The XL600 thread

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Gregster, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. lookfar

    lookfar from the land of OZ Supporter

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    The 650 engine will bolt right in to the 600 frame using the original bolts. It starts to become problematic immediately after that.
    The XRL engine runs on DC power, whereas the XL engine runs on AC power. All the electrics are different. Much easier to swap the wiring harness for an XRL harness and associated electrics. i.e. ALL electrical components will need to be XRL, regulator, CDI, anything that plugs into the harness.

    The other major issue is of the twin carb setup. If you were to ream out the bolt holes in the XL twin carb head to take the XRL's 9mm head bolts and 10mm locating dowels, the XL head will bolt onto the XRL cylinder jug. No fancy carbs, you will be stuck with the twin carbs due to the position of the XL's rear shock.
    You will also need to change the cam timing chain sprocket, due to the XRL timing chain being a lot narrower than the XL version. Actually there are 3 different timing chains. XL600, XR600 and NX650/XR650L.

    I have been through all this, I re-powered my '97 XR600 with a NX650 engine, it was a big job, but oh wow, what a result.
    My RMG has a twin carb head, and a late model Nikasil XR600 cylinder, I had to do the bolt hole reaming thing, now you wouldn't pick it.

    It's a pretty big contract, but for me, the results are worth it. You will just have to work out the pros and cons for yourself vs buying an XRL.

    The XRL is not generally available here, there are some available second hand, but pretty scarce.

    HTH
  2. MartiniUp

    MartiniUp Long timer

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    The intelligent thing is to sell it to me. Where is it located?
  3. XRLated

    XRLated Been here awhile Supporter

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    Carlsbad CA, San Diego County.
  4. XRLated

    XRLated Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks for all the great advice.

    Parting the whole bike out on ebay is sounding much more attractive, particularly after lookfar's testimony above. What also might be fun/interesting/educational (and profitable maybe) would be to disassemble the engine all the way down and part that out on ebay, instead of selling it assembled, since as Sh0rtlife says, no one's necessarily going to believe it still runs, particularly after sitting a year.

    And maybe I can feel good about getting some good condition OEM parts out there for my XL compadres who still are trying to keep their aging XLs humming along.

    Yeah, kinda liking the idea of taking that engine apart along with the rest of the bike and setting up my very own ebay parts shop.

    In this case, I'd enjoy the work, learn stuff, do good in the XL world, and also probably make more off the parts than just selling the complete bike or complete engine.
  5. XRLated

    XRLated Been here awhile Supporter

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    After lookfar's excellent detailed post, if I sell the engine but keep the chassis, I don't see trying to make an XR650L engine work. Whew. That sounds like Masters Class type work! But, I have been thinking about playing around with converting a bike to electric...
  6. lookfar

    lookfar from the land of OZ Supporter

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    LOL, this is what I wound up with. Hopefully give you some motorvation (spelling intentional)

    1997 XR600 with NX650 engine, XRL electrics, XRL airbox, XRL sidecovers, XRL battery box. I made up some battery box mounts, and a mate tig welded them to the XR frame for me. The idea was to keep it all Honda, so that I could get parts for it anywhere. My local Honda dealer has told me that it looks factory.

    IMG_12951.jpg IMG_12961.jpg

    This is my XL600RMG, the European special.

    It is all Honda, but the cylinder jug is late version XR600, with 9mm head bolts and a Nikasil bore.
    The head is early twin carb XL/XR. The RMG engine is basically an XR600 engine fitted with e-start as well as kick.
    In this pic, I haven't swapped over the E-start gears for the correct version.

    It's still a works in progress, bits are just sitting on the bike to see how it looks.
    IMG_1806.jpg
    IMG_1812.jpg

    Oh, and just to keep the thread on topic, here is a pic of my '85 XL600

    IMG_1312.jpg
  7. mcma111

    mcma111 Long timer

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    XRLated,

    How about I build you a XR650l engine but use a XR/XL dual carb head. I modded a head for a fellow across the pond a couple years ago.

    Dual carb head, big fins, XR650l WEB cam and rockers, late style rocker cover (different rocker arms/spacing), modded the head to accept the decom plunger/spring. It can be done. I have all of the electrical you'd need. Harness, R/R, CDI, battery box etc.

    Hey, It's only money...

    Modded for cam decom plunger:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Something like this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    .
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  8. XRLated

    XRLated Been here awhile Supporter

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    Daaaaaamn! You just spinned me 180 degrees from my last post.

    That is tempting and I am thinking...
  9. mcma111

    mcma111 Long timer

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    Christmas is coming. Treat yourself...
  10. sh0rtlife

    sh0rtlife Long timer

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    is there that much more power to be had from the swap?, mostly curious here
  11. XRLated

    XRLated Been here awhile Supporter

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    That is brilliant Steve!

    But.... and this is me thinking out loud and nothing to do with that idea itself, which is GENIUS, but...

    ..and everyone tell me if I have this wrong...

    ...the two best things about the XL is

    1) the higher HP engine, since in 1986 CARB or EPA or whoever hadn't put quite the same stranglehood on the XLR as they put on the XRL in 1993. So, would I end up with a higher HP engine with Steve's badass hotrod hybrid, than if I instead had Steve hotrod my 2016 XRL?

    2) the lighter weight. I always thought the XLR is lighter than the XRL due to not having e-start. So does e-start in the XLR make it weigh similar to the XRL?

    Aside from higher HP, lower weight, and my considerable nostalgia for my XLR, doesn't--as someone here or in the XRL group posted--the XRL have better suspension, brakes, electrics (?), clearance, etc.? So, if modding the XLR engine doesn't yield higher HP than a similarly modded XRL engine and if it adds weight am I just left with XLR nostalgia vs. XRL performance?

    I guess the other XLR benefit is grandfathered looser emissions regs, but modding either bike violates those.

    Hmmm... I'm interested in anyone ele's thoughts, but maybe I open my XLR parts shop and instead throw money Steve's way for my other ongoing project:


    Screenshot_2019-07-21-10-46-26.png
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  12. lookfar

    lookfar from the land of OZ Supporter

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    1. I don't believe so, you're just going to have a 650 engine in your XL. It may be marginally different, due to the twin carbs, but I'm not too sure.

    2. The XRL will have better suspender, brakes, clearance etc than the XL, so yes, it will be nostalgia vs performance. It will be a bit heavier due to the e-start bits and battery.

    However, you will end up with a bike that very few , if any, people have got, and your orthopaedic surgeon will be happy that you are not kickstarting your bike.

    You will also be happy for your new lease on your old friend.
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  13. sh0rtlife

    sh0rtlife Long timer

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    its funny this is brought up cause honestly i worry more about parts availibilty down the road than the actual E start, i would assume the extra 50ccs of engine should boost the HP number considerably, but i could be wrong

    to me...the xrl's look goofy, the bodys wrong , and nothing will beat the look of the old xl/xrs of the 80s, so...atleast to me id rather update the old girl than swap her out, and honestly at this point ive got the suspension dial for me and my riding style, but would love to squeeze more out of the engine, more electricity and more legs in the power band and maybe a lil more reliability in the long run?

    i do love the mountain goat will go anywhere aspect and will mule up the hills in the wrong gear and pull strong, but theres plenty of times i feel like she needs a lil more when im flat out

    so id really love to know what kind of power gains would be had...ie warmed over xl6 vs the xrl650 tweaked to fit and warmed over with twin carbs
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  14. lookfar

    lookfar from the land of OZ Supporter

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    You got me interested sh0rtlife, so I had a look at what the listed hp and torque for both bikes.

    Strangely the old XL600R has the higher hp, but only by a poofteenth (Australian technical term)
    The XL has 45 horses vs the XRL 43.6

    Torque is the other way, also by a poofteenth.
    The XRL at 51.9 Nm vs the XL at 48.8 Nm.

    It would appear that the extra 50cc's doesn't account for much.

    Here are the web pages that I grabbed the info from.

    https://motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/Honda/honda_xl600r 84.htm

    https://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/Honda/honda_xr650lL 93.htm
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  15. XRLated

    XRLated Been here awhile Supporter

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    My understanding:

    Tougher emission restrictions throttle the XRL. Open up the airbox and exhaust, and rejet to actually use the extra 50ccs.

    As someone with both bike's set up OEM, I definitely feel more power with no stumbling from the XLR. Easier wheelies.

    Logic says hotrodding an XRL with a pumper carb will beat the XLR.
  16. sh0rtlife

    sh0rtlife Long timer

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    i do know that restrictions choke the snot out of the XRL, thats why i was REALLY wondering about the XL headed 650 with twin carbs, since in theory youd end up with a bigger porting across the board along with more air flow and a non restrictive box and better flowing pipes

    id kill for some real world numbers...it would probably make me pull the trigger sooner rather than later
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  17. XRLated

    XRLated Been here awhile Supporter

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    Do it!

    I've never looked into the XLR, but I imagine the XLR suspension and brakes are just as upgradeable as an XRL, right, so you could have maybe a lighter e-start bike that beals an XRL on all counts. Solve the two big XRL complaints: weight and stumble accelerating.
  18. XRLated

    XRLated Been here awhile Supporter

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    Due to cost vs. wallet thickness, I have to finish my GB500TT restore before any XLR work.

    However, everyone's comments have ended up making me pause on my earlier part-it/sell-it XLR plan that I was strongly considering.

    It'd be super cool if the XRL-bottom/XLR-top less-restricted dual-carb engine would fit in the GB500TT's frame, but from what I've read, no space to fit both carbs, and also probably many more registration hassles putting an earlier year engine in a later year bike.
  19. sh0rtlife

    sh0rtlife Long timer

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    ive done alot of parts swap comparison on suspension and brakes, and while the RL's front end "might" be slightly bigger, imo it isnt better, the LRs front end is still serviceable and tweakable and can be built to suit as well as the 80s XR front end, but again aside from some oil weights and a spring tweak its a good front end

    front brakes seem to be moot point and neerly identical, the master cyl is the only true change id make mostly for "rider feedback"

    the rear, well, both suck, swap the rear to a late 80s early 90s aluminum xr arm and shock with res, issue solved better tracking longer wheelbase more travel and adjstability with a MUCH lighter arm and mod it for drive

    the real kick in the rear is the brakes and drive, personaly ill NEVER get rid of the drive, which ..for now...means sticking with the drum, which once honed out and re-prepped with new brakes works amazing, and imo the "mechanical" aspect of it means it will ALWAYS work, nothing to leak or fail, however it lacks that long use anti fade that a disc gives, the ONLY way i see of truely upgrading this issue would be to use a new africa twins rear wheel/hub disc on drive PERFECTION...once spares come down in price ill be on the hunt

    the engine aspect is the only part i dont know enough about mod wise, but with the info posted, if i managed to get my hands on the parts to build one WITHOUT removing my engine from my bike id try it out

    i should see about scaling my XL and see how much weight ive lost/gained since my mods have likely removed more weight than ive added
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  20. XRLated

    XRLated Been here awhile Supporter

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    That was all interesting info, and you have clearly thought about this more than me. Hoping you proceed with a build! Maybe that'll get me inspired enough to sell the 2016 XRL and put the cash into the XLR and GB!

    The only thing I didn't understand was the comment above about never getting rid of the drive. What's the benefits of the XLR drive?

    Thanks!