600r doesn't like loose, sandy trails

My bike ('87 XR600) hates loose, sandy trails we have in the Mojave desert....it shakes it head; does not matter how fast or slow I go; it's more than just a little annoying, it wears me out.

I have just finished overhauling most of the bike....new wheel bearings, steering stem bearings, Eibach 12.5kg rear spring, Eibach .47 fork springs. I have varied fork oil, tried 5wt, 10wt & ATF (like 5wt best), I have played with race sag, between 3.5" & 4.5". No change. I have not played with varying the fork tubes in the triple tree; they are at the stock setting - about 3/8" above the triple tree.

I am running a half worn Dunlop 739FA front tire. Maybe a different front tire would help? Others have said that all the XR600's do this and that you really need a steering damper to fix it.

Ideas, suggestions?!?!??!


headshake is caused by too-little trail. i'd slide the fork tubes down in the triple clamp a little to see if that helps. this will unweight your front wheel and will slow the bikes overall handling.

unfortunately it's a fact of life that these bikes are front heavy and will always suffer in the loose stuff.

Try a Dunlop 756 front tire, it should help alot. My bike came with a 739 stock and when I went to the 756 it worked a lot better especially in the conditions such as Mojave. I know there are many other good tires out there, but I can only give you feedback on my experience. Good luck :)

I had a 94 600r.

I'm a pretty crappy novice rider and had a pretty tough time out in the desert one time (Mammoth 250).

What helped me was someone pointing out that I needed to sit farther back on the seat/keep the wt on the rear wheel and kind of let the front end float a bit. Almost like steering a boat (hehe).

Once the front wheel starts to dig, it can bring down the pig pretty fast.

You probably you already know this, but I thought that I'd mention it just in case, hope you are not offended. This really did help me.



My 94 xr 600 is pretty good , but my buds 97 xr600 is really awful. We are not sure what the big diff is yet but are working on corection. I have a scotts brace, mich enduro comp III tire in front and a mich dessert in rear. Seems to work great for me. His bike you have to fight to keep from falling and my bike I can almost one hand it. I weigh 300+ lbs on top of it all ! Go figure? :)

Boy do I hear you on the Sand situation. I've got an 86 600r and while I do pretty good at maching pace riding with my friends on there new bikes I'm forced to just fall behind in the sand whoops, nothing much I can do there. I too have tried the dunlop 756 and agree its about the best for that situation as well as the other conditions I ride in. Seems to be the best all around tire I've found for this heavy beast, but I love it.

Lean back and keep on the gas. Only way these machines will work in the soft stuff.

I can almost one hand it. I weigh 300+ lbs on top of it all

Bet you have a good amount of sag in the rear...So did my 650 until I did a spring change.

Check yours...A steering stabilizer did a fantastic job with sand issues on my bike.

Get your forks done, and apply more throttle :):)

Man, :)

I don't know what you mean. I have an 1990 XR600r

and that thing will climb anything. The thing will walk up any hill, even if I'm at low rpm. I just it and it just launches me up. It's got so much torque. One of the guys I bike with calls it the "Tractor". And boy that thing will cut new trails on hills like nothin'. The guy I baught it from rides with me and my friend, he would cut a new trail with the 600 by making only a few passes, we call it the "BULLDOZER". :)

SCOTTS stablizer helps alot. WOnt eliminate the shake in deep sand but keeps it under controll to where you'll just let it shake.

THese bikes are a handful in the deep sand corners. So try to look ahead and set up for any corners early. Try not to brake at all especially at the corner. Not gas break and go technique. The biggest thing is preparing early for the turn and being smooth. Its the only way to keep that big front end from knifing in.

I just replaced he front tire with a Kenda K770 'Southwick' - a soft/intermediate terrain tire. Just did a 65 mile ride thru the El paso's/Burro Schmidt tunnel/ Garlock/Spangler Hills area..... what a difference compared to the Dunlop 739FA. The bike is much more composed/controlled in the the soft stuff, it still wobbles a little bit, but it must be at least 80% better than it was.

I am still looking at a Scott's --- but they don't list anything in particular for a '87 & earlier XR600. I am looking for a complete setup to use with my 1 1/8" bars - hopefully using a clamp-on collar, but I can weld if I need to.

Anyone else tired these Kenda K770 tires?

steve the scotts fits on the 87, not the clamp on but the weld on is much better anyway.

Just put the Scott's on the pig and it is sick especially doing 80 plus down a nasty wash............. :)

The XR6 had a reasonably compact wheelbase coupled with a steepish steering head angle and a heavy engine. The equated to a bike that did dig more than most in loose sand, but there is plenty you can do to improve this. Make sure you have the right spring preload on your forks and shock- this makes a fair difference, loosen the triple clamp bolts and push the forks back through the clamps a little- say 5mm for starters, this will make it more stable, but slower in steering. Lastly, throw away the front tyre you have on the bike now and get a d756 or a michelin m12. Good luck!

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