A Living Legend from ZZ Moto…
Introduced in 1985, the Honda XR600R was destined to become one of the most iconic dirt bikes of all time, remaining in production as a dirt-only model until 2000. During that time, it battled the mighty Kawasaki 500cc two-strokes for desert dominance, winning the Baja 1000 five times, but more surprisingly, it became a legend in the woods as well:
“On the east side of the country, the championships flowed freely thanks to the freakish abilities of Scott Summers. He won five GNCC titles, four National Hare Scrambles Championships, 69 individual national races and earned three ISDE gold medals on the XR.” –Dirt Bike
Though the bike was not the lightest or most powerful dirt bike on the market, it was big, burly, and capable — hard to stop, and almost impossible to kill. Cycle World said it best back in 1985:
“Buying an XR600R with the hopes of owning a pure racebike would be a mistake; 300-pound off-road bikes don’t make great sprinters. But then, 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
The 1994 Honda XR600R you see here is a testament to the truth of those words. It’s the personal bike of our friend Claudio Pedraza of Spain’s ZZ Moto, who raced these bikes during their heyday:
“It is a mythical model that deservedly earned its fame in the early nineties in various enduro competitions, mainly in the United States where it won countless trophies. I know this model very well, I have had several with which I have participated for a few years in various enduro competitions in America in the 90s.”
These days, Claudio prefers long days of adventuring riding through the mountains to enduro competition. After returning from a long route through the Pyrenees, he decided to turn back the clock on the bike’s aesthetics, working to make it more closely resemble the 1988-1990 models while setting it up for his preferred riding style.
After a lot of searching, he located a coveted red ’88 gas tank, then bolted up a stainless Supertrapp exhaust. For the side covers, he chose a bolder blue than standard — a better match to the fork gaiters — and went with a more muted seat with ’86-style lettering.
He hand-built the headlight support from 18mm tubing in order to hold his toolkit, tweaked the carb to work with the new exhaust, changed the fork oil, tuned the suspension to his riding style, and has a rear luggage rack in the works.
All in all, it’s hard to believe this big XR is nearly 30 years old, and we’re glad it’s still going strong both on the road and off. Below, Claudio gives us the full story on the machine.
Honda XR600R: In the Builder’s Words…
Honda XR600R. This Honda model does not require much introduction. It is a mythical model that deservedly earned its fame in the early nineties in various enduro competitions, mainly in the United States where it won countless trophies. I know this model very well, I have had several with which I have participated for a few years in various enduro competitions in America in the 90s.
This XR is from 1994 and its main peculiarity is that it’s my own bike intended to be used on mountain roads. I bought it a few years ago with very few kilometers and absolutely standard. Over time, I still find its extreme simplicity and reliability combined with its efficiency on long off-road journeys admirable. Returning from a magnificent route through the Pyrenees, I decided to make it a little more classic by slightly modifying its aesthetics and bringing it closer to that of 1988 or 1990.
With that idea in mind and a lot of time spent searching, I managed to get the material I wanted for my motorcycle. Some parts of the 1988 model were: red gas tank.
Warehouse stickers. Individual exhaust manifolds alongside a stainless steel Supertrapp muffler. I kept the blue fork gaiters from 1994.
Two things that do not correspond to any year, simply for a matter of personal taste, are the color of the side covers — painted in a slightly stronger blue than the original — and the upholstery of the seat, where I chose a softer blue tone and with the letters of the 1986 model.
I fitted a 28mm Magura EX tapered handlebar with aluminum handlebar risers that increase the height by fifteen millimeters. This combination is always very comfortable for me, it reduces fatigue on long mountain journeys. Another point that adds comfort and control was to increase the support surface of the footrests.
I know from experience that on long mountain routes, a minor fall or damage usually happens, on my own motorcycle or on one of my traveling companions. The worst thing that can happen in those moments is not having tools to solve this inconvenience, so to transport said tools I hand-built a headlight support in round iron tube of eighteen millimeters. The headlight corresponds to a previously modified and adapted Honda CB250.
As for the mechanical part, it remains standard, I have only replaced the air filter with a better quality one and some carburetion adjustments to balance everything with the new Supertrapp exhaust.
Maintaining the criteria of functionality, and considering I do not usually do enduro but rather long days on mountain roads, I also kept the suspension as standard. I changed the rear shock and fork fluids keeping them factory spec but changing the settings to a little softer mode. This always adds ride comfort.
Very satisfied with the result, I finally have the desired motorcycle. I only have to finish a luggage rack that I already started and that I will be ready for my next route.
Follow the Builder / Photographer
It’s just an XR with an exhaust and a light.