A Baja-style XR600R from Israel’s Loko Dream Factory!
Introduced in 1985, the Honda XR600R would become one of the most successful dirt bikes of all time, remaining in production until the liquid-cooled / aluminum-framed XR650R replaced it in 2001. Though Honda marketed the 600R as a trail bike, it quickly proved itself in off-road competition:
“Notably in the Baja 1000, where it achieved the top step of the podium five times with riders like Johnny Campbell, Jimmy Lewis, Bruce Ogilvie, and others at the helm. Scott Summers also famously raced the XR600R in the GNCC series, collecting five titles, even though the big thumper was considered too heavy for tight woods terrain by its critics.” —ADV Pulse
It was a beast of a machine with 13.6 inches of ground clearance, over 11 inches of travel at either end, a 46-hp single-cylinder engine, and a dry weight of nearly 300 pounds — making it one of the most rugged machines on two wheels.
“There aren’t many featherweights that you would want to ride over a mountain range on, or cross a desert with. So if your riding entails cross-country trips, occasional open-country enduros, long-distance reliability or just plain fun riding, the XR will do it well. And what’s perhaps more important, the XR600R will keep on doing it for a long time.” —Cycle World, 1985
The CW folks were certainly right. Here we are, 37 years later, showcasing Honda XR600R builds still going strong. This one comes from our new friend Tom Kol of Israel’s Loko Dream Factory. Tom, who lives on a farm in the north of the country, has been racing rally, motocross, and enduro for years. He restored old tractors before turning to custom bikes, which he builds out of his farm garage:
“I build bikes as my own dream, so I choose the bike I love the most, and create them exactly the way I dream them and want them to be — most of my projects are visions I dream at night or have in my mind.”
This build started life as a ’97 model, which his brother had sitting idle in his garage for some 15 years. Tom dreamed of an XR600R that looked like the old Baja 1000 racers, but could work equally well on his motocross track:
“The old red Baja bikes were my inspiration. But my dream was creating a Baja bike that would have good performance on the motocross track.”
To that end, he swapped out the entire front end for the forks, yokes, brake, and hub from a CR250, and laced up a new set of Excel rims. Then he completely rebuilt the engine with a hot cam and bigger piston, letting it breathe through a modified Big Gun full system exhaust. A Trail Tech Baja headlight and speedo keep him informed of where he’s going and how fast.
On the aesthetic side, he painted the frame and went with the flash red and blue color scheme of the 1985 model — our favorite of the XR colorways. Tom calls the result his “Loko XR,” and as you can see, he rides the hell out of it:
“I ride motocross with this crazy bike. The front suspension and the improved engine make a big difference when riding aggressive offroad!”
Below, we talk to Tom for all the details on the build!
XR600R Baja Motocrosser: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I am 47 years old from Israel; I have three girls and own businesses in the USA and Mexico. I’ve ridden motorcycles all my life and race rally, motocross, and enduro as a hobby here in Israel.
I started restoring old tractors because I grew up as a kid running around tractors all day. My first project was an all-American 1970 John Deere 3020. One day I discovered Pinterest and found an amazing new world of sexy scramblers and cafe racers. The pictures on Pinterest blew my mind — then I started dreaming about sexy motorcycles at night.
I started building my own motorcycles few years ago. I do it as hobby and keep most of the bikes to myself. So far, I’ve built eight bikes and I have two new ones on the lifts. I build bikes as my own dream, so I choose the bike I love the most, and create them exactly the way I dream them and want them to be — most of my projects are visions I dream at night or have in my mind.
After I have the idea, I start drawing the final result in my head, until I feel I love what I’m envisioning in my head. I do them the way I think they’d be done if they came straight out of the factory.
I love big bikes and I create most of my bikes to be sexy and high-performance machines. I live on a farm in the north of Israel, where I built a garage / man cave — I create the bikes in this farm garage. I enjoy building so much!!!!
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
1997 Honda XR600R.
• Why was this bike built?
This XR was owned by my brother and was lying in his garage for 15 years. I always dreamed about a big red 4-stroke that could do both rally and motocross at the same time, so I took the old rusty bike from my brother.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The old red Baja bikes were my inspiration. But my dream was creating a Baja bike that would have good performance on the motocross track. Also, the main goal was to make it super sexy and attractive! I was dreaming of an old fashion sexy red bike that can finish a desert race and go directly to the motocross track.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
- I changed the entire front end to Honda CR250 – forks, triple clamp, wheel, and brake.
- Trail Tech electronic speedometer
- Trail Tech Baja front light
- Painted frame
- Engine – took it a part and painted it in two colors
- Engine – all new from the inside
- Engine – Hot camshaft
- Engine – Bigger piston
- Carburetor – Adjusted jetting for new piston and camshaft
- Pipe: Big Gun modified full system exhaust
- Excel rims and new spoke set
- Wide handlebar for better offroad / motocross attack position
• Does the bike have a nickname?
My brand name is Loko. The XR is “Super Loko.”
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Crazy!!! I ride motocross with this crazy bike. The front suspension and the improved engine make a big difference when riding aggressive offroad!
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The CR250 front.
The unique 2 colors of the engine.
The clean-cut look of the bike.
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