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-   -   XT600E v Honda Dominator - vibration? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/which-bike/xt600e-v-honda-dominator-vibration-64358)

Jethro 21 May 2012 01:12

XT600E v Honda Dominator - vibration?
Greetings Hub,

I'm looking to find out your opinions on XT600E handlebar vibrations.

I've entered the Austin Vince Pyranees navigation event in September and only owning a road bike went out and purchaced a Honda Dominator from ebay. I was rewarded for my efforts by a dropped valve seat after the 230 mile motorway journey home to collect it. I have since found out these engines are prone to do this if overheated. The head is at a machine shop now and repairs are in hand but I have now lost confidence in any engine with RFVC written on the side and am looking for a different bike to replace it with.

I'd really like an XT600E but am concerned about handlebar vibrations as I am prone to getting vibration white finger when riding any bike with a lot of handlebar vibrations. I will be riding from Scotland to Spain and back doing about 3500 miles in 2 weeks so this is a bit of a concern. I really liked the dommie engine as it was so smooth at motorway speeds but had to sell an SR500 some years ago because the vibes were making my hands go numb.

I would really welcome any feedback on the smoothness (or not) of the XT600 bars at prolonged motorway speeds.

Big singles I've ridden before that you may want to compre with are BMW F650, CCM 604 (Rotax), Harley Davidson MT350, SR500, Dominator 650 & FMX650.

I'll hopfully be tracking an XT down in the next few weeks for a test ride but would welcome any input you have.

Many thanks in advance.


Pawlie 22 May 2012 07:35


Of the bikes you mention I have experience with the XT600 (early kick type) and the BMW F650 (about 2003 vintage) .

I think my XT is a great machine but in terms of vibration it would loose out to the BMW every time. No comparison really. That BMW is smooth and fast.


Wide Phil 29 May 2012 21:29

Surely if your sorting the Domi you have enough time to get the faith back. Its as good as any other single for getting miles done. Fill the bars with silicon and get some foam grips to get rid of the vibe

aster 30 May 2012 06:12

Well why don't you use some foam bars to avoid handle vibrations. It can help you a lot. Have you thought about it?

barothi 30 May 2012 07:49

There are companies in England and Ireland who would take your bike to Spain for less than the fuel cost. Personally, if I only had 2 weeks, I wouldn't want to spend it on the motorways. I don't think any of the singles are made for 100kph+ anyways.
And if you are sorting the Dommie, there is no point in buying another bike with possible hidden problems. Use it and enjoy it!

Matt Cartney 31 May 2012 15:03


Originally Posted by barothi (Post 380789)
There are companies in England and Ireland who would take your bike to Spain for less than the fuel cost. Personally, if I only had 2 weeks, I wouldn't want to spend it on the motorways. I don't think any of the singles are made for 100kph+ anyways.
And if you are sorting the Dommie, there is no point in buying another bike with possible hidden problems. Use it and enjoy it!

To Barothi,

Very interested in this, didn't know it existed! Do you have links to these companies?

To Stewart - I have a late XT600E and it vibes a bit but I've never felt it to be a problem. I don't notice any particular issue with riding at motorway speeds. Having said that I've never owned a Beemer (or indeed anything with more than 1 cylinder) so maybe I've just got used to it. If you do go down the XT route (which I can recommend, I love my XT!) then replace the standard bars with Renthals or similar as the standard bars are made of cottage cheese and will bend even at slow speed offs. One of the only weak points of the bike.

Confess, I'd keep the Dommie now you've got it though.

Matt :)

barothi 1 Jun 2012 11:24

Sorry, the cost is more than what I remembered. Some friends used these guys but they grouped up and paid less that way: Overlanders Motorcycle Holiday Transportation and guided tours, Ireland, UK & Europe

You can read a bit more about it here: Ireland to Spain motorcycle shipping - ::. UKGSer.com .:: or just contact overlanders.

anaconda moto 1 Jun 2012 12:55

Why don't you give the Domi a 2 chance??

Saludos and good travels!

magic-martinh 10 Jun 2012 11:48

Hi, first posting by me. I had and early xt600 Tenere and rode it arount Oz many years ago - loved it, and I'd had an xt500 before too. The 500 dropped a valve on me mind...The xt600 got a bit of piston slap when hot and the miles grew but no big deal. I have had 2 Dominators in the UK and never had any issues, both bikes pretty similar really vibration wise - hard to choose, so, keep what you've got is my advice. :cool4:

funguseater 28 Jun 2012 01:56

Never had an issue with vibrations on my XT600E. Renthals are a good idea, they help to dampen any vibrations and are very strong. I recently changed from standard bars to Enduro high desert bars (6.5 inch rise) and they make the originals look puny. Well worth the money, and the renthal blurb claims they absorb vibration. Renthal grips finish the job nicely.

Jethro 28 Jun 2012 14:35

A big thank you for all the replies and words of encouragement. The outcome of this saga has still to be decided. I missed out on a couple of very nice XT's and tesr rode a DRZ400 (great bike but a plank for a seat) before deciding to keep the dominator. I'd found out that it was possible to fit an oil cooler to combat high speed overheating so decided to fit one to give me confidence in the engine not dropping another seat in the future. So the rebuild was going well untill I found out that the frame looks bent at the headstock! The bars were ever so slightly out of line but I thought that the forks were just twisted in the yokes. The original steel bars were straight as an arrow and as Matt quite rightly points out original trail bike bars are all mede of cheese. I (very wrongly) assumed that straight "cheese" bars = no major damage. Well with straight yokes and forks on the headstock looks twisted so for now that's a real show stopper. Everything is fixable and I will get the dommie all sorted out and back on the road but it is going to take time. So new plan is to sell my road bike (XJ600 diversion) and buy either a XT600 or DRZ400 for my trip in september. I will sort out the dommie right but without any time pressures and then next year decide which of the two bikes to keep. Rest assured though the next bike I buy I'll be taking a long time to go over everything with a fine tooth comb before parting with any cash. Assumptions can lead to a great bike hole into which you shovel money.

I'll keep you posted.


(still with a smile on my face)

BlackDogZulu 9 Jul 2012 00:58

I love my XT to bits, but I wouldn't want to take it on a long motorway journey. Motorways are for going fast, and XTs aren't fast bikes (but then neither is the Dommie). Taking the XT on a long motorway run would be like off-roading a Fireblade. Possible, but not very satisfactory. Just my opinion. The Sprint is for distances, high speeds and 2-up touring. The XT is for short trips, back roads and solo tours.

As for vibes, I get quite bad CTS (numb fingers/thumbs) from every bike I have owned in the last 10 years, so I can't say what the XT would do to you. But it's no worse than any of the others, if that's any help.

LasseA 11 Jul 2012 15:09

My 2 cents.

I lent a friends XT600 -92 when my Bullet broked down, 2 weeks ago.

We did a trip to Norway (Trollstigen) me and my wife on the back and some packing.


We travelled about 2000 km. Cruise speed about 85km/h.

It worked out very well, not to much vibrations and able to travel a lot bit faster if I had to.

The seat was very comfy both for me and my wife.


Huan 30 Jul 2012 09:36

Just out of interest OP, I was reading about why so many Dominators die from top end failures, the cause seems to be many factored but some stuff is starting to come to light.
The stock oil pump can start to leak pressure from the body of the pump under certain circumstances.
Old Oil, High speed and an old model pump.
Honda revised the pump several times over the life of the 650 engine and the early RD02 models didn't even have a seal on the pump shaft, they do now.
The RD08 version is even thicker than the RD02 version and pumps more oil
Oil viscosity plays a big part, after 2000mi the oil is thin enough that it can leak out from the pump body.
The suggested fix is to seal the pump body with hylomar so it can't leak.
Also make sure the pump is in good condition inside, rotor lobes good etc.
For high speed riding fit an Oil cooler.
A really good mod I saw was a sightglass made of clear PVC tube installed in the frame to monitor oil level in the frame.
Apparently the first sign of the oil problem is the oil level in the frame dropping.

henryuk 30 Jul 2012 17:15

They also drink oil. I'd say work on the Dommie and keep that, they're a damn good bike when they're right, and better off-road than the F650, just nowhere near as good on it (that's a 21" front wheel for you though)

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