New bike (to me) 1983 Honda XL600R

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by skeptic, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. skeptic

    skeptic Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    SoCal
    [​IMG][​IMG]Found it on Craigslist. Real pleased with its looks and ride.

    Not as tall as current flock of dual purpose machines.
    I'd like to get some tires that are 80% street and 20% dirt. And a small rack for stuff, gym bag, briefcase. Any suggestions?

    http://s93.photobucket.com/albums/l63/SSwytak/1983%20XL600R/
    #1
  2. dman

    dman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Beautiful!! I bought a new-new 600R back in '84 (A new '83 - they didn't exactly fly off the showroom floors back then even at $1500+T&L) and I don't think it looked as clean then. And definitely not after my first ride ....

    -dman
    #2
  3. JStory

    JStory Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,106
    Location:
    Dixon, CA
    Wow. That is clean.
    I have an '86 XL600. Accessories designed specifically for the XL are few and far between. Some XR and XRL stuff will fit, but its hit and miss.
    There are some other XL600 threads. Search Thumpers and Old School.
    Try XR's Only for engine stuff and other hard parts.
    Also look in the Vintage section on Thumper Talk.
    #3
  4. XTreme

    XTreme Mucho Macho

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2004
    Oddometer:
    649
    Location:
    Granada, Spain
    That's superb condition!
    #4
  5. Max Kool

    Max Kool Xtankteam™

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,451
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Wow that bike looks good! I had one for a few months, but boy that thing was bad. leaked oil from the cylinder head, hardly had any brakes....

    About the tires, see if you can find the Mefo MFC 99 Explorer.
    #5
  6. Sniper X

    Sniper X De Oppresso Liber

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    33,465
    Location:
    Central New Mexico, 7420ft above sea level
    It is in almost showroom condition! Nice find.
    #6
  7. 309

    309 Special Purpose

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,480
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    Had an '83 myself. One of my favorite bikes ever. Pulled harder than the XR650L I replaced it with.

    Avon Gripsters are great tires for mostly street.

    Have fun with it.
    #7
  8. mberryhill69

    mberryhill69 n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1
    HAD one just like it, wished i never sold it. If i recall, doesnt it have two carbs or something. It was a very good running bike and it was my first DS. Got me hooked.
    #8
  9. rideLD

    rideLD The further the better!

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,412
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Man that is a beauty.
    I bought that bike the week after I turned 16. My first street transportation. I did not even buy a car until I was 23:D
    #9
  10. skeptic

    skeptic Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    SoCal
    It does have dual, staged carbs. Starts easy when cold and when hot. In between it can be a bitch. The system I've been told about, which works for me, is, if it stalls out before getting warm, turn off, open throttle, turn off choke, open compression release, and kick through 5 - 10 times. Then on with ignition, no choke, no compression release, no throttle, and kick. if it fires, give it a little gas.

    It does seem to run real strong, though previous owner still has intake snorkle and backfire screen in it. I think jetting is stock. It pops a little on coastdown. Plug looks tan, though.

    I had old supertrapp (3" discs?) on my XL500 and this has the aluminum 4" discs. It is much quieter. No complaining about noise anymore.

    I'm going to have the little line going from right side of crankcase up to cylinder head replaced with a 1/8" line. The banjo fittings will have to be modified. This will be my attempt at following through with the suggestions of Tim McKittrick, on Thumpertalk.com, who replied in an email I sent:


    The bike is pretty robust but suffers from inadequate oiling at start up in cold temps. I will attach a reply as to the fix below- but you could probably get by with running thinner than specified oils when the temperture is below 45F and by insuring a good warm-up before riding the bike.

    Re: Oiling Mod for the XL600R

    Hi Murgatroid- Here is a bit I wrote up a little while ago- it was under an XR650L oil pressure thread if you want to see what else was there. Yes, this is a mod you have to make your own parts for, but it really isn't that hard if you have a little bit of experience with this sort of thing. If it looks beyond your capabilities, I will be happy to add more detail and answer any other questions. If you elect to leave things as they are, I would reccomend you run a multiviscosity motor oil with the lowest first number you can find coupled with the approperiate last number- say a 5-50 or there abouts. Then make sure to warm your engine completely before riding. I suspect that Honda changed the oil pump volume as the years have gone on, but I still feel that the below is a worthwhile mod. Good luck and let me know if I can be of further assistance.
    " I had a lot of problems with cams and rockers on my XL600R motor (which has the same oiling system) - to the tune of five sets before I figured it out. You may have had a high speed oiling problem but my trouble was all start-up related. At lower temperatures (below 50 F) there is insufficent oil flow to the head through the itty-bitty oil pipe, leading to oil starvation and gallling. Once the engine produces a little heat and thins the oil everything is just dandy. The result is your engine runs for a few minutes with little or no oil to the head every time you start it up. Much has been written about worn oil pumps and high flow aftermarket replacement pumps, but there is a better way. I replaced the line to the head with a piece of Aeroquip braided hose and a few 1/8" NPT fittings into the case and head and ran the bike another 35,000 miles with nary a problem- and it only required valve adjustment once. And this was using a high lift cam without hardened rockers
    I only deduced the cause of the failures after a local aircraft mechanic told me about a similar problem with Lycoming airplane engines- unless properly pre-heated in the winter these engines would gall their cams in exactly the same way as my Honda, only it cost a LOT more to fix. After modifying my motor I began ice racing it (in temps down to -20F) both to prove my alteration was valid and to have a way to play with bikes in the winter.
    I think the oiling to the head is insufficent on all of the Honda RFVC engines and I would not run one without making the change. I've modified three engines and none of them have had a subsquent cam or rocker problem. It's relatively cheap and easy to do, and you will never have to worry about the top end ever again."

    Also this from "XR600 Race cam"

    "The quick answer- you tap the case and head to a 1/8" pipe thread and use a standard pipe to flare fitting (90 drgree bend at the head and a 45 at the case) and attatch the two with a larger pipe- I used Aeroquip braided stainless hose on all of the engines I've done as it was available at my local supplier- but you could just as easily use soft copper and buy all of the parts at Home Depot.
    The object is to increase flow by enlarging the pipe- you are replacing the tiny supply pipe that Honda still fits to all of it's XR600/650 engines. There are some built in restrictions when using the off the shelf fittings so I don't think you will be in danger of using a pipe that is too large. I also increased the preload on the oil pump over pressure spring by streching it about 20%- primarily to increase available pressure when the engine is cold, (start-up) which seems to be when the most damage happens.
    Be careful when taping the case cover and installing the fitting as the case is a magnesium alloy and there is not a lot of material there- it is possible to crack the case and then you will have to make a few weird parts to set things right- if it comes to that I an send you a few diagrams. NPT is a tapered jam fit and forces material apart when tightened- so you need to just get it snug enough to seal. If you apply a wrap of teflon tape you may not have to tighten it as much to get the seal you need.
    I suppose it would be possible to do all of this with the engine intact- but I would reccomend taking it apart to make sure no shavings or chips get into the motor. I also had very good results from polishing the contact points on the sub rockers where the tappet adjusters hit- use a sharpening stone to flatten out any grooving or pitting from the adjuster tip and then buff to a mirror finish. If you can, do the same to the tips of the adjusters as well. Use a hand stone and don't over heat things so you maintain the proper tempering. I did my adjusters in a unimat lathe so I could maintain the radius of the tip- but a drill press set to it's lowest speed would work as well. This allows you to set the tappet clearances more accurately, reduces running friction, and reduces tappet noise.
    The last area of failure on these engines is the little end bearing on the connecting rod- if you find yours has worn significantly the best bet is to replace the rod (you will need to have a machine shop do this) with a "hot rods" kit from XR's only or White Brothers. These rods have a bushed little end which will take more abuse as well as an additional oiling hole- and the oiling holes are larger. If you want to make a full house racing motor you can opt for a Carillo rod, but I think the "hot rod" will suffice for most applications."
    #10
  11. katbeanz

    katbeanz earthbound misfit, I

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    8,202
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Deja Vu, had one just like it. It was my dualsport bike for about 12 years while I rode an IT, a couple huskys and a cr500 in enduros.
    I got it used and I put 10,000 miles on it, almost all of it in Colorado on summer vacations. I pounded the piss out of that bike with nary a whimper. Tires, brakes, chain and sprockets and I did put a clutch in just before I sold it.
    I did break one of the main rear frame tubes but admittedly it was ridden in a manner it wasn't designed for. :evil

    Another link for xl stuff..http://www.xlintperformance.com/
    #11
  12. wahoogully

    wahoogully Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    Oddometer:
    19
    Location:
    Bishop, CA
    I don't know about wheel size on your bike, but I just put Dunlop 606s on my 95 XR600R. They're claimed 90/10 dirt/street, but they do just fine on the street, even in curves. A little vibey on the highway, but they seem to do it all pretty well. Nice score on the clean bike.
    #12
  13. cuchara red

    cuchara red I don't feel this old...

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5
    Location:
    Garland,TX
    Hey, newbie here with my first post, and I think I'm in exactly the right thread. I'm riding a 1985 Yamaha Virago right now, but it didn't take long to realize what I really want is a dual sport to ride the backroads and trails of Colorado. So, I'm looking to buy a DS and am about to look at a XR600/XL600R (not exactly sure which it is, or even what the difference is) and was looking for more info. A search on XR600 brought me here.

    Your bike looks mint! Fantastic even. Better condition than the one I'm hoping to see this coming week. However, the one I'll be looking at looks very good in the pictures I've received. It is an '83 with a little less than 9600 miles on the odo. I think the guy's asking $1400. Seems high to me. If it's not too nosey, what did you give for yours?

    I'm looking for any input/info that will help me make an informed decision once I've seen and ridden the XR/XL600. Especially things like 1) what is a reasonable price to pay, 2) are parts readily available to keep it running, 3) any weird quirks, mechanical issues, etc.

    I appreciate any help you guys can give.

    I might mention that I'm not a youngster anymore (64 in Feb.), but am still in my childhood. I've been riding only 3 or so years and definitely do not plan on trying to keep up with longer travel bikes in the woods/trails. I just want something that will take me to those trails on the hard surfaces, then get me up the mountains and back without worrying about being stranded. And, an occasional road trip might be nice so I can still ride with my neighbor.

    thanks again
    #13
  14. katbeanz

    katbeanz earthbound misfit, I

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    8,202
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Hi Cuchara Red, as mentioned earlier I used to have an xl600, the xl600 is the factory built street legal dual sport bike Honda made from 1983 to 1988. The xr600 can be made street legal with a dual sport kit, as far as I know Colorado is still pretty lenient about dualsport conversions. In good condition either bike is stone axe reliable. If it were me I would be looking for something with electric start, the air is pretty thin up in the mountains for us flatlanders and cold enough at night to thicken engine oil making kickstarting a chore. Once warmed up it doesn't take much of a kick to start an xl. They weigh in the 280 to 290lb range but being a little lower they're not hard to pick up after a spill.
    1400 does sound a little steep, but maybe ok if it's absolutely mint condition, all depends on how bad you want one.:evil
    #14
  15. scootertrash

    scootertrash Mobile Homie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,074
    Location:
    "My leg's tired, let's live here."
    unbelievable that a 23 yo dirtbike can look so good and original! It's hard to find a pampered streetbike in that good of condition... Good job!
    #15
  16. skeptic

    skeptic Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    SoCal
    I can't really say exactly what I paid but it was less than $2001. I could not knock the guy down on the price. He probably did not lose much if anything over its life since he was original owner.

    The older bikes don't have the suspension travel of the newer ones, but that means you can get on them easier and have both feet on the ground at the same time. I'm not one to take jumps anyway, so suspension travel not real impt. Given the bike's weight I feel more secure trail riding by being a little closer to the ground.

    I just put Avon Gripster tires on it since most of my riding is on the street. I understand they grip the street well and are ok for trail riding too. I love the handling of the bike and its power and torque.

    Word to the wise, don't try to mount the wheels yourself. Take them to a shop to do it. It's way too hard. I got halfway thru removing rear tire from the rim and could not get it the rest of all the way off. Wasted a lot of time and energy in that failed effort.
    #16
  17. cuchara red

    cuchara red I don't feel this old...

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5
    Location:
    Garland,TX
    Thanks for the reply katbeanz. Sounds like the voice of experience. You've been in those mountains, huh? I'm looking forward to riding something up them besides my mountain bike. Come to think of it, kick starting shouldn't be any harder than pedaling...:wink:
    #17