The Honda XR600 has a cult following throughout the globe, and for good purpose. As the unique king of the Baja 1000, it’s among the best massive singles to ever tear throughout the desert. And whereas it would look outdated in opposition to fashionable machines, it’s nonetheless a terrific bike to personal—and customise.
The Australian customized store Ellaspede has a selected smooth spot for the venerable XR. One of the primary customized bikes they ever constructed was based mostly on a 1998-model XR600 [below], means again in 2011. And now they’ve dragged that exact same scrambler again into the workshop for a makeover.
“It’s always hard to let go of first loves,” says Ellaspede’s Hughan Seary, “so this XR600 was ridden around and used for promotional duties and shows throughout the years, until the motor was due for a refresh and pulled from the frame. But as customer builds come first, it then sat stagnant for the following years, waiting in the wings for its second lease on life.”
When their tenth birthday rolled round final 12 months, the Ellaspede group determined it could be the right time to revive the Honda. Around that point a buyer, Tom, serendipitously determined that he needed a customized XR600 of his personal. He already had an acceptable donor and a selected path in thoughts—however then he visited the workshop, and his plans shortly modified.
“We took a walk with him down memory lane about our original XR600 that we still owned,” explains Hughan. “It seemed like a perfect match to get him behind the bars on this renewed build.”
One of the large concepts for the second cross on the XR concerned a much bigger electrical begin motor. Tom hopped onto Facebook Marketplace and located a dismantled NX650 Dominator, full with an engine rebuild package. With that, the challenge was formally underway.
The Dominator engine went off to Wayne at All Carts & Cycles, who rebuilt it with a bigger piston, a strong porting job and an entire handful of unnamed inner upgrades.
While that was taking place, Ellaspede tore the XR600 all the way down to its nuts and bolts to prep it for its remake. “We’ve learned a lot in the last ten-plus years of building bikes,” says Hughan. “There was plenty we wanted to update or upgrade based on those learnings, to ensure the XR600 was once again the best it could be.”
High on the record was an entire overhaul of the Honda’s suspension. Ellaspede sourced a pair of well-worn Honda CRF forks, then stripped them, cleaned them up and anodized them black. They shortened them by 100 mm too, then mated the XR600 stem to the CRF yokes to suit them to the bike, and turned a brand new set of spacers to reinstall the unique construct’s 18” entrance wheel.
The rear shock was upgraded to a beefier unit with an exterior reservoir, however it was removed from a straight swap. Ellaspede needed to rebuild the shock and shorten its stroke, plus they needed to modify the higher suspension mount on the body itself.
The rebuilt Dominator mill was popped again within the body with a 42 mm Mikuni pumper carb. Ellaspede saved the two-into-two exhaust that they constructed for the Honda the primary time round, however added new baffles and re-coated all the pieces.
Next up, they fabricated a brand new battery field to make room for the brand new air filter placement, and to accommodate the additional electrical bits that weren’t there with the older kickstart-only engine. And since neither the XR600 or Dominator wiring looms would have been appropriate with out substantial mods, they constructed a brand new system from scratch too.
Other small upgrades included a Daytona Velona speedo, a Koso Thunderbolt LED headlight, and a Hawkeye LED taillight. Ellaspede wedged the taillight into the identical recessed housing that they’d constructed earlier than, and saved the unique Posh flip alerts. There’s additionally a USB cost port up entrance now.
The remainder of the work targeted totally on refreshing components that weren’t as much as par, and making small tweaks, like lengthening the facet stand. But for the overall aesthetic, Tom was comfortable to maintain issues largely the identical.
“I really loved the look of the original build, and still to this day,” he says. “Even with the excessive amount of XR builds that are scattered across the web, I haven’t seen an XR quite like it. I put it down to the textbook slender XR600 frame, the unusual color scheme, the 18F/18R wheel combination, and fat tires that really set this bike off.”
With that in thoughts, Ellaspede saved the unique construct’s Honda XL500 gasoline tank, however added new fenders at each ends. The unique seat had massive ‘630’ numbering on it in reference to the engine capability, in order that needed to go. The crew stashed it away for nostalgia’s sake, and constructed a brand new unit from scratch with matching inexperienced stitching.
With new Heidenau K60 tires spooned on, Tom’s refurbished Honda XR was prepared for supply. “Now that the bike is finished, it continues to grow on me,” he tells us. “Cheers to the legends at Ellaspede for holding onto this fine machine for me for the best part of 12 years!”
“One thing is for sure, I’ll be holding onto this bike for many years to come—I’m sure it will outlive me!”
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