The Honda XR600R, introduced in 1985, is nothing short of a modern legend, having claimed a staggering array of Baja championships and countless desert, enduro, and flat track races across the globe. Says MCS:
“The remarkable XR600R made headlines throughout its long model life. It won its first Baja 1000 in 1986 by 45 minutes, thanks to riders Chuck Miller and Bruce Ogilvie (both current and longtime Honda employees). In all, the 600 would win the Baja 1000 four times, the Baja 500 three times, the Nevada Rally once, Barstow-to-Vegas once and more desert races than you can count. It was also amazingly versatile: Scott Summers built his reputation by winning nine AMA National championships contested in the woods (four in Hare Scrambles and five in Grand National Cross Country) on XR600s. Summers also won three gold medals in the International Six Days Enduro-the Olympics of motorcycling-racing against the best enduro racers from every nation on their ground.”
The air-cooled single offered 46 horsepower — more than the currently available XR650L — with beefy square-section downtube, aluminum swingarm, and twin headpipe exhaust. The bike was literally born from Honda’s experiences in Baja, built to run on low octane from out-of-the-way corners of Mexico if necessary, while offering a no-tools-needed airbox cover, 160-watt charging system, and electronic enduro meter.
Enter John Kirkham of the UK, who has built one of the sweetest XR600R street/flat trackers we have ever seen. The bike is full of great little details. For instance, the coins in the headstock and fuel cap. Says John:
The old penny let in to my headstock is the year of my birth and the coin in the copper fuel tank top is an old “Threpenny bit!”
Below, we interview John for the full story on the build.
Honda XR600R Flat Tracker: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I got in to bikes when I was 13 after going to watch a local motorcycle scramble. i raced amateur motocross and raced modern bikes then vintage.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Honda XR600 flat tracker
• Why was this bike built
I wanted my own custom bike
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
A flat tracker with retro / vintage looks, decent power, handling and reliability
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Swingarm , exhausts, seat, tank, side panels, triple clamps , seat cowl and engine up-grades
• How would you classify this bike?
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The body work, exhausts and overall finish of the bike
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