In 1983, Honda introduced the XL600R (aka 600 XLR), a big-bore dual-purpose machine with nearly 11 inches of ground clearance, 8+ inches of suspension travel, and 45 horsepower on tap. Like other open-class dual-sports of the era — the Yamaha XT600 and Suzuki DR600, for instance — the bike was designed to be comfortable for freeway cruising, reliable for daily commuting, and still fun in the dirt. Said Dirt Bike in a 1984 comparo:
“The Honda feels the closest to a motocross bike once off the highway. Since I’m more concerned with how the bike will perform in the dirt, I’ll have to say that the Honda is my choice.”
Enter Pierre Rieep of France’s Motorieep, a former motocross racer who’s been building bikes since the tender age of 15. Today, Pierre works with his son and another mechanic, building a wide array of bikes — many of them vintage or post-vintage dual-sports heavily modified to meet the performance standards of modern riders. Earlier this year, we featured the “Motorieep 590TT,” and now the Motorieep crew is back with this sleek and stunning Honda XL600R restomod.
This XL is running Yamaha YZ forks and swingarm, Excel 21/18″ wheels, handmade exhaust and bodywork, carbon fiber XT500 mudguards, updated electronics, rebuilt engine, and more. The bike now weighs 289 lbs fully fueled — 32 lbs lighter than the factory machine!
Below, we get more details on the build.
Honda 600 XLR Restomod: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Honda 600 XLR PD03, 1983.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
• What custom work was done to the bike?
We rebuilt the rear of the frame, installed a Yamaha YZ fork and swingarm. The Excel wheels are 18 and 21 with Anakee tires. The tank is from a 350 XLR and the side plates from a 250 CR from 1977. The headlight is an LSL and the plate above is handmade. The exhaust is handmade. The engine has been completely revised but remains original. The mudguards come from a 500 XT but are made of carbon. The speedometer is a KOSO, the beam has been redone, and LED lights have been installed. The motorcycle weighs 131kg with the full tank of oil and gasoline.
• What’s the riding experience like on the completed build?
The wheelbase of the motorcycle has been increased by 60 mm. The bike is therefore very stable but remains lively because we have worked on the steering angle. It is very light to drive and very lively because the engine is new…
• Is the bike for sale?
This one is not for sale but we are thinking of building a small series that can be delivered in July 2021 for around 13,000 euros.