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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.
Nick and his 2010 Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré
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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.

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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!
Nick and his 2010 Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré
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