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 large singles to ever tear throughout the desert. And whereas it’d look outdated in opposition to trendy machines, it’s nonetheless an amazing bike to personal—and customise.
The Australian customized store Ellaspede has a selected gentle spot for the venerable XR. One of many first customized bikes they ever constructed was primarily based on a 1998-model XR600 [below], manner again in 2011. And now they’ve dragged that exact same scrambler again into the workshop for a makeover.
“It’s at all times arduous to let go of first loves,” says Ellaspede’s Hughan Seary, “so this XR600 was ridden round and used for promotional duties and exhibits all through the years, till the motor was due for a refresh and pulled from the body. However as buyer builds come first, it then sat stagnant for the next years, ready within the wings for its second lease on life.”
When their tenth birthday rolled round final 12 months, the Ellaspede crew determined it could be the proper time to revive the Honda. Round that point a buyer, Tom, serendipitously determined that he needed a customized XR600 of his personal. He already had an appropriate donor and a selected course in thoughts—however then he visited the workshop, and his plans rapidly modified.
“We took a stroll with him down reminiscence lane about our authentic XR600 that we nonetheless owned,” explains Hughan. “It appeared like an ideal match to get him behind the bars on this renewed construct.”
One of many large concepts for the second go on the XR concerned an even bigger electrical begin motor. Tom hopped onto Fb Market and located a dismantled NX650 Dominator, full with an engine rebuild package. With that, the venture was formally underway.
The Dominator engine went off to Wayne at All Carts & Cycles, who rebuilt it with a bigger piston, a stable porting job and a complete handful of unnamed inside upgrades.
Whereas that was taking place, Ellaspede tore the XR600 right down to its nuts and bolts to prep it for its remake. “We’ve realized so much within the final ten-plus years of constructing bikes,” says Hughan. “There was a lot we needed to replace or improve primarily based on these learnings, to make sure the XR600 was as soon as once more one of the best it might be.”
Excessive on the checklist 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 the whole lot.
Subsequent 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.
Different 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 aspect stand. However for the final aesthetic, Tom was comfortable to maintain issues principally the identical.
“I actually beloved the look of the unique construct, and nonetheless to today,” he says. “Even with the extreme quantity of XR builds which might be scattered throughout the online, I haven’t seen an XR fairly prefer it. I put it right down to the textbook slender XR600 body, the bizarre shade scheme, the 18F/18R wheel mixture, and fats tires that basically 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 giant ‘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 completed, it continues to develop on me,” he tells us. “Cheers to the legends at Ellaspede for holding onto this superb machine for me for one of the best a part of 12 years!”
“One factor is for certain, I’ll be holding onto this bike for a few years to return—I’m certain it can outlive me!”