XR600 'snatching' at lower revs?

I have a '94 XR600, mechanically stock, always been strong and reliable, but it seems to be getting more 'snatchy' at lower rpm. I don't think it's a carburetion thing, though it might be. Unlike my XR440 (with Mikuni pumper) which will pull from zero without snatching or balking, the XR600 needs to be in its midrange to pull smoothly. I wondered if maybe the camchain is getting old. Could this cause that symptom? It kinda has that feel, like on old Brit machines with separate gearboxes that would get 'snatchy' if the primary chain wasn't kept adjusted. Or maybe it's always been this way and I'm only now noticing it compared to my XR440 which is such a tractor. I would have thought the XR600 would have been the torque-meister, but the 440 is much smoother and stronger at low revs.

Is it just that the XR600 is all mid-range, and they all do that, or does my bike need work?

Any help appreciated!

Could be some carb gunk causing a glitch when you open the throttle, or open it more.


I dunno . . . like I said, it doesn't really feel like a carburetion problem . . it feels more like a mechanical thing, almost as if the transmission fights against itself at low rpm. I had an XR650L that also was disappointingly untractable at low rpm. At the same time I also had a DR350 that was totally comfortable and smooth from very low down. Maybe it's just that the big XRs are all mid-range and don't want to be lugged?

Does anyone out there have a big air-cooled XR that's happy to lug around at low rpm, like my old DR350 or my XR440 or do they all have to be run at higher rpm to be happy?

I love how tractable my XR440 is and my old DR350 was - they'd pull from just above stalling - and I kind wish my big XR was the same. Maybe something needs to be fixed on it and it will be. Or maybe I need to realize that big XRs are all like that and need to be revved not lugged.

It feels like there's a kind of clanking going on until the revs are up to about (I'm guessing) 3000rpm, at which point it all smooths out.

Is it my bike that needs fixing or my head?

All help appreciated.

That 600 will pull as good or better than the 400 , if jetted and setup .

If you haven't already, toss in a new plug and see what happens.

What's your gearing ? 14 X 48?

Is this off road, maybe rear suspension sag, shock lnkage or settings, drive chain? They're not the smoothest lugging the engine at low revs. The L model I had was better than all the Rs at least in lugging conditions but had a heavyer flywheel.

My gearing is 15x49.

New plug two weeks ago.

It isn't stumbling, as if there's an ignition problem, and as far as I can tell it's carbureting cleanly. It almost feels as if the transmission doesn't like pulling at low rpms, maybe as if there's some slop in the gearbox. Could there be some transmission problem that would make it snatchy or clunky at low revs?

I'm kinda hoping someone's going to recognize what I'm talking about and say"Oh yeah, mine did that until I fixed the problem with the . . . ."

Or on the other hand, someone's going to say, "Oh, they're all like that. XR600s like to be ridden in the midrange. They don't like to be lugged like a tractor. Just get used to riding it at higher revs."

Still, I like the way my old DR350 and my XR440 will chug there way out of anything and be totally happy doing it.

Somehow I think my XR600 should be at least as good at that as smaller engined bikes.

Thanks for your help so far, but I'm still wondering . . .

Hi have a 1984 XR500R, not the same bike as yours but very similar. Anyway, you could say my bike "snatches" at low RPM, I like to call it "chugging." I just downshift when this happens, or if I'm in first gear I just try to keep the RPMs a little higher. Other than that, it's possible that there's some slack in your gearbox, that looseness might add to the snatching you describe. Also, check your ignition timing. DGXR

I rode/raced xr 600's for about 6 years.... 3rd gear is the weak link in the transmission. The symptoms you describe sound like what happens when that gear starts to show some wear...maybe i'm wrong, good luck..Ron

Hmmmmmmmm . . .

Third gear, eh?

That's a good suggestion, Ron. it's a suggestion that fits all the symptoms I've been trying to describe.

Now you've got me wondering if it's just in third gear that I notice it. 1st and 2nd gear aren't a problem because the revs rise quickly anyway, and it's in the woods that I find myself being bugged by it, so I'm wondering if it's primarily a third gear problem. That might be it.

It just developed a flat front tire today so I'll throw in a new tube tomorrow and head out and check out your theory.

Is repairing an XR600 transmission a big job?

I have a DR350S and an old (83) XL600. After I changed my gearing on the XR from 15/49 to 13/49, it pulls just like the DR. It will still buck if idle is set too low tho. If you need to ride the freeway for long periods at or above 70, you will find the 13 may be too low. I ride trails and fire roads, with only occasional freeway and lots of town riding since gas $$ went nuts. The 13T works great for me. Great wheelies too. Had a 12T before, but the motor has so much torque it started to pull the teeth forward. Acceleration would pull your cheeks over your ears thru all gears. And, I had a great time jumping big crotchrockets between stoplights and spanking 'em bad for at least 200 ft. The 12T was great on tight trails and pulled from a too low idle very smoothly-better than the DR350. Cost to try a 13T- $20 !

Hey Ron...wasn't that 3rd gear thing just the 85-87 XL600's, and taken care of by Honda for the '88 model year?

Seems I read that somewhere...........

Your XR600 should pull like a freight train at low RPM (mine did). I never had mine geared as high as yours but it should still run well at low RPM. I never had any trouble with the camchain tensioner but I've heard they were a bit problematic and needed replacement after a few thousand miles. Did this problem occur suddenly or develop over an extended period of time?

It developed gradually - that's why I'm not even sure that it's a problem - it's still pretty subtle - Still, the more replies I get, the more it seems as if it shouldn't be there - especially as a few folk have pointed out that the XR600 should pull like a train from low down.

Anyway, I'm about to go out and fix the flat and then I'll report back on whether it's just a third gear thing, as per Ron's suggestion.

Fixed the flat and took it for a too short run - parenting duties keeping me close to home - it IS in third gear where I notice it most, but it isn't completely absent in 2nd - I have to say a lot of the time it's not noticeable, but the idea that it's wear in the transmission. makes sense, and the bike HAS been around for a while. It would be helpful to take another, newer XR600 out for a spin, but none of my friends ride the six-honey. Maybe tomorrow I can spend a bit more time out with it and try and pin it down

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now