By the 2000s, the XR--a series of dual-purpose motorcycles that Japanese automaker Honda had introduced in the late 1960s--was more powerful than ever before. Honda introduced a new version of the XR in 2000 with a larger engine displacement than years past. By the time the 2006 version of the bike rolled in, the XR was well entrenched in the bike market.
There are two versions of the 2006 Honda XR: the Honda XR 650L and the Honda XR 650R. The 650L is the original on/off-road bike: one that can be used on paved and unpaved roads, on streets, or for trail racing. Also, due to its design for use on pavement, it is the “street legal” version of the XR: with the requisite headlight and taillight, turn signals, and side mirrors. The 650R, on the other hand, is designed specifically for racing, thus the “R” designation.
The 2006 Honda XR is officially referred to with a three-digit suffix: “650."" The numbers stand for its engine displacement which is actually 644 cubic centimeters for the 650L and 649 cc for the 650R. (Both are rounded up to 650 cc.) Each model of the XR uses a four-stroke, single-cylinder engine with four intake valves and a bore and stroke of 3.94 by 3.23 inches (100 by 82 millimeters). The one on the 650L is air-cooled for prevention of overheating and has a compression ratio of 8.3 to 1, while the one on the 650R is liquid-cooled and has a 10-to-1 compression ratio. A Keihin carburetor--measuring 42.5 millimeters on the 650L and 40 millimeters on the 650R--blends air and fuel for the engine. For starting the bike, the 650L gets an electric ignition; a kick starter goes on the 650R. A five-speed manual gearbox is installed on each 2006 Honda XR.
Riding on front 21-inch and rear 18-inch aluminum wheels, Honda provides a wheelbase of 57.3 inches on the 650L version and 58.3 inches on the 650R version of the 2006 Honda XR. At 13 inches for the 650L and 12 inches for the 650R, ground clearance is exceedingly high. Using a steel frame with plastic covering, the 2006 Honda XR has a dry weight of 324 pounds (147 kilograms) with the 650L and a lighter 277 pounds (126.6 kilograms) with the 650R. Peak fuel capacity on the 650L is set at 2.8 gallons (10.6 liters) with a reserve of 0.6 gallons (2.3 liters). For the 650R, it's a little lower: 2.6 gallons (9.8 liters) with a half-a-gallon (1.9-liter) reserve.
Painted in red with a decal finish, the 2006 Honda XR comes with a kick stand for parking. Covering consists of front and rear fenders, an engine case, and fork guards, and a skid plate for protecting the bike’s underside. A tail bag provides storage, and a windshield is installed on the bike for protection from the wind and flying debris. The seat on the Honda XR, set at a relatively high position--37 inches on the 650L and 36.8 inches on the 650R--can accommodate up to two people: the driver and a passenger.
For braking prowess, each wheel on the 2006 Honda XR is fitted with a 9.5-inch (240-millimeter) disc brake. The suspension consists of a Showa® telescopic fork in the front and Pro Link® twin-sided swing arm at the back.