Anyone dual sport an XR600?

8 replies to this topic
  • ptguy

Posted April 05, 2002 - 03:07 PM


Anyone dual sporting their XR600? How is it on the highway? Does it vibrate much? What is good
cruising speed until vibration kicks in? What was the fuel economy like? Are you using any DOT tires? Do they vibrate bad on highway? Does NOT having the rubber dampener on the rear wheel cause a crappy ride or wear out clutches (I think they have on XR650L-or older XL600's).

I'm considering either getting an XR600 or 400 and converting to dual sport, cause I like the dirt too. Not sure which one. I like to explore, two track, fireroad, single track even (has anyone single tracked their 600, is is it too heavy??? That is one of the big questions - I figured you'd have to go much slower than a 400, but is the weight a bitch??). I've got a KTM 300 EXC that is a blast on single track.

I figure the trails /dirt roads I'd like to get to are at least 30-40 miles one way. I've allready asked this question on the XR400 forum, most picked the 400 though it sounded like no one had a 600 or had ever rode a dual sport set up XR600.

I can handle the big bike power (I've had
'88 CR500 and an '84 YZ 490). And a hell of a lot of dirt bikes in between. However, I've seen the weight issue mentioned quite a bit in the same breath as XR600.

I certainly won't be hitting the whoops like I used on my 125. Living in Michigan though, there will be occasional heavy sand up north - which is where I'm sure the weight will kick. The XR400 guys mention the steering rake angle is different versus a 600, ie, the 600 steers slower. Will this just be too much work??

Also, what speed SHOULDN'T I take the 600 through in sand/whoops (what speed does it become a real handful).

I am 5" 9", 183 pounds, age 35. In pretty descent shape, not a puss, I still work out doing bench presses / squats/ military presses, curls,/ free weights, etc, cardio (bike), etc. etc.

I'd love to hear of anyones dual sporting experience on the 600, and if they had a XR400 for dual sport, and what the pros/cons are.

Thanks and happy trails!!!

  • terryhotshoe

Posted April 05, 2002 - 03:23 PM


I had a xr600 dual sported for 6 years and loved it!!Bought a new 650r and dual sported it and love it even more!!!!!!!!They are both heavy bikes but love the power!Dont expect the bike to handle like a yamaha 426 but you will be comfortable while the rest of the guys are crying monkey butt.

  • Matt96xr6

Posted April 05, 2002 - 05:51 PM


It is a very nice bike on the street. I run a 14tooth counter sprocket for the street and down to a 13 for the tight woods that I ride.

I get about 70 miles a tank, stock tank. Maybe a bit more. not bad at all.

The seat is nice and comfortable. Really though, without a windscreen, riding at highway speeds is no fun. I usually keep it at the most 50mph on the street cause of the wind. It gives your neck a workout.

If you install the SRC forkbrace, you will not have problems riding the 600 on the trails at all.

  • ossagp1

Posted April 05, 2002 - 08:10 PM


If you are going to dual sport it I would recommend keeping the engine close to stock. The dampers you mention in the rear wheel are there to protect the gears and clutch basket more than anything. If you go up on compression or size you will definitely put more load on them. For desert type rolling sand the xr600 is great. Go stiffer on the springs and if yours has cartridge forks you will amaze yourself at the hiper bikes you can pass. That slower steering makes it stabil.

Kenda makes some reasonably priced tires that work well on dirt and dont wear too badly on the road. (DOT approved too) Dont go any bigger than a 120 on the back,,I actually preferred the 110 as it didnt flex as much and vibrated less on the road. I never actually 'legalized' mine as plates were easy to hang on anything here. But 60 mile paved road trips were fairly common,,and yes it did put my hands to sleep, but so does the xl.

If you want to go 'up' on the motor I would suggest the primary gears from the HRC kit. They are closer in size to eachother,,raise the primary ratio and thusly take some of the load the engine transmits to the transmission and clutch baskets. You can compensate by lowering your final drive,,but if you are onroading much you may like the higher gears anyway.

I could ride my xr600 as fast everywhere short of a motocross course than my cr500 and definitely ride it longer too.

The only drawback to riding an XR600 all day with my friends who didnt have them was that I was always the one unlocking the truck and getting out the coolers at the end of the ride. You can make yourself a lot of extra work that way by riding one.

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  • Slow_Poke

Posted April 06, 2002 - 07:28 AM


Go to a huge dual sport event and you'll see about 95% of the bikes are xr 600's. That should tell you something :-)

  • xr_rider

Posted April 06, 2002 - 09:03 AM


I live in Corona Ca at the base of the Cleveland National Forrest. I always have to drive mine on the street and sometimes the freeway to get to or from a ride. Just like Matt96xr6, I run a 13, when I expect to be ridding only tight stuff, a 14 for all around ridding and a 15 for WOT in the desert. All that gear changing helps me keep my chain clean too. I have a Panoram computer and after one ride on the freeway I noticed my top speed was 82 mph. With the taller gearing I noticed only minor vibration but I did get a good neck workout. I also run DOT Dunlop 606s if that matters.

  • Brian_Heath

Posted April 08, 2002 - 03:04 PM


I ride mine every day to work, and at least twice a week to the trails or the track depending on the white stuff up in the hills. My friends have taken these 600's and 400's down to the tip of South America and back. The 600's were better! Less problems, more comfortable, MORE FUN! Once you get used to the weight, which you will, you will rip on that thing. You will surprise a lot of people riding that big wide fat old school engineered pig. I bought a 600 in 2000 because I wore out my WR400. Not to replace it, but to dualsport it, and then get some track bike for when I wanted to go fast. The longer you ride it the more you will like it. Also depends if you are a taller guy. If you are 6 foot you should have no problems. It is easy to convert to street legal especially in Colorado or Utah.
Relatively easy anywhere else. MT21's are good tires made by perelli also that Dunlop 606 is a good rear tire. Gearing is simple! It comes stock witha 14 tooth front. Tight trails you will have more fun with a 13 tooth. Highway you will like a 15 tooth. Don't worry about the rear sproket unless you are going to take a long long trip to other countries. It is nice to go with a small one back there, so you can just cruise at low engine speeds. As for the vibration of the tires, try this... Get up to however fast you want to go and pull the clutch in. Notice the vibration with the engine buzzing then at idle. Try it at different engine speeds and you will know what I am talking about. It is a little bit better at lower engine speeds. And great at idle, but that dosn't get you down the road too far. You will find that tires don't really matter, and you will be sorry if you have some time on your hands and you see a cool trail going off into the woods and you have slicks on. As you become a better rider tires will make less and less of a difference, just a bonus when you have a new set of knobbies. A bald front is very very frustraiting though! The xr 600 is the most versitile bike that I know of. I take it on doubles out at the track in the morning to tight rock very technical single track in the afternoon. I have done a few 18 to 24 hour long rides on it and was tired but didn't have any trouble working the next day. Boy I slept good after work though. I had a 1987 600L and my 2000 600R is the same for vibration if not a little better because of the seat. You don't want to ride them on the road at full throttle for a long time because the oil will not lubricate the engine the greatest and you might blow a head gasket. Oil coolers are available. As for a reliable bike and one you are not always tinkering with, the stories of abuse that my friends gave those bikes going down south was all I needed to here. You would not believe what these bikes will go through day after day of punishment.
On a dual sport and trail ride I hit reserve at 85 to 90 miles. Just trails 70. Just roads 95. The woop sections are bad on both the 400 and 600's, worse on the 600's cause you will notice the flexing. Put stiffer springs in and you will have little to complain about. You ride that 300 ktm...which is a blast to ride by the way... you won't have any trouble with the 600. The 600 has been basically unchanged for a long time, and that is something to say for a dirt bike! The Yamaha V-Max pretty much says it for the street the way is a blast to ride also.
Don't get me wrong the 400 is a good bike, but for dual sporting ther is something to be said for a comfortable seat, and power to pull highway manuvers. You will find that on hill climbs and other obstacles that you need the power on you will wish you had the 600. You will miss the power, and you know what I mean! Once you ride the bike a lot you get used to the vibration and the wind, just like a bicycle seat is soo uncomfortable at first. Think of the cowbows, and a saddle is very hard! They were on them day after day. I think I remember your old topic and most said 400's. The guy that rode his 400 down to South America will be taking a 600 next time, if that tells you any thing. You said you were'nt a puss and I belive you. That is why the weight won't bother you, cause your not a wussy. But the 600 does take some getting used to. I mean really! At first you will wonder what you did and why why why. But just force yourself to ride it and not your 300 and you will understand what I am talking about. Oh yes keep your 300, and replace it with the new whatever whenever, but give the 6 an honest try. Your but can stand 30 minutes on any bike so if your not going to go far, hell get what ever you want. But when you got to ride home from a good day, I mean a good hard day you will be lovin that 6.
All of this is just my opinion, but maybe it will help you with some questions. I find that asking a lot of people is the best for finding out what your asking.

[ April 08, 2002: Message edited by: Brian Heath ]

[ April 08, 2002: Message edited by: Brian Heath ]

  • ossagp1

Posted April 08, 2002 - 07:23 PM


XR, have you ridden the trails up off of Beford Motorway (at the Weirick exit)?

  • xr_rider

Posted April 09, 2002 - 09:32 PM


Ossagp1, Yeah I'm pretty sure I have. I still don't know too many of the trail names but I think that is where the race track is??? :)

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