Honda XR 650 R review

Honda XR 650 R review

skirt & roll

Club her over rocks and scree or dance with her in gentle arcs through the deepest sand. It does it all, the Honda XR 650 R with the aluminum-framed, brand new four-stroke single.

The gorge cuts deep and deep into the Spanish hinterland. Nothing and nobody has any business here anymore.

Except for a few goats and rotten tin huts, no trace of civilization. Finest enduro land. But whoever is shipwrecked has to come up with something. Mobile phone? Sure, but tell me where you are if you don’t know yourself. We don’t quite trust the new Honda XR 650 yet. Because of Kickstarter and such. Wouldn’t be the first time you’ve got blisters on your feet just because the box doesn’t make a sound anymore.
But the XR 650 makes you forget such gloomy visions quickly. Sizzling through the landscape with relish, that’s her thing. Because the water-cooled XR 650 single-cylinder, in the test with the not entirely legal competition exhaust, tears you out of all dangerous situations thanks to its brute thrust. Downstairs already strong as a bear, without big chain whips and jerking in the tricky single trail, gears that can be changed easily, but firmly engage. In addition, a razor-sharp coupling with very easy two-finger operation. Even the worst steep slopes lose their horror. And if it does go wrong, the ohc motor starts booming again after the second kick. Great, even if the start has to be celebrated according to the old XT custom using a decorative lever and a dead center search.
The front wheel leads neatly in windy serpentines, but requires a firm hand and committed physical effort to make the bend. No question about it, feather-light 400 enduros are easier to conduct here. The stony path opens up, meanders in fast arcs through the dry and dusty river beds. Quicksand, scree and mighty rock formations alternate. The Honda doesn’t care. Because the powerful four-stroke engine effortlessly shovels its way. The faster the better. Pretty handy for a 650. And when it jerks nervously out of track in the knee-deep sand, you clamp the 144 kilogram Honda tightly between your knees and gently force it to rest.
Even if the outfit is more reminiscent of the blessed MTX 80 as a modern sports enduro, there is nothing to complain about about the space. Narrow, with hearty, firm seat cushions and plenty of space to the front, the XR 650 serves all clothing sizes perfectly. Sitting in front is good, because then the box doesn’t tear quite so brutally on the rear wheel when you bring the 40 mm round slide carburetor to the stop. The huge draft in the middle area is what massacres the studs and pulls out your arms, which are already swollen as hard as a bone. In addition to the lack of training, the somewhat stucky 46 mm telescopic fork is to blame for the fact that it does not take the response very seriously. It takes revenge for this, however, with a huge range of damping settings and a small brass screw to let off the occasional excess pressure in the fork.
The hindquarters, which also have a wide range of adjustment, are more sensitive. For merciless long and high jumpers, however, the spring rate should be a little tighter. But the XR 650 is not a stadium crosser anyway. And that’s a good thing, because the piste is getting faster and faster, pounding the chassis with rocking stones the size of a child. And now the situation stabilizes as soon as the Honda is directed over the knee and thigh. And over the gas, so that it pulls the load straight. Because the XR 650 engine gets really fast with real throttle? faster than you think? arrogance comes before the fall.
When the horse and rider do somersaults through the Spanish undergrowth and the observation team is already familiarizing themselves with the medical first aid, the hand raised in the cloud of dust signals: “All right, go on soon.” brings it upright with a jolt, and now? Kick it! Carburetor overflowed, it smells like fuel? With all due respect, a four-stroke bolt without an electric starter is pretty much at the end in such situations. Not the Honda. Because it starts working after the third attempt. Bravo. It actually goes on.
The asphalt has us again. Bad luck. Or luck, because the XR barely manages to get into the next gas station with spunk and slap. Don’t swallow that thing badly. 8.4 liters per 100 kilometers of terrain. The special with the electric KTM 640 LC4 needs two liters less. But it doesn’t have the thud of the XR either. now, home, cold, freezing. After 20 kilometers of tarred road, your butt hurts, better, the coccyx, like on all real enduros. And the engine, only now you can feel it, vibrates robustly, but not yet annoying. It doesn’t wobble on asphalt even with cross tires, even at 160 km / h pressed flat. In return, the brakes are a bit dull on firm ground. But is that still important now? The only important thing now is the hot shower, a hearty meal, a nice bottle of wine. And a soft bed. Long live civilization. And the Honda XR 650 R.

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