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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Woohoo. My brother recently purchased a 1987 Honda XR600. We've been riding the piss out of it over the last few weekends. Fun beast! It came with a skid plate and lever guards, and new tires (albeit streeters...), as well as a new chain and sprockets.

Pros:

-Not bad for $1,100 (where the hell else are you going to get a fully legal dual sport with 38 ft. lbs. of ultra reliable goodness for that kind of money?).

-Plated/street legal.

-nice and torquey. The sort of feeling that you can only get from a big thumper ;) Plenty of grunt. It'll do 80 or 85 up steep highway. There is a monster hill climb in one of my main riding areas that just sucks the power right out of the XT 250 motor and bogs it down in seconds. I get the XR 600 on that hill, at like 3k RPM, 20 mph in second gear near the base of the hill...hammer it wide open and hang on, and that beast accelerates rapidly yet smoothly as you get onto the hill, and has absolutely no problem motoring all the way up in short order, even with the street tires it came with! There's this other hill out there that's even bigger, but at the base is a sort of "step up". The thing that makes that hill so hard is that the step (about 4 feet that rises very steeply) makes you go mostly UP, rather than forward on the hill, then you sort of come straight back DOWN. It totally kills most of your momentum even if you hit it at 40 mph (which is sketchy as fuck, but I did a couple times lol). Anyway, so when I do that on the XT, when it lands, it pretty much just completely bogs down instantly as the rear suspension bottoms out and the rear tire digs down into the top soil. At that point there's just no recovering, you're just done. But on the XR? When you first touch down, you feel that same bogging sensation, but it's only for 1 second, then it immediately picks back up and revs freely without any hint of struggle. Oh yea and, I did a nice long third gear power wheelie on the freeway the other day! Good times. Power wheelies in third do take some effort/technique on this bike (it'll do 61 mph in third...) but definitely doable if you get it right.

-lugs well. You know how some motors seem to feel like they just hate being run at anything even resembling low RPM? As though they're being tortured if they go below 40% of red line... Not so with this motor. It absolutely doesn't mind pinging along at idle. Bop bop bop, bop, bop bop...it chugs along nicely without sounding/feeling like it's stressed out ;)

-Should be nice and reliable (ridden it probably 500 miles so far). This thing was built when I was born. Those big old honda thumpers never die!

-very simple and easy to work on

-kick start is nice/you can count on it




Cons:

-carbureted

-a little top heavy/can be a handful in slow, technical terrain (certainly nothing unmanageable though...nothing like a KLR; no offense KLR owners, but you must admit those things are heavy haha)

-lack of electric start (definitely not a big deal, but bikes with both are nice)





I'm not sure I'd want to commute on this bike. I think it would start to remind you that it IS a dirt bike if you really started to pile miles on it. Then again, for the price... Not as good of a dirt bike, technically speaking, as the XR400, but those are two or three grand more. Anyway, I seem to inevitably bash my small bikes a bit whenever I talk about powerhouse dirt bikes lol. I really do like my little tractors, but sometimes it's discouraging, knowing that I can't make it up a lot of these hills because the bike won't do it, not because I can't...especially when you jump on something else right after a bike-at-fault failure, and then have an immediate success even when you mess up, haha. I don't really feel that I'm complaining about my small engines, but rather simply lamenting that I can't afford "both", or "all of them". I might just have to suck it up and buy one of those damn 500 cc euro-trash enduro bikes lol ;D If only I had 12 grand sitting around...
 

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I had a 2004 XR 400. It took a while to figure out how to start it with only one or 2 kicks.
It was geared way to high for the type of trail riding around here at least, so that was the first change I made to it.
It had way more torque than my current WR250, but the WR is faster and feels lighter on the trails.
The TW is still the king of the trail.

Would love to put a sand paddle on your 600 and take it to the dunes.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Yea this bike would be great on dunes. Should be able to pull third gear/55 mph up them. Lol I was going up this fairly big hill with super deep dirt earlier today. It was so gnarly that my DR 200, even though I was doing 8k RPM+ at the bottom of the hill, bogged down 3/4 of the way up, in FIRST gear! Even that super low-powered little motor virtually never bogs down in first gear. I did end up making it up on the DR after 4 or 5 tries. Had to really get everything right: hotrod through the turn that's a few feet before the base of the big part of the hill/at the top of another section before that; solid throttle modulation and body positioning to maintain forward momentum/traction; going way off to the side at about the 3/4 mark (because it was going way too slow and continuing straight up from there would have been impossible...was just digging a trench); keeping the tire spooled up like mad; and finally, realizing that even though it was bogging down in first gear toward the top, I still have something called a clutch on my motorcycle - abusing it did just enough to be able to keep the bike inching along ;D

Anyway, now, that XR 600's second gear is quite a bit taller than my DR200's third gear. Keeping that in mind (and the fact that the DR bogged down to a stop in FIRST gear)...the XR was able to get the whole thing in second gear, without ever touching the clutch or bogging at all (although it would start to bog a little if I didn't keep the throttle wide open). That section of the hill turns to the right at the top and goes a little further up that way, although the last bit there is not as steep. From about 3/4 up the penultimate section (the steepest and deepest portion of the whole hill), and through all of the last section, I just held the throttle pinned and held on. For most of that, the front wheel was doing between one and six mph, and the rear wheel was doing about 45 mph! That's what I call a good time haha!
 
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