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Help me make a better 1997 XR600R !!

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HI EVERYONE, sorry about the yelling, but I am rather excited. I just bought my very first dirtbike of my life today. I used to ride some as a kid, but never owned one. I know little about them, other than things I have read, and am looking for wiseom, and have no one to help me on this journey. SO, any help would be greatly appreciated. What shoudl I do with this thing?? It is 100% stock, besides a new chain, and rear sprocket. I want to do any mods that need done to make it run efficiently and correctly. I'm not interested in big power, I just wanna take care of my new best friend. Help me make a better Honda :ride: THANKS!!

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Well, being that it is your first "real" dirtbike, and it is rather big and powerful, I wouldn't do anything to it. But I would replace the front sprocket. You state that it has a new chain and rear but you did not state front. Go with 1 tooth smaller than stock. I believe 14 would be what you are looking for.

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On the 600 a 14 tooth countershaft is stock.

The thing you need to do is spend what too many hours reading here. Just about every question you might have has been answered. Get familiar with the search function.

If you want a list of frequently neglected service items:

  • Check the valve clearance
  • Change the oil and clean the oil screen at the bottom of the frame tube.
  • Change the fork oil
  • Disassemble clean and regrease the steering head bearings
  • Disassemble clean and regrease the swingarm and linkage bearings
  • I would just replace the wheel bearings as they could easily be 13 years old.
  • Lube the cables

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Not interested in big power? That's too bad, because you now have one of the biggest baddest bikes out there! Take it easy on that thing. It's got enough power to spin the rear wheel all the way to 5th gear. That thing will do 100 mph.

As Cleonard said, learn the maintenance. It's far more important than any mod you could do. Personally, I think stock works pretty damn well. The gearing is perfect for both on and off road riding.

Lets see some pictures.

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Have heard several stories about 2nd and/or 3rd gears going out if these gears are regularly abused for years. That is too bad because those are the funnest gears in my opinion. Get acquainted with the starting procedure before it kicks back on you, that is never fun with a big thumper. Otherwise just keep up on the regular maintenance like previous posts and it will last you a very long time. :thumbsup:

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I would clean the down tube screen, grease the steering stem and swingarm bearing.

Change the motor oil and flush and change the fork oil also.

Clean and grease all electrical connectors including the stator wires.

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Change the oil every 200-250 miles if you are really hard on it and clean the air filter element when dirty looking. It should last you for years. Good luck.

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Thanks for the advice, I did talk to the guy I got it from today, and when we were talking, he said that the front sprocket had been replaced at the same time as the back. It also has a Uni filter in place of the stock one, otheer than that, its all stock. The bike I used to ride as a small kid was an XR100. My Dad got it for me and my brothers when I was 10. Then I rode lots of 2 strokes after that, but quit riding when I was about 18. My favorite bike of my Dads was a Yamaha IT250, that thing was hell on wheels, my 600 reminds me of it. Of course, they are very different bikes, but that IT was explosive and lots of power, the 600 is sorta like that, but more even and controllable. The Yamaha IT had that WOW factor of going from nothing to everything in about a half a second!! I like power, and I'm a big guy, I can handle it fine, I'm just not interested in trying to milk every last bit of horsepower out of it I can, ya know? I'm just looking for the wisdom of guys who have ridden these big singles, to help me make some good choices in upgrades and mods, ya know?! thanks for you reply :thumbsup:

Edited by Steelheader

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And thank you ALL for the maintenance tips!! That is exactly the kind of advice I am looking for. I am going to get into all of that stuff this weekend, after I take it for my first real ride. My Dad has a place up in the mountains, and I'm gonna hit some Forest Service roads. One thing I noticed this morning when I was riding around was that the front brakes seemed a little weak, I really had to grab them hard to get them to work, I am used to sensitive brakes from riding road bikes, so maybe that is all that is. My friend says i should put a Mikuni card on it, wondering on thoughts about that. And I am interested in exhaust options, not necessarily replaceing the pipe, but things i could do to improve flow and efficiency. Noise isn't much of a factor, as I live in Idaho, and there aren't many people around. And heck, noise is part of most fun, in my experience :thumbsup:

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Get a manual. The Honda ones are the best, but a Chilton is better than nothing.

I would take care of all the maintenance items mentioned and get the brakes figured out. It would not be a bad idea to completely flush out the brake fluid front and rear. After that start thinking about more major mods like carbs and exhaust.

One reason I went for a 600 was it had enough juice without resorting to a lot of mods. My bike does 85 or so in the dirt on my GPS and that is plenty fast enough for me.

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Get a manual. The Honda ones are the best, but a Chilton is better than nothing.

I would take care of all the maintenance items mentioned and get the brakes figured out. It would not be a bad idea to completely flush out the brake fluid front and rear. After that start thinking about more major mods like carbs and exhaust.

One reason I went for a 600 was it had enough juice without resorting to a lot of mods. My bike does 85 or so in the dirt on my GPS and that is plenty fast enough for me.

Thanks for the replies. I got the original manual, but am going to get a better one with more detail on tearing things down. I'm pretty handy with tools, grew up on a farm and have worked on lots of stuff, so I'm actually looking forward to some good ol' greasey, barked-up knuckles. I hear you on the waiting for major mods, but I just can't help but think about it, ya know? I realize its gonna take me a few months till I get caught up on maintenance stuff, but I am going to put the time in and do it. My Dads place has room to work in, and lotsa tools. I don't doubt that the 600 has plenty of power, that is why I wanted one, was it is a more powerful bike. I am very interested in making it run the best that it can tho, as efficently as possible, and ultra reliable. :thumbsup:

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Change the oil every 200-250 miles if you are really hard on it

I'm all for keeping good oil in there, but 250mi drain intervals is CRF territory.

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Anyone ever try the Michelin AC10 tires? I am thinking about buying a pair, to replace the tires on my XR600. The tires that are on it are the original tires, and still have about 80% of their tread, but have cracks and a little chunking as the rubber is deteriorating. I will be doing a lot of Forest Service road and trail riding, but will travel on the county paved roads too. I would say 40% of the riding will be on hard packed dirt, or a dirt road, 40% variable conditions trails(trails in Idaho can get interesting), and some rocky stuff too, but not very often, and maybe 20% paved road overall, miles wise(of which I will be taking it easy, so as to not tear my tires up). Also, what are the best tubes to use? And rim strips. Any tire advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!

I did finally get it out on some dirt roads today, and quickly got her up to 75 mph, holy crap, this thing hauls some major arse, and runs purrfect! I don't know that I actually need to go this fast, any thoughts on replacing the primary sprocket with a 15 tooth? Anyone done that? Was it a good idea? Any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions, I always like a lot!! THANKS

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I did finally get it out on some dirt roads today, and quickly got her up to 75 mph, holy crap, this thing hauls some major arse, and runs purrfect! I don't know that I actually need to go this fast, any thoughts on replacing the primary sprocket with a 15 tooth? Anyone done that? Was it a good idea? Any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions, I always like a lot!! THANKS

Well if a 14 tooth is stock and you go UP to a 15, then it will go even faster. You are looking for one tooth smaller then what you have now.

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Some have reported that 15t countershaft sprockets do not fit under their XR600's stock case saver. There isn't much room to spare, but I fit one under mine. Prior to that I reached 97mph with stock 14/48 gearing and a worn out rear tire. All of that put my rpm around 7200, which is nearly at the rev limiter and far beyond the power peak. I bought the bike with a 13t, but traction was even harder to find on hardpack and the back tire wore out faster from spinning.

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Well if a 14 tooth is stock and you go UP to a 15, then it will go even faster. You are looking for one tooth smaller then what you have now.

aaaaaaaaah, you see, I don't know much. I am very new to all this. I was just thinking of a bicycle, and when the front has more teeth, it has more torque, my head must be screwed on wrong for motorcycles? I obviously need to learn more about this! This bike is definitely high geared, for my taste. I believe it would top out somewhere in the 90-100 mph range, and thats way too fast for me. I would like it to be a bit lower for the kind of riding I will be doing, which will be mostly trail, not much wide open. Mostly shifting around in 2,3,4, rarely need 5. One thing I thought of, if the gearing was too low, the front tire would never be on the ground, food for thought.

:banana:

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Some have reported that 15t countershaft sprockets do not fit under their XR600's stock case saver. There isn't much room to spare, but I fit one under mine. Prior to that I reached 97mph with stock 14/48 gearing and a worn out rear tire. All of that put my rpm around 7200, which is nearly at the rev limiter and far beyond the power peak. I bought the bike with a 13t, but traction was even harder to find on hardpack and the back tire wore out faster from spinning.

So what gearing would you suggest for someone who is doing the kind of riding I will be doing? My bike has 14/48 and I find it a bit too high for my taste. I am a big guy, so I can handle the bike well, and believe my riding would be much better with a bit more torque at start, and get me more control in the lower gears.

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