Stock 2006 Honda XR650L Cafe Racer/Scrambler Conversion Project and General Bike Advice

4 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Hello Thumper Talk Community!

This is my first post here, just created my account a few minutes ago. I apologize if I violate any type of forum rules or formatting, but I'm sure I'll learn as I go.

To begin with: I've been riding dirtbikes since I was 8. I am currently a 19 year old University student in upstate NY, and I am riding a 2006 Honda XR650L that I bought myself when I turned 16. I've attached pictures of it (taken today, as I wrote this post) to illustrate the condition it is in, what it looks like, etc. While I have been riding for an extremely long time, and consider myself a safe and competent rider, I have a very limited mechanical knowledge of motorcycles. My dad introduced me to bikes and taught me to ride, but my riding experience over the years has been on my own, and my mechanical knowledge is self-taught and basic maintenance of my bike at best - nothing fancy whatsoever. He and I don't really speak anymore, and therefore I don't have any type of guidance or reference points when it comes to bike mechanics (or mechanics of any kind, for that matter). Nevertheless, I am very interested in modifying and improving my bike and possibly beginning a project to convert it into a café racer or scrambler-esque bike. I rarely go off-road anymore and use my XR as a daily driver, but I find the traction of off-road tires to be favorable and have never had street tires. Therefore I'm debating whether or not to keep my off-road tires (or get different ones), making the bike more of a scrambler - or to use street tires making it more of a café racer. If I'm using terminology wrong and have no idea what the f**k I'm talking about, then please always feel free to correct me. I am using Daniel Peter's custom XR650L café racer, and Ready Moto's brat/cafe racer as inspiration. I think both are beautiful bikes/rebuilds, and want something very similar as my final product. However, I think Daniel Peter's bike is tricked out in a very expensive (and unnecessary to me) way (i.e. antelope seat, c'mon dude). I also want to preserve my passenger seat and pegs, if possible.

I have absolutely no idea where to start, and have no current access to welding or fabrication machines of any kind. I'm asking for a full walkthrough and as much help as you all are willing to give me.

Because I'm in school, I have a very limited budget. Basically, I'm willing to do my short term modifications and enhancements, and probably put the conversion project on hold until the spring. This is particularly dependent upon the advice I get. I don't need the bike as much in the fall, because I live on my college campus, but it's nice to have around in working condition (I know the project would require pulling it all apart and not riding for a while). So if any part I need for this is expensive but necessary, I will save up for it and make it happen. If there are cheaper, reasonable alternatives to achieve the same goal, then I will do that. I'd appreciate all advice along those lines.

I just replaced my battery two weeks ago, and am going to attempt to replace the brake pads (a simple job, I know, but with luck/mechanical ability like mine, it can be quite daunting!) The chain is new, the frame has been reinforced at certain points, but everything else is stock!

What I Want Out of This Bike (Short Term)

1. I'd like to put the battery underneath the seat.

2. I want to clean it up, particularly the rusted parts, and possibly repaint/replace them to make sure the bike looks better. (Need guidance for this, as I'm unsure how to remove rust/how to go about repainting parts - why I posted pics, so hopefully this community can identify where my "problem areas" are on this bike).

3. Learn how to properly winterize and maintain bike. Currently I check oil regularly, fill it with premium gas, lube the chain once or a week or more, and wash it (probably not enough) and spray WD-40 on various pieces. If I'm an incompetent fool, tell me.

4. Replace footpegs, throttle, handgrips.

5. If feasible with my current bike, put in a circular (brighter) headlight instead of the stock square one. Am willing to get rid of red plastic housing, or find an alternative.

What I Want Out of This Bike (Long Term)

1. A full café-racer type conversion, styled similar to what I linked above. My dream "bought brand new" bike currently is a Triumph Bonneville converted to a scrambler (provided a pic) to let y'all know what I'm interested in, aesthetically.

2. Switch out stock carb (40mm) with a 41mm Keihin FCR-MX flat slide. I've been doing lots of reading, and it looks like this will drastically improve bike performance and throttle response in many ways, not limited to AFR and starting.

3. Repaint the sucker!


Sorry for the giant wall of text, I appreciate those who have read this far. Please ask any questions, give comments, critiques, advice, anything! I look forward to hearing what the TT Community has to say. Cheers!










Triumph Bonneville.jpg

Edited by rookiebuilder
1 person likes this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't offer any help other than there might be some ideas in the XR600/650 forum.

Up top^

Forums>dirt bike>make model specific> Honda>XR600/650.

Good luck. :thumbsup:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Hunkered down yesterday and replaced my brake pads after using near-ground down ones for far too long - honestly think the friction hurt my rotors, but not enough to warrant replacing them.

Also started to take off some rusted bolts/nuts, WD40 and steel wool scrub, then dry off and apply grease (I don't have any never-seize but I'm sure grease will do the trick.)

Watched some YouTube videos on how to properly wash, gonna give the whole bike a good scrub tomorrow (raining today) and then start on polishing it all up!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if you've looked into turning your XR650L into a SuperMoto or not but it seems like it may be cheep & easy compared to what you're talking about.

This is my 01 XR650LSM.IMG_0871.JPG.4c835999d2bef28f30d5a705755c8f7f.JPG

It's a very good urban assault bike for commuting.


As for the carburetor, check out my 40mm FCR-MX conversion over at SuperMoto Junkie, you can also find plenty of pics/info on Sumoing your bike.


XR650L 40mm FCR-MX Conversion


When I Tarded my first bike I did some searching for tire availability, I decided on the 17x3.5 & 17x4.25 combo because of tires being more available in 120/70-17 & 150/60-17.

So my advice is check tire size availability before purchasing wheels.



Edit: the specs on my bike.

2001 XR650LSM, Clark tank, Warp 9 wheels (17x3.5 front 17x4.25 rear) Avon 3D Ultra tires (120/70ZR17 front 150/60ZR17 rear) 40mm FCR -MX carb, UNI Filter, Marko Header, White brothers E2 muffler, CRF450R USD forks & triples, BRP SUB Mount, Scott's Damper, MotoMaster racing caliper & Rotor, Brembo 16/18 Radial MC, 15-43 gearing.




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:

  • Similar Content

    • By aminem
      Hi every one,
      i have a chance of buying a very nice 2011 crf250r , is this year model of bike worth buying !?.
      r should i opt for another model/year 250 four stroke ? 

    • By cyclopz
      so I bought a 1986 xr600r a few months back. Third owner of it now. the bike ran for a good month or two, but then shit hit the fan. it started just fine but when i went to ride it it would randomly die. i would let it sit for a bit thinking that it was overheating then it would turn start again. that went on for about a week. then it just wouldn't start at all, no spark. so i took it into the shop, not being skilled with wiring. they charged me 300 buck to fix a couple bad wire and connections. so i picked it up and got it home. started it a couple times because i was to busy to ride but wanted the keep it alive. then same shit. no spark again. so this time i was like &%$#@! that I'm not paying to have them fix a couple bad wires again. so i checked the connections they looked good i replaced the ignition coil and the rectifier because they were giving me bad readings, and now I'm stuck because the shop said the stator was the first thing they checked and it was fine so what am i missing. Please help!!!!!
    • By magicmike707
      2013 KTM 450sx-f. with only 61.3hrs on it. Garaged its whole life.
      It is a red sticker bike.

      Full FMF 4.1 RCT Exhaust system(muffler and header)
      New O-ring chain and sprockets
      Front tire only has 3 rides on it
      Rear tire is at half life.
      Rear rim is bent but tire still holds air and rides fine.

      Have Pink in hand ready to sell, reasonable offers only!!
      I am located 1hr north of San Francisco CA. on highway 101.
    • By Honda574
      -2016 Beta 250 RR

      -light/simple 2 stroke (easy adjustable power valve with 5mm Allen tool)
      -electric start
      -hydraulic clutch
      -Front headlight w/ high beam switch (cluster includes turn signal switch)
      -Horn (not installed but comes with)
      -rear light w/ front/rear brake switches
      -Nissin brakes
      -oil injection (no mixing gas)...very reliable system Beta has been using for years
      -Keihin carb
      -billet hubs
      -billet triple clamps
      -2.5 gal tank w/ reserve
      -tool-less air filter change (same as KTM)
      -integrated ergonomic grab handles in rear subframe

      -Original owner (purchased locally at Iron Pony)
      -minor scratches on rear fender and wear marks on clutch cover
      -new rear tire (AT81)
      -good front tire (MX31)
      -Low hours: 78, 1400 Mi
      -new front brake pads
      -new rear brake pads
      -never modified (engine bolts never touched other than change transmission oil)
      -have maintenance records
      -Gently ridden by 43 yr old engineer (never raced)
      -Clean OH title

      Extras (+$600):
      -carbon fiber pipe guard
      -Map switch (mud, high traction conditions)
      -Enduro Engineering radiator braces
      -Enduro Engineering radiator guards (black anodized)
      -Obie rear linkage guard
      -Tubliss rear system (0-15 psi for increase traction w/o getting pinch flats)
      -MSR Evo bark buster and hand guards with nylon threaded inserts (never move and absorbs vibration)
      -Enduro Engineering License plate holder
      -plastic removable skid plate (comes stock)
      -Trail Tech endure computer (comes stock), ODO, trip1, trip2, avg speed, speed, maintenance reminder
      -Front number plate (comes stock)
      -Beta tool kit (comes stock)
      -Beta shop manual (comes w/ CD and I printed as book)

      Key characteristics:
      -Very clean combustion (Keihin + oil injection) makes excellent torque from low to high
      -slightly lower stand over height (than KTM) makes clearing technical sections easier (I'm 6 foot and did not feel cramped)
      -Very reliable (0 problems in 78 hours)
      -Starts 1st time quickly even cold start (never used the backup kick start)
      -High quality parts on par with KTM (oversized black anodized bars, hubs, blacked out swingarm, black wheels, clutch, brakes, etc)
      -Can be used for Enduro, hare scramble, or MX (I primarily used for Enduro and occasional MX)

      retail $8499
      Asking.............$5499 OBO
    • By luke8500
      hi all,
      i have a 2007 Honda crf150rb that has an unsolvable hanging idle. bike has full fmf exhaust (powerbomb header and q4 muffler with spark arrestor taken out. you can turn the idle screw up and it will sit there and idle great but as soon as you touch the throttle the idle will hang very high and wont come back down unless i tap the kill switch a couple times.  I have replaced the vacuum plate seal and installed in correctly and it did absolutely nothing.  carb has been cleaned about 4 times before that. Jets are 135 main, 48 pilot and the others are stock. The throttle cables are not binding up i have checked this. I have tried the fuel screw turned really in really lean and turned out really rich. it made little difference except making it almost impossible to start. The screw is currently set at the factory specified 2 turns out. I have set and tuned the throttle position sensor to exactly what it should be. I've checked all around the engine for air leaks and have found none. Other than these issues the bike starts first kick and runs great. I feel like I've tried everything there is to try. Any help would be greatly appreciated.