JULY 2015 / DIRT BIKE 75
If ever there was a bike that failed because it was too good, it was the Honda XR650R. It arrived at the beginning of the millennium as a
replacement for the air-cooled Honda XR600R. The new, liquid-cooled 650
was a purpose-built, high-speed Baja cruiser designed for the obsessive
goal of winning the Mexican 1000. Bruce Ogilvie made the bike come to
life through sheer willpower after years of painfully campaigning his aging
fleet of XR600Rs against the faster and lighter Kawasaki KX500s.
It went into the Worst Timing Hall of Fame. The age of the 450 had
arrived. Motocross bikes upsized to 450 four-strokes, then rally bikes
downsized to 450s. It turned out that no one wanted to ride across the
desert at over 100 mph, so there was no room for a heavyweight off-road
race bike in the new age, no matter how good it was. There was no room
for the XR650R.
An XR650R finds a second life doing what it does best
Remember the XR650R? You do if you ever rode one.