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1987 Honda XL600R rebuild and redesign

 

I bought my bike in mid 2013 at a very broke part of my life. I saw an opportunity to buy a nice old bike for cheap, rebuild it to look like new, then sell it for a good amount and improve my financial situation.

I bought my bike in mid 2013 during a very broke part of my life. I saw a nice old bike for cheap, and I got this idea in my mind to rebuild it to look like new, then sell it for a good amount and improve my financial situation.

The buying process took a while because I had challenges raising enough cash for this project, largely due to my already broke situation. So, in the interim, while it languished at the seller's, I had more than enough time to read up on it, and I read up on this bike A LOT. It's a 1987 Honda XL600RMG. There was the plain XL600R, dual sport twin to the legendary XR600R, then there was the top of the range XL600LMF that came with electric start, tubeless spoked rims, tachometer, gigantic fuel tank and dual headlights. The XL600RMG, looks like the plain R but comes with most of the extras on the LMF. From my research, the bike was a keeper.

I’m not the kind that names bikes, so the term I’ll stick to is my bike.

 

I quickly realised that before I can rebuild the bike, I needed to at least be able to maintain it

There was a lot of jumping from one mechanic to another, and a lot of growth on my DIY. Armed with the manual, I accumulated the necessary tools and got to bond with the bike. A significant amount of damage to the bike happened at this time.

 
 
 
As my DIY skills improved, my list of what I wanted the bike to do for me grew longer. I figured that before I move to another bike, I need to fully use this one, get the most out of it.
 
Once the bike was bare and the engine out, I called Kim, the mechanic, to come and take over. I also left the suspension in place for Kim to undo.

The engine had a number of issues

  • Oil leak on top cover, needed a new gasket set
  • Rattling, which we came to discover was the bolt that had come off the camshaft gear and was getting tossed about. Lucky it didn’t jam somewhere!
  • Piston slap, the cylinder needed to be rebored
  • Output shaft splines were worn, a new one was needed
  • Gear selector shaft teeth were worn, needed replacement
  • Side cover had a crack on it
  • Oil plug
 
 
Meanwhile, my next project landed, VW van restoration and conversion to electric
 
 
 
This is the photoshop mock up of the intended design, at that point. Very much an XR look but with the XL lowered suspension.

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