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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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Old 23 Jul 2009
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XR600 for trip from Italy to Uzbekistan

Hi, guys!

As I explained in another thread, while waiting to leave bound to Russia on July 31 astride my motorcycle, I'm now planning the trip of summer 2010: from my hometown in northern Italy to Samarkand via Eastern Europe / Russia / Kazakhstan and back thru Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey and the Balcans.

Given that the motorcycle I own (a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide) is perfect for long distances on asphalt road but it's not the best on dirt roads, I mean to carry out that journey astride a XR600 that will be borrowed to me by a workmate.
This bike has not been used for years, since when he bought a BMW GS some years ago.

Now... do you think it could be suitable for my trip (about 13-14,000 km in total, I suppose) as soon as it'll be restored?

I need as many infos and suggestion as possible: I'm completely ignorant about those kinds of bikes, I have been riding a Honda Shadow 600 and two Electra Glides in my life, so a completely different world...


Thanks a lot to anyone who can advice me.
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Old 13 Aug 2009
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I'm no expert on XRs but plenty of people have done big trips on XR600s. If you restore the bike yourself it will have the most important feature possible on a bike for touring remote areas: An owner who knows how to fix it!

One thing to watch is the rear subframe - I have seen reports of these cracking on heavily loaded XR600s - so some reinforcement there would be good to add.

Cheers
Clint
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Old 13 Aug 2009
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Yes, the subframe is a weak area on the 600. I both reinforced mine by redoing all the welds - particularly the end one that holds the mudguard on, welding in some crossbracing and then making up a sort of subframe for the subframe that spread the load back into the main frame. After 15yrs nothing has broken but the whole area does flex and it's a constant concern at the back of your mind on a long trip.

Other things to watch out for - the 600 is kickstart only and snapping the kickstart off is not unknown. I've got through two, the first going when I stalled in sand in the minefield between Morocco and Mauri, leaving me stranded there overnight.

You'll need a larger tank. The stock XR tank is only 10 litres - about 200km.

The XR electrics are rudimentary. If you've got a bit of time do something about upgrading them. On mine, for cold weather trips, I could run my electrically heated jacket or the lights but not both at the same time.

The engine is great. The only real problem I've had over 17- 18 yrs with mine is stripped head bolts. Nothing else has gone wrong. As you probably know it has a balance shaft fitted so it's quite smooth (for a single). Should be an improvement after a Harley
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Old 25 Aug 2009
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Thank you, guys!
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