Why no Honda XR650L in UK

I’d love an XR650L, or DRZ400SM in the UK, but understand that they can’t get type-approval for sale here due to not meeting EU emission regs what with being carb’d.

Yet on Honda’s US site, the XR650L is listed as meeting “current California Air Resource Board (CARB) and EPA off-road emissions standards” and the bike is sold for road & off-road use.

What’s with our emissions regs when bikes can meet Californian standards - some of the toughest in the world, but they don’t comply here?


Basically I’d just love to get any 650cc dual-sport (XRL, DRZ, KLR, WRX) in the UK, but it seems there just isn’t the market for them?

It’s not just that the EU’s tests are laxer than California’s; they work differently and it’s very easy to bolt-on an addition to a Euro-compabible vehicle to get it through California’s tests, but it doesn’t work the other way round:



The US has more exemptions for this sort of thing, which the EU just doesn’t really consider when it’s drawing up the regs. It’s presumably hard to make those bikes so they’re EU compliant, which is at least partly why nobody does, but I also wonder if the market really is as big as everyone keeps saying it is. Something (presumably EU regs) mean that anyone producing new dual-sports for Europe these days is making them twin-cylindered, but while the 650s have gone we’re expecting a couple of 7/800s next year (Yamaha T7, KTM 790), a 450 DS single (Honda’s CRF450L) and there’s just been a raft of 250/300s - (Honda CRF250, Kawasaki mini-versys, BMW G310 etc.). 

SWM are, apparently, updating their 650 shortly, too, but I’ve only overheard rumour about that.

Basically I'd just love to get any 650cc dual-sport (XRL, DRZ, KLR, WRX) in the UK, but it seems there just isn't the market for them?
KTM and now Husqvarna have been making them for a few years. BMW and Suzuki also have them though they are heavier than the KTM versions and more road based.