The Place Beyond the Pines is a film starring Ryan Gosling as a downtrodden motorcycle stuntman turned mechanic who then turns to robbing banks to get the money he needs to support his child. There are multiple cars used throughout the film and Gosling rides a Honda XR650L during his robberies. The movie has recently come out on cable, so we thought we’d give you guys a rundown on Gosling’s bike from the film.
The Plot of the Film
Gosling’s character is Luke Glanton. As the film opens Glanton is a motorcycle stunt driver in a traveling fair. He finds out that he fathered a child with Romina, played by Eva Mendes, so he quits the fair to spend time with his son Jason and stay close to Romina. Glanton meets Robin, played by Ben Mendelsohn, who offers him a job as a motorcycle mechanic. Business is slow and his pay from the job is not enough to support his child. One day, Robin jokes that they should start robbing banks. After admitting that he had done a few jobs in the past, he gets Glanton to join him in a crime spree.
The pair pulls a few successful jobs together when Robin suggests they stop and lay low for a while. Glanton hasn’t had enough, so he insists that they keep going. Robin refuses, even destroying Glanton’s bike. The two split over the disagreement and Glanton continues the crime spree. He is gunned down by Bradley Cooper during one final heist. The film then starts to go through a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards, seeming to say that doing the right thing (staying near Jason and Romina) is not always the best thing to do.
The Honda XR650L
The Honda XR650L is a dual-sport bike. First released as a 1993 model, the bike combines the RFVC engine from the NX650 Dominator with the off-road capable XR600R chassis. The XR650L has been produced with very few changes since the ’93 model was introduced.
The XR650L is powered by an air-cooled 644 cc engine. The motor is a SOHC, dry-sump, single-cylinder four stroke. The bike also has an electric starter, headlight, taillight, turn signals, mirrors, and the exhaust meets US EPA and California standards, making it street legal in many states.
Glanton ends up repainting the bike throughout the film. We have the stock colors, as well as a white and a black color scheme.
The movie is, um…how to put this politely…not very good. The characters are strained and unbelievable. Except for Mendes, the movie is a waste of film. Bike enthusiasts will enjoy the stunt and chase scenes, though.
Editor’s Note: Personally, I did enjoy the film, but the story moves strangely from one character to the next as time progresses. I’m not sure what the filmmakers intended with this narrative device, but I don’t think it works very well.
Interested in an Honda XR650?
You can still buy an XR650L new from Honda. At the time of his writing, the starting price is $6690. That said, these bikes are pretty durable, and you can buy a used one in great shape for less than half this much. Others dual-sports in the same class including the venerable Kawasaki KLR650, as well as the Suzuki DR650. If you’re interested in a dual-sport, we highly recommend the Adventure Rider forum (ADVRider.com), and keep in mind that you will need to insure your bike even if you only ride it off-road–particularly if you’re inspired by the stunt riding that takes place in the film. One last note: the XR650 is a rather tall bike, which can be difficult to ride for shorter riders. Fortunately, it has a number of smaller siblings which you can read about here.
Recent posts in Features