1987 Honda XL600r

Jan 28, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Sturdy, powerful, cheap, good gas mileage, comfy seat, good ergos.

Cons:Hard to kickstart - Doh! Heavy, suspension travel isn't the greatest, stretches chains,

The Bottom Line: This is a cheap bike that can take anything you can dish its way. Built like a piece of steel. Finnicky to start, great power when going. Good bike.


I have had my old honda for about 7 months now, and it has been consistantly durable/ frustrating. The bike is air cooled and runs hot. I believe it runs hot due to having two carbs that are difficult to get just right, thus running lean. It fouls plugs pretty regularly, and I had to replace the stator as it cooked in the hot oil. RickyStator makes a mean replacement that made my bike run twice as good. But I feel it slowly breaking down again. The bike is also very torquey, I think this is why it is stretching chains pretty regularly. The bike is somewhat tricky to start, but when you get to know how she likes it, you can usually start in a few kicks. I have ridden the bike over five thousand miles in 7 months, and the bike feels bulletproof. The seat is actually pretty comfy when compared to the new aggressive narrow seats. One hour in comfort, two hours if you are not picky, but after three hours in the saddle you have to be a trooper to stick it out. I actually have ridden entire days with my girl on the back, the bike will do it.

If you are thinking of buying one of these bikes, you should be a stronger person. I am fairly strong 180lbs, and I can pick the bike up with little difficulty; however, if I was weaker it could be a problem, especially on terrain. The bike weighs 320lbs ( I think ) and is rather tall. Proper technique is key, pick it up with your back towards the bike, leaning into it, using your legs... Easy. If you are 5'9" or shorter, you might want a shorter bike, your call. I cannot flat-foot this bike, and I am 5'11" with somewhat long legs.

Front brake is comically retarded. Like a mushy kids toy; however, it will help about 30-40 % if you Grab it with all you got. The back brake is easily adjustable and has good feel. I get about 70 miles on a tank before I hit reserve, and 100 is about all I will get before I run out. The bike gets around 40 - 45 mpg, sure beats my cadillac. It will pull that front wheel with regular power (barely), give it some extra when you let out the clutch and it will aim for the sky. Power was strong at first, but I came off of a 125, so it was expected. I believe the bike to have somewhere around 40 horsepower, nothing to shake a stick at. It also has two carbs, an idle/ low rpm carb, and then a primary high rpm carb. You can really feel when the primary takes over, it has a nice kick. I don't feel the suspension travel is made to jump, that being said, I got about 4 feet of air and it didn't bottom out. The bike is set up for the street pretty nice, and dampens the unexpected monstrous pothole. I have scraped pegs on this bike on accident, so it handles.
I got the bike with 14 teeth on front sprocket, better torque, but I changed it to stock 15. First is good till about 25, second 50, third 60, fourth 70, fifth says 100, but 90 is wound pretty high. This bike will leave behind any 4 wheeled vehicle till 50 I believe...

The bike has been a rock, but one that is hard to start. Reasonably cheap to maintain, buy, and ride. I am not getting a kick start bike next time, but I am glad to have had this bike. Headlight works pretty bright for an 80s bike, and the bike looks reasonably nice in blue/white. What is up with that red block though? Paint that thing gray or something.


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