XL600R input needed

Posted a similar message under another forum. Thought I'd hopefully glean some more collective smarts from this group. This is my first post so forgive any boners.

I ride a cruiser 'cause it's all I've got, but right off realized that the dirt/gravel mountain roads of Colorado were not in its comfort zone (bless its heart, it did try), and that what I really really NEED is a dual sport. So, I'm looking. The cruiser will go once I have a DS.

I have found what appears (in pictures) to be a very clean 1983 XL600R with less than 10k on the odo. Owner says it starts on the 1st or 2nd kick. Asking price is $1450. I'm going to look at and ride it sometime this week. Meanwhile, I'm doing searches and am learning about the bike as quickly as I can. What I'd like is ANY input you are willling to give me for this particular bike. The price seems high to me, even if its in fine shape. What do you think?

I've read a ton of hints on starting procedures for these bikes. Seems like it was mentioned more than once that it can mess up a leg if you're not careful with the kickstart routine. I'm 63, retired and fit, but don't really want to mess meself up since I've discovered I really prefer walking upright without a limp. So, if I get it I'll certainly have to learn its starting needs.

I realize there isn't much available aftermarket but that's not what I want to do anyway. The bike has a bashplate, a rack, and is plated. Those are the real requirements for me. I can make anything else I need. I just want a reliable and strong bike to ride to the mountain trails and jeep roads, then go up them as far as I can and get back again in one piece. I don't even dream of big air, whoops, roostertails and all that stuff (well, maybe just a teensy little dream - but I know better).

Yeah, I'd rather have a spanking new DR650SE but you know how it is on a fixed retirement income. I'd rather be out there on the mountain trails and roads instead of sitting here wanting and wishing for a better bike.




'85 Yamaha XV700 Virago (but looking to trade for DS Thumper)

'97 Proflex MTB

'94 P-38 recumbent

My first choice wouldnt be a 23 year old bike that they don't make anymore and nobody carries spare parts for it in stock. I like old vehicles and all but not as my only mode.

Personally I would wait for a good deal on an XRL. Still air cooled and simple but electric start and reliable. Common bike with lots of support. I'm sure they can be had somewhere in that price range and they wont break your leg. Some guy on XRlug was saying he was selling his '01 XR650L with 6,000+ miles for $2,200.

Just my opinion.

I wouldnt waste my dreams on the DR.

Ride Red.

The XL600 was made for dirt roads. The suspension has less travel than a true dirt bike. It also has a lower seat height than most dirt bikes. Because of this it doesn't do as well as a XR650L on more technical trails, but if you are not planning on riding single track, it's fine. The big plus for the 650L is the electric start. Honda starts dropping replacement parts at about 20 years and that bike was last made in 87 or so. Since the 650L is still in production all the parts will be available for along time to come.

No matter what bike you get, don't go wimpy on the tires. You want good tires for the dirt.

There is a lowering link available for the 650L if you are so inclined.

One thing, not matter what kind of dual sport you get, it will not be as comfortable on the road as the bike you have now. The seat is not as nice and the vibration level is much much higher.

I don't worry about dealers carrying spares, they don't. Well not past oil filters and such.

here's pics of my recent purchase - 1983 XL600R.


It's my newest bike. I like it a lot. Smooth, fast, easy to mount and sit at stoplight.

The trouble with newer dual sports is that they are so high. If you are doing radical jumps, you do need that height for suspension travel. otherwise, not.

I keep looking for info on the XL600R. It sounds like it is pretty strong and durable.

Starting is a one or two kick event. Just be sure not to crack the throttle when starting it since I've heard it kicks back with injurious results.

If it dies out halfway between cold and warm, it might not want to start. It has been noted here, and I confirmed, that you CAN restart if you:

Turn off ignition

engage manual decompression.

Turn off choke

open throttle full

kick through several (5 - 10 times)


disengage manual decompression

keep choke off

close throttle all the way

turn on ignition

give it a good kick

give a little gas after it starts to keep it from stalling again.

I love my new (to me) xl600R. I like how it cruises on the roads and its handling as on/offroad bike. It looks great too.

for more info, do a search for posts which have xl600R in them.

here's pics of my recent purchase - 1983 XL600R.


The trouble with newer dual sports is that they are so high. If you are doing radical jumps, you do need that height for suspension travel. otherwise, not.

- I rode this one today. Rides OK, starts OK if you don't mind all that kicking, and I especially liked the fact that I could get both feet on the ground. However, I went over one rut while in the saddle and it did a number on my lower back. Far greater shock than I would have expected. Did the same rut several more times standing on pegs and it wasn't an issue.


Starting is a one or two kick event. Just be sure not to crack the throttle when starting it since I've heard it kicks back with injurious results. If it dies out halfway between cold and warm, it might not want to start.

- I discovered this when I tried to ease the choke off too soon. Engine died and I couldn't get it restarted before giving up. Owner got on and had to kick it far more than he expected also. It finally started. Neither of us knew to try technique you described. Would be good to know if that would have solved our problem. I killed it intentionally after riding several minutes and it restarted on one kick.

The bike looked far better in pictures than it did up close. After riding I found new oil on top of the engine/trans crankcase on left side (around the clutch operating shaft/lever). Owner then said it always drips some oil after riding, then stops. Chain had several spots that appeared to be stiff and binding. I spotted some hooking on the CS sprocket and also on the rear sprocket, so I'd be looking at replacing all three of those items.

The bike had no battery - only the empty battery box. Owner said that Honda dealer said he didn't need one but I've read several posts on this and other forums that say even a weak battery will eventually kill the stator. I'm assuming NO battery would do it even sooner.

Oh yeah, he had only owned it for a couple of months and didn't know much about it. Odometer was wrong - gear on front wheel had not worked until current owner added new one, so there's no telling how many miles this thing really has.

Hmm, chain, 2 sprockets, battery, stator (maybe), oil leaks, unknown mileage, no turn signals at all...

Looks like this bike has many more things on the negative side of the chart than on the positive side. I think I'm going to keep looking, unless he's willing to dump it real cheap.

I've been riding with many guys over the years with XR600's. I have never seen any of them have a hard time starting their bikes. It's one of the reasons I went with a Honda after wearing out a '91 DR350. (45,000 miles) Personally I went with an electric start xr650L and have not ever regretted it, especially after sinking it in a pond. The battery cranked and cranked until it finally lit up, I could not have kicked it and wouldn't have tried. My friends house was only a mile or so away and I towed his bike home with a tie down. Then we got busy changing oil and cleaing air filters. You can find an Xr650L for less than $2500 in good shape.

The missing battery is not a big deal. It will not fry the stator. It has nothing to do with the ignition. The lights will not work so well without it. A common mod is a "battery eliminator" which is nothing more than a large capacitor. The main reason you want a battery is if you are riding on the road at night. If the engine quits, then no tail light. That's dangerous.

The bike is not worth what he is asking. Even if you look around for a good deal a ring type chain and sprockets will be over $100. Another thing to look out for are all the rubber parts. By the time they get to be 23 years old some of them most likely will need replacing.

By your general description the bike sounds like a neglected beater.

Offor $800.00 and if he doesn't take it he will end up calling you in a few months asking if you still wnat it. Only a totally clean needs nothing XL600R with every stock peice is worht over 1400.00 nowadays. And if someone tells you the old crap story that any Honda built in the last 30 years is a "collectors Item" laugh in their face and walk away.

No doubt. A perfect XL would be worth the money....but, you'd still have a lot of kicking to do. I still have a few kicks in me, but buying an XR650L a few years ago sure made me a believer in e-start. I owned an XR600R for ten years, and loved it, but it really got to be work, after a long day of riding.

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