2012 Honda XR650L | Preview

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2012 Honda Motorcycle

We’re only five months into 2011 and already manufacturers are whetting appetites with new model line-ups for 2012. Honda announced a wide array of bikes (and quads) this week, among them, the 2012 XR650L.

The new XR650L is born from its existing legend, having garnered some serious tortuous miles in Baja over the years since it first came on the scene. Not a bad pedigree for a dual-sport machine.

The 650 is a street legal, multi-purpose bike, capable of handling demanding off-road routes, single-track, winding fire roads, paved roads, highways and freeways. As the press material states, “The XR650L serves as the key that opens the door to riding adventures and good times.”

The XR650L is a classic stalwart Honda, a bike you can pound relentlessly and not have to worry about breaking. Just keep the chain lubed and adjusted and the air filter clean, and you can pretty much embark on as far flung an adventure as you can dream up. This is why the 650 has earned such a devoted following over the years. We can only guess at how many memorable moments have come courtesy of this machine.

Bold new graphics for 2012 are wrapped around the 644cc air-cooled, single-cylinder, four-valve SOHC four-stroke engine (bore & stroke: 100mm X 82mm). Carburetion is 42.5mm diaphragm-type CV. Five-speed transmission feeds power to the rear wheel via a #520 O-ring sealed chain.

Suspension, following with Honda tradition, is all Showa; 43mm air-adjustable leading axle cartridge forks (with 16-position compression damping adjustability for 11.6-inches of travel) on the front, and a Pro-Link Showa single shock on the rear (20-position compression and 20-position rebound damping adjustability) for 11.0-inches of rear wheel travel.

Single disc rotors front and rear with a twin-piston caliper on the front provide braking (front wheel; 3.00-21″, rear wheel; 4.60-18″).

The 650 has a 57.3-inch wheelbase and seat height-for the in-seam challenged-is a relatively tall 37.0-inches. Ground clearance is a healthy 13.0-inches to keep the underside safe. The XR650L weighs in at 346 pounds fully ready to ride, with a full tank of petrol (2.8 gallons, which includes a 0.6-gallong reserve).

Honda helped invent the realm of dual-sport, specifically with this model and they’ve managed to build on the legend with steady improvements over the years. The 2012 XR650L represents the zenith of the bike’s evolution.

For more information and images of Honda’s model line-up go to powersports.honda.com or see your local Honda powersports dealer.