Wether you are an avid motorcyclist, or just enjoy an occasional ride, you have no doubt heard of the Honda xr600r. Part of the Honda xr series, (duh), this bike has gained quite a name for itself while in production, now being replaced by the Honda xr650r.
I bought this bike because I was looking for a good dual sport. Fun in the dirt, yet enough power to be a commuter. I also needed it to be cheap. Like alot of people, I couldn't affort to drop $3000 to $5000 on anything, let alone a motorcycle.
I landed my 1996 xr600r w/ a baha kit, (turn signals, horn, licence plate bracket), for $950. This was a great deal. Most other comparable xr600s were between $1000 and $1600. Most of those weren't in great shape either. Although, none of the lights worked on mine, but it ran like a top.
The xr600r is definatly powerful. The engine is a single cylinder, air cooled, four valve four stroke. It produces 43 hp @ 6500 rpm. You can really feel (and hear) the 591 cc's. The power rolls on smooth and seems to just keep pulling. People hear of a 600cc dirt bike and think it sounds insane, but the bike is geared for on and off-road, so the gears are very tall compared to a 250. For this reason, the bike conqueres the logging roads and wide open spaces. Put on a backpack with lunch and extra fuel and you can really cover some ground.
When it comes to tight trails though, the bike is quite heavy weighing in at 272 lbs dry. I rode with a friend that had an xr250, and he was able to leave me behind in the narrow trails. But as we got out where the trail opened up a bit, the 600 was clearly in it's element. Passing him at the first opportunity, I didn't see him again until we stopped to rest.
Disk brakes on the front and rear give the rider a good "feel." (It's nice creeping down a steep section when you can use the rear brake without locking it up.)
It's also pretty good for tall riders with a seat hight of 37 1/2 inches. Shorter riders might feel like it's a bit large.
The bummer is that the stock fuel tank only holds around 3 gallons. Aftermarket tanks can be bought that hold alot more. But they aren't cheap. I do think that Honda could have given us a little larger capacity.
Overall, the bike is what I was looking for and I am very happy with it. This bike dominated the Baha races for many years, and for good reason. It's simple, very durable, very reliable, and very fast. The cons can be the weight, tall gears, and small fuel tank. But the pros are what made it win the Baha.