89 XR600 USD fork swap

3 replies to this topic
  • DSTerry

Posted March 16, 2008 - 09:31 AM


I've been considering doing this swap on my 89. When I took the forks apart (these are 93 XR600 units) they were pretty worn out. They needed new bushings, seals, and a few other internal components. It was about $100 worth of parts to bring them back to stock specs. I chose to just put them back together for now with a clean up and oil change.

I don't ride very often anymore, but when I do get the chance to go to the desert, I am pretty agressive. I raced motocross for many years (intermediate level) though after 8 years of not racing, I am not nearly as fast.

I have this just as a play bike (it's also street legal). And the suspension is pretty bad compared to my race bikes. After reading all the posts on the USD conversion, it seems like people are pretty happy with this conversion. It may be what I am looking for to give me a bit more comfort level on whoops and bigger hits.

I came across a 1996 CR500 KYB front end (forks, triple clamps, and stem). I know I'll need to acquire a few more items. I have a small machine shop where I can make/modify parts I need.

Everyone that has done the conversion seems to have needed a different set of items. I don't think the steering stem will be a problem. I could machine a new one or modify the existing one. The front axle and brake caliper would be my main concern.

Have people used the XR wheel and brake caliper with the CR500 fork conversion? I would like to keep my front wheel, and can make any spacers if needed. This fork looks to clamp down on both sides of the axle, not sure if it is threaded or not. Seems like I would have to run the CR500 front axle. But will this work with an XR wheel? Any other items I may be overlooking?

Thanks for all the great posts on this subject.

  • cleonard

Posted March 16, 2008 - 10:10 AM


The big issue will be the axle. The 95-97 CR500 uses a 20mm axle and the XR is 17mm. The 92-94 CR axle is 17mm. I have a friend with a 90 CR500 and you don't want those forks(90-91).

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  • DSTerry

Posted March 16, 2008 - 10:24 AM


Thanks for that info. Good to know. So if I went with these forks I would need a 95-97 CR front wheel and axle. Those don't seem to hard to come by and typically have the rotor.

So the brake caliper would be the main thing I would have to adapt. Probably a custom bracket of some sort. Should not be a problem.

How does the CR steering stem compare to the XR. Is this something I could machine to fit the XR bearings, or would I need to make a new custom stem?

  • Owyhee

Posted March 17, 2008 - 04:40 AM


How does the CR steering stem compare to the XR. Is this something I could machine to fit the XR bearings, or would I need to make a new custom stem?

The CR500 stem can be cut to fit the XR600 bottom bearing for about $40 at your local machine shop.

I did the swap with my 1999 and outlined it here: link


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