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Old 06-20-2015, 11:42 AM   #1
SpaceCowboy7777 OP
Joined: Jun 2015
Location: Fallbrook(Northern San Diego), CA
Oddometer: 3
xl600 cafe racer project

Hey everyone, first time posting! I've been lurking for a long time, and finally have a project of my own!

Plan: pick up an xr600 or xl600 or xr500 or xl500 or anything cheap and have a summer cafe racer project that I can take back to school with me after the summer is over. Here is my inspiration:

What I ended up getting as a starting point (ignore messy garage, we're in the middle of a renovation):

Obviously its in a little rough cosmetic shape. Apparently, it was in a pretty bad crash, and hasn't been ridden since. The gas tank, entire front light/dash, kick stand, and a most of the other externals are kaput. But, when I picked it up, I sprayed some starter fluid and it fired up second kick, and sounded good! Also, the paperwork is all in order, which is a huge plus. Nothing more frustrating than dealing with the DMV.

Look at that, the smashed odometer reads only around 5,xxx miles. Let's hope that's accurate.

So, What did I pay? $787 after all of the registration and change of title fees. Not quite the deal of the century, but here in CA where anything with a plate is basically gold, I'm stoked on this buy. Less than $800 for an xl600 with around 5,300 miles (maybe more), registered up until August of 2016

First order of business: Order a new shifter and gas tank so I can actually ride the thing. The shifter is bent really badly, but I tried putting it in a vice and smashing it back with a hammer to no avail. This thing is TOUGH. Finally accepted defeat and ordered one from an xr650l from my local parts place.
Gas tank. I'm thinking of ordering one of these and mounting it up and going from there. Anyone have any feedback on that idea?
Forks. They seem to be in good condition, with no leaks, except for the left fork cap. It looks like the bleed nipple thing broke off in the crash. right now there is a random bolt forced in to prevent leaking, but I'm going to have to replace either the cap alone, if I can find one, or the entire fork. Take a look:

As you can see, the right side (left fork) has a bolt sticking out of the top that should not be there. I'm having trouble finding just the fork cap for sale anywhere, although I have a couple leads on entire forks for around $50-$75 on ebay. I'd rather not spend that much when I'll just be using one small part of them. Does anyone have any leads on a fork cap for sale? The forks are 43mm at the top clamp, where the cap threads into the rest of the fork.

That's all for now, I'll probably update next when the shifter comes in and I take it for a spin. I'll be thinking of a name for it also...
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:08 PM   #2
Beastly Adventurer
JStory's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2004
Location: Dixon, CA
Oddometer: 2,899
How about this one? The builder is an inmate, but I can't find his thread.
Cabin Fever

"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." Dr Samuel Johnson.
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:40 PM   #3
Chopper Rider
larryboy's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: On a set of 50,000 mile tires.
Oddometer: 15,156
Originally Posted by SpaceCowboy7777 View Post

Look at that, the smashed odometer reads only around 5,xxx miles. Let's hope that's accurate.

Hopefully it's not 105,363.

This should be right for your missing schrader valve:
Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die. ~Lewis Carroll~
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Old 06-24-2015, 10:38 AM   #4
RFVC600R's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: SAND LAND
Oddometer: 3,064
I think imma be sick...

'83 Honda XL600R 618cc 11:1 Wiseco, XR's Only Exhaust + over sized header
Originally Posted by Carter Pewterschmidt View Post
He's the XL600 Jesus, his bike dies for our sins.
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Old 06-25-2015, 09:56 AM   #5
Tim McKittrick
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Wasilla Alaska
Oddometer: 1,773
That's not the stock speedometer... So the mileage shown will be what was put on after the first crash that destroyed the origonal unit.

The XL mill is reasonably robust- it's weak links are poor oiling to the cams (make sure you warm it up and keep it in a warm location- use the lightest weight oil you can get in winter) and the connecting rod little end bearing. Other than that, if you keep the filters clean it'll run and run and run.
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Old Yesterday, 09:45 PM   #6
SpaceCowboy7777 OP
Joined: Jun 2015
Location: Fallbrook(Northern San Diego), CA
Oddometer: 3
Originally Posted by RFVC600R View Post
I think imma be sick...

It gets worse!

That's not the stock speedometer... So the mileage shown will be what was put on after the first crash that destroyed the origonal unit.
Unfortunately I totally believe this based on the fact that all of the stock speedometers that I'm finding for this bike seem to be square instead of the circular one that I posted a picture of.... Dang it.

Moving on, a couple days ago, I took the bike for a ride around the block! It was probably quite a scene, all together. It was mainly a ride to make sure nothing was wrong with the engine before I spend any money on the rest of the bike. Sure enough, It seemed to have good compression, didn't smoke at all, and I'd say it ran pretty well! Great torque. Amazing torque... but the upper end seemed lacking. Maybe when I clean the carbs and mess with the jetting it will liven up. Or maybe its just how these engines run. More on this later.

Here is the really ugly part:

YES, that IS a yz426f tank, and YES, that IS a wr00f seat. The tank is just sitting on the frame, not secured on at all. The seat is tied on with an old tie down.

This was how I rode it around the block. Quite ugly. While I was first kicking it, it backfired, lighting the starting fluid on fire! there I stood with the hairs burned off of my leg and a bike with a small fire blazing... I immediately ran across the garage to the fire extinguisher, but luckily after the 5-10 seconds it took me to get, the starting fluid had burned itself away and left a slightly warm, but otherwise undamaged airbox. I was relieved, it could have gone much worse and I'm happy that both the bike and I got away so clean.

Anyways, I got it running after a few more kicks, shifted to first, and took off! Jeeze it vibrates a lot! Also, the clutch pull is ridiculously difficult and the throttle, too, is difficult to twist. The combination of vibes, hard clutch pull, hard throttle pull, and my having to give it constant throttle to keep it alive absolutely KILLED my forearms. After about 5 minutes around the block, I was satisfied.

After I got back, I noticed that the broken fork cap had been spewing oil all over me. luckily I had changed out of work clothes into throw away clothes consisting of some floral shorts and an old tank top (not exactly protective clothing). Here you can see some of the oil on top of the tube:

and here its hard to tell, but my shirt and shorts were splattered with fork oil:

After the ride, I checked the engine oil, and it needs a changing, but its actually much better color than I was expecting. Anyways, I've got a list of immediately needed parts:

Gas tank
new clutch cable
new throttle cables
front brake lever (It's just gone)
carb rebuild
new oil/filter/check and clean screens (as far as I've learned, there are two screens; one under the right side engine cover and one at the bottom of the frame oil tank thing. Also obviously, the normal oil filter)

This is the first wave of parts that I'm ordering. I'm well aware of how much more there is to go. I'll keep you guys updated!
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Old Yesterday, 09:47 PM   #7
SpaceCowboy7777 OP
Joined: Jun 2015
Location: Fallbrook(Northern San Diego), CA
Oddometer: 3
Forgot to mention, It's now been sitting in my garage for more than a week with NO oil pool beneath it. I did check for leaks when I first was looking at the bike, but it's nice to confirm the lack of oil leaks on the engine.
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