1994 XR600R Dual Sport ADV Bike Build

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by cold_brew, Apr 3, 2021.

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  1. cold_brew

    cold_brew Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2021
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Last year at the beginning of the Covid lockdown I bought myself a cosmetically rough, but California street legal 2006 CRF450X and brought it back to life. I enjoyed every minute of the restoration and now very much enjoy having it as my primary dual sport bike that I built from the ground up.

    In February 2021 while we were just beginning to turn the corner on the first year of the covid lockdown, I started feeling the itch again. The 450X isn't going anywhere, in fact I doubt I will ever get rid of it, but, I wanted something that could be a little more comfortable for longer pavement stretches in between trails, yet still reasonably adequate off road, a lightweight multi-day-trip AVD style bike to build.

    I started my search originally for a XR650L and happened to stumble on a fresh new listing for a CA street legal 1994 Honda XR600R that the seller only wanted $800 for. I called him and we discussed that the bike likely needed a new top end and generally a lot of TLC, and this sounded like reasonable project candidate for me.

    I put the hitch hauler on the 4Runner, made the 45 minute drive and picked up the rustiest basket-case bike I have ever purchased in my life.

    This is my first bike build thread, so thanks for following along. As of now, I have much more to share regarding my current progress and will do my best to keep the postings and updates chronologically ordered. I am looking forward to hearing others experiences with these bikes. As of now, I am acutely inspired by @Blakebird's XR600R build, and will likely borrow some of the things he did with his build on mine. I'm going to call this a "Retro-Mod" as I like to bring in modern elements and tech into my restoration projects, to make them more usable and enjoyable (for me).

    Here are some pictures from when I got the bike back home on the day of purchase in February 2021, and shortly thereafter during its initial inspection wash.

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    At home next to my CRF450X. Two boxes of parts flank the loosely assembled XR600R.

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    Original tank, front fender, and side panels. The original headlight mask is in remarkably good condition and in one of the boxes. It will go back on the bike as I'm not a fan of the way the BD headlight looks.

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    Rusty frame.

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    It's a looker, even if it's in rough shape. I will likely maintain most of the elements of the 94' color scheme.

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    Frame has the dreaded kickstand crack, this will be re-welded prior to powder coating.

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    This ugly Baja Designs headlight mask has to go. Anyone want to buy it?

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    Cracked motor mount will be replaced.

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    Bottom frame rails reasonably straight.

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    So much rust. Nothing a little sandblast and powder coat cant cure.
    #1
  2. cold_brew

    cold_brew Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2021
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Here are some more updates.

    63364650064__826A173F-7CFF-46C5-824E-52FC84B4DC08.jpg
    Bike getting stripped down, oil drained. Getting ready to pull the motor.

    IMG_2380.jpg Motor is out, I am going to disassemble the bottom end and replace some worn transmission gears, all bearings, seals, etc, and inspect everything.

    IMG_2383.jpg The "upgraded" stator was damaged due to an improper install. The exciter coil also ohmed out as an open wind, it should read ~80ohms. I'll be reinstalling the stock stator which was supplied in my box of parts. The stock stator has a 90w output which will be plenty for my purposes of running an LED headlight bulb in the stock headlight mast, and dual sport lighting kit, as well as charging a small 12v battery.

    IMG_2506.jpg All broken down, mostly.

    IMG_2679.jpg Removing the crank. All bearings, o-rings, oil seals, lock washers will be replaced during reassembly. There's a great video series on youtube that goes over a full XR600R motor rebuild here. I also had a OEM Honda service manual and a Clymer manual as reference.

    IMG_2685.jpg After disassembly, i started cleaning and polishing up the crankcases with a maroon scotchbrite wheel on a bench grinder, and a handful of dremel attachments for the tight areas.

    IMG_2686.jpg
    After and before.

    IMG_2689.jpg These transmission gears were looking bad and needed replacement, so, I replaced them and inspected all the transmission components while I was in there. Everything else looked good and met the tolerances outlined in the Honda service manual. Good to go.

    IMG_2718.jpg This was A LOT of work, but they sure do look perty.

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    Inspected, cleaned, bad gears replaced, and reassembled. Ready to start reassembling the crankcase now.
    #2
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  3. 2manyrides

    2manyrides shifty charactor

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,841
    Location:
    Citrus Heights Ca.
    :lurk Subbed... I will enjoy seeing your take on what works for ya. Blakebird's bike... We're going back in time a little bit there. At one point I was on a mission to renew all my lost pictures in this thread. I made it some where into the 300's of pages of the call all XR's thread. Got tired. But then again, I can see that you need no help from me! Enjoy the build.
    2many
    PS, the B/D masks are a bit fugly, no doubt. But what is the intention to create a street legal high/low headlight out of the oem? Interested in what LED you are able to fit.
    #3
  4. cold_brew

    cold_brew Adventurer

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    Jan 28, 2021
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    Thanks @2manyrides! It's amazing how things on the internet stand the test of time, @Blakebird's build no doubt being a step back in time for many here, yet still new and relevant as ever to a newbie XR victim like me.

    In terms of the headlight, I typed the stock Honda bulb part number in the search field in eBay and affixed 'led' to the end of it, and sure enough this little puppy popped up for $14.99.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/LED-bulb-H...-Motorcycle-headlight-light-XR-R/164406651415

    s-l1600.jpeg

    The listing claims this unit is 6-7x brighter than the standard bulb, and consumes 35W. Now, 35W seems high to me for such a small LED unit, so we'll see if this is true in time. I'll hook up an ammeter in series and measure the current draw, and from there calculate the power consumption in watts.

    I am intending to wire in a 5ohm resistor on the low beam output side of the multi-switch, which will drop the voltage supplied to the LED during low beam operation, that should suffice for a high/low setup. I never ride at night so for now this should be more than adequate for me, and I'll get to use the much more handsome OEM headlight mask for a while.
    #4
  5. cold_brew

    cold_brew Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2021
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Here are some more updates.

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    More maroon scotchbrite polishing done to the engine side covers. I considered investing energy into a system to cerakote parts at home, but decided to hold off on that for now and stuck with this brushed look. I quite like it, and when they inevitably get scratched and boot-marked, all i'll need to do is scuff them up again with a scotchbrite pad and good as new.

    IMG_2914.jpg Bottom end going back together with the freshly replaced transmission gears, all new bearings, oil seals, etc.

    IMG_2918.jpg New timing chain installed for good measure. I opted for the Hotcams chain because the price and reviews were good.

    IMG_2921.jpg Crankcase halves back together, oil pump inspected and reinstalled with new o-rings. Clutch and flywheel also reinstalled but not pictured here.

    IMG_2930.jpg Bottom end back together and looking sweet.

    IMG_2934.jpg Since the OEM Honda piston and rings in the 97.25mm bore size are no longer available, I went with a ProX brand piston kit. I have had awesome experience with ProX parts before on my Japanese bikes, as they are an OE equivalent component provider. Just look at how the new ProX piston looks exactly the same as the stock unit that came out of the bike. I decided to go with the 97.25mm size after talking it over with my local machine shop. The cylinder looked decent, save for a few score marks and a few areas of oxidation, but it did measure out of tolerance at 97.14mm. I did not want to go all the way up to a 628cc bore and use up so much precious cylinder material in the process, so 97.25mm was the right choice to get the most life out of the cylinder and take care of any problem spots on the walls with a fresh rebore.

    IMG_2935.jpg
    New 97.25mm ProX piston on left, stock 97mm piston on right. Remarkably similar, I bet made with the same tooling and machining profiles as the OE units. The piston kit came with rings, wristpin, and circlips, all for about $105 from a great vendor on eBay.

    As of now, i'm getting ready to drop the frame off for a sandblast so I can uncover any and all cracks and problem areas, and then weld those up before powder coating. The cylinder and piston is at my local machine shop, Racers Machine in Escondido, CA for the rebore, and I have just finished walnut blasting the carbon off the valves and ports. I'll be replacing the valve springs and seals, but the valves and valve seats themselves looks great and will just lap them back in to ensure full compression.

    The stock carburetor will get a full rebuild and ultrasonic cleaning, and I still need to figure out an optimal jetting profile for the variety of altitude I typically ride at, which is 0ft-6500ft. This will likely be best determined after the bike is put back together and I can try different pilots and mains, but any insight on jetting would be great!

    More to come. Thanks for following along.
    #5
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  6. 2manyrides

    2manyrides shifty charactor

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    cold brew,
    I will be interested to hear your opinion on the lighting in the real world testing after you put it all together. The oem glass does not create a favorable beam for street use in my experiments. I modified an oem mask to fit a dual filament bulb, but scrubbed the whole idea and ended with the B/D headlight. Give us a report when you have it figured out... Thanks,
    2many
    #6
  7. cold_brew

    cold_brew Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2021
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I see...I suppose I hadn't considered the beam pattern of the stock housing. We will see how it goes and i'll be sure to report on my findings. If it doesn't work out, I may try out a budget or knockoff version of the baja designs squadron light, i think harbor freight has something like this, and then fab up a mount for it in the OE headlight mask. We'll see!
    #7
  8. 2manyrides

    2manyrides shifty charactor

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    Regardless what you come up with, I would like to see it and get your take on it at the end. I think you'll come up with better results than I did. I was determined to make oem work and did not give up until I finished making something. (pretty funky) But that was not good enough for a rare occasion. RARELY are you going to find me out art night with my plated dirt bike, but I wanted it functional.
    #8
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  9. cold_brew

    cold_brew Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2021
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I figured it was time for an update on this build thread.

    Since the beginning of April, I have been able to accomplish a lot. The motor rebuild was completed, carburetor rebuilt, all the suspension was rebuilt, the frame was sandblasted then welded in a few problem spots, and finally powder coated in a 'near' Shasta White color.

    It's coming along and hopefully will get to give it its first start in the next week or two.

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    Rebuilding the carburetor.


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    Valve job done.

    IMG_3053.jpg A beautiful bore and hone by my local shop, Racers Machine, in Escondido, CA. I went with a 97.25mm piston from Pro-X.

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    Getting the top end installed.

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    Beauty. My first complete engine rebuild. It went very well all things considered, hopefully it runs!

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    Just a nice photo of the complete engine sitting pretty in the workshop.

    IMG_3145.jpg The frame was missing the tab to hold down the gas tank, I hear this is a common piece to break off on these bikes. So, I got out my old MIG welder and welded up a replacement.

    IMG_3147.jpg It turned out very well.

    64108780231__173C3A2A-DB56-4447-A3A1-943D15CEF65E.jpg
    Ok, so I'm not a professional welder, and these are far from the prettiest welds I've ever made. Prior to this it had probably been at least 6 years since I welded anything. Regardless, the welds are complete and strong and will get the job done. A grinder and paint make me the welder I aint!
    #9
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  10. cold_brew

    cold_brew Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2021
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    In continuation of my build thread update on 5/20/21.

    IMG_3109.jpg Fork teardown. I found out that the bike had been tickled by Racetech at some point back in the day, so the internals are of good quality and I believe the bike will be sprung just right for my weight. A good cleaning, all new busings and seals and oil, and back together it all goes.

    IMG_3362.jpg Servicing the rear shock. I replaced the piston and seals, then had the shock charged with 180psi of nitrogen at my local Oceanside Cycle Supply in Oceanside, CA.

    IMG_3364.jpg Rear shock done and patiently awaiting the arrival of the frame.

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    An exciting day getting the frame back from American Powder Coat in Escondido, CA. Eric was great to work with and listened to all my concerns and answered all my questions. He matched the Shasta White color as best as he could, and I also had him do the right footpeg mount and kickstand in a gloss black to compliment the frame.

    IMG_3407.jpg
    This is exciting. Motor in, swingarm on, just installing things and enjoying the process. Torquing everything to specs and marking fasteners afterward.

    IMG_3409.jpg From the other side. Got the triple clamps installed with new bearings and races. Looking fresh.

    IMG_3417.jpg A close up, this bike is looking amazing.

    IMG_3425.jpg Got the rebuilt forks installed as well as the carburetor and airbox.

    IMG_3426.jpg Shiny things.

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    Test fitting stuff and making decisions. I had to buy a rear fender for the bike since the one that was on it looked better in the garbage bin, but the new UFO fender has inspired me to (most likely) replace all the plastics now. I'll keep the originals in a box, but I hate to do all this work on this bike and have it look 8/10 because of old, yellowing plastics. I purchased the UFO side panels and will likely vinyl wrap the lower section blue to match the OEM color scheme, and will replace the front fender too with either a white Honda unit, or the UFO one. Regarding the gas tank, I may install a White Acerbis 5.8gal with a set of period correct graphics I found on eBay. We'll see what happens with the headlight assembly, I may design and 3D print a mount for an LED pod light to fit with the OE mask, or may replace the entire assembly with something more modern.

    A big box of parts should be arriving from Rocky Mountain ATC/MC tomorrow, so more updates to come.
    #10
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  11. WolfNman

    WolfNman I wanna rock!

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    386
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Looking great!
    #11
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  12. Samanjo

    Samanjo Long timer

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    Jan 2, 2016
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    Location:
    South Africa
    Great job thus far.
    Excited to see the end result.
    #12
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  13. PDXR650

    PDXR650 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    Oddometer:
    105
    Location:
    Gravel road between Bend and Burns
    I'll send you a six pack of beer if you do this with the bike when finished.

    Awesome bike - brings back lots of memories...

    upload_2021-5-21_15-28-34.png
    #13
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  14. cold_brew

    cold_brew Adventurer

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    San Diego, CA
    Oof...After not hitting the gym for almost a year, unlikely :lol3
    #14
  15. ex250mike

    ex250mike Long timer

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    Looks amazing!
    #15
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  16. cold_brew

    cold_brew Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2021
    Oddometer:
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    San Diego, CA
    Here an update as of 7/3/21. A lot has happened since the last post.

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    LED Blinkers, Brake Light, and License Plate Mounted.

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    3D printed license plate bracket mounted up with white LED license plate lights.

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    Both brake calipers and master cylinders were rebuilt.

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    I wired up a DC regulator/rectifier off the stock 90W stator to power all the dual sport lighting and provide DC power for the LED headlight that is on the way. I configured the system to charge a small 12V lithium battery which will be used to power the lights briefly when the motor is off (for safety).

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    Nice big tank from Acerbis has arrived.

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    The existing XR600R front forks were binding from the middle to bottom of the stroke, and upon further inspection, the lower fork tubes had a few dents that I hadn't noticed during the rebuild. I ended up finding a really nice pair of used forks off a 2012 XR650L on eBay that had been recently rebuilt and re-sprung with stiffer Eibach springs, and they also came with a sweet fork brace too. Installed some red seal savers on them and the front-end is ready to go.

    IMG_3798.jpg
    It runs! Quite a thrill to see the motor fire right up after having it completely torn down. More in next post.

    Attached Files:

    #16
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  17. cold_brew

    cold_brew Adventurer

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    Jan 28, 2021
    Oddometer:
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    San Diego, CA
    Continuation of update on 7/3/21.

    IMG_3811.jpg
    @2manyrides , you were right about the stock headlight, here's my solution.

    The stock headlight was just not going to work out. The beam pattern was dismal and I also wanted to freshen up the look of the front end. I found this universal Acerbis VSL headlight online and took a chance. It arrived loose in its packaging, but upon opening it up it looks new and I suppose they just ship them this way. I wanted a High/Low function, so I wired up a 10ohm 100W resistor in series with my low beam output from the multifunction switch, and that seems to work like a charm.

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    This thing is no joke, it is BRIGHT.

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    I had a custom seat cover made from the guys at MotoSeat to match with my period correct 1994 graphics on the Acerbis tank. I got these graphics from MMCD motoshop on eBay and they are really great quality. I am running into an adhesion issue however with the texture of the Acerbis tank, the graphics will stick lightly but they are not making a full bond with the pitted surface of the tank and want to peel up. Upon further research, this seems to be a common issue with these tanks, bummer. I'm going to try to remove the graphics and reapply them with a layer of clear contact cement typically used for window weatherstripping, an idea posted by another member who had good luck with this, wish me the same luck!

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    I carefully freehanded the blue side panels and headlight mask with 3M 1080 Automotive vinyl in their Gloss Cosmic Blue color. I am thrilled how it turned out!

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    As it sits as of 7/3/21. On the way are a complete set of black Warp9 Elite wheels on their red anodized hubs, and I also need a skidplate. I am considering the Hyde Racing one made for the XR650L as I like the look and lightweight nature of composite skid plates.
    #17
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  18. 2manyrides

    2manyrides shifty charactor

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    You're going to have a blast on that thing!
    As I scrolled, even though I had not fully exposed the picture of the tank, I saw the rough finish. They didn't used to be that way. Good luck sticking to that!

    I was thinking about those license plate lights as the western powersports dual filament xr r look alike no longer comes with a clear window at the bottom for illumination. Ebay item?

    I'm old... I'd probably slice my arm walking past your plate.

    Your build is fantastic!
    #18
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  19. cold_brew

    cold_brew Adventurer

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    Jan 28, 2021
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    San Diego, CA
    Thanks! For the tail light, i'm using the red housing provided by UFO that came with the fender, and swapped in a dual filament LED for added visibility- the LED was an eBay item. For the license plate lights, I used two of the Tusk branded ones from Rocky Mt in place of normal upper plate mounting screws. I think it turned out pretty tidy :)
    #19
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  20. ex250mike

    ex250mike Long timer

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    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,263
    Nice job! IMG_20190317_093442626_HDR.jpg

    I love the old red/white/blue color scheme. So much better than the barbie colors Kawasaki was using at the time.
    #20
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