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Honda XR 600R
1985 - 1987 Honda XR 600
Honda, realizing that more cc's meant more power, injected a 100cc 85 XR 500 dose to the XR 500 engine making the XR 500 an XR 600 in 1985. This made a fairly strong running machine run a bit stronger. Other changes included an aluminum, rather than steel swingarm, a dry sump engine oiling system, and frame changes.
Except for graphics, the XR 600 did not change appreciably until 1988.
How many motorcycles can you name that won Baja 1000 races spanning a 12-year period? Not to mention nine off-road championships and dozens of other major off-road events. Only one motorcycle makes the cut: Honda's mighty XR®600R. Honda's off-road four-strokes have been immensely successful in terms of both sales and race wins for decades, and the most successful of them all is the legendary XR600R.
First introduced in 1985, the XR600R could claim the XR500R as its predecessor.
That bike, first introduced in 1979, also proved to be a favorite of dirt riders
everywhere and amassed racing victories all over the world and in a staggering
variety of conditions.
Transforming the dry-sump motor from a 500 to a 600 required
surprisingly few changes. Honda's engineers bored the crankcases to accommodate
a 3mm-larger bore, while a new crank yielded 5mm more stroke for dimensions of
97.0 x 80mm and an actual displacement of 591cc. While the 600 obviously didn't
need as much compression to gain extra torque (permitting it to run on
lower-octane fuel found in out-of-the-way places throughout Baja), the new
bike's larger, redesigned valves opened in tapered inlet ports to add mid-range
Review Dirt Bike Rider 1985
After several months of abusing the Honda XR600, our minds began to open up to the truly fine virtues of the four-stroke rhino. At first the machine feels too heavy, and on tighter, rock-infested trails, darts around like a Super Ball on a billiards table. But, something about the monster soothed our hardened attitudes. It's a rip-roaring gas to ride and one of the most bulletproof warriors in our stable of machines. We decided to fine-tune the beast in an effort to neutralize the odd-handling warts that bothered us during the initial testing.
We contacted Al Baker and spent several days with him at his ranch in the high desert of California. Al sweats out more knowledge about XRs than most people ever think about learning. He's raced them, lived with them, and in the end, knows every aspect of the machine.. .inside and out. Al pointed out that the XR600 can actually be improved dramatically without spending a single nickel!
ON THE LEVEL
Al hammered into us this one important fact: Because the XR600 carries much of its weight up high (a tall and heavy engine, plus the fuel tank), setting up the suspension is actually more critical than it is on a 210-pound motocrosser! The right balance between the forks and the rear end dictates the handling prowess of the 300-pound animal.
In stock trim the forks have an oil level of 127mm from the top of the tubes (with the springs out and the forks collapsed). He bumps the level up to 115mm from the top of the tubes, using five-weight fork oil. This mod will still let the forks stroke out their full travel but firms up the mid-range damping and lets the forks absorb killer G-out impacts. Heavier riders or experts can benefit by welding up one of the compression holes on the damper rods.
Now, just as significant is the rear shock sag. The steering angle/turning qualities of the XR are very sensitive to the rear-end sag of the machine. Set up correctly, the XR has high-speed etiquette and will carve through a turn like a dolphin. Wrong settings will make the machine push and plow through the corners like the Love Boat.
Sizes and weights of riders vary, so the rear sag is set according to the individual rider's weight. In a fully unladen condition, measure the distance from the axle nut to the seat bolt. Then, with the rider on board, preferably with someone balancing the machine from the front so the rider can put his .full weight on the bike with his feet on the pegs, measure again from the axle nut to the seat bolt. A total of 112mm of sag is perfect! Remember, you're setting the steering head angle by setting the sag. Not enough sag will push the forks out, and the machine won't turn. Too much spring preload forces the front end down, and the XR will knife violently in the corners and shake its head like a wounded water buffalo.
The 112mm of sag is ideal!
Al also recommends several companies who offer products for the expert XR owner: Progressive Suspension, Al Baker R&D, and Works Performance. Progressive sells a heavier set of front springs that are ideal for the hard-charging rider, and Al Baker R&D can revalve the stock shock, altering the compression shim stack and reducing the inherent fade problems of the shock. Works Performance can modify the stock shock with their Transplant kit. Works resprings and revalves the shock. We'll go into these mods in more detail at a later date, but for now, we thought we'd pass on the info.
HERE ARE SEVERAL OTHER NOTES
• Do not run heavier oil in the forks
(five-weight is ideal). Thicker oil pressurizes the air volume in the forks and
makes them too stiff in the mid-stroke.
POKIN' AND STROKIN' We're going to run down a list that Al Baker gave us on setup and minor modifications—other than suspension.
• Brand-new XRs should be broken in with non-detergent oil. After 200 miles,
switch to a high-performance motor oil and change the oil filter. The first
200-mile oil filter change is critical, because all kinds of little metal chips
are floating around and can plug up the filter. After this, change the oil and
the filter every 1000 miles.
Al uses PJ1 filter oil. Some filter oils have
combustible properties, and without that screen the air filter can catch on
fire. Al has used PJ1 for years and has never had a problem.
Source DIRT BIKE 1985