xr600r advice....

11 replies to this topic
  • misterdee

Posted August 15, 2007 - 05:13 PM


Need an adventure bike but not much budgeted this year (saving for a house, there goes the Husky TE610 I really want ).

For my $1800-$2400 budget that pretty much rules out the XR650R and DRZ and older KTM 640 enduros. I want something more dirt worthy than the KLR/DR650 which are within that bargain basement budget. After much research I think a street legal XR600R would be the ticket. The older "L's" seem like overweight pigs, not any better than the other dual sports. Plenty of XR600R's in that price range though, and most posts I've seen by prior owners end with "I wish I still had it!"..

After more search, I find some of the earlier ones had issues with premature 3rd gear wear, and some of the later ones were a little bit lighter and at some point ditched the rear drum brake for a disc.

So, which years did the 3 rd gear issue get "fixed" if any and when did the disc rear brake commence? Any other changes that were desirable for any models? Other pearls of widom regarding the purchase of a used XR600?

Thanks for any advice!

  • FZ1426

Posted August 15, 2007 - 06:35 PM


'91 and on got better suspension and disc brake (rear). They're basically unchanged from then. Never heard of any third gear problems.

The 88-90 arguably had the best stock motors with higher compression and a beautiful stainless double pipe all the way back. White bros used to sell a stainless supertrapp for them, probably not available anymore. But the lack of a rear disc and upgraded suspension pretty much seals the deal for a '91 or later.

I understand from '98 on they came with a restricted intake manifold. Easy to fix as they all need to be uncorked and jetted way up from from stock anyway.

Still a great bike and no heavier than the latest e start "dual sports".

  • cleonard

Posted August 15, 2007 - 07:11 PM


If you are planning on much off road get a 91 or later as they have cartridge forks. The earlier bikes have old style damper rod forks. Other than a larger front axle in 92 the 91-2000 bikes are all the same.

Third gear was beefed up in 88 I think. However, it is still a weak area in all XR600's. I had to replace second and third in my 93 XR600. I took a look in the crankcase when I was replacing my rings. They looked ugly. At least I got to them before they failed.

The 600 weighs in at around 275. A KTM525 is a little over 250 and a DRZ400S is over 290. The XR650L tank is more like 325. My friend has a 97 KTM 620 factory dual sport and it weighs in at about 340.

  • creeky

Posted August 16, 2007 - 05:43 AM


I have kitted two 600Rs, a '91 and a '98, they are great do-it-all bikes. Shop diligently and thoroughly check out the mechanical condition of the bike, you don't want to buy a money pit.

  • martinfan30

Posted August 16, 2007 - 06:50 AM


with all that ive done to my 650L, ive got a box of excess pork shaved off that weighs about 25 lbs. ive got to be right at 300 lbs. they can be lightened even further i belive.

  • Talonboy

Posted August 16, 2007 - 07:26 AM


I have just been building one over the last month. Found a clean 97 XR600 for $1500. Changed the gearing to 15/44. Mounted universal tires, I already have another dirt bike, so the XR will not be used for serious off-roading. Mounted two mirrors. Replaced the stator and regulator with Ricky Stator parts. Replaced the headlight for something brighter. Mounted some passenger footpegs. Made a mount for my GPS. Adjusted the suspension softer for a better ride on the street.
Now it's not a bad adventure bike. It still needs a bigger fuel tank though, that will be next.

Visit the ThumperTalk Store for the lowest prices on motorcycle / ATV parts and accessories - Guaranteed

Posted August 16, 2007 - 07:45 AM


I have removed between 36-38 lbs from my 650L

  • martinfan30

Posted August 16, 2007 - 08:48 AM


I have removed between 36-38 lbs from my 650L

let me see a pic of it. i'd like to compare and see if i can remove or change something else on mine.:worthy:

  • xrslagfan

Posted August 16, 2007 - 10:43 AM


The 600's from 88 to 90 had nikasil plated cylinders but the same compression as the later bikes. Honda supposedly dropped the nikasil for cost cutting measures. Other posts have the remaining differences with the exception of the 1993 (I believe) got a rear wheel with 32 spokes for increased strenghth along with the larger diameter front axle.

Also the 1998 and newer bikes had different exhaust valve material for improved reliability. Dont know of many people burning theirs up though.

And the 3rd gear issue was a bona fide problem in the 80's. The 1991 and newer bikes have improvements to the gear cluster. XR's only used to make a fortune fixing these.

I bought a 1994 XR600 in SoCal that someone had installed a pre-1991 exhaust header (stainless) and Supertrapp. I wanted an FMF pipe which required a later header. Bought one on Ebay. The bike ran soooooooo much better than with the old exhaust, so you may not want to use that exhaust even though its stainless.

I think the XR600 is the best value out there for reliability and usability. There are newer and sexier bikes out there but with $1500 in your pocket you cant beat a Sixer.

  • Slim Shadetree

Posted August 16, 2007 - 01:10 PM


. Mounted some passenger footpegs..

what type of footpegs ? from where ? :applause:

  • Talonboy

Posted August 17, 2007 - 06:41 AM


what type of footpegs ? from where ? :applause:

Stock XR650L pegs and brackets, bought them off Ebay. Welded a steel bar on the downtube, then bolted them right on. I wanted them mainly for a location to attach my saddlebags to. I also bought some new rider pegs to replace the thin stock ones. Found them new on Ebay for less than $20, they feel so much better than stock. Only had them on for a week or so, hope they hold up as well as the ones that cost $80-100.

  • chpxr

Posted August 19, 2007 - 07:30 PM


the xr600r is a great bike almost impossible to kill they are a bit heavy but i love my moded 600 now first thing you will want to do to it is the suspension or it will beat you to death if you don't the woops will kill you. as for hills these things will climb straight up things bogging or not good luck on your search

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