The Honda XR650L dual-sport bike, based on the successful and long-discontinued Honda XR600R off-road racer, is back for its 30th year. Although Honda isn’t officially celebrating the 30th anniversary of this classic motorcycle, it is the pearl anniversary, and this edition is white—perhaps that’s a sly nod to its accomplishment. Regardless, let’s go over what the 2023 Honda XR650L offers, despite being essentially unchanged since its debut.
The motor is an air-cooled SOHC design with the combustion chamber fed by a 42mm CV carburetor. That means the 2023 Honda XR650L has a manual choke and a petcock—two items we rarely see on a new motorcycle in the 2020s. Conveniently, starting is electric.
A counterbalancer keeps down the vibes from the big thumper, while a dry sump lubrication system makes the most of the power produced. Thanks to its broad powerband, the motor gets by with a five-speed transmission.
The Showa suspension is long travel—about 11 inches at both ends–with almost full adjustability, and the shock is helped out by a linkage system and aluminum swingarm. However, the fork is a conventional design, though it does feature air-adjustability. It’s all held together with a mild steel frame.
Appropriately for a dual-sport motorcycle, there’s a 21-/18-inch wheelset with discs bolted to the hubs. The tires are a throwback design and sport the old SAE measurements—4.60 at the rear and 3.00 in the front. The rubber is fine for street and light-duty dirt action, though even a semi-serious off-road rider will opt for more modern and capable off-road tires.
The styling is undoubtedly dating, particularly the fenders and lighting—headlight, taillight, and turn signals. The dash is legitimately analog—no LCDs to be seen. One throwback feature we like is the tool bag mounted on the rear fender. Brush guards for your hands are standard—a nice touch.
The MSRP for the 2023 Honda XR650L is $6999. Adjusted for inflation, its 1993 price of $4349 is over $8500 in today’s dollars. That makes the 30th anniversary of this classic quite a deal. We last tested the XR650L seven years ago, and we expect to be revisiting it this year.
2023 Honda XR650L Specs
- Type: Single-cylinder
- Displacement: 644cc
- Bore x stroke: 100 x 82mm
- Compression ratio: 8.3:1
- Valvetrain: SOHC; 4 valves
- Fueling: 42.5mm CV carburetor; diaphragm-type
- Cooling: Air
- Lubrication: Dry sump
- Starting: Electric
- Transmission: 5-speed
- Clutch: Wet multiplate
- Final drive: 520 O-ring chain
- Front suspension; travel: Compression- and air-adjustable 43mm Showa leading-axle fork; 11.6 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Linkage-assisted, fully adjustable Showa shock; 11.0 inches
- Front tire: 3.00 x 21
- Rear tire: 4.60 x 18
- Front brake: 265mm disc
- Rear brake: 220mm disc
- ABS: None
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 57.3 inches
- Rake: 27 degrees
- Trail: 4.0 inches
- Seat height: 37.0 inches
- Ground clearance: 13.0 inches
- Fuel capacity: 2.8 gallons
- Curb weight: 346 pounds
- Color: White
2023 Honda XR650L Price: $6999 MSRP