, the aluminum finned engine case houses a single piston, gobbling up 100mm x 82mm bore/stroke.
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The tires are a fantastic compromise between asphalt adhesion and off-road traction.
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2008 Honda XR650L
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A more aggressive tire geared for either the road or the dirt would be a wise investment if one wishes to customize the bike for either surface.
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Handling front suspension duties is a 43mm Showa cartridge-style fork featuring air-adjustable preload and 16-way compression damping.
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After turning on the three-way (on, off, reserve) tank-mounted fuel switch, choking the 42.5mm, diaphragm-type, constant-velocity carburetor via the small plastic lever on the handlebar and thumbing that magical black starter button, the 644cc Single fires to life with an authoritative thump-thump.
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Reaching down, the low slung steel handlebars will instantly induce a syntax error as they are positioned awkwardly and more along the lines of a non-knobby-equipped street machine.
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The XR engine is a bit coldblooded upon first start, so a quick warm-up is necessary if you want to ensure a hassle-free launch.
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The five-speed transmission handles the engine's torquey power and feels very positive. However, the gears aren't spaced as well as they should be, with a large gap between second and third gear.
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Hustling thru some dirt before heading home on the freeway? The XR650L can oblige.
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Once aboard the XR your butt confirms what your eyes have been telling your brain all along - dirt bike.
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When you've kept a bike in circulation for 16 years unchanged, you're either lazy or got a good thing going. In the case of the 2008 Honda XR650L, it's the latter.
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Hopping on the big Honda can be somewhat intimidating-especially for someone who doesn't have experience riding dirt bikes.
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Although it looks the part of a dirt bike, the 2008 Honda XR650L Showa suspension components handle street riding duties without trouble.
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Competence on the dirt should come as no surprise for the Honda XR650L. After all, its non-street-legal sibling owned the Baja 1000 for over a decade.
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The Honda motor has decent mid-range, but keep revving and acceleration tapers off in a hurry.
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A quick look at the dyno chart courtesy of Mickey Cohen Motorsports reveals that the Honda is already making 90% of its max torque from 3000 rpm.
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Another dirt complaint was the unusually low-slung handlebars. Although, they are pretty comfortable while seated, when the trail gets rough and the rider needs to stand up, the low bars become a limiting factor.
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The Honda XR650L can get a rider to some great vistas.
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At a glance, there's no mistaking the XR. Its tall, aggressive dirt bike stance just begs for some dirt, dust and gravel to tread on.