XR600 Opinions, Test Reports on the Net ?


22 replies to this topic
  • SteveJC

Posted June 30, 2004 - 09:20 PM

#1

Hi all,

Having a mad desire to get an XR600 to go with my XR650. Gone off revvy DRZs etc, but want something softer than the XR650 for quieter days but find the "delightfully" soft XR400 a bit sluggish after the 650s stomp.

I hear the 600 will drop down in the revs better than the 650 before the transmission complains.... . what's the verdict. And is there any decent test reports anywhere - can't find any ??

Steve C
UK

  • Thumprding

Posted July 02, 2004 - 08:17 AM

#2

Test reports. No really don't know of any on line. You can go to cycle or cycle world or dirt bike or a few of the other magazines and order back issues.

Can a 600 go way down in RPM and the transmission not complain? Sure can. I can take mine down to where it is pinging and shuddering and the transmission does not complain one bit. I have a 95 so basically any year between a 91 and 2000 will be the same.

  • JetPilot

Posted July 02, 2004 - 10:11 AM

#3

I want an XR650 so bad I can taste it :devil:!!! I have a 93 XR600R and just figured I would throw it away when I got the 650 :awww: My 600 has a 15 tooth front sprocket and I run it way down to the lower limits of the RPM range sometimes, just try not to get on it too hard until the thumps start to come together :D, but never anything bad heard from the transmission. I figured the 650 would be about the same, just a lot better :thumbsup: Does the 650 like to run at higher RPM's ? Is it not as confortable to ride as the 600 ? :lol:

  • Roll_it_on

Posted July 02, 2004 - 01:00 PM

#4

I've owned a 97 XR600 and now have the XR650R and have never had any problems with the tranny at any speed. The 650 is a big thumper much like the 600 however it just goes everthing much better in my opinion. I loved the 600 but I wouldn't trade back for nothing however. :thumbsup:

  • smashinz2002

Posted July 02, 2004 - 05:57 PM

#5

Yeah dude, I don't know what they're saying about the transmission complaining on the 650 at low revs, mine never seems to have any problem thumping along at low revs (such as in tight creek trails, etc). Sure, the drive chain makes alot of noise slapping around at such low revs, but otherwise it's fine.
I've ridden an XR600 before, and there's no way I would have one of those after riding my XR650R for the last 3 years. The 600 feels alot slower to me, of course it was totally stock, so who knows how it would be with some work done to it. I didn't think the 600 handled anywhere near to how the 650 handles.
Someone asked if the 650R likes to rev? I don't know I guess that depends on if the rider wants to rev it high all the time, but in my opinion, the 650R engine is a low-end to mid-range engine, that's where it seems to have the most punch I think.
I think the 650R engine is like this; Not soft in the least, instantaneous response right off idle, chunky, grunty, massive amounts of big, huge, stump pulling torque at low revs, which spins into a wide, arm-stretching mid-range punch, which then tapers off in the upper revs.
The engine in the 650R is one of the main selling points for many people. But the whole bike is pretty damn good! :thumbsup:

  • SteveJC

Posted July 03, 2004 - 12:23 AM

#6

Well I have never ridden an XR600 so can only go on what an (experienced) friend has told me about his old one - saying it would drop down to 25/30mph in 5th and then off to 95 or so without complaint.

The XR650 starts to get lumpy at around 40mph in 5th, simply because there's too much power and the power pulses are more than the chain can cope with without rattling.

Nice tho. :thumbsup:

A DRZ objects at similar speeds, but higher revs (lower gearing) - much worse in that respect. An XR400 will drop way down in the revs in high gears but there ain't a lot of power there to concern the chain!

An XR650 is generally said to be much better handling, with 20% more power than the XR600 - its certainly got plenty and huge grins each time you open her up.

But its not at its best in tight going - it will trundle along at idle-speed in first very nicely but the response from a tiny tweak of throttle can be quite dramatic in certain situations, eg rocks, roots, etc followed by big engine braking when you shut off again.

Huge fun for more open conditions, and actually very good in mud - the big power reserve blasts through snot like its not there and the bit of "give" between tyre and ground tames down the off-idle response for more "delicate" riding (well I use the term loosely!)

The XR650 is the best and most fun bike I have ever ridden, for what I want. 14 months on and I still want to ride it every day, if I could!

Very good summary by Smashin:
"I think the 650R engine is like this; Not soft in the least, instantaneous response right off idle, chunky, grunty, massive amounts of big, huge, stump pulling torque at low revs, which spins into a wide, arm-stretching mid-range punch, which then tapers off in the upper revs."

Steve C
UK

  • beer_studd_76

Posted July 04, 2004 - 05:37 AM

#7

i think a 600 sounds perfect for what you are describing. i love mine: soft seat, plush suspension, big ol' wheelies, etc. and she doesn't mind being bogged way down.

a very good shape 95-2000 XR600R ought to set you back $2000-$3500, and they usually come with all the aftermarket goodies.


jeremiah

  • XR6's_rule

Posted July 05, 2004 - 12:05 AM

#8

I just sold my 2001 XR650 and bought a second-hand 1995 XR600RS! Now before you guys go ballistic please read my reasons stated below-

*The two bikes are really quite different, the 650 engine is liquid cooled, makes mega power (there are few bikes that can stay with it in stock trim), it also is mega stable with a rigid aluminium frame and firmish suspension package. It is built with desert racing in mind. Whereas the 600 makes much less mellower power,has softer more compliant suspension, weighs less (a kilo or two), and has a shortish wheelbase (for quick steering). I also found the 600 also has more ground clearance and has a lower centre of gravity (better lower speed handling).

I wound up dissapointed with the XR650R. Where the XR600 had been used for every concievable use imaginable ie motocross, desert racing, trailriding-even mustering!- doing all these things admirably! The 650 isnt as flexible, is tiring and difficult to ride in tight going (thanks to having too much power, not enough ground clearance and slow steering as well as heavier feel) and it has shown in not being accepted locally (in Australia sales are very slow, I should know- I work at a Honda dealer!)

  • thumpasaurus

Posted July 05, 2004 - 02:36 PM

#9

I wound up dissapointed with the XR650R. Where the XR600 had been used for every concievable use imaginable ie motocross, desert racing, trailriding-even mustering!- doing all these things admirably! The 650 isnt as flexible, is tiring and difficult to ride in tight going


This is strange and unsettling. I've never heard of anyone going the other way by choice.. :thumbsup:

I spend a LOT of time drooling over xr650r's and have never heard anything except that they are superior to the old 600 in every quantifiable way under every offroad condition. and now you do this to me..

  • XR6's_rule

Posted July 07, 2004 - 01:58 AM

#10

Thumpasaurus- . Im not saying XR650 is a complete flop, but it defintely isnt better than the 600 in all areas. However it has its place, if you were to use this bike in tight bush/forrest conditions- you would be disappointed with it, however in any sort of open going, its weight and small ground clearance become insignificant and it's awesome power and desert tuned suspension start to work for it!

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  • SaltyWalrus

Posted July 07, 2004 - 03:10 AM

#11

I use the 650R in tight, rocky, rooty, muddy, snotty, sloppy, bushy, tree filled conditions in MA. I am not saying it is a KTM300EXC or anything, but I am far from dissapointed. I can set a very respectable pace and use the bikes stability to my advantage over roots and rocks. It does tire you out more than a smaller bike in the tight single track stuff, but you can still go very fast. A dissapointment....definitely not. Better than the XR600R? In almost every way.

  • stonewall

Posted July 07, 2004 - 03:54 AM

#12

I use the 650R in tight, rocky, rooty, muddy, snotty, sloppy, bushy, tree filled conditions in MA. I am not saying it is a KTM300EXC or anything, but I am far from dissapointed. I can set a very respectable pace and use the bikes stability to my advantage over roots and rocks. It does tire you out more than a smaller bike in the tight single track stuff, but you can still go very fast. A dissapointment....definitely not. Better than the XR600R? In almost every way.


I agree with SaltyWalrus. This bike works just fine in really tight, nasty conditions. It will wear you out if you try to twist the throttle all the time like you would on a smaller bike but so will the 600. Just stay a gear high, keep your momentum up, and use all that torque to carry you through anything. I am actually slightly faster on the 650 than my KTM 250 on my woods loop here at home and at the end of the day one doesn't wear me out any more than the other. The only place where the 650 works me is on very long, slick, rocky, STEEP downhills. I can feel the weight there and it's hard to hold the big girl back.

Thumpasaurus - Where are you in VA? You are welcome to ride my 650 sometime and see if it's what you're looking for. :thumbsup:

  • thumpasaurus

Posted July 07, 2004 - 04:12 AM

#13

I know my 600 isn't the ideal bike for a lot of the places I ride, but it does ok, and makes up for it on wider straighter trails. It also makes a fair short distance street bike. I figure if the 650 is just as reliable, no worse in the tight spots, and even better on the straights and streets it would be the perfect upgrade path from the good 'ol 600. Until XR6_Rule, I'd never heard anyone say anything that upset my little plan, but it seems the consensus is still in favor of the 650r. so I'll go back to drooling now

...Thumpasaurus - Where are you in VA?... :thumbsup:


Stonewall,
I live in Chester, 15 miles south of Richmond. Whereabouts are you?

  • stonewall

Posted July 07, 2004 - 04:36 AM

#14

I know my 600 isn't the ideal bike for a lot of the places I ride, but it does ok, and makes up for it on wider straighter trails. It also makes a fair short distance street bike. I figure if the 650 is just as reliable, no worse in the tight spots, and even better on the straights and streets it would be the perfect upgrade path from the good 'ol 600. Until XR6_Rule, I'd never heard anyone say anything that upset my little plan, but it seems the consensus is still in favor of the 650r. so I'll go back to drooling now


...Thumpasaurus - Where are you in VA?... :thumbsup:


Stonewall,
I live in Chester, 15 miles south of Richmond. Whereabouts are you?


Near Monterey, about 3 hours west of you. :devil:

  • thumpasaurus

Posted July 07, 2004 - 04:54 AM

#15

Stonewall,

I just rode my street bike through Monterey a couple weekends ago. Very pretty out there. Took 220 North from Covington up to Franklin WVa.

Next time I haul my XR up to the mountains, I'll give you a heads up, maybe you can ride along.

dan.

  • SaltyWalrus

Posted July 07, 2004 - 07:12 AM

#16

I agree with Stonewall about the downhills. The big old girl does not instill confidence on obstacle strewn downhills. If the front wheel does not behave, the rest of the bike is still coming straight down the hill and the front will plow. Uphills are cool, though!! :thumbsup:

  • Miker

Posted July 07, 2004 - 10:15 AM

#17

I have a 96 XR 600 and a 2000 xr650 and both are dual sported. The XR650 is hands down the better street bike. It is bigger and has much more power. Off road I think the XR600 is more dirt worthy in any kind of tight situation. The softer frame with the built in fork and frame flex was around unchanged for 10 years for a reason. It worked. Having said all that I still prefer the 650 over the 600 for ergonomic reasons. I am 6'4" and 220. As far as the 650 seeming lighter I think that's BS. This is one large and in charge bike. The thing was designed by Honda to win Baja and that is where it shines. I also ride a 525 EXC and can say when I get on that after being on the Honda it feels like a mini bike. Power = 600 good low end and decent mid and top. 650 = great low end great mid and not much on top. 525= perfect low end great mid and breath taking top.

:thumbsup:

  • XR6's_rule

Posted July 08, 2004 - 12:23 AM

#18

Miker-I agree with you there where you say the 650 is the better street bike as it is a little more refined than the 600 and has a smoother throttle operation where the 600's is inherently a little sticky.

  • SteveJC

Posted July 09, 2004 - 09:34 AM

#19

Some interesting comments thanks.

Of course I have just gone an bought a s/h XR400, which is definitely very different to the 650!

Much easier to manage in the tight stuff but way down on the power. I like it though and its got enough go if you give it plenty of throttle and a few revs.

Still looking at geting a XR600 though but will get a test ride first somewhere. Or just say sod-it and get the KTM525 that I would also like :devil:

But the 650 stays either way cos its just grunt-mungously great :awww:

I still can't believe there are no test reports on the web for the XR600 ?? :thumbsup:

Steve C
UK

  • SteveJC

Posted July 28, 2004 - 02:30 AM

#20

Well I just picked up a '97 XR600 for a good price. Was pleasantly surprised at the power - not quite XR650 but plenty enough for some serious (cheap) fun!

The throttle seems to have a heavier spring than the 650 but has a less abrupt on-off action, more like a XR400 in this respect, but a lot more grunt, just the job.

So the 400 goes, and then start saving for the KTM525, very, very nice machine indeed. But will do the big miles on the Hondas as they are less hassle in that respect.

Steve
UK





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